I’m Dawn. I run LittleBird Coaching. LittleBird provides transformative life coaching for anyone over 18 interested in redefining your life's goal and learning to live free of previous behavior habits. I work with NPEs, late discovery adoptees, and people who experience other forms of DNA surprise, people with medical PTSD, complex PTSD, or any other "trauma-based" issues. I use traditional life coaching techniques, trauma recovery techniques, and the tenets of stoic philosophy (Stoicism) to help clients move forward in ways that are meaningful for them.
I serve the greater South Florida area, including Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. I also work with clients online.
I am also a creative writer. I have a book out with a major press, and over 50 publications in nationally ranked literary journals. I have taught writing and literature at the college level and worked privately with advanced writer to help them reach their publication goals.
During most of my life, I suffered through hard-to-ignore chronic illness, including two autoimmune diseases, years of low blood pressure and POTS, mast cell issues, chronic body pain they called fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, hearing loss, facial paralysis, and personal trauma that I was unknowingly holding on to. All this culminated in an emergency heart surgery in 2015, where I had a near-death experience (NDE).
Like Bessel van der Kolk says, the body keeps the score.
You'd think someone who has an NDE would be instantly transformed to see the bright side of life, but it didn't work like that for me. Because I had woken up on the operating table during the middle of heart surgery, and it was a terrifying experience I developed an undiagnosed PDST that presented with behavior changes, such as anger, anxiety, rage, distrust, fear of other medical interactions, and depression. I "worked through the pain" but wasn't living a full life. I couldn't see my place in the world and I continued to struggle.
In 2017, I experienced a DNA surprise after routine 23andMe testing and discovered that I was an NPE -- a person who has a misattributed parent. I learned that the man who raised me wasn't my father, although I had been told he was. I didn't know who my biological father was and set out to discover him. I needed to know my medical history, but more than that, I needed to know where I came from and what my genetic heritage was. After intensive searching, I found my biological father. We developed a relationship, I gained medical history that I had never known, healed my lifelong genetic bewilderment, and got to know my biological father and his family. In 2018, he died, and a few months later, so did my dad who raised me.
My grief was staggering. I felt like the world had "done something to me," but I didn't want to stay in the state of victimhood, blaming others for my misfortunes, and holding onto grudges because things didn't go the way I wished they would have. I started therapy, and eventually trauma recovery coaching with a wonderful coach. I learned that early unspoken, unresolved trauma can cause brain changes and create profound physical and emotional health problems. See here for more information on how trauma affects long-term health. But I was not interested in defining myself as someone who was "traumatized." There was more to life than thinking about my own situation, but I was stuck in thought patterns I had to learn to release.
I also began studying Stoicism. Stoicism is a philosophy that has been practiced for centuries and has proven to be an effective way of redefining the purpose of difficult life experiences. It emphasizes the importance of taking control of one's thoughts and emotions, focusing on the present moment, and accepting things that are beyond our control. This approach can help individuals build resilience, inner strength, and emotional stability. It profoundly changed the way I saw myself, thought about my past difficulties in life, and most important, how I perceived my future. I was able to let go of the rage, the betrayal, and the sadness that had colored my world for so long.
My experiences led me to seek out professional coaching certification. I am now a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and I help a broad population of adults to understand their recovery process, reconnect with themselves, and use their strengths to build a life that aligns with their soul's purpose. To learn more about NPE experience click here.