Irene here. Below I have a story that was shared by one of our SmartBody SmartMind alumni, Kait. I only came across her and her story when she sent this letter to us a couple of weeks ago. While her share is deeply impactful, it is not uncommon. What is also not uncommon is the level of healing that took place for her with the SmartBody SmartMind curriculum.
She also informed me that suicide is the leading cause of death for women in the first year following pregnancy. While this might be a shocking statistic, I am personally not surprised, after having helped women postpartum after horrific birthing experiences. Many of these experiences are often a result of the medical and healthcare establishment simply not knowing what trauma actually is, and how it gets embedded within our nervous systems at the perinatal and postpartum stages.
As Kait pointed out to me in a side note to this piece she wrote,
“Irene, I think it’s important to note that new moms are not receiving information or support around trauma. It seems rather obvious to me now that all mothers who go through a traumatic birth or NICU experience should receive information about what trauma is and how it might impact their experience of early motherhood. At my follow-up appointment, my OBGYN handed me a piece of paper with the names and numbers of a few talk therapists and psychiatrists—the dynamic duo that postpartum women are being sold as the infallible cure to what they label as a perinatal/postpartum mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD).”
Here is her story shared with permission:
In June of 2019, my son was born in severe respiratory distress due to an “unknown pathogen.” Doctors rushed him to the NICU where he stayed for a week and made a full recovery. About a month after his birth, I began experiencing symptoms of complex PTSD. Of course, I didn’t know to label it as such at the time. The medical community had no answers for what was causing my “mystery” symptoms: chronic pain, insomnia, blurry vision, tinnitus, burning skin, body rashes, amenorrhea, and a never-ending loop of terror and despair.
I was desperate to find a way to be present with my son. For the first two years of his life, I used every spare second searching for answers and pursuing healing modalities like talk therapy, CBT, SSRIs, pain reprocessing therapy, naturopathy, energy healing, acupuncture, essential oils, strict elimination diets, coffee enemas, supplements, Lyme healing protocols, visits to all of the “ologists,” and prayer to a God I no longer believed in.
Worse than the physical pain was the confusion and shame surrounding the experience. The words “unknown pathogen” haunted me. I believed that whatever infected my son’s lungs at birth must also be the agent behind these “mystery” symptoms. That my body had nearly killed him, and now, it was trying to kill me. There were no words to explain what I was going through, so I slowly drew away from family and friends. In my journal, I likened this experience to drowning at the bottom of a well in the pitch black, holding an innocent baby over my head. I contemplated suicide, but every time I looked into my son’s eyes, I knew it wasn’t an option.
I remember exactly where I was when Irene Lyon’s words sunk in for the first time—when I realized that what I was experiencing wasn’t wrong. That it wasn’t a sign of weakness or inherent brokenness. Her 3-part video training brought me to tears. I recognized it immediately as the truth I’d been searching for since my son was born. I dove deep into Irene’s free content, began the 21-Day Nervous System Tune-Up in January of 2021, and enrolled in SBSM that March.
It’s been about a year and a half since I began this work. I no longer experience chronic pain. My period came back, and my hair stopped falling out. The blurry vision, tinnitus, and body rashes are gone. My house is full of life, and I’ve slowly built a small, supportive community of people around me. I’m taking better care of myself—not to fix what’s broken, but out of love and respect. Diagnoses that used to terrify me are no longer relevant. And even when I don’t feel okay, I know I’m still okay.
My son turned three last month and is thriving. I welcome his emotional states with curiosity and kindness without going into overwhelm. Our connection is strong. I can be with his big emotions, allow them, and support him through them. It feels like a superpower.
My healing journey is far from over. It’s messy and multilayered and ongoing. But never again will I be in the dark. Irene Lyon gifted me with the education and context I was so desperately searching for. Thank you, Irene, for following your impulse to provide this non-dumbed nervous system education. It was exactly what I needed to keep going. My son and I are forever grateful.
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THANK YOU KAIT!!
Your words are important and are being shared with many.