"Because this is how I feel inside!" ~Ily"
What I am sharing with you today is deeper than any other "My Story" that I have ever written for professional purposes. I have kept my personal story private for quite some time and feel that in order to truly be authentic, I must tell you the story of what impacted and inspired me to be where I am today. This is how Authentic Family Wellness was birthed and what rests deep within its roots. I hope my story inspires you to freely share yours with others. I believe this is how we can better connect with the people around us and change the world.
I am a mother of 3 amazing boys that guided me on this path. They teach me so much each day and remind me every second of how precious childhood is. I myself grew up with a strained mother-daughter relationship and was a rather hyperactive little lady who couldn't keep my hands to myself.
Being labeled in grade school as one who "needs improvement" in such areas, now touches people for a living and helps restore the absence of positive and safe physical contact in our culture today. Most of my childhood experience was being the girl who was strange, talks too much, is too emotional and way too head strong. I recall a time when I was a young adult and ran into my elementary school psychologist who once told my parents, "She is too much like a little boy, hyper and impulsive and needs to calm down and act like a lady." My parents fought for me for 2 years as this psychologist insisted I be put on medications for ADD. I was great in school, earned high grades and was an eager helper. With a professional second opinion outside of the school, the recommendation for medication was rebutted. I was diagnosed with mild ADD/ADHD with a hyperkinetic temperament and treatment was to be involved in group activities as well as extracurricular activities, to use positive reinforcement discipline techniques and my parents where told that my impulsivity will be managed with consistent routines that will one day benefit my future as I am "quick on my feet."
Did You Know?
"Since the prefix hyper- means "above, beyond", hyperkinetic describes motion beyond the usual. The word is usually applied to children, and often describes the condition of almost uncontrollable activity or muscular movements called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder *(ADHD). Kids with ADHD are usually not just hyperkinetic but also inattentive, forgetful, and flighty. Though they're often treated with drugs, many experts believe there are better ways of dealing with the problem." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyperkinetic
Sadly, for almost 2 years before this second opinion, I was kept inside a recourse center during recesses and lunch while teachers and staff where educated by this school psychologist that I be isolated from group activities because this would help me. So I sat alone playing at tables and children where informed to "keep away to help me succeed." Vastly different advice than later prescribed.
One day when I was only 19 years old, my former elementary school psychologist passed by me in the hallways of a grade school that I worked at. I was also attending child behavioral psychology courses and my goal was to be there for children who were experiencing similar struggles that I had had, and help parents realize their child's strengths and not just what doesn't make them a gender appropriate cookie cutter academic. When she saw me she didn't recognize me and when I finally approached her to give her a warm hello and reintroduce myself and told her what I had been doing with my adult life, the first statement out of her mouth was, "ILY, I never would have thought." It's amazing to me how someone like her was ever in a position that was supposed to empower and help children grow.
This was my first fire, my flame that burned and showed me a way to go into the world and make a difference. I was supposed to help children, protect them and guide them as best as I could with what I had learned in my own experiences. This is why I love kids and worked with kids for 8 years in the Cajon Valley Union School District.
The second flame that inspired my path was the most amazing experience I can remember as a child. I was almost 10 years old and got to witness my mother give birth. I didn't understand what was happening in the birth room as I watched my mother silently grunt and look miserable, but I knew my brother was being born. I watched everything! Unfortunately this also meant that I watched as my mother didn't have a voice and decisions were made for her rather than in advocacy for her. She was a silent "birther", in a fog of hormones and meditation. It was pure cat like and amazing. Yet I remember her quietly ask and state her wishes and not be acknowledged by her nurses and doctor. I was so excited to meet my brother but remember feeling my mother's helplessness in what should have been her most protected moment. I wanted to do something to help but couldn't. After my brother was born I was the happiest big sister in whole world. I forever wanted to be his protector and one day be a mother of boys myself... I didn't know that all 3 of my children would be boys though! And wild ones at that!
Alongside this flame stands a third. As a child my grandfather whom I was very close to, became ill with chronic fatigue after a horrible car accident. He spent years in pain an opted for spinal surgery and unfortunately his surgeon hit a nerve. This sent my grandfather into many more years of chronic pain that couldn't be relieved. He was inevitably prescribed high amounts of pain killers and became addicted to morphine. The addiction created anger and aggression so he was then prescribed antidepressants that later affected him so negatively that he developed a drug induced bi-polar disorder. At one point while my grandfather was suffering, we had to evacuate our home as he threatened to come to our house and hurt us. I was 11 years old and followed my dad while I carried my 1 year old baby brother to our neighbors house. I can remember the fear, and the statement I made while we hurried next door. "I thought we had a normal family?" I can still hear my father say, "I thought we did too." For 13+ years after my grandfathers car accident he was in pain and for 4 of those years experienced extreme emotional suffering. He ended his life when I was 13 years old and after that event our entire family was never the same. This experience helped me see the love in all people at such a young age. At first I was angry with the world. Once that anger was explored trough mediation and art, I found a feeling of connection with all things. I became a musician, started making music, a writer and a poet by the age of 14. It was my therapy,
I married my high school sweetheart very young and after 3 years of marriage we had our first little boy. The experience was phenomenal! I successfully planned and experienced a home birth and started my obsession with safe products for our home and organic foods. I became interested in all things pregnancy and birth related and found myself contemplating a change in my career path. I researched how we can help children before they are born by helping their mothers with the proper emotional and physical self care.
