Why Birth Leaves Such a Powerful Imprint
Excerpt from Flow: An Illuminated Training Manual.
1. Birth is a primary foundational experience. How you were born sets the template for how you will live your life.
2. Birth Crystallizes karma. How we are born provides important information about our destiny. When we know our karma, we can begin to renegotiate with and change it.
3. How we are born effects how we will die. Clearing birth patterns will allow us to live and die however we choose.
4. Working with birth promotes spiritual transformation. Conception and birth are the primary interfaces for psychology and spirituality.
5. How we are born can effect the process of how we will give birth. We can recapitulate our birth pattern while giving birth.
6. Birth is intimately connected to sexual and physical abuse (there are many similarities about boundaries and types of violation).
7. Birth is usually experienced within the context of prenatal experiences. Sometimes the birth is not traumatic per say, but is experienced as such because of prenatal trauma.
8. Birth organizes all major life transitions. As our first pivotal transition, it can effect how we behave in all other transitions that follow.
Potentially Traumatizing Events:
o Unwanted Pregnancy
o Conception by force, manipulation, or rape
o Conception under the influence of drugs or alcohol
o Plans of or thoughts of abortion or adoption
o Chemical or Emotional Toxicity
o Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of mothers and fathers during pregnancy or birth
o Pre- or parinatal twin loss (1995 research by Keith indicates that up to 70% of pregnancies begin with multiple conceptions but end in singleton births, meaning that twin deaths occur sometime during gestation, usually early on)
o Accident, injury, illness, or surgery to prenates, babies, or parents
o Financial Stress
o Reluctant parenthood (financially or emotionally unprepared)
o Divorce of Separation
o Near Death Experience of Parent or Baby
o Obstetrical Medication and Intervention
o Birth complications
o Prematurity (and the medical procedures it entails)
Adapted from the teachings of William Emerson, Ph.D. and Patricia Cramer.
An Immaculate Concept - My Birth
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During my own birth work, I have been fortunate to have made a few connections that shook my hologram.
During my life I have repeatedly attracted hard impacts to my right temple. I have suffered a few concussions in this way, and various less serious incidents. I realized during a birth re-enactment that when the water broke, the right side of my head must have come hurtling down into my mother’s pelvis. This trauma kept re-iterating itself over and over because it was such a fundamental pattern.
As soon as I noticed it, I stopped “accidently” knocking my right temple against unforgiving surfaces.
In addition, the part of us that touches our mother’s pelvis during the birth process can become “like” the mother. Our cells become like hers in order to avoid the pain. This is one of the earliest strategies available to us, in a watery world where we are forced to endure what comes. We merge with the source of the pain.
This can manifest in fascinating ways, even connecting the behavioral traits of our mother to the body parts that contacted bone on bone. For instance, at certain points in her life, my mother had adopted a victim story. My way of connecting with her was through that story. Lying in the hospital bed with a concussion was me playing the victim card. Once I cleared the pattern, I was free to connect with her in healthier and more empowering ways.
When I was born, a cousin of mine, Nicolas, was born at approximately the same time in the same hospital. While my birth was relatively free of complications, my cousin was not so fortunate. He was born with a series of birth conditions that required a host of surgeries. He was born teetering on the edge of this world, between living and dying.
I was welcomed into a world of ambiguity. We were torn that day between celebrating my birth and mourning the tribulations of my cousin. This story surfaced while I was asking my mother about my birth.
More trickled out while I was receiving a regression bodywork session from a master practitioner.
“Are you sure you are ready to go this deep?” she asked. “Things could come up that you might not want to see.”
“Maybe in past lifetimes I was afraid to know,” I said. “In this one, I’m going all the way. Bring it on.”
As soon as I said that, I wondered what I had committed to. We delved in, sparks of energy flew, the silent tears flowed, my soul quivered, and my body shuddered.
On one level, I had alwaysbeen afraid to shine, dulling my glow, undermining my successes and talents. I did this out of a feeling of guilt that if I shined too brightly, it would cast a shadow on another.
When I made the connection of that pattern to my birth and my cousin, it resonated. My whole body radiated with intense heat and sweat poured off. That’s how I knew I was onto something.
My cousin Nicholas committed suicide a few years ago. Somehow an energetic tie was severed that I felt distinctly. May you rest in peace my friend.
These days, I am no longer afraid to shine. And when I feel the urge to dull my glow, I venture within and ask why.
1. Birth Research- Rediscover your Roots
Ask a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sibling, or anyone who may know details regarding your birth.
Notice how you feel as the story unfolds. Notice what resonates with you.
If there seems to be scant detail, keep probing. There is always more to uncover.
A few suggested questions:
o How long was the labor?
o Was I a planned birth?
o Describe the emotional environment I was conceived in?
o What about the physical environment?
o Was I a Cesarean or a natural birth?
o Was an epidural used or other drugs?
o Were forceps used during my delivery?
o Was I premature or did I come late?
This can be an intense inquiry for some, depending upon the amount of trauma that was endured. Just listen and be aware, and remember that we each chose our circumstances and everyone is doing the best they can with the resources that they have available to them at the time. Notice the urge to fidget or squirm. Notice any physical sensations.
Approaches to Birth Trauma
Since birth trauma is stored in the tissues, usually without access via conscious memories, it can be effective to deal with it somatically. General somatic emotional release work and trauma release work can address some of the residual trauma from birth. The stored trauma in the cellular memory can be released via somatic, hands on work, and also by delving into the unconscious, via hypnosis or breath work.
I underwent training that included recreating a birth experience for people, as individuals in one on one sessions, and as a large group recreating a birth experience via a 'womb surround', or a group of people, each facilitating different aspects of the experience.
Much birth trauma and connections to early infancy are stored around the feet and the head and neck. I often hold the head and ask questions around birth, and the memories that surface are often profound. Even dropping your head into the hands of another can elicit what seems to be a residual birth tremor.
I personally use a combination of hypnotic imagery and somatic, hands on work in session, often through fetal positions. In his cranial sacral work, John Upledger writes about recreating birth experiences as well, literally lowering someone onto the floor from the table, and someone 'acting' as a cervix. I've taken part in similar practices, from both sides of the equation.
I've heard of groups recreating a birth experience symbolically and physiologically at the same time, by encouraging the participant to move through a large birth canal, fashioned of some material, and to look on the world with new eyes, and to feel the nurturing, loving touch and loving words of the practitioner. I've found such events very healing, personally. Often, our birth experience is cut short by one trauma or another, and we don't get the full nurturance we need, or the warm welcome into the world.
One of the principles of FLOW healing, is to go to the root to discover what is missing, and find a way to replace or recreate it, to close the loop.
In states of 'trauma', the body often goes into the 'freeze' response, and in that way 'power' is lost. One way of knowing that the trauma is being accessed, is that the limb in that position feels very weak. Encouraging a client to push through can re-activate that limb or group of muscles, and tears of pain often flow, eventually giving way to tears of joy.
Birth is one of our first trials. Some of us had it more difficult than others. Whether this is based on karma, an iteration of a past life experience, or a mixture of those and circumstance is difficult to prove. However, with the current systems set up as they are, birth trauma is more common than not.
The easiest way to heal it is to cut it off at the root, by facilitating natural, loving birth experiences, so far as is possible. Another possibility is to heal it through touch and intention.
How have you experienced birth trauma, and what approaches have you taken to heal it? Have they worked?