‘I had one session with Gulara and I wrote a play.’ – Rebecca.
Last night I had a privilege of watching the final rehearsal of that play. I laughed, I cried (mostly at home afterwards because for once I had mascara on), I felt validated as a woman and a mother.
At long last, someone can see and hear my pain. It’s not trivialised. It’s not self-indulgent. It’s real.
It’s not buried deep inside in case the authorities decide I’m not fit to care for my child and take him away. I wasn’t crazy to feel the way I felt – it was hard, and I was suffering. And apparently, I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.
It’s dark, and it’s a lot of fun too, with songs which will make you jig and sing along and with a message so powerful it will take your breath away.
It’s the story of my post-natal depression.
It’s a story of so many women (and some men) who put a brave face on while doing by far the most important and demanding job on the planet.
It’s about fear, doubts and overwhelm, that nagging feeling that you are not good enough to mother this amazing being that landed in your arms and you are fully responsible for.
It’s about the loss of your identity as a woman because suddenly you don’t have a name anymore, you are someone’s mummy and people see you only through the prism of your child.
It’s about ‘mother’s little helper’, a small pill that’s supposed to make the pain go away and fix your life. Failing that, there’s a whole range of other options. Right, about that… I don’t actually have words for that section of the play, it’s so hilarious, you have to see it for yourself.
It’s about finding your voice and reclaiming yourself as a person.
For Rebecca, it’s a life mission now to raise awareness about mental health issues and to take the show on the road. If you live in Birmingham, go watch it. It’s in the Kitchen Garden café (in Kings Heath) on 6 June (you can buy tickets here). I promise it will move and entertain you in equal measure.
And this brings me neatly to my big ‘WHY’. My big mission in life is to help people feel heard.
- I do it in my academic work, by advocating for the rights of marginalised people, like minorities and refugees.
- I do it in my own book, by giving voice to women in Azerbaijan who may never be heard otherwise.
- I do it in my healing work, by holding a space for people to heal their fears, find their voice and have courage to express it in the world.
It felt so amazing to see what Rebecca created after our session. When she came to me, she had an idea, but the songs didn’t want to come. We cleared the blocks, and one by one songs came to her, normally around 3am.
For me, there’s nothing more satisfying in life than knowing that I played a role in this process, to see another person’s full expression in the world, and to realise the snow-ball effect it has on others, because by watching that play last night, I felt heard, and I’m sure many other women will feel that way too.
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