personal story

Consolation for a Broken Family

"I had to kiss them goodbye. I had never been away from them more than two nights. And now I would have to leave them for five days. Not once, but over and over again.

‘Mommy, I want to stay with you!” 

My 3-year old daughter was wrapping her arms around my neck. My 6-year old daughter already took her father’s hand, ready to walk away, like she was heading towards a new adventure. She didn’t know what was waiting for her. A broken family. Swapping homes for the rest of her childhood. Missing mom, or missing dad.  

There’s a time for letting go. You can’t hold on to your children forever. Having to let them go at 3 and 6 years old is just cruel. 

As I was dying inside, I looked up towards the stars, as if they could give me the power to survive this agonizing moment. My eyes rested on the Full Moon. 

I took a deep breath, and as I went down on my knees and whispered to my sweet little loves with as much courage as I could gather: 

“Do you see Her, the Moon? Did you know She’s always there, always have been, and always will be? Remember that when you miss me, you can always search for the Moon. Wherever you are, and wherever I am, I promise you that when you look for the Moon, I will be looking for Her too. When you see Her, you will know that we will always be together.”

My sweet baby girl smiled, I snuggled her one last time before handing her over to her loving daddy. My oldest daughter threw me a hand kiss and swirled away into her new future.

I watched them as they drove off. I don’t remember how long they were gone before I could breathe again. Then, I looked up at the Moon, and I could feel Her cool white light on my wet cheeks. That moment, it was me who needed to remember Her presence most."


This is my contribution to the May Magick project, hosted by Alauna Whelan, published May 29th 2018, titled 'The Moon'. It was written straight from my heart and a true story.

The 12 Sacred Nights of Yule (midwinter)

On the 21st December, I will be celebrating my 39th Sun Return, also known as my birthday! I'm honoured to be born on this day, the Winter Solstice, or Midwinter. Although my birthday was often shaded by the busyness of Christmas, I was fascinated by the date *21-12* and the fact that the night was so long and the day so short. It felt like a special day to me for different reasons... 

Having lived with the Wheel of the Year for the last 10 years I realised more and more what this day is really about. It is truly the darkest day of the year and it is comparable to the New Moon Phase, when the moon is not visible. During the Yuletide (December 20th - December 31st) we are invited to retract, contemplate and explore our inner worlds. 

Nowadays, the period after Midwinter is a time of celebration and gathering, but historically they were a sacred time of silence, reverence, closure and looking forward to the new year. For the people in ancient times, it was the most difficult time of the year, cold, dark, without knowing whether the light would return. Their faith was challenged and to hold the vision of the light of the Sun, candles and fires were lit (a.k.a. Christmas lights!). 

Some of you may be familiar with the 12 Nights of Christmas. Originally, these 12 Sacred Nights were not associated with Christmas but with midwinter, or Yule (that's where Yuletide comes from). 

These 12 Sacred Nights are known for the insights, dreams and visions about the coming year, when we are aware and open to the messages. A lot of these messages come to us through our dreams, where the unconscious mind is thriving. 

Last year, I wrote down the dreams I had on each of these 12 consecutive nights. Each of the 12 nights corresponds to a month of the coming year. I read them back recently, and it’s almost eerie to see that my unconscious mind was already knowing what was going to happen, sometimes in great detail, sometimes through a general theme. It was a year of many changes that I couldn’t have predicted with my conscious rational mind, like quitting my job, finding my purpose, creating a new business, completing a yoga teacher training program, meeting new friends from all over the globe.... 

Looking back, it was in my Yuletide dreams already... 

As a birthday gift to you, I created a workbook, to share with you this powerful tool for accessing your inner knowledge during the 12 Sacred Nights of Yule

You can download the workbook by subscribing here.

I hope it will give you direction and clarity for the new year to come, and that it will help you find more space for yourself, peace and quiet during the frantic days around Christmas.

Blessed Yule! 

Willemijn

Letter to my colleagues

Dear fellow doctors,

This letter is directed to two of you. We share the same educational background, we are all trained to be Medical Doctors. I met you last year during a difficult phase in my life where I encountered acute physical problems. This was not the first time for me, however, these particular encounters were part of a traumatic experience that changed my life. I should have written complaints to you individually 9 months ago. Unfortunately I was in such a bad shape that I couldn't force myself to do it back then. I was recovering from emergency surgery, could barely sit or breathe and I was suffering from arrhythmia attacks. So, consider yourself lucky that it took me too long to recover to file a formal complaint and that my story only makes it to be a letter on my blog today. And that I'm somehow grateful that you were part of my final eye-opener.