Only a year after having our son, our lives took a unsuspecting turn. This was the catalyst that directed me to where I am today. My sister-in-law at the time became pregnant and I was so excited. I loved being there to hear about her pregnancy and help with any mom to mom questions she would have. When she was 6 months pregnant, I received a phone call from my father-in-law telling me that she had been admitted to the hospital and that they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. I immediately headed to the hospital. The next few days after were long and heavy and the experience is one that will reside in my heart and mind for the rest of my life. I tend to handle difficult experiences by finding something I can do to help. Being as I was helpless in this particular situation, during the down time before my sister-in-law would birth her angel baby, I researched pregnancy support therapies. I thought that I could try and find something that could help prevent such tragedy. This is when I found Mueller College of Holistic Studies and Prenatal Massage called to me. In grief I believed I could help relax expecting mothers and prevent them from losing their babies, I understand now that something like that is not in our hands. What I can provide is love, nurture, emotional support and mother centered care that can help relax mothers throughout pregnancy thus helping assist in healthy development of their little unborn babes, as well as help mothers and their physical and emotional states. After this heartbreaking event, I started training to become a Holistic Health Practitioner in Integrated Bodywork that same year.
My home life also changed as as my husband and I agreed positively and peacefully to separate. In my time at Mueller College I unexpectedly met my life partner and life moved very fast but in the thick of it it felt like a lifetime. It was one of the hardest experiences having a little one while going through the challenges of divorce. It was sad and scary, necessary and inevitable. We both handled the separation the way any child deserves and because of that I am so blessed. I was also lucky to have him as the father of our son and that he is a caring and good person. Not everyone can say that about their former partner. I was also fortunate to have had my husband today, be there by my side during such a hard time, He was my respectful and caring friend who kept his distance from a relationship till the timing was right and I don't think that kind of character is easy to find either. After all was said and done, my former husband met his soul mate and we both re married and grew our families. It was truly a divinely guided experience.
After marrying the love of my life the journey of my soul's purpose was made clear, and the hardest trials would come. I became a birth doula and pregnant with my second son. I didn't realize how I was psychologically impacted by the experience with my former sister-in-law. Now in my second pregnancy after my heart experienced such sadness, this pregnancy was the hardest and I found it extremely difficult to connect to my baby. I was afraid I would lose him. During the first few weeks of pregnancy I had believed I had had a misscarriage. My ultrasound a week before wasn't clear if I had one or two babies and I was told we would know at the next visit. I cramped, lost blood and held what looked very much like the beginning of life in my hand. I was devastated and cried uncontrollably. I scheduled a sooner visit and when seen the doctor confirmed that my baby was there and that there was only one. I was relieved but still grieving even though the facts where unclear if I had lost a twin. Fraternal twins run on both sides of my family. I went through the pregnancy with fear sitting in my heart and I didn't even recognize the signs that I was beginning to suffer from post traumatic stress and develop anxiety. 6 months after I birthed my second son it was apparent that something wasn't in balance. and finally after 9 months postpartum I reached out for help. After losing my hair and nails, having night terrors and feeling disconnected most of the time, it was about time. This is also when I found the amazing benefits of essential oils. I started using them to help assist in my healing alongside other therapies, acupuncture and massage. It's when I realized how powerful essential oils are and I have been using them, sharing them and teaching about them ever since.
A year and a half later I was back in a place where I felt like myself. My heart called for another pregnancy and I had dreams about it frequently. I was ready to make things right and wanted to birth myself back even more. Even though we were hoping for a girl, we became happily and ecstatically pregnant once again, with my third son. The pregnancy and birth was amazing emotionally yet it took a toll on my body, Umbilical hernia, pubic symphasis disfunction, a 9lb 2oz bundle of love and then pneumonia immediately after labor to name a few challenges. But I was in love again, I was back and loving being a new mommy, soaking it all up and making up for what I felt I lost with my second. The love spread to each one of my boys and I was me again. This inspired my family to move across the country from California to New Jersey where my my husband grew up, bring our wellness services and story to our new town, and help families.
Now this story will get very raw. Details will be withheld in respect of the family who suffer from this same loss. But the details I will remember fully for the rest of my life. My fourth flame... the heart wrenching unveiling that lead to a mental health breakdown, breakthrough and evolution. My soul sister, my best and closest friend that was on her own mental health and spiritual discovery took her life suddenly only a few months after visiting our family. Such news brought me to my knees with screams of anger and heartbreak. Hours leading up to her whereabouts I spent pacing and in extreme fight mode trying to do what I could to help find her from all the way across the country. Another friend had told me the news and I can still hear her crying like an echo burned into my ears. My beautiful friend just days before leaving this earth left me with a text messaged meme from the secret life of bees. "You is kind, you is special. You is important." I had no idea that would be the last message I'd ever receive from her. Well, the last earthly message. She has sent me many signs from the other side that I am extremely grateful for.
Since then I have been managing these key events in my life and it can still be a challenge from day to day but It fuels my passion and the warrior/healer inside of me. If there could be such a role! I deeply feel my strengths are from my weaknesses and my ability to keep moving forward and desire to help others is what I was put here for. I love doing what I do and hope to inspire and help others. This ride is definitely growing my spirit and bringing me to places I never thought I'd be. I am grateful for the experiences of my past and for your interest in learning more about me today. This is the how and why of Authentic Family Wellness!
Love & Gratitude!
Ily Sue Scelia