If you read the birth story of my daughter, or if you know me at all, you may know that I’ve suffered from some trauma following my transition into motherhood. Becoming a mom has felt crazy for a number of reasons. My daughter entered the world through an emotionally traumatic, whirlwind birth that left many important moments completely out of my control.
Only two months after her birth I jumped into working full time as a nurse, letting go of even more control. As time went on, the unhealed trauma from the birth continued to cause even further damage, and with a hectic work environment in the mix, I was a ticking time bomb.
Finally, the severity of my anxiety led me to quit my job entirely, in a desperate attempt to reevaluate my life, and save myself from the agony I’d been feeling for nearly a year.
Today, I can say that I am feeling more in control of my anxiety than ever before. I am blessed to have found a career path that allows me flexibility, and the ability to be home with my daughter most days. My life is more balanced than ever before as I’m understanding how seriously important it is to take care of myself — as hard as it may be sometimes.
I’ve taken an important step in my healing journey and I’ve begun going to therapy. It’s been a challenging process, to say the least.
Last night was my second session and we delved into the birth of my daughter and how it’s changed my life. Explaining this story was much more emotional of a process than I’d previously expected. Tears poured out of me as I said the words, “There was so much damage being done that I was totally naive to in the moment.”
My therapist encouraged me to reflect on those first hours and days with my daughter and try to remember some of the joy that came along with it. I cried even further because even in remembering the joyous moments, I still felt severe stress, sadness, and anger.
“These are happy tears,” she said. No, they were not happy tears. These tears were some of the most deeply painful tears I’ve felt because in that moment I was realizing that no matter the joy that did occur, the birth of my daughter is still overshadowed by stress.
My therapist’s advice was to take time and practice mindfulness. During this time, she encouraged me to try to remember the joyous moments of my daughter’s birth and make a conscious effort to feel that joy.
“Go towards the light,” she said.
As I reflect on this experience, so many emotions and tears have continued to pour out of me. I don’t want to always feel damaged by her birth. I never want her to hear me retell this story and think that any of this was her fault. What I realized was, it was hard to recollect specific moments of joy, although there were a few, and this is because she is the joy. My daughter is light that exists in this dark experience and although it’s been one of the most challenging of my life, I know that I am coming out stronger than ever before.
“When He tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
I want my daughter to always know that although her entrance into the world was painful and traumatic for me, I would never change a thing because it gave me the greatest gift, and that is her.
She is the light.
I know, it sounds painful and scary to relive trauma but I promise it is so worth it. Although I have a long road ahead of me, I know that going to therapy is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and for my family. It’s not easy but it’s so entirely worth the pain and challenges required to finally feel healed. If you’ve been thinking about going to therapy, consider this your sign. I promise you won’t regret it.