Several months back, I met Jen Chendea of Jen Chendea Motherbaby Care. We talked over coffee one night, and what was planned as a short conversation lapsed into hours of soul-searching, meaningful discourse.
From that point on, I stayed in contact with Jen and followed her work with healing stories. Recently though, I finally had my own healing stories experience. My hope is that by giving my testimonial, others in the community will utilize this excellent resource that they will also be encouraged to attend some of the amazing events happening in the next week.
Why I Need to Tell My Healing Story
Following the birth of my son, I felt like I processed my birth. I told my story, wrote my story, and ruminated on my story. Months and months went by. I felt positive about my birth, had achieved what I wanted: an unmedicated Bradley birth.
Then, I left my job as a teacher and stepped into the whirlwind world of birth work. My first few births as a doula were incredible, but the thing about birth work is that if you are a birth mother yourself, issues in your own birth, no matter how far repressed, quickly reemerge with each and every birth you attend.
I started to notice a trigger that was affecting my relationship with my husband, my son, and, really, myself. Before even meeting Jen, I knew that something still was not yet processed, dealt with, reconciled--whatever you want to call it. My emotional balance sheet in relation to my birth was in the red.
So I did what I do best, I talked about it. I talked about it with fellow birth workers, my husband, family, and friends. I journaled, read, and ruminated some more. I am not one to bury my feelings. I don't like to give energy to negativity. I value the quality of my life and what I can give of it too much. Regardless of my efforts, I got no where. My relationships that I held most dear continued to suffer.
I continued to attend births and loved what I did, but would still feel weighted and unbalanced. So, I sought Jen's help through her work with healing stories. Jen's soothing and present aura immediately sets you in the mood for introspection. I'm not going to lie, I was uncomfortable. Processing difficult experiences is not an easy task. Up until that point, that part of yourself has been asleep like a body part that you know is there, is a dead weight, and is useless. It's almost like we are all walking around with asleep body parts that serve no purpose than to add extra weight. Telling your story with the goal of healing is like waking up that sleeping limb: uncomfortable, but necessary.
We started with a mantra that helps you to be in the right mind set for sharing and listening: "I am here; I am present; I am open; I am ready." I just thought that was beautiful. From that point on, Jen and I moved from subject to subject effortlessly, pulled in directions that my subconscious, or my heart, needed to go. We didn't fix anything. We didn't come up with an action plan. I didn't walk away with a "solution" except that subtly, my life was changed. All I did was tell my story. A version of the story that needed to be told, that hadn't been told yet; a version that somehow, once unlocked, meant that that limb could begin to wake up.
We didn't just talk about my birth. We are such linear creatures that think of life as a series of meaningful, singular points of time. There are layers to experiences, affects of a dream you might have had months prior to the event, and then a discussion you had a year after the event. Then there are layers within that event from what you experienced, what others experienced, and your perception of what they experienced. Am I rambling? That's the idea.
Why Do I Need to Pay Someone for Something Anyone Can Do?
The version of the story I told then will never be told again. The version I may need to tell in order to awaken another limb may be told next time. The difference between all that talking I did beforehand and the talking I did with Jen is plain and simple, she is a professional. She is trained and dissociated from the experience. The idea is similar to a doula. I always get the question of why can't a friend or family member be the same thing as a doula. The answer is training and dissociation/subjectivity.
The one other huge difference between Jen and another person you might talk to including a counselor is time. Jen gives time; she is in no rush; she is present and allows the story that needs to be told, be told in its entirety.
The difference I experienced after the session was not extreme at first. Remember, I was waking up a sleeping limb. Gradually, a weight was lifted, relationships began to mend and the triggers were no longer pulled. Through telling my story, part of me was awakened and healed.
How Can I Tell My Healing Story?
Jen usually offers monthly Healing Stories Circles at Uru Yoga in Pensacola. If you would prefer an individual setting rather than group, Jen offers individual story sessions. You can follow Jen on Facebook where she posts regularly about the local offerings.
Aside from these monthly and individual offerings, Pensacola has some exciting events surrounding the work of Healing Stories. Rebecca Thompson, a figurehead for the healing stories movement and Jen's Healing Story trainer, is coming to Pensacola. Check out the list of events that will be occurring nearby. For registration info, click here.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Consciously Parenting Workshop – Calming the Chaos:
What to do when you don’t know what to do! Using current brain research, explore why things go wrong and what to do about them. Return your home to peace, or create it for the first time.
Café Bienville | 314 Bay Shore Drive, Niceville, FL 32578
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Central Time) – Doors open at 5:30 pm and interactive workshop starts at 6
Cost: $25.00 per person or $30.00 for parenting couple.
(Parenting couple includes parenting support person, nanny, grandparent, etc.)
Thursday, July 10, 2014:
Healing Stories Circle -
Private Home near airport – (Address available upon registration)
10:00 am – 1:00 pm (Central Time), Childcare available
Free Talk – Consciously Parenting: Resolving the Challenges of Early Parenting Through Healing Stories
West Florida Public Library, Tyron Branch | 1200 Langley Ave. | Pensacola, FL 32504
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm (Central Time)
No Cost to attend.
Friday, July 11, 2014:
Workshop – Decoding Your Child’s Behavior
URU Yoga Studio | 2400 Executive Plaza Road | Pensacola, FL 32504
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Central Time), child care available
Cost: $25.00 per person/ $30 for parenting couple.
Saturday, July 12, 2014:
Private Sessions with Rebecca Thompson -
Private Home near airport – (Address available upon registration)
All Day, by Appointment. Sign up early, this will fill up fast!
Rebecca is accepting 90 minute appointments Saturday.
These sessions will be $150.00