The power of Healing Birth Healing Earth.
by Jim FitzGibbon
Shirley’s book introduces the reader to this most exquisite, compelling and involved subject with clarity. Facing what could have remained an elusively abstract theory, Shirley provides the ground of her own intuition and insight, allowing this reader to integrate it, as if he was there himself, compellingly.
Shirley presents her composition in a style of easily digestible chunks. I experience her life’s work as authentic because like the chakras, it flows from the roots of historical evolution of theories, it expresses the impact of the unresolved suffering of people in our environment, and it is given the authority of her own experience. The work is supported by those that love her and, in turn, her loving heart is available to heal others. It voices what others avoid, borne by her ability to trust her intuition and offer her truth in the context of the evolution of the cosmos.
For me, the study of pre- and perinatal (PPN) issues transforms my life, in the present tense. Without this knowledge, I was falsely led to believe, and held rigidly in my body, my family’s tension as well as my own terror, hearing anecdotes surrounding my birth that: ‘You nearly killed your mother’, an identification consolidated by exposure to preaching of Original Sin.
Unable to make sense then, into my adult life I burst with shame and guilt about my existence. Belonging necessitated my being ashamed of my origin, so without ground. Resolving conflict at a boundary became like no man’s land, not a place to have a conversation about a difference! Living without support for so long, my edge of feeling total responsibility for everything impacted others. In my disconnect, my propensity to post-trauma stress symptoms was very high.
Healing Birth Healing Earth helped me loosen what was for years my mysterious yet rigidified relational habit. Shirley Ward’s exposition of theory, case studies and her life’s passion for her work facilitated, non-threateningly, the emergence from my unconscious of truth I had once buried there. How else could I have realised: It wasn’t me but my mother and father who are responsible for a conception that became me. It wasn’t my job but hers to carry me and give birth to me. Though my heart bursts for her having had huge difficulty with it, I can now separate that her difficulty wasn’t my fault. The support she needed wasn’t from me but from nurses and doctors, her own mother and professionals. Yet I lived that birth script until recent times.
The impact of Healing Birth Healing Earth gives resolution, in the words of Seamus Heaney at his HomePlace museum in Bellaghy: “for things I remembered, quite often from way back, or things I see that remind me of something else. Sometimes the thing has an aura and an invitation and some kind of blocked significance around it” (Regan, 2014, 320).
Shirley Ward gave me a way into a domain where I was misled to believe I was an outsider. In parallel with what political presenter Olivia O’Leary said about Daniel O’Connell:
What draws me to Daniel O’Connell is that he lets me into the picture. I mean if you look at history and you look at mythology there were always male protagonists … So he allowed women to be part of what was going on … they came to his meetings. Suddenly by opening the door to popular politics he also opened the door to women.
Luckily, I live in Shirley Ward’s time. I can now resolve my perinatal issues. Especially in my life as a relational psychotherapist, this part of the origins of my life, of me, had an aura and an invitation and a kind of blocked significance around it. What once seemed to me to be beyond the understanding of men, is now supported in Healing Birth, Healing Earth.
I knew I had the habit of being tentative in believing in contact. I would cling to love as if I was the only one trying to connect. I couldn’t resolve a need from somewhere to push away as if love was toxic. Wind forward to my adult life’s difficulties: until recent times I was unable to resolve my terror in a near death situation and ‘the worry I put my family through’. My unresolved birthing trauma, and the responsibility for it that is etched in my mind, can trap me as hostage without forgiveness. But now, with Healing Birth Healing Earth, I chose otherwise, relief and freedom from guilt at last.
Frank Lake led the belief in his work, to “follow the intuition opened up to us by ‘deep sea’ fantasy journeys and recognise that life in the womb is a potent source of psychopathology” (Ward, 2019: 22). It compels the reader to trust Shirley’s healing intuition and insight as well as that of her forebears in the psychotherapeutic community to open our collective minds to PPN issues.
Shirley shines light on how the mystery of the origin of many life-scripts can be knowingly resolved at source by seeing the light shining through the cracks of medical science. Using case studies to illustrate, she illuminates the lifelong impact on our lives of our experiences in the womb, and voices a new contextualisation of the work of Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank and particularly her colleague Frank Lake.
I believe if we assimilate Healing Birth, Healing Earth into our collective soul the desire for further unnecessary destruction can be healed.
Jim FitzGibbon MIAHIP lives in Athlone. He is a Gestalt psychotherapist, graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Ireland, and a supervisor. An experienced trauma worker, he believes that when groups of two or more people convene with healing intention, that the group collective soul expands to heal trauma.
O’Leary, O. (2019, August 22). Daniel O’Connell Forgotten King of Ireland. [Television documentary]. RTE One.
Regan, S. (2014). “Things Remembered”: Objects of Memory in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney. Éire-Ireland: A Journal of Irish Studies 49 (3/4): 320-336.
Ward, S. (2019). Healing Birth, Healing Earth. Twin Flame Productions. 66