It was Friday morning. 4.30am. My baby was 5 hours old.

I said goodbye to my tearful husband, and my baby and I were taken to the theatre. I had to be given a spinal anaesthetic for the procedure. Even to this day, I maintain that having to sit still and upright was the bravest thing I have EVER done. I felt like my whole body would split in two. I thought the pain of it would kill me. I cried as I reached out to the assistant anaesthetist, ‘may I hold on to you?’

The atmosphere of the room was tense, the silence palpable. I slipped in and out of sleep/ consciousness/ awareness. I remember looking up at the monitor to see my heart rate rocketing. The anaesthetist gently placed my baby next to me.

I knew in my guts, ‘she’s trying to calm me down. My heart rate is dangerously high.’ 

I recall the doctor beginning the operation. I remember very little; except the moment she told me that the extent of my bleeding was too serious for her to deal with. She would call the consultant, her senior, to come and perform the operation.

It was the early hours of the morning. The consultant was tucked up in bed at his home 20 minutes away.

Laying there, in the darkness, in the silence, with the knowledge that no body in that room could help me, is categorically the most terrifying and lonely experience of my life. I cannot put the sensation into words; the feeling is beyond that of measure. The relief I felt when the consultant swept into the theatre was immense. ‘I’m saved,’ I thought.

In traumatic times, our soul leaves our physical body to avoid being destroyed by the pain we are enduring. I have little memory of my birth experience or the aftermath. A classic indicator of soul loss, I spent the next few months and years grilling my poor husband to try and piece together the missing pieces from my memory. I would question him incessantly; from who dressed our baby to who held him whilst I was unwell? To how long was I asleep for? How many doctors came into the room?

Did he ever think that I was going to die?

In the years that followed I came to understand my experience as an initiation; I had crossed briefly into the otherworld but was determined to stay Earthside for my son. I was excited to get to know him and I wanted to be there for him.

I recently shared my story and I’ll admit, I was surprised to find that even after seven years have passed, I still cried. ‘I nearly died’ I spoke quietly to the room, aware of the tears welling up in my eyes, the emotion resting gently beneath the surface, waiting to break through like a wave breaking onto the shore.

I have come to see my healing process, not as a goal to be accomplished, but rather a path that I am committed to walking for the rest of my time here on Mother Earth. Initially I thought I had to ‘let go’ of my story; to get over it and move beyond it. To stop it affecting ‘the rest of my life.’

But I have come to understand that it is the very essence of my life; the stories and experiences that hold us and shape us and leave their marks on our weather-beaten faces. The richness and depth of the pain I experienced served to crack me open to new ways of living, loving and being.

The depth of our pain is mirrored by the depth of our capacity to love. The weight of the pain and trauma we have carried reflected in the powerful capacity we develop to hold space for others.

Please know if you are struggling, that people are here who care about you and your story.

Yours,

Amanda

If this story has touched you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.