I had been lucky enough to meet Charlie a number of times on programs through our incredible Integral Coaching community. She exudes warmth and welcome and light. I knew her offerings included parenting but not being a parent then, couldn’t quite understand what that might mean.
Then in the midst of the pandemic I became a mum. My partner and I became parents. This baby was a miracle on so many levels. I was in my early 40s, ran my own business, was accomplished and centred and despite lockdown (or perhaps because of it?) we had a mostly easy and joyous pregnancy.
Our baby girl was born perfectly healthy. Yet due to pandemic restrictions and frankly, the culture of the hospital we were in (‘the least maternal’ maternity ward as my partner so aptly described it); I emerged traumatised after days and nights of no support and my partner having to weather this all from home, not being allowed in to support us.
In the coming weeks and months, the extent of how deeply that experience had impacted me became more apparent. The old traumas it brought right up to the surface. As a new mum you expect things to be up and down and to be learning but my confidence and nervous system were shaken to the core. Again, my wise and loving partner nailed it when he said: You don’t have your tribe. At the most transitional, all-encompassing period of my life, I – and so many other pandemic mums – was separated from my family, my friends and even health care workers whose role it might have been to identify both what was going on and how to help.
I reached out to Charlie in a very teary voice note with no context to say, ‘I think I need to work with you’. I am forever changed by and supported by the work we have done together. First and foremost, she welcomed it all. All my tears, all my self-doubt, all my harsh judgements on what was or wasn’t good or right as a parent. None of this is truth. Truth is how you respond. What you welcome in. What you cultivate and how that creates an environment shaped by love and empathy and acceptance. Isn’t that what you want for your child, also?
I was so stuck in my trauma and self-imposed expectations that I was operating from a such a place of fear. And Charlie brings just the right tool or resource in just the right moment, it’s one of her superpowers. With her deep care and wisdom, she expertly invites you into mental models or visualisations, polyvagal mapping or somatic grounding… just to name a few.
In the midst of many shifts, big and small there are a few that come immediately to mind. The first was in the initial proposal in which she offered a journey for us to take together ‘through Billie’s first birthday’. Just reading those words I felt my body both relax and expand as I realised, I had accompaniment. I didn’t have to figure all this out on my own.
Another moment was a session where we re-visualised our daughter’s birth. I re-wrote the negative, trauma inducing narrative and wove in the golden threads of just how magical her arrival truly was. My daughter deserved a positive birth story and Charlie held space, powerfully enabling me to stop looking back and re-orient and garner strength for all that lies ahead.
There are also all the moments curled up on her bean bag with a blanket, finding ways to nourish and centre and welcome myself. I have and will continue to recommend Charlie to all new parents, not just mothers. In the next phase of our journey, my partner and I will embark upon some work together with Charlie, for she offers and can hold that too.
In a world where complexity continues to grow and raising our little humans to be custodians of values that enable us all to thrive feels as important now as ever; I feel calmer, more resourced, more self-compassionate and not at all alone thanks in huge part to the gift of working with Charlie.