Author Archives: Wendy

Questions & Answers about Early Trauma

Recently, a reader wrote me to express appreciation for my 2014 blog post “ReStory Notes: Some Powerful Questions & Answers” and to ask permission to post it on Facebook. In answering a resounding yes, I reread the post and realized how spot-on it was and how it might be helpful to someone struggling to understand him…

Saved by a Spider: Connection is Key

Spider with Suicide             A long-legged spider hung above where I, twenty-one, lay on an attic cot in the abandoned house I’d climbed into—   the place I swallowed all those pills but woke up—frightened, disappointed, baffled really.   Now what?   I touched the cool brick next to me,…

“Becoming a Trauma-conscious Society”

is slow, but we are moving in this direction. What do I mean by a trauma-conscious society? The phrase, coined by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk in his book The Body Keeps the Score, has to do with understanding that many individuals are suffering from trauma due to conditions and situations of all sorts and that punishment…

1987 Headline: Newborns Do Feel Pain (Duh!)

New York Times November 24, 1987 Infants’ Sense of Pain Is Recognized, Finally By PHILIP M. BOFFEY  WASHINGTON, Nov. 23— Newborns do feel pain. Parents don’t have to be told that, and many pediatricians don’t either. But the contrary belief – that the smallest babies are such primitive organisms that they are oblivious to pain…

Thank You, Amygdala, My Protector

To My Protector   Oh my beautiful shark, sleep now. Rest as I stroke you. Snooze. You have done your job all these years. You have struck decisively, warned me, kept me alive. Even in sleep, your fish-eye— naked, ruthless, wide open.   You have attacked more than needed, heard the ancient threats, real though…

The Attack of the Great White Shark: A Trauma Trigger Strikes

As I lay in the dark in bed recently trying to sleep, the fear of death paralyzed me. My stomach was tight, my mind raced with fears: Has pyloric stenosis finally gotten me after all these years?   The week before, I had been pulling oil, i.e. chewing coconut oil, an ancient prescription for reducing inflammation in the…

The Year of the Body

My body. In 2017, I’m EMDR-ing my body part by part.  I started with my belly and abdomen. Here is where I was cut in 1952 in order to save my life. Back then, my stomach–the organ itself– was actually sliced in order to relieve pressure so the passageway into the small intestine would open up,…

A Time of Triggers: Finding Freedom after Trauma

If you are like me, with a history of early trauma, then this is indeed a challenging time–at least for many of us living in America. When it became clear that Trump would win the election this past November, I regressed significantly. It was as if I curled up in a ball or dove into a…

To Be or Not Be …….. Grateful

As adult survivors of infant surgery without anesthesia, it’s difficult to be angry about what happened to us early on. We feel grateful for having been helped and saved, and we should. The surgeons, the nurses, the staff, our parents, and families leaned in and lent a hand. We survived because of them. What’s not…

10 Things to Remember about Preverbal Infant Trauma

Preverbal infant trauma is trauma that occurs before a baby knows language and uses words to communicate. In America before 1987, surgery and invasive medical procedures on infants were often done without anesthesia. Sexual assault and complications at birth are two other examples of infant trauma. There are many others, for example, abandonment and starvation….