The Holding Space

Holding Space

As part of my own healing journey, I recently launched "The Holding Space: A Birth Trauma Healing Community." The Holding Space is a safe space for ALL who have experienced birth trauma.

The impetus to create this group arose from the stark realization that not all support groups are created equal and that there are in fact very few that offer a compassionate, safe space for those who have experienced birth trauma as a result of being refused necessary medical intervention and/or experienced obstetric violence by being forced to birth vaginally. These kinds of violations may not be as commonplace as those on the other side of the spectrum, wherein women are coerced into unnecessary intervention, but this was my experience and I can assure you, the trauma cuts just as deep.

It was a rude awakening to see so many in the birth community fall silent in response to my speaking out about the horrific betrayal I endure.

I was and still am a proponent of natural birth, but the fact of the matter is that, in my case, medical intervention was not only warranted, it was necessary. My son suffered irreversible brain damage and organ failure when I was denied the timely cesarean that would have saved his life.

I labored at home for nearly 33 hours, with multiple complications, until I demanded hospital transfer. Unfortunately, the staunch natural birth OB who met me at the hospital flat our refused my requests for surgery, stating "there is only one way to birth a baby, and that is to push." I lay on the hospital bed shaking uncontrollably. My body was wracked with fever. I was told I had an infection of the amniotic fluid and that my son had passed meconium. Still, the OB refused to operate. My son and I were left in this cruel limbo for nearly twelve hours until his heart stopped inside me. Only then was I finally granted the cesarean I had been begging for for so long... Because of the crisis nature of the situation, I underwent the surgery without anesthesia. Resuscitation efforts returned my son's heartbeat, but he was never to cry out or open his eyes.

Although my son was lost to me in the physical form, his birth granted me clarity that I am convinced could have been attained no other way. I feel a distinct call to share my story and I feel my son speak through me every time I share my medicine, the wisdom of my womb. I have reached out to numerous birth trauma support groups to connect with others and help raise awareness about the seldom-discussed violations my son and I experienced. Yet, since the nature of my trauma hasn’t resulted in my condemnation of cesarean surgery and other life saving modalities, I have been shunned from several of these so-called support communities. My birth experience, co-created and manifest in fierce love, has blessed me with a privileged perspective and unique voice which enable me to speak unapologetic authenticity to a world starved of truth.

Divinity speaks through every womb. Goddess forgive us for the damage we do when we silence that sacred voice...

I invite you to a space that promises never to curb or control the wisdom that speaks through you-- a space that rejoices in uniqueness and encourages us to offer our stories as medicine to the world. Let us open our arms to the mystery and hold one another, despite our differences. Whether illumined by love or torn by tragedy, we are all blessings to the world. These blessings are delivered when we share our medicine and hold another as they do the same.