Articles/Trauma Sensitivity/The Legacy We Leave

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Linda-maree Conyard

I’m not sure if people understand the potential of the impact occurring for our young people, our children, and generations to come from this experience over the last couple of years with the pandemic.

I would like to share my thoughts on the potential transgenerational impact in this article.

The first thing to understand is that we’re also experiencing the trauma of this experience as adults. Globally a threat was announced, and we were often confronted with fear and uncertainty. The announcement contained the threat of a deadly virus that was spreading throughout the world.

It is challenging to see the long-term impact of something that we are right in the middle of surviving. And, what I’m very aware of is the potential we have for healing at this very moment in time, which has the capability of avoiding transgenerational issues.

Let’s think about it - We are currently creating the burden the next generations will carry unless we do the healing work necessary to prevent that from happening. This is on an individual level as well as on a collective level.

If you consider what we’ve experienced, it has many of the kind of experiences we see in war, such as;

  • ​limitations on freedom of movement, i.e., lockdowns;
  • food and essential items decreased stock, i.e., fear of not having enough food to feed the family;
  • panic buying, i.e., fear of not having enough to last indefinitely;
  • fear in the population, i.e., not knowing what to do or how to protect ourselves and our family;
  • the freedom fighters movement, i.e., the challenge to the standard narrative;
  • society being split and fighting each other, i.e., fear drives separation within society;
  • family breakdowns, i.e., fear drives conflict within families; and
  • mental health conditions, i.e., trauma, is not addressed.

We had a war against a virus!

Have you considered that there have been experiences of war in our own family lineages?

Have you considered that those ancestors had unresolved trauma from their experiences?

Have you considered those unresolved traumatic experiences show up in future generations as symptoms of unresolved transgenerational trauma?

There is always a massive cost to war, and I posit that we are creating the cost of this war and repeating what was unresolved from wars in previous generations. We did this in a massive collective manner because it was a global experience.

Some of the ways unresolved transgenerational trauma impact us can be seen in our societal issues; domestic & family violence, homelessness, toxic workplaces, racism, and inequality, to name just a few.

​Recent studies show us the impact is already in front of our faces.

One study explored differences between children born pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. Children born during the pandemic had significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance. It states that even in the absence of the illness, the environmental changes associated with the pandemic are significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development. You can read more here.

Babies are affected in utero by their mother’s experiences. If the mother is happy and content, then this is what the developing fetus experiences chemically through its developing cells. If the mother is experiencing fear and uncertainty, then this is what the baby experiences chemically within the womb. With the restrictions of lockdowns and social gatherings, including connecting with family and friends and other mothers, the everyday environment for pregnancy changed. Fear and uncertainty became a big part of this experience.

The reduction in the above-mentioned developmental benchmarks makes sense from a trauma perspective. Fear in the body creates a charged nervous system that flows through the developing baby’s nervous system. Therefore this child only knows a heightened state in their nervous system.

What we do next is what matters most!

I believe any time that unresolved trauma is handed down from generations before, it is because they didn’t have what they needed to resolve the trauma at that point in time.

“Trauma happens in disconnection, and healing happens in connection.” —Linda Conyard

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Trauma is being mentioned more often, and/or people are starting to have a little more understanding. We still have difficulty when we are not able to recognise the symptoms of trauma. 

Let trauma be the catalyst for healing is a bit of an oxymoron; however, there is so much potential for growth if we can see trauma in a different light.

“We can’t always do something about what happens to us and around us. We can always work on how we are in, and how we react to, whatever happens to us and around us.” —Linda Conyard

In the Still Face Experiment conducted by Dr. Edward Tronick, you can see how a small child is impacted quite quickly from the lack of contact from the mother.

The purpose of sharing this is not to have mothers everywhere go into guilt and shame. The aim is to show the impact of repairing and regrouping to create a more secure attachment (no matter what the age of the child). It shows that the child builds resilience when they can experience disconnection or trauma and then reconnection and healing.

By taking time to work through your trauma, you will change the legacy you leave future generations. By working with unresolved family (systemic) trauma, you will impact the burden that has been carried by generations.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this article.

Please reach out if you are interested in how you might be able to transform trauma in your life.

May you be well, may you be happy, and may you have inner peace.

Linda ♡

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