So, I went for a c-section massage and didn’t get massaged at all.
On Saturday I went to see The Women’s Wellness Coach, Jayne Hume (who runs her own clinic in Knowle, Solihull), and our time together was not what I had expected.
I anticipated a session focusing mainly on bodily healing, but what in fact took place was a deeply intricate form of therapy which allowed me to reflect on my mental and emotional state as well as my physical.
The first twelve months of parenthood, post-pregnancy and post-surgery, have been (the best twelve months of my life, of course, but also) quite exhausting and overwhelming. Jayne’s approach quite rightly was to give me the space to take stock of everything I had been through. During our 2 hours+ session together, I looked back on conception, pregnancy, birth, rest and recovery and talked about my hopes for myself for the future. Jayne is very much led by her clients – as someone who really needed to stop and look back on the last year before setting intentions for the future, it was no surprise that I was able to talk for an hour and a half, and I was supported by her to do this in a safe judgement-free environment.
I’ve had many massages before, all over the world, and my time with The Women’s Wellness Coach was like no other – never before have I waited almost 2 hours to be physically touched. But when you stop and think about it – how can any expert dive straight into working on your body when they don’t really know it, especially a post-natal one? Jayne’s mission is to truly understand those she works with in order to best tailor her time. Once I had shed the weight of my struggles, challenges and fears, she led me through some simple breathing and pelvic floor exercises. For the first time in twelve months, I retreated quietly into myself, began to re-connect with my own body.
A c-section can leave you feeling not just physically weak but quite numb and disjointed at times. As someone who has always prided herself on being able to listen to her body, spending time talking to Jayne made me realise that for the last year, there has been little communication going on internally. I was really happy with my decision to have a c-section but in all the chaos of motherhood – from feeding and expressing to weaning and going back to work – I hadn’t had time to stop and acknowledge the new scar which now had a permanent home on my belly externally, and the effect it had had on me internally.
As I approach my son’s first birthday, I’m naturally feeling very reflective – about how far we have both come and what I see in our future. Now things have settled down, I’ve returned to work and started to welcome free headspace back into my life, I naturally am thinking about who I want to be in the future – as a mum and as an individual. I walked through Jayne’s door in the middle of this period of reflection, and it’s a good job I did. I feel like I have the first tool in a set that will help me heal, grow, strengthen and transition. When you think about it, of course a post-natal massage has to be about so much more than just massage, when you consider the massive mental and physical shift a woman has experienced. And, as Jayne said to me in our session, that transition is never over – working on yourself is a beautiful journey, there is no finish line.
After my first session with Jayne, I left with so much. With a desire – to return and learn more (next week we begin stage two and will work on some massage techniques). With information – about what my body had been through and what it needs now. With exercises and practices – which I’ve been doing every day at home since. But most importantly, I left with intention – a motivation and drive to continue on my journey of recovery. Now, I am awake and aware of who I am, where I want to go and what I need to do.
All that from a massage appointment, I know.
As a massive control freak (especially when it comes to my own body), I would have put myself down as the last person in the world to end up with a c-section. The weeks after my son was born I used to ask – how come this happened to me? Why did God want me to experience this? Well, my appointment last week (and the almost two hours that I talked at Jayne for) made me realise one thing – that I was born to tell stories. And if there is one thing in the world that is a gateway to stories, ones buried deep within us, it is a scar.
And for that reason, I am damn happy to wear mine.
Photography by Lewis Membery