In my last post, Getting Intimate with Fear, I said I would recount what happened in my clinical hypnotherapy appointment on January 27, 2014 once I was ready. I don’t know whether I am or would ever be “ready”, but here is the story of my date with fear. I have a recording of the hypnosis portion of my appointment and have braved listening to it again to recount what happened.
It has taken some time to tell this story, in part because I think a part of me needed to grieve and let go of what I exorcised from my body last week. I spent a few days being melancholic and a bit out-of-sorts after the hypnotherapy appointment, even though I felt lighter and free from any deep fears or anxiety. It was as though I had completed a full-body cleanse and my body needed to regain a sense of equilibrium with the Universe and itself.
I also believe that a part of me needed to say goodbye to the Burmese Python, my Fear Snake, that has been my friend (and foe) for so long. Or to make peace with that serpent and let her know that she really had grown too big for anyone’s good and needed to find a new home, outside of my body. I imagine her now living in an eco-preserve where she is well-fed, enjoys the sunshine and has a safe haven when the weather turns. I imagine my Fear Snake wanting for nothing and not being inclined to take up residence in my chest again. I needed to get here, I believe, before I could write about what happened at last week’s appointment.
The appointment began much like my last one. We talked about what was happening, what had happened since September when I last saw the clinical hypnotherapist (we’ll call her Tracy). After that, we got into the nitty gritty.
After setting the scene (details of which were of my choosing), I felt myself slip into that in-between place where my body felt immobilized but my mind remained in the present moment. Then we had a conversation. Of sorts. I’ll fast forward to the juicy bits.
Tracy described my eggs implanting and asked what emotions I feel when I think of my eggs each time they implant. Silence. My throat would not work. I could not speak. I had no words.
“Trust what comes to you” said Tracy. After more silence she said it was okay to verbalize it. But I couldn’t. I had no words. My throat was in lockdown.
Next question: “What are you telling yourself about these pregnancies? What’s really going on?”
Ah, a question I could answer. “I don’t know”, I said.
Next, Tracy asked what emotion I feel when I think of these pregnancies. A soft-spoken but clear “I feel happy” bubbled forth. What else, she asked? “Scared,” emerged as a choked whisper. Was there anything else?
“My chest hurts,” I sputtered. And it did. I recognized the dark, mucky place that we had entered. I had been there before. It was awful, dark, tight, crushing and terrifying.
Tracy asked what my chest felt like. I was immobilized by the vice-grip around my chest and throat. “Tight” was all I could muster.
Tracy asked if it was like anxiety. I nodded and might have mouthed the word “yes”, though not audibly. Yes, that’s exactly what it was. An anxiety attack. A paralyzing, gripping case of anxiety over the biggest, darkest, deepest fear I have ever known. The Burmese Python, my Fear Snake, was crushing the life and light out of me.
Tracy asked what would happen if I let these pregnancies occur again, if I let a baby grow inside me again. What would that mean for me? Sobs wracked my body. There was another long silence.
“What are you scared of?” Tracy asked.
“I just want them to stay,” I sobbed.
Tracy said that fear – the terror that my babies won’t stay – is probably what I’m feeling in my chest. She asked whether as soon as I start to feel symptoms, even before I get a positive pregnancy test confirmation, I already have this pressure in my chest. “Yes,” I whispered, sobbing. Yes. That was it exactly. That place I know too well. The place many of us know too well.
Tracy said I needed to let go of this because each time I get pregnant, I’m holding onto this in my chest. She told me I am nice and light in that space and asked what I needed to do to remove that heaviness – all the fear, all the doubt. I could not answer. I did not know.
Tracy asked if she told me it were a colour, what colour would all of that doubt, fear, anxiety (my Fear Snake) be? “Dark” was the only word I could whisper, but what I saw was a thick, writhing mass of dark, oozing black-purple-blue darkness. Tracy told me to put my hand on it, feel it.
Then she said “it’s okay to be scared.” It is okay to be scared because I want these babies – I want a baby – but the fear can prevent my body from doing what it knows how to do. And she asked me again how I wanted to take that darkness out of my body, how did I want to get rid of it.
Another long pause followed, in which I wrestled internally with a new anxiety – I was afraid to get rid of my Fear Snake. I didn’t know why, but I wasn’t ready to let go. “I feel like it is a part of me,” I finally managed.
Tracy said we can get rid of all parts of us. What? An epiphany! I could exorcise this Fear Snake and still be a whole person? I was not turning my back on the part of me that tries to protect me from the worst if I seized it and tossed it away? That did not sound like making friends with my fear. How did I make sense of this within my existing framework?
Another sob broke free. “I just want to reach in there and throw it away,” I blurted between sobs.
“So do it” said Tracy. Yes, let’s do it.
Tracy spent some time coaching me to place my hand on this deep, oozing fear and look at my hand and examine it when I pulled it away. Inspect it, look at it like it’s gritty and sticky, and then wash it away in the water by which I’m surrounded in this place of my creation that we entered. With each breathe, I pushed out the Fear Snake and cleansed my body of this terror. Tracy sat with me until that process was complete. She told me I would feel a lightness entering and would truly feel myself floating and drifting in the beautiful pool of water. It took a while but eventually the anxiety left. My chest loosened and my heart lightened. My body let go of all that stuff it did not need.
Tracy said my body has been waiting for me to heal these things, waiting for me to let go of this fear, to have a baby. My body is waiting for me to do this work. Oh, body, I am so sorry it has taken me this long to wrestle this Fear Snake and reclaim you.
Next, Tracy asked me to see the colour of this baby, if another baby is going to come. She suggested I try to talk to this baby and my body, so baby can see the difference, can tell that I’ve done this work and my body is ready now. And she said if some of the anxiety returns, I can wash it away again. I can have a warm bath and rinse away the darkness again. And if it comes up when I am at work or where I cannot take a bath, I can go to a sink and let water run over my hands and remember the strength I have to let this go.
Then we moved on to the present. Tracy asked me to look at whether there is another baby for my family and to feel the calm that I had created in this space. She said I might see something or feel something. It might just be that I know something, intuitively. She asked me what was happening.
I saw funny shapes, but I couldn’t quite make out what they were. Tracy suggested I open myself up as if to welcome a big hug and let it surround me. Blue light enveloped me like an enormous, warm blanket. A rainbow of colours swirled before me, like an oil stain in water on the pavement. And more shapes, appearing then disappearing as though they were just out of reach, scarcely beyond my peripheral vision.
Tracy asked what all of this told me about babies and my body. I didn’t know how to answer that. Suddenly, I saw something and said so. But I still could not make out what I was seeing. Tracy reassured me that this was fine, to let it unfold naturally. Some time passed and she asked how I felt with all of this blue light enveloping me. I felt safe.
Tracy asked if I felt lots of love in that blue. And whether it felt like a safe place into which to welcome a baby, a place within which baby would be happy to grow. Yes. I was immersed in a blue light and that light flooded my body, making a warm, safe place for the perfect egg, the perfect soul to complete my family.
Now if only I can hold onto this lightness – this calm, confident body and open heart – or at least have confidence in my ability to release my demons when they come knocking (because they will come), maybe I can weather whatever comes next and bring home our little spirit baby someday. And I can always get more support when needed – from my Guardian Angel Army of my acupuncturist, my hypnotherapist, my EFT coach – and from me. I can also listen to the recording of my session from last week again – or the parts of it I choose to hear anew – whenever I wish.
We have our follow-up (WTF) conference with our RE next week. I’m feeling ambivalent about it. I don’t feel ready to do another round of IVF right now. That may change, but for now I’m content to ride this wave of peace and see where it takes us.