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My four year old daughter is my why

Yesterday was my daughter's fourth birthday. It was a celebration of her four whole years here on Earth. One of the biggest catalysts to me living a soul centered life were the hardships I endured during pregnancy, birth and the first two years of my daughter's life. These included protecting a medically fragile baby, needing to be more isolated from others and experiencing perinatal trauma, mood and anxiety disorders. My daughter was born with a congenital defect that impacted her lung development in utero, leaving her with only 1/4 of her lung capacity after birth. To put it simply, her survival was not guaranteed in the least bit. We knew this at 36 weeks when my husband and I went into an ultrasound to determine her growth and found out her heart was shifted to the right side of her chest and she only had a teeny bit of lung capacity. You can imagine the planning that ensued including comprehensive testing, a plan for induction, and lots of education. During labor and after delivery there were extensive medical interventions (my worst nightmare). There were days of endless sleep, screaming fear, numbness and hours of crying. The amount of uncertainty and need for surrendering was breathtaking. My mind, body and spirit were very disconnected during this time and thus, my soul was lost. I had beautiful messages and signs throughout this journey that I am so thankful for. However, it was STILL hard.

What this looked like for me:

*Mind - Racing thoughts filled with worry, fear, sadness and overwhelm. Preoccupied on my child's survival

*Body- Fight, flight or freeze, exhaustion, pains, decreased appetite, increased sleep

*Spirit- Completely lost my connection to my essence, my connection to something greater Trauma truly strips you to your core and leaves you so raw. You are at your most vulnerable. Your whole self is exposed. What I realized during these hard times is that I truly had nothing left than to surrender; grow my relationship with Spirit, take care of my body and settle my mind. I was focusing on my daughter's survival yet I wasn't surviving. I did work to stay in my tunnel vision which felt safe, accept what is and what I needed while encouraging growth where I could take it.

What this looked like for me:

*Mind- I practiced mindfulness in the simplest of ways. I tried to focus on one thing at a time. To survive, I would distract. Binge watch television shows, listen to music. Find pleasure in something.

*Body- I worked to give my body what it truly needs. I self- soothed with comfy clothes and blankets. When my daughter was in a stable place, I tried to give myself permission to rest and regulate when I could.

*Spirit- This was one of the hardest to work at yet easiest to allow. Spirit was always with me. I just needed to look. I would see signs on the wall while pumping or using the bathroom that I knew was meant for me. Spirit was within the love filled communication with others when I did allow it.

It takes time but it IS possible. I woke up one day and realized that there was meaning and growth through the darkness. The light was there the whole time. Waiting for me to see. Waiting for me to be ready to see. Soul centered living has allowed me to move forward in my life in a more grounded, connected and less vulnerable way. I am confident in my connection to my soul and know that I can and will move through whatever life brings because I have survived. You CAN and WILL too.

With all my love and fullest of hearts,

Kate Stacom, LICSW

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