The Rise of Skeleton Woman:  A Postpartum Unwinding (Skeleton Woman is an Inuit Story)

Let us follow an unexpected journey after a hard birth or an abusive experience.  

Or maybe the journey seemed easy and one still found themselves frozen, broken, or unable to move at the bottom of the sea. 

Overwhelmed. 

It may have been a tragedy, a disappointment or a struggle.  

It may have become comfortable to not struggle and sit in depression not finding help.  Maybe even being forgotten.  

Maybe even forgetting oneself. 

Until the fisherman came who was the part of ourselves just looking to feed oneself and then actually catches more than fish.

The nervous system is unique to everyone.  Our reactions and embodiment of experiences and how we process them will be different as well. 

Birth is of the ancient part of our brain where we let go of the intellect to birth.  

It is our sexual nature as well where the hormones and messages of feed and breed travel.

It is the place of what has been called the home of “transformation and devastation.”

And for healing, we can climb into these unconscious spaces.

We can sit with others and look around with objectivity and curiosity.

Witness this space.

The low tides the high tides.

Nothing more is needed.

We acknowledge the body.  

The fight, flight, freeze that has occurred.

It is still occurring.  The entire story at once is occurring when there is trauma and the freeze sets into the system.

When triggered, these events will seem present tense in the body. 

We are working with the ancient and unconscious.

Deep in the past and present and future. 

Talk story, body story, embodied story, emotional story, conscious, unconscious. 

Nanananana  na na na na na na na na 

She had been sitting there crumpled at the bottom of the inlet of the sea.

Na na na na na na na   na na 

Then suddenly caught on the fisherman’s hook,

dragged to his house as he ran,  

and now sitting in his home against the wall staring at him.  

And here he was 

Nananananana 

compassionately unwinding her body.  

a leg, a foot from under the rib

and arm from behind the back

na na na na na

The rise of Skeleton Woman seems like an accident.  Getting caught on a line of the unknowing fisherman who didn’t know that the waters were haunted.  He just wanted to be fed.  He wanted his fish.  He hoped for a big fish, and what he got was …… Skeleton Woman.

Staring up at her Skeleton hooked from his own pole.  He fled.  He rowed and rowed and jumped to shore.  He ran all the way home while holding his pole, unknowingly she was attached to its line, until he arrived inside his tent and jumped under the covers.  

Na na na na na na

She had been in the underworld for so. very. long.  Pushed by her father off of the cliff above for a reason that no one seems to have remembered.  Was it retribution for her being abused?  Was it a birth that left her feeling vulnerable or scarred?

But maybe, just maybe, she had dived deep into this underworld (or inner world) and was unable to return. How does one end up at the bottom of the great body of water and not surface for so long?  Her only company had been the sea life who had come to be with her and witness her.  Maybe she would receive a visit from a Shaman to brush out her hair and acknowledge her.  She had been lonely and thirsty accepting her fate at the bottom of the sea until the hook pulled her to the top.   

nanananana nananananana 

He had unwound her body.  Slowly.  Moving the bones as they were still connected throughout.  Taken the time.  Had the compassion.  That thing that he had dragged up from the bottom of the sea and had followed him home in his horror had now brought his attention and curiosity.  The fishing line was removed.  The fur blankets laid on top of Skeleton Woman.  And the man went to sleep.  

But Skeleton Woman lay there watching.  Watching the dream unfold.  Watching a small tear that had formed in the corner of the eye of the man.  A small tear becoming the water of life.  

She. was. so…. thirsty.  She dragged herself over to him reaching out her lips and she drank.  It had been so very long.  The tear quenched her.  She looked over to the sleeping man and she could hear his heart beating.  

Bubum bubum bubum bubum

Coming back from a difficult birth takes courage.  

Sometimes things can be swept under the rug but keep appearing or manifesting in different ways.

Maybe it is ignored until the next birth or

maybe it is affecting one’s relationships of their sex life

or desire to be intimate is painfully true but not with their body.

Pacing is individual. 

Honoring pacing is paramount.

Little things can be part of this return.

Talk story or therapy.

Birth story medicine.

Touch, acknowledgment of the tissues.

The fascia that is ready to be unwound through touch or ceremony.

The holding of the bones and acknowledgment of the work.

The numbness exposed and named.

Scar tissue remediation as if we need an excuse to touch those places of sacrifice.

Pacing is individual.

Pelvic work.

Perineal touch.

Labial exploration.

Release of the psoas. 

Maybe no touch at all by others.

Maybe it will be touched upon by the next baby.

Or by oneself.

Slow or fast.

Rewiring the brain with mindful sensation.

Witnessed.

Named.  

Reframed. 

Witnessed.

Named.

Reframed.

Sitting with compassion.

The unknowing that cannot be done.

The knowing the can not be unknown.

Empathy and compassion of the self takes pacing.  

Bum, bum bumbum bumbum bumbum.

Skeleton Woman reaches out to the man’s chest towards the heart.  She opens it up and pulls out that heart and she begins to beat the heart drum. 

Bumbum bumbum bumbum bumbum.  

She beats it. 

Bumbum bumbum bumbum bumbum.  

And begins to sing herself into being.  She sings her organs and blood vessels.

Bumbum bumbum bumbum bumbum.  

She sings “ skin,  skin, skin, skin.”

Bumbum bumbum bumbum bumbum.  

“breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts.”

Bumbum bumbum bumbum bumbum.  

“vulva, vulva, vulva, vulva.”

It is her time.  

Bumbum bumbum

The pacing is hers, be it 6 weeks or 10 or years.  She has been brought to the surface and no matter how horrified a part of her has unwound her and had compassion to give warmth.  Part of her that still fell asleep the heart was taken from the chest to beat and for her to sing her own body back to life. 

Bumbum bumbum

This is not an easy process.  

Bumbum bumbum

No matter the pacing.

Bumbum bumbum 

It too is a hero’s journey unfolding in bits and pieces or all at once. 

Bumbum bumbum

And when that time has come and the pieces are in place, Skeleton Woman returns that heart to the chest and climbs into the bed.  Entangles herself around the man where they find themselves one in the morning. 

Bumbum bumbum

Eventually, they marry and live next to the sea. They say that the fish that she spent time with under the sea continued to feed them both for the rest of their lives. 

Bumbum bumbum

 

An Inuit Story a living adaptation from Clarissa Pinkola Estes Women Who Runs with The Wolves.

#skeletonwomanrises #skeletonwoman #storytellingandhealing #birthworkersjourney #riseofsedna #storytellingbones

 

Resources:

Birth Story Medicine / Birth Story Listening: birthingfromwithin.com

https://www.sevengatesmedia.com/

Birthworks:  Jenny Blythe and Fiona Hallinan (trainings for birth workers as well)

Mercado, Bianca Temaquinquizi :  Postpartum Sealing and Binding

Traditional Midwifery and Healers from many regions

Maya abdominal massage

Estes, Clarissa,  Women Who Runs With the Wolves  (gratitude for introduction of the story)

Craniosacral Therapy  and fascia therapy unwinding the low and high tides through biodynamic witnessing

Postpartum Heath Alliance (look up your local chapter)

Physical Therapy (internal and external work for the postpartum period)

Johnson, Kimberly.  The Fourth Trimester

England, Pam Ancient Map for a Modern Birth

Vaginal Steams

Acupuncture

EMDR

Wolf, Naomi Vagina:  A Biography  

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