Personal resiliency is a topic I touch on with my clients a lot, because it’s one of the key factors involved in living a happy, fulfilling life. Learning how to build more resilience allows us to heal and keep going when inevitable struggle sometimes arises in life. Personal resilience helps us learn how to overcome adversity. ❤️
“In 2011, I gave birth for the very first time, to my beautiful son. I was thrilled. I’d always wanted to be a mother, and this baby – he was absolute perfection. When he was placed in my arms, he looked up at me, and stared deeply into my eyes as if he knew he knew me. I told him I was his mommy, and I said, “thank you for coming to be my baby.” It was the best day of my life.
It was also the worst day of my life.
The birth had been long, and painful. I’d been forced to surrender my autonomy, my needs, and my dignity. Some people defiantly declare that there is no dignity in birth. I staunchly disagree. Done properly, with thoughtful birth attendants who care about a birthing woman as a woman with distinct needs, and not just another birthing body, there can and always should be dignity and respect in birth.
My body had been tossed about, sliced open, drugged up, and then back down, pumped so full of fluids, it blew up to twice its normal size. I felt like I was floating. I struggled to stay in my body so I could meet my baby.
And 48 hours later, I was still unable to move my body without searing pain. It was then that an ambulance came to ship my newborn baby 50 miles away to the Children’s Hospital. They said he had a congenital heart defect. They said he needed surgery. And all I could think about was how I might lose this precious gift I’d only just unwrapped.
Recovering from near death myself, I spent my first two weeks postpartum huddled at his bedside, ignoring my own pain as I tried to nurse and heal my broken baby.
When I went home, I thought it was over. But it wasn’t. I spent months dealing with intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and depression. I didn’t know I was dealing with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.
After a similar experience with my daughter’s birth a year later, I began to work with other women suffering through the effects of traumatic birth. I also began to research why trauma happens, and what to do about it when it does. That’s when I learned about resilience.
Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover from adversity, difficulties, and traumatic events in our lives. A higher level of resilience can be protective in nature, by reducing the level of trauma experienced during a traumatic event. It can also help with recovery after traumatic events have occured. One of the primary factors of resilience is having a solid support system – relationships that offer support, love, and reassurance through difficult times. Resilience can also be affected by a positive self-image, healthy communication, and problem solving skills. Perhaps the best part about resilience is that anyone can develop greater resiliency factors at any point in their lives, enabling them to better navigate not only traumatic events, but even every day stresses.
The American Psychological Association recommends the following techniques to build personal resilience….”