My Journey to Healing - The Transformational Power of Grief + My Wild Births
Sacred + Wild is a dream born from my life-long fascination with the relationship between plant energetics, how we experience them through our different senses and the elements, our planet and the cosmos – throughout all of which we find the same sacred patterns repeated.
It started as a tiny spark of an idea back in 2016 when I embarked on my motherhood journey. Sadly, like many aspiring parents, it was not to be a smooth one and we experienced a heartbreaking loss when our first child, a son, died in utero at 29 weeks because of a rare brain haemorrhage.
It wasn’t until experiencing this personal tragedy that I fully embarked on my own transformative journey of self-discovery and healing.
In the midst of our grief, my husband and I planned the funeral and what began as a daunting task became a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the short life of the baby we would never see grow up but who would always live on in our hearts. As we had with our wedding in Ibiza, we took time to create a personal ceremony filled with love and joy, letters, songs and poems – and the gratitude that he was our greatest gift.
My husband had the inspired idea of naming our son after a migratory bird so we might always be reminded of him when they returned each Spring and we chose the name Arlo Swift, after the amazing masters of the sky who journey to Africa and back every year and spend almost all their lives in the air. This felt befitting of a spirit who never touched down on the earth.
We chose this beautiful poem for Arlo’s funeral
Discovering natural healing methods
As we waited to welcome another soul into the world, I went on a mission to educate myself around natural and traditional healing modalities that could support women through pre-conception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I learnt a lot about myself, not only about nurturing on a physical level but in my environment, emotionally, energetically and spiritually.
Soon afterwards, in 2017, we were blessed with our rainbow, Cece (she’s seven months in this pic). Throughout my pregnancy I learnt about natural and traditional healing modalities that support women through preconception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I read books setting out the ancient birth practices that have supported women for centuries and I trained in the Ayurvedic Gentle Birth Method visualisation technique.
Throughout the fourth trimester, I followed the advice of many Eastern cultures to eat healing foods, stay warm and get lots of rest. I met many inspiring healers and made it a priority to have weekly treatments including acupuncture, reflexology and creative healing massage as well as traditional herbal preparations to help my body through labour and postpartum and self-care rituals at home to relax and manage any anxiety that came up. I also had two doulas who supported my pregnancy and held my magical Mother’s Blessing before my daughter Cece’s arrival.
When Cece arrived on our bathroom floor into my husband’s arms - in technically an unplanned BBA (birth before arrival) but in reality a conscious decision to stay put on my part! - I realised that in stark contrast to my first baby, the combination of learned techniques, expert support and trust in my own body had given me the birth of my dreams. For that, I feel so blessed.
This image was taken on Benirras beach in Ibiza, an incredibly special and sacred place for us. We took Arlo there when I was 19 weeks pregnant, blissfully unaware that our lives were about to change forever, and one year after we held his funeral we returned pregnant with Cece and decided to scatter some of his ashes into the sea. You can see the famous “finger of God” rock in the background above which a glorious sun bow appeared at the moment we released them. Cece, 18 months here, is named Sirocco after the warm wind which blows from the Sahara and whose upward currents help migratory birds on their way.
My wild pregnancy: how I trusted nature, my body + my baby
When we finally conceived our second son naturally in 2021, after 18 months of trying, 6 months of IVF, many many clinic visits, more than 100 injections and a failed transfer, I wanted to have as wild and undisturbed pregnancy and birth as possible. My two birth experiences and five years of expanding my knowledge and understanding around the safest choices for me and my baby’s health and wellbeing meant I felt confident this was the right decision for me.
And so it was - a beautifully peaceful pregnancy uninterrupted by potentially fear inducing, and in my opinion largely unnecessary midwife appointments. And when in the early hours of 26th April at 40 weeks and five days, Raphael initiated his birth, the planned home freebirth we had been manifesting came to reality. One where we didn’t need to leave the safe confines of our home at any stage, and had control over our environment and what happened at each stage.
We named our son Raphael Vesper - meaning evening star as he was born just after sunset, and after the vesper flights that swifts take at sunset to sleep on the wing above the clouds.
For those who are interested, I will be sharing the full story of my wild pregnancy and freebirth in a future article to give an insight to other women who are deciding whether this is the right choice for them.
The golden hour - meeting the family
A space to connect to what’s meaningful
On speaking with friends who have had very different brith experiences, I knew in my heart that there is a deep need for the ancient wisdom which helped me so much to be shared with more women. I feel strongly that we in the West must reintegrate the practices that many cultures still honour, to celebrate and empower women as we move through the sacred journey of motherhood and beyond.
Although losing Arlo was so painful, I know that he is my greatest gift and the catalyst to a transformative journey of self-discovery and healing. Every Summer between April - August (almost the the exact time he was with us earthside) our beautiful boy watches over us, and seeing the swifts dance in the sky together, celebrating their epic annual journey from Africa, brings tears of pain at his memory of course, but mainly of joy for all he illuminated in my life and soul.
I felt compelled to create this space for all you mamas, mamas-to-be and women who want to connect to the beauty and rhythms of the earth, divine feminine intuition and what is sacred and meaningful in your lives.
It is my dream that through the alchemy of our creations, ritual, and guidance Sacred + Wild will bring you wisdom and healing. Together we can reawaken our sacred interconnectedness and create a better world for our children.
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