September 2016 - I came to the emergency GP office in the evening hours. I was suffering from severe abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant for 2 days and my regular GP was very worried. He did some lab work and we were waiting for the results to come in the next morning. He told me 'not too wait and go see the out of office GP during the evening or night whenever the pain got worse'. He also told me that however the next day was his day off, he would come in and see me. Doctors don't tell you that often. 

The pain got worse, I was keeling over at the couch. We left the children sleeping in their beds to go see the GP at 10 pm. You don't do that easily as a mother. The neighbour agreed to sit downstairs to keep an eye. 

The GP didn't listen. I told him it was something related to my ovary or uterus, that it reminded me of labour pains. He said that couldn't be true. He poked around in my abdomen and told me 'now it hurts everywhere, doesn't it?'. I wouldn't call it a decent physical exam. He refused to do an internal examination 'because I wasn't having so much pain'. He refused to look up the lab results. He told me I was having irritable bowel complaints. I have been suffering from digestive issues since I was a child, so I know what bowel pain is. This was different. He didn't care. I told him I was a doctor myself and that I thought it was something else. He seemed offended and asked me patronisingly 'what severe and very rare cause I was thinking about then'. And he laughed at me when I suggested a few not so unlikely things. And then he discharged me. 

The next day I was admitted to the hospital with a twisted and dying right ovary. I had to have emergency surgery right away. Fortunately they could save my ovary. This might not have been the case if I had decided to skip my morning appointment with my regular GP because the GP of the night before had installed a deep feeling in me of 'overreacting'. The only reason I went to the appointment was because my regular GP had told me to come and see me on his day off. I didn't want him to come for nothing.

In the hospital I told 9 people I didn't want morphine or other opioids after surgery because my body wouldn't take that very well. I told 3 ward nurses, 2 gynaecologists, 3 anaesthetic nurses and the anaesthesiologist herself. She told me just before I went to sleep 'we will see'. I woke up totally sedated and later found out I was given opioids anyway. I suffered from severe tachycardia from the side effects through the night - my heart ran the marathon while I was laying in bed unable to move. It tore my body to shreds and was the last push over the edge.

I didn't recover for months. I couldn't walk. I couldn't sit. I couldn't breathe. I was suffering from arrhythmia attacks - my heart rate would be over 160 bpm for hours. I was diagnosed with severe physical exhaustion, burnout and supra ventricular tachycardia. I couldn't sleep or eat. My BMI dropped to below 20. I was having panic attacks 24/7. I couldn't take care of my kids. I couldn't work, and that was the least of my problems. 

Why this letter? I sought medical help because I expected to be helped. To receive healing. To ask for support. But you, my colleagues, medical doctors, although you think you did, you didn't heal, help or support me.

You misdiagnosed and mistreated me. You harmed me. You made me sicker. You abused me. You made fun of me, you laughed at my pain. You dismissed my suggestions, my knowledge about my own body, my medical knowledge even. You almost let a critical organ die. You gave me medication against my permission that almost killed me. 

You killed my faith in the medical profession. 

So, tell me, how could a patient trust you? How should they put their life in your hands? They don't know about hospitals, or procedures. They have no clue. How do you treat the voiceless, the weak? 

Do you rely on your authority only? Forcing them in the name of medicine and science? Neglecting what they tell you about their symptoms, their bodies? The body THEY know best, because they have lived inside of it for their whole lives? 

Why did you go into medicine? To be an authoritarian figure in a sick patriarchal healthcare system? Or do you want to be a good doctor, a healer, a compassionate co-creator of health? 

Only you know your motives. But I would strongly suggest that you read this letter if you want to be a good doctor. Listen to your patients, take them seriously and put your ego away before you harm others too. 

For me, this episode let to a profound belief that the medical system should change. Their is no way back. We need compassionate healthcare. We need true healers who work with patients instead of harming them. I am now determined to help people find health and happiness through their own power. And I sincerely hope, that when they need acute intervention, you will be there to help them heal too.

Yours sincerely, 

Willemijn Maas, MD