This is a long article so I'm not going to write a long intro, lol. Guest Writer Janel Lou Martin Miranda MA, LPC (IL) of Infant Parent Healing, & The Other Side of the Glass writes an amazing article about the effects of bonding and attachment on baby and parents- through labour, delivery and birth and beyond-and the importance of healing. I was especially awed by her information about babies and the breast crawl. I wrote about the importance of Skin to Skin contact between baby and mother and father in "In the Pouch: Kangaroo Care for Newborns" , but Janels article goes into so much more detail. Please take the time to read this amazing article and pass it along to every expectant parent you know.
Be sure to visit Janels website for information on her upcoming movie "The Other Side of the Glass"!
*Editing note: Due to the limitations of Blogger I struggled to get the photos aligned as they are in the original text...but alas, my technical abilities are greatly lacking. So please excuse the lay out problems with the photos.... I tried, really I did!
Self-Attachment in the First Hour of Life:A Biologically Programmed Process andThe Foundation for a Happy LifeBy Janel Lou Martin Miranda, MA, LPCWhen baby and mom are unmedicated during labor and birth, and when left in the arms of his mother to rest, to gaze into her eyes, and to smell her and feel her loving touch, he will begin to crawl to her breast when his biological impulse guides him. With only his mother's touch and support, he will smell her nipple, lick at it, and attach himself to her breast. This process completes a significant sequence in the baby's nervous system.
Physiologically, this Self-Attachment process is the completion of a biologically programmed process that begins with the baby's initiation of labor (via his hormonal signal to the mother.) Scientists know that the human baby has a biological impulse to begin his or her labor and birth, and that this process completes with the baby attaching to the mother's breast. This process of labor, birth, and meeting and reconnecting after separation from the womb will forever define the mother-child relationship; negatively, unless we consciously repair it.Above: Baby has self-attached at the breast after a very calm, peaceful birth at home. Right: Later, mom and baby are resting in bliss.Self-Attachment is supported by the last decade of brain development and the ground breaking research by Lennart Righard, MD, a pediatrician and researcher in the field of birth and breast-feeding (The Lancer, 1990. Volume 336; pages 1105-07), and by the work of pioneers in the Pre and Perinatal Psychology field.Dr. Lennert published a study in 1990 “that looked at two groups of newborns. In the first group the infant was placed on the mother’s abdomen and within fifty minutes most infants and self attached to the breast and were suckling correctly. In the second group the newborn babies were removed from the mother’s abdomen, bathed, measured, and replaced on the abdomen. The infants in this group from an unmedicated birth self-attached but half of them had a faulty suckling pattern. Most of the infants from a medicated birth were too drowsy to be able to suckle at all.” (From the cover description of the video, “Delivery Self-Attachment”, produced by Lennert). Purchase video at: http://www.geddesproduction.com/self.htmlJack Newman, MD, Canadian breastfeeding guru and author of, encourages the process of self-attachment within the first six weeks to assist babies in latching and breastfeeding. The six-week window for completing the self-attachment reflex corresponds with the Baurer's and Stepping reflexes of the newborn. Infant Self-Attachment by Teresa Pitman, colleague of Dr. Newman and co-author of, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. Read the article at www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVDecJan03p123.html.The forty years work of prenatal and birth trauma healing pioneers, Emerson, McCarty, and Castellino now show us that this critical need in the central nervous system for self-attachment can happen at any age. And, with their pioneering work with babies and adults, we know now that the unresolved trauma from labor and birth must be addressed IN ORDER to complete the self-attachment process.In twenty-five years of work with infants, children, and adults, my teacher, Dr. Raymond Castellino (www.beba.org) has discovered that the Self-Attachment process of reconnecting outside the womb is a crucial event that must happen in order for optimal ability of a human being to attach to his or her parents and for the parents to bond with the newborn. He has found this to be a basic biological need of the human being. The critical break leads to a multitude of human issues seen in our culture. In his model of prenatal and birth healing, he has discovered that the biological impulse and need for the self-attachment is a universal and an biologically, physiological impulse. When one does the birth trauma healing the impulse is for the human to spontaneously pursue self-attachment. This is true at any age. I personally have experienced this at age 46 and I also facilitated a seventy-year old woman to do her own self-attachment process.She heard me speak at a woman's group in Nevada City, CA and came up to me afterwards to make an appointment. She wanted to heal the life-long difficult relationship with her daughter. When her daughter was born she yearned to breast feed her baby and her body produced the milk to do so. Her husband was in Europe in the war and she was staying with her mother, a nurse. Her mother was against breast feeding and along with the doctor, she forced the new mother to bind her breasts to stop milk production. Ironically, this had also been done to the grandmother when this older woman of seventy had been born. This woman had had a total mastectomy several years prior to my session with her. Several days later her granddaughter phoned her. Was this "out of the blue?" Or coincidental?? Or did the change in the woman's own nervous system -- releasing her guilt, shame, and anger about her own experience as a baby being denied the breast AND being denied to breastfeed her own daughter -- effect her energetic being? Dr. Lipton's book, "The Biology of Belief" explains this phenomenon as well as how prayer works.
Above: Left - My daughter and grandson after Andrew completed Self-Attachment -- even though it had been exactly an hour before hospital staff completed their routines and "allowed" her to nurse her baby. Her tears here are tears of joy and healing as she tells her baby how much she loves him. Right: Meeting her first son after being separated for hours after a cesarean birth. Both are still obviously affected by drugs. Many babies separated for hours are given supplement or glucose and are not hungry or able to effectively breastfeed. Glucose is given for pain relief for shots and interventions without regard for the imprint in the brain of connecting taking sugar/glucose with pain relief. Mainstream science is not looking at the connection between this and sugar addiction in children, obesity, diabetes. The first feeding in breast feeding has a special effect of priming the intestine, necessary for lifelong health.
In the first moments of life outside the womb, the baby's brain and body undergo monumental changes in order to become an individual being, dependent upon his body to survive. Prior to these moments in this new world, his or her mother is the only person the baby has physically known. He or she knows the mother through the umbilicus, through her voice, her heartbeat, and through sensation. He only knows the world and others in her environment through her experience and perceptions. Their bodies are symbiotic and he is surrounded and held by her uterus in warm safety. For nine plus months the baby's umbilical cord is his or her life line in many ways, and it is the connection to his only womb companion and life source -- his or her placenta.Labor, birth and first moments collectively are one monumental process in which a baby goes from being a water-breathing being to being an air-breathing being. Labor and birth are relatively short in time compared to gestation, but is nonetheless monumental, as this is the process adjusting to life outside the womb. In moments, the human baby goes from being symbiotic with her mother to being and individual. Every organ and system must perform. Birth involves much force and maneuvering and happens with extraordinary hormonal and physiological precision, in a beautiful orchestration during mother and baby. Birth is ancient. Truly, this biological process has not changed.Our biology is ancient. Birth is so ancient. Midwifery is the oldest profession in the world. Women's bodies know how to give birth. As far back as humanity goes -- women have known how to give birth. The mechanisms to create the attachment that makes the mother fiercely love her baby are biologically programmed, and are ancient. Modern birth --with drugs, noise, people, and interventions -- is dictated more by malpractice issues, than by science, logic, or spiritual needs, and, interferