Are You Struggling To Overcome Challenges That Have Affected You For Much Of Your Life?
Do you suspect or have knowledge that your birth was traumatic or involved medical or surgical interventions? Have certain behavioral patterns negatively impacted your closest relationships, though you’re not sure where they stem from? Are your symptoms of anxiety or depression manifesting in physical pain?
You may have been told at one time or another that you were a sleepless or colicky baby, though your parents could never seem to identify the source of your dissatisfaction. Perhaps your family has mentioned that your birth had unforeseen perinatal stressors or complications; maybe you know that you spent time in the NICU. Or perhaps you’re a product of an era during which women were put into “twilight sleep” or general sedation during labor and/or separated from the baby immediately after the birth, in some cases so that crucial life-saving procedures could be performed. While sometimes necessary, these interventions nevertheless robbed you of essential human contact during the first crucial hours of life.
Research shows that babies who experienced prenatal complications or a traumatic birth are more likely to struggle with attachment issues, meaning the essential connections formed with parents and caregivers are jeopardized in the first days and weeks of life. The birth process is an intense transition for mother and baby and when additional challenges are added to the mix, it can greatly impact the development of the child.
If this applies to you, you may struggle with mental health issues and/or emotional dysregulation. Maybe you’re experiencing tension or conflict in your relationships due to moodiness and irritability. Or perhaps physical symptoms, such as hypersensitivity to stimuli, insomnia, chronic pain, or a compromised immune system have impacted your day to day. It may simply feel that something is “off” internally, and keeping you from being more physically and mentally resilient.
If this sounds familiar, you may have experienced birth or prenatal trauma. And while such trauma traces back to before what your memory can access, many of these trauma-associated emotional, physical, and mental challenges can be resolved using a somatic approach.
Birth And Prenatal Trauma Are Incredibly Common But Rarely Acknowledged
All of us are subjected to certain imprints–or patterns that reflect the things that occurred during our formation in the womb and during our birth–that may follow us for a lifetime.
If a prepartum mother experiences chemical imbalance, whether due to hormonal changes or the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, the baby’s development in utero can be adversely impacted. Moreover, if a mother experiences any form of abuse or intense stress during pregnancy, the emotional and physical well-being of the fetus is put at risk. Regardless of circumstance, the mental health of the mother greatly influences the development of her baby, even when a pregnancy is considered healthy and relatively uncomplicated.
Some births are relatively smooth and require no drugs, surgeries, or other medical interventions. In our current medicalized age of childbirth, however, a large majority of us had births that involved the use of anesthetics, induction, forceps, vacuum suction, and/or C-sections, among others. Research shows that one medical intervention, such as an epidural, often leads to other complications or interventions, including stalled labor, induction, episiotomies, or forceps to name a few.
While such methods are commonplace, they’re nevertheless traumatic experiences for a newborn to endure. When stress or added forces impact the birthing process, the emotional hemispheres of the baby’s cerebrum are affected. The brain is then more likely to become biased towards fear and a sense of insecurity—ultimately impacting the formation of healthy early attachments between newborn and caregiver. And while such issues can be resolved with proper bonding, this postpartum period remains nevertheless a crucial moment that determines how we are able to feel safe and adapt to the world around us.
So, you may be struggling with the lingering effects of a difficult birth experience. However, somatic methods like craniosacral therapy can help you to soften the imprints and resolve the emotional and physical pains creating obstacles in your life.
Somatic Therapies Allow You To Negotiate Long-Standing Traumas
The beauty of craniosacral therapy and Somatic Experiencing™ is that they allow you to have a different experience in your body, healing you of the emotional and physical burdens you have been carrying for so long. Throughout therapy, you will be given an opportunity to examine birth trauma so that your imprints can be softened and your attachments repaired to help you feel more at ease in your body and your relationships.
Your body tells a story, and I use craniosacral therapy to interpret that story. Using the light touch of my hands, I will be able to follow your body’s map as it draws me to the various areas where you are holding tension, pain, or unresolved trauma. The body decides what it wants to work on, and I simply follow its lead while welcoming your feedback about what your body and mind are experiencing during the session.
Treatment involves not just physical exploration using touch, but we can also clarify the circumstances surrounding your birth and how any trauma might translate into physical symptoms and relationship difficulties. As you start to feel more at ease in your body, you will slowly be able to let go of the automatic reactions to your surroundings that cause disruptions in your life.
In experiencing the physical and emotional relief that therapeutic touch can provide, you can begin to see the value of incorporating this kind of touch in your everyday life. I may include gentle squeezing techniques at the end of our sessions, to help you have a felt experience of feeling safe, held, and nurtured with touch and pressure. As such, I may suggest you use similar gentle touch at home, with your partner, to mimic the same sensations of safety and attachment repair.
The value of using touch to resolve trauma is tremendous! For over a decade, I have worked with somatic methods and attachment therapies in helping clients to overcome the lingering effects of prenatal and birth trauma. These clients have reported significant improvements in habitual pain and tension patterns, as well as their emotional resilience when it comes to their primary relationships.
Resolving birth trauma now can allow you to improve significant relationships and manage challenges more calmly and confidently in the future.
Perhaps you endured birth trauma and are interested in therapy, but you have some questions…
How do you know if trauma stems from the prenatal or birth period?
My gentle, hands-on work often clues me into the birth or prenatal trauma that may have occurred. For instance, I might feel that parts of the skull are more reminiscent of an infant’s cranium than an adult’s, or I may sense restriction at the junctions atop the head, which is often related to the use of forceps during birth. Moreover, you may also get the sense that you endured some form of birth trauma, either from the physical sensations you experience or the images that pop up in your head during our sessions. Just as your body will indicate certain issues to me, you will feel areas of tension and release as well that will give us clues about what happened at birth.
How can you change issues that originate from birth?
Our bodies and nervous systems are extremely resilient. I have seen firsthand that transformative changes can take place in any body—no matter the age—whose emotional and physical patterns stem from the birth or prenatal periods.
Can this therapy help with more emotional issues that are related to birth or early attachment, as opposed to physical birth trauma?
Absolutely. Craniosacral therapy and Somatic Experiencing™ can help with emotional or relational traumas endured during your fetal development or the birth process, or in the first two years of life, while your early attachments were being formed. I am trained in these areas of attachment therapy and am currently working towards being certified in Dynamic Attachment Repatterning Experience (DARE), specifically developed to help adults repair their attachments.
Find Freedom From The Long-Standing Patterns That Have Adversely Affected Your Life
If you suspect that you experienced birth or prenatal trauma, or ruptures in your early attachments, somatic therapy can help to relieve the physical and emotional suffering that you may be carrying. To find out more about what I do or to schedule an appointment, contact our practice today.