By Sawnda Chambers
Web Exclusive – December 23, 2008
He is the physical manifestation of my own toxicity. I am leaking poison, draining it straight into him. He is me. I am him. The cut umbilical cord severed our physical connection three months ago. An invisible attachment remains, grows and is strengthened. My body pours an abundance of milk at his demand, filling him to overflowing until content, we rest. Moving in silent ebbs and flows, a short time later we again join as mother and son. He is me. I am him.
An itchy spot spreads on his skin. First pink, then red. Angry. Hot. He scratches, digging at his skin unable to get relief. His cheeks look slapped. His tiny mouth pursed in a silent “oh.” Without complaint, he rubs his legs back and forth against each other, against the sheets, searching for an end to this persistent itchiness. Eczema. It covers him. It bleeds up to his eyes. Angry whorls fester and split. His skin is raw, cracked, oozing. First blood and then pus. I scale back the bath products and change the laundry soap. I rub soothing ointments, slather his skin with oils, and whisper softly to him.
His skin gets worse. I realize that my milk, his only source of nourishment, is a probable cause. I eliminate dairy, nuts, corn, soy, wheat, chocolate, citrus, tomatoes, sulphates, meat, sesame, additives, preservatives, until finally in desperation I have reduced my diet down to vegetable patties and water. And yet still his tiny body is covered in sores.
I start getting funny looks at the grocery store. After a few months, people want to know why I haven’t fixed it yet. The family doctor pushes cortisones, refers me to a dermatologist who blends a stronger batch. I refuse to use the harsh prescriptions on his delicate skin. “But the cause,” I whisper, “…the cause.” Although, after several months of this, no one is really listening to me anymore.
I bring him to see a naturopath and am surprised when she doesn’t ask to see his skin and wonder what she will suggest to remedy his pain.
At night I don’t sleep anymore, I confess to her. I rub his legs to quell the restlessness so he can get a break. These past few months have changed me, too. I am a hollow shell of what I used to be. My restricted diet forced my own body into detox and boils have begun to fester on my skin, too.
She suggests it’s my deodorant. Stop using hair dye. Get rid of your microwave. Exercise. Drink chrysanthemum tea. Eat more protein. She gently balances his energy and incredibly, he sleeps.
A few weeks later there are still no outward changes to his skin. Is it even possible for it to be worse? We see her again. I want to show her the cracks that stretch endlessly across his chest. But it’s me she looks at. It’s me she talks to. “Forgiveness,” she says. A mouthful in one word. A word that makes me itchy. Our energy still so fused she cannot tell if it is something he has brought with him to work on, or something I need to fix within myself. I forgot for a moment that he is an old soul and pause for a second to think of him entering my body:
“She doesn’t know I am coming, but here I am. I am light. I enter her body and decide to stay. I have chosen her. I love her smile enough to make it mine, too. I will like flowers and love music. In a few months, I will quietly enter her world. Be her son.”
Lost in silence, the truth begs to be told. A new baby grew in a body infected with past hurts. I was numb and couldn’t yet feel the life growing inside of me, oblivious to my pain, absorbing it. I was detached. Vibrationally stuck. And then, a surprise pregnancy. There was no joy. Was my decision the best one? I felt pain. My abdomen stretched. The infection spread, the IUD floated and the baby, somehow, the baby swam.
I blink and find myself still in her office. “Forgiveness,” she says again. Issues of the skin can almost always be attributed back to the need for forgiveness. Mentally, I calculate the list, the long list of everyone I am angry at. Mad enough it makes my blood boil. Boils. Angry enough that it feels hot and red, almost oozing out of me. I start to see the connection. I am ready.
Each day for a week I write one letter. A letter of forgiveness. I am learning to let go. I need forgiveness. Not from someone as I originally thought, but from within. I need to forgive me. And so I try.
His face clears first. Then, his torso and back. I start eating wheat again and hold my breath. His arms clear. As I nourish my spirit his hair starts to grow back. His face gets chubby. His skin a wonderful shade of brown. Soft and smooth. We are a work in progress, he and I. There are setbacks along the way. Change is never easy. But the rawness has healed. He is me. I am him.
Shawnda Chambers is a mother of four, who is in the process of completing her yoga teacher training course and writing her first book, Think Nothing of Me. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org