Welcome to the survivor moms speak out blog!

While practicing full-time as a community-based midwife, I had the opportunity to work with many women who were survivors, either of childhood sexual trauma, rape, or both. The experience of being their midwife, and witnessing their challenges and triumphs encouraged me to learn more about the effects of trauma on the body, and on the experience of childbearing specifically. So just as I felt "called" to practice midwifery, I felt "called" to shed light on issues that survivor moms face during the process of becoming a mother. That calling led me to begin the "Survivor Moms Speak Out" project. We surveyed many women who were both moms and survivors; and 81 of those women completed a narrative or contributed a poem for the book "Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Mothering, and Healing after Sexual Abuse."
Read more about the book, or order a copy, at http://www.midwiferytoday.com/books/survivormoms.asp.

Because of space constraints, not all of the narratives that women contributed to the book project were able to appear in full in the final version of the book. So I would like to take the opportunity to share some of the whole narratives in this blog, featuring a narrative at a time.
About reading survivor stories:
Although the stories are encouraging because they represent survivors’ triumphs over adversity, they can also to be hard to read, because of the intensity of the issues and events. I encourage you to check in with yourself while reading survivor stories, especially if you are a survivor of past trauma, and limit your exposure if you become “triggered”. Feeling triggered might take several different forms. You might start re-experiencing a past trauma you have had before, by not being able to stop thinking about it, or dreaming about, or just feeling like it is happening all over again. You may feel distress or have physical symptoms like feeling your heart race or sweating. If you start to experience these things, you may benefit from talking to someone who understands how trauma works and how to help you with post-traumatic symptoms.

To read more about trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder you can check out the National Center for PTSD website: http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/.

The Sidran Foundation offers an information and a referral resource on-line: http://www.sidran.org/

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kathleen's poems

Mother’s Law

I do not know why my mother
Chose to hurt me;
How her life was twister
Or why her love so painful.

I only know that by every law
Sacred to all mothers
She betrayed her daughter.
My mother broke my heart.

Perhaps her mother also betrayed
And even back through
Ten or one hundred mothers
It is possible that trust was broken

I have inherited the Child’s
Pain from all These mothers of mine
Who with malicious hands
Did sooth and then hurt

I pull their needles One
by One out of my body
Soul freeing my self Releasing
Pain that was pushed in.

I reach back into my genetic
spiral code through my own cellular
Memory to a host of Mothers
Who kept the sacred law.

I open my Soul and spirit
To these light mothers of mine
And they reach forward in time
Touching my heart ever so gently

I know that I can mother my daughter

Sedimentary Geology

I have pushed down
In layers
The organic material
Of the Psyche
fear, anger, memory,
pain, humiliation, guilt,
love, betrayal
I have held these dead
Matters of the Give Away
Under great pressure
For Ever
They did not decompose
Change is made
In the waiting
Which is done
Carefully bringing it up
I find diamonds
Hidden in the shale
An Oil Well drilled
and tapped feeds me
I will burn
With a very bright light
For Ever

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