Seventeen years ago, while I was going through my first bout of true depression, a therapist introduced me to a new method of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. It’s called EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as Tapping. I was blown away how well this method worked in reducing the intensity of my anxiety and was truly instrumental in getting me through this dark time in my life.
Years later, “tapping” has become quite mainstream with books about EFT on the bestseller lists. EFT involves tapping on specific meridians on the body and saying affirmations. It can be used to deal with trauma, anxiety, weight loss, finances, etc. I have taught both my kids how to tap and my son who has Sensory Processing Disorder can calm himself within a few minutes by tapping.
I am thrilled to introduce EFT practitioner, Karen Brodie, to the Peace of Mind wellness family. If you suffer from anxiety or are stuck in any areas in your life, I strongly encourage you to schedule a session with Karen.
To learn more, please visit Karen’s website at www.karenlbrodie.com.
I can’t believe I am sharing this story on the internet, but it is time to come clean. Thirteen years ago, I almost killed my baby.
I didn’t do it out of anger, or neglect, or a moment of carelessness. I did it because I hadn’t learned how to take responsibility for myself, let alone someone else. I hadn’t learned to stand up to authority when authority is wrong or to challenge the status quo when the status quo is all wrong. In short, I was a child lodged in a woman’s body.
My story starts the day I went into labor with my daughter, at about 5:00 on a Thursday afternoon. From the start, my labor was weak; it never really went anywhere. The midwife we had hired showed up with her assistant on Friday afternoon. And no, this is not an article about the dangers of homebirth, because that was not the problem.
By Friday at 5:00 I had put in a solid 24 hours of really painful labor with no food and no sleep. I knew this baby wasn’t going to come on its own, so I told the midwife that I wanted to go to the hospital. Simple, right? My body, my baby, my budding mother’s wisdom. Except that this midwife refused to transport me. She told me that it would be too dangerous because the baby would be here at any minute and we couldn’t risk the baby being born on the road. Later, she defended her actions by saying that she thought I was caving in to the pain and she wanted to make sure I had the home birth I had originally said I wanted.
I knew the baby wouldn’t be coming without medical intervention, but with contractions coming every two minutes (even though they weren’t getting the job done, they really hurt!), it was hard to argue. So after a couple more half-hearted requests to go to the hospital, I sank into the damaged silence that we had perfected in my family of origin. Hours passed. The midwife and her assistant got bored and began to whisper together over People magazines while I writhed and squirmed, trying to get comfortable.
While they were distracted, I quietly told my husband that we really needed to get to the hospital. To my surprise, he refused and insisted that we defer to the midwife. I was in no condition to drive myself, so there I stayed. Around 11:30 that night, everybody but me found a corner of our little apartment to sleep in, while I was left to struggle on my own with a night of pain. And by the time the silence of sleep had descended on our apartment, I had resigned myself to death. I could feel my body running out of energy and I knew that without proper medical care, I would die.
At 6:00 on Saturday morning, the midwife woke up and checked the baby’s vital signs. And, Glory Hallelujah, the baby had joined me in Distress. We were going to the hospital. At the hospital, the midwife argued with the nurse assigned to me about whether she could stay with me during any medical procedures. Their conversation went on for so long that, by the time it was over, the doctor on duty had already passed through the ward. Still no medical care for me. We would have to wait over an hour for him to return. I desperately wanted the midwife to leave, but I was afraid of hurting her feelings or making a scene, so I did not speak up.
The rest of the memory is blurry, because soon thereafter I was rushed into the operating room for an emergency C-section under general anesthetic. I am told that my baby was pulled from my body, limp and blue, her lungs filled with meconium. After the surgery, I went into a code something, where everyone is supposed to drop what they are doing and come help. Thank God for modern medicine, because whatever they did pulled me out of a very bad spot. (All I remember is feeling completely loved and cared for in the midst of great chaos, and that the ministrations of the staff involved a suppository – ew.)
When I woke up, the midwife was finally gone and my new doctor was there in her place. Clearly, after 42 hours of labor, my luck had changed. My doctor was everything the midwife wasn’t – competent, kind, honest and encouraging. I was so thankful for his presence that for a moment I considered naming our daughter after him. Luckily, she just didn’t seem like a Ramon to me!
After a week in the hospital, I returned home with a slit carved into my abdomen, antibiotics for the remains of a raging infection, and PTSD. Lilly, my baby, was fresh out of Neonatal Intensive Care, with 13 tiny scabs on her feet from where they had drawn blood, plus whatever gets injured inside a baby when she spends her first week in an incubator instead of in loving arms. I was the walking wounded and Lilly was the lying-down wounded, but even in our ragged condition, the love between us was divine.
