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Untold Stories With Kayya

It took me a while to release the blockages which were holding me back from writing these pieces. When faced with the task of channelling an experience such as giving birth for the first time I felt overwhelmed at the thought of bringing together all the elements of my experience to conjure up a creative, coherent piece. My thoughts and feelings felt far too disorganised to be able to channel them into anything, and eventually I realised I’d not fully processed my birth/rebirth. It took around 5 months from the initial planting of the seed idea to get myself into a headspace to write. I organised my thoughts into 3 sections: culture (Wounded Mothers), experience (The Portal), and healing (video imagery).
The difficulty I experienced came from the feeling that what I shared had to be ‘positive’. I was trying to explore the joyful aspect of my experience, pushing myself to use that part as my inspiration to create (possibly as a result of the internalised toxic positivity that is commonly projected onto mothers throughout pregnancy and early motherhood).
Being a parent has brought me so much joy and healing, despite the challenges of unexpectedly doing it solo and mostly unsupported. The joy of pregnancy, birth and the post-partum period, for me, was overshadowed by my experience of the effects of generational trauma and systemic oppression as a whole.
‘Wounded Mothers’ speaks to my journey of increasing awareness of the mother wound and actively seeking to heal it to break the cycle of parent/child emotional neglect. It was extremely healing to write and is extremely uncomfortable to share, however I strongly believe in the necessity of bringing light to this topic to spark awareness and discussions in those who engage with it.
I chose this topic to speak of current birth cultures because I believe the link between the mother wound, colonialism and capitalism, to be the root of most suffering; in this case specifically relating it to the disconnection to our ancestral practices related to conception, pregnancy and birth. The lack of awareness of this prevalent concept is a global issue, due to our conditioning to dismiss any criticisms we may feel toward our mothers because ‘without her we wouldn’t be here’, as well as the common tendency to spiritually bypass race-related trauma. This is especially the case when we have been provided for materially and shown a basic level of care growing up. In many cases any attempt to speak to any lack or mistreatment we experienced is shut down by others, if not by ourselves, and we are labelled ‘ungrateful’ or ‘disrespectful’, and/or feel guilt toward even having those thoughts or feelings in the first place.
Previous generations did not have the tools or encouragement to pay attention to their emotions, let alone have a conversation about them as they were busy working hard to survive, and, for the most part, were taught the art of suppression by their parents. This attitude is passed on through generations resulting in normalised self suppression which inevitably leads to emotional dysregulation and often physical manifestations in the form of illnesses, stress and stress related symptoms such as high blood pressure, insomnia, eating disorders, cancers, the list can go on…
As a mixed race person raised by my white, single mother in a predominantly white area, completely disconnected from my African roots, I felt a huge lack of cultural influence during my pregnancy. My mother worked extremely hard to provide for us with little to no support, and she did a very good job, in the material sense and in the affection we were shown in early childhood. Unfortunately, largely down to mental conditioning, unresolved trauma, and the pressure to work, it took and continues to take any and all capacity to educate us on our roots and culture (both celtic and African/Caribbean), and provide the emotional support, nurturing and guidance we need/needed. This is the case for many people across the diaspora. A lack of awareness of our roots and a dynamic in which we are unable to fully express ourselves lays an unstable foundation to build upon, affecting our communication skills, ability to create strong and healthy bonds with people, decision making, self confidence, trust, ability to give and receive love… Again, the list can go on and on.
A few months prior to conception I embarked on the journey to learn about my natural cycle, my African roots, and ancestral healing and holistic health practices such as herbalism, steaming, entheogens, dance and other forms of movement, and nutrition, and was implementing practices to integrate the knowledge and teachings into my lifestyle. I found when I got pregnant that the information on applying these practices during pregnancy, postpartum and whilst breastfeeding, was very hard to come by. Internet searches say to stay away from it all as pregnant/breastfeeding mothers aren’t tested on during research. It felt natural to continue my practice, engaging in movement practices and consumption intuitively, as well based on the little information I could find.
I was beginning to use herbs and steaming as a natural contraceptive around the time I became pregnant. At that stage I didn’t know about how much our cycle can actually vary, or what signs to look out for to gain a more accurate idea of what stage of our cycle we are in. It is my belief that this knowledge should be held in highest importance by parents when raising children, particularly by mothers raising daughters/people with a womb. In an ideal world it would be taught within the education system, too. This, alongside our cyclical nature as humans and how this aligns with natural earthly cycles, knowledge of specific non-medical/clinical conception, birthing and contraception practices used traditionally needs substantially more awareness brought to them.
As a people, we need to re-learn the art of communal living and loving, so we can empower each other and ourselves to birth humans they way nature intended, and that we have the innate ability to do so; so we can trust that we have the support systems in place outside the immediate and modern-day nuclear family structure so that we don’t find ourselves, each other, and our children, trapped in toxic environments; and so that we can de-condition our minds from the capitalistic grind culture that we have been indoctrinated into,which leaves us little to no room for healthy, unconditional love for self and one another.

Born in the UK

Mixed Heritage - White British and West African by way of Guyana.