I'd heard it said that "It's never too late to have a happy childhood". But it wasn't until I was 52 that I found out that that was true.
One of the unexpected consequences of writing my story down for my first book "Thrive in Midlife", is that it opened up a portal to an immense pool of love and connection with the mother that I had never really managed to bond with when she was alive.
The backstory here is that I had learnt how to shut my feelings off when I was in the womb. I learnt this because that was what I needed to do to avoid being overwhelmed by the trauma involved in losing my twin in a case of Vanishing Twin Syndrome.
No matter how shut-off my feeling were though, I managed to have an incredibly cathartic experience in the process of writing about how different my opportunities for handling menopause in 2014 were compared to the options my mother had back in the 1980s. Back in her day, taking synthetic hormones was the norm, and whether they were behind her death from breast cancer in 2002 or not, I found myself writing that I was grateful to the drug called Tamoxifen for giving her a few extra years, because that gave my daughter the opportunity to spend a year with her grandmother, and it made my mother's last year much happier than it would otherwise have been. I hadn't seen it coming, but even now I can feel the well of love and healing that was opened up for me when I wrote those words.
Whenever I tell people about this, I joke that if I hadn't done any of the woo woo stuff that I did in an attempt to heal myself after I found out about the vanishing twin situation at the age of 45, I would have probably dialed 000 because I would have sworn that I was having a heart attack. That's how powerful the heart opening experience was. It not only bonded me with my mother who had died 12 years earlier, but it also completely bonded me with my daughter who was short-changed when she came into the world because my heart was essentially broken before I was even born.
If you're interested in experiencing the healing power of writing yourself, I'd like to invite you to write out the most shameful thing you have ever done. That toxic secret that you are holding in the pit of your stomach that you would die if anyone ever found out about it. Write it out in as much detail as you can, and make sure that you include the feelings that are wrapped around this shameful secret. When you've finished, imagine that your child or your best friend told you that about themselves. Then write out what you would say to them in reply, but address it to yourself.
Words by Jane Turner