Thirteen years later, I can look back and see the long, winding road I took to recover from this event (and others) and get back to emotional health and wellness. I began that journey the day after my daughter was born. The midwife visited me in the hospital, which completed her contractual obligation to us, and I told her that she had put my daughter and me at risk by refusing to transport us. After a certain amount of conversation, she apologized – in a baby voice. It was a weird moment. A couple of years later, I told my story to a sympathetic group of women online, which helped a bit. My healing took a step backwards when I received a subpoena for my medical records from the District Attorney’s office. This same midwife had lost an unborn baby during another client’s labor, and the D.A. wanted to investigate other medical histories relating to her. The beginning of the end of the trauma, however, was the discovery of my magical, beloved Emotional Freedom Technique. I initially discovered it because of an ear infection that wouldn’t go away, and after the ear infection healed through tapping, I proceeded to tap my way through a lot of old childhood wounding and on through the nightmare of my daughter’s birth experience.
I eventually began sharing the joy of EFT with friends and family, and then branched out to people I didn’t know, and now I am a full-time EFT Practitioner who has had the privilege of helping hundreds of people over the years. However, even with intensive training in EFT and many other modalities as well, each of which has led me back to myself and my history over and over again, the most important piece of this story eluded me until just a few months ago. One day, out of the blue, I had one earth-shattering revelation about this experience, and this is it: When the midwife refused to transport me, I could have called 911, or even just threatened to call. I could have called a friend or a neighbor and told them that I needed a ride to the hospital. There were so many ways I could have gotten help, but none of them entered my mind. I never even had the thoughts that could have coalesced into action. At the time, my deepest beliefs were that I was powerless, that it was up to other people to take care of me (or not), and that I would always be somebody’s victim. I also believed that people who drew attention to themselves for any reason were pathetic and “just trying to get attention.” ( At the time, “just trying to get attention” was the crown jewel of bad things to do in my personal philosophy.) And as always happens, the people around me played out the roles that allowed those beliefs to represent themselves physically as the circumstances of my life.
Yes, my midwife was incompetent. I don’t think she cared much about me or my family or the job she had agreed to do. But her part in the drama was completed before my daughter was one day old. For the next 13 years, I slumbered on in the role of her victim, feeling angry and hurt about her defects and ignoring mine. And because of my laser focus on this woman and her shortcomings, I spent an enormous amount of energy feeling guilty and remorseful about various aspects of the past, which I couldn’t do anything about: that out of all the midwives in Los Angeles, most of whom are competent and caring, my husband and I had chosen this one; that my husband believed her and not me about whether I should go to the hospital; that she never sincerely apologized for the damage she caused. And worst of all, that I had never even thought to lodge a formal complaint against her, perhaps endangering another woman’s baby.
* * * * * *
When my daughter was about two, we took a few mommy and me yoga classes from a woman in a turban. When I told her that I was struggling to recover from the circumstances of my daughter’s birth, she simply said that each mother and child have the birth experience they were meant to have. After thinking it over for about a decade, I’m ready to say that I disagree with her. I think we all have the experiences that we are manufacturing based on the individual realities that we project out into the world, not that we are necessarily predestined to have. We are not stuck in some calcified cosmic game plan. If we don’t like the experiences we are creating, we can learn to change them. But we have to change our beliefs about who we are and how we must be treated before we can change how those things actually play themselves out. And becoming aware of and changing our belief system is tricky because we humans are plagued with blind spots.
I am finally at peace with my daughter’s birth experience. I have a new understanding of what I was projecting out all those years ago, and it has brought a ripple effect of healing into my life as old memories surface and I explore them through this new lens. In so many situations, as in this one, I was a victim just waiting around for my perpetrator. Time after time, my ignorance brought me, not bliss, but relationships that stalled and then turned on me, precisely following the blueprint of my internal world.
In the end, the two things I learned sound like cliches because I have heard them so many times: There are no victims, there are no accidents. These are empty, even hurtful, words if there is no real understanding; but they are life-changing words once we really see how these universal laws work. Once we are able to apply these truths 100 percent in any situation, we are free of it. All that remains is the love.
Karen Brodie is a top EFT Practitioner is Los Angeles, California. In her private practice, she helps people who are struggling in any of the areas of health, finances, spirituality, career, and relationships. For more information, please visit www.KarenLBrodie.com.