So it’s been a month since my discharge from the clinic !!! Yippee. Boy, it is good to be home and back in my own environment surrounded by my family and animals. My anxiety levels have been through the roof but that is to be expected to adjust to being in the ‘outside world’ as it would call it, away from the protected surrounds of the clinic, much as I did not want to be there. I got through Christmas and the New Year successfully even enjoying them.
My Psychotherapist is back from overseas so sessions with her have re-commenced EMDR which is taking the edge off the flashbacks which are not helping the anxiety either. The flashbacks are based on the birth of my third child which I had when I was sixteen. It was delivered all alone in my room by myself. Following delivery my Mother just came in and took the baby away; I did not even get to hold it. All I remember is a pink crying baby attached by a cord to a lump of meat lying in a pool of blood between my legs.
She did the same the previous two times I gave birth when I was thirteen and fourteen when the “thing” came out between my legs in the room. I did not even know then that I had given birth. I did not know it was a baby. A beating she gave me before I went into labour was so vicious, when I was thirteen, that when the ‘doll’ came out it did not move. Just being locked in the room to go through the spasms and pains and the eventual arrival of this time a pink, open-eyed mewling body with arms and legs covered in white mucous. The wracking paroxysms of agony ran through my lower body culminating with the production of a black haired, doll-like creature with blue, grey eyes, wide opened and staring at me beseeching me to pick it up.
I did not know why but the draw to pick up this creature was overwhelming but what if it broke? What if it mewled and fretted more? The same blood ran across the floor mixed with the fluid. In she would come and again take a towel and wrap it with the lump of meat except for this time it’s face would peer out of the wrapped towel alert to its surroundings. The sounds would increase and become a full blown cry which would wrench at my heart. I did not want her to take it away. It belonged to me, of that I was sure. It was mine, came from my body and I saw it first but take it away she did and never returned. I stayed in shock each time for weeks afterwards and my only solace was Cieran the little boy I took care of at the big house where I was a domestic.
Only he could relieve the grief and loss I felt. I kept going to pictures in the Bolger house of the boys when they were babies and the connections between my synapses were made that I had given life to children when I was sixteen and had given birth to the third child. I had no idea with the first two. I did not understand the concept of birth, but I knew that those Bolger babies looked like the ‘dolls’ that came from my body. How they got there I did not know. It was crushing to have them taken away each time and I grieved as only a Mother can but not understanding that was what I was going through. It lasted months each time. She just came into the room and took them away and I never got to hold them. The true understanding of that grief only came with hindsight in the last few years of my adult life since Cardinal Pell’s words came out of the television that night and assailed me. The night the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse in 2012 was announced. As a tiny, underdeveloped, malnourished teenager I gave birth to three babies, the first a stillborn through a severe beating and the second two live births. All were taken, n’er to be returned. Ever.
I do not know where she took them, what happened to them. Could they have been adopted, taken to a Mothers and Babies Home, ended up like the Tuam babies. The eventualities haunt me and drive me to distraction some days. It is the not knowing that eats away at you. There is nothing to grieve except a five-minute glance at a new born baby 39 years ago. I remember that in such detail though. The black hair, the blue eyes, the beautiful pink skin. Not understanding what the umbilical cord and placenta were. The total confusion of it all married with spasms of pain like I had never experienced before. In she came each time and just took the babies never saying a word, not answering my pleading questions, ignoring my supplicating queries about what was happening and where was she taking my baby and not allowing me even to hold it. Oh, how I wish I could have held it.
The psychological impact of these births and removal of the babies was huge. I have four absolutely beautiful children with a partner after twenty-seven years of being happily married. It is only since the Royal Commission in Australia was announced that my Complex PTSD surfaced and associated flashbacks. Everything bizarrely had been suppressed since I was nineteen and had left Ireland. Amazing that the brain can do that but mine had very effectively and efficiently and had protected me from fourteen years of abuse. I was living the perfect middle-class beachside life before we moved to our farm which I was loving. Then BANG! 2014 it all fell apart. It is slowly being rebuilt thanks to my genius psychotherapist, EMDR and support of a wonderful family.
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