A Personal Healing Journey
When I was pregnant with my first child I felt the stirrings of the past burgeoning under the surface, calling for my attention. I could no longer ignore the pit of anxiety that I had carried in my stomach for as long as I could remember. As I listened, I discovered a family legacy that needed attention and healing that called me to turn towards my vulnerability as I prepared to become a first-time mother.
Looking back I reflect on stories of my grandfathers’ traumas from both world wars, my grandmothers fearful for their husband’s lives. I see the impact of the great depression. Looking further back, I see my ancestors who were forced to leave their homes in Eastern Europe due to the rise of anti-Semitism. These traumas translated into impaired attachments, deficiencies of touch and consistent care, between my grandparents and my parents. I feel the impact of these groundless, fearful moments in my being.
Turning towards the pain of traumas of my family history I breathe into the deeply familiar knot in my belly. I unwind the grief and anguish that has no name. Hot tears release down my face as I imagine my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents standing behind me. I feel them standing behind smiling, nodding. I feel that they have my back. They encourage me to be free and to let go. Attending to these legacies becomes an invitation to open my heart. What was once a ground of uncertainty has transformed into a fertile earth; a place for the rooting of potentiality, for my life and the lives of my children.
“Trauma can be transmitted across generations. However, our transgenerational wounds are not the essence of who we are. How do we transcend our identification with history? Healing involves knowing that you are not alone, trusting that there is a path to greater freedom, and a willingness to feel your relationship to the suffering of your family lineage. Releasing the burdens of trauma, our own or those of our family history, we often feel lighter, a greater sense of choice, and an increased experience belonging in the world.”
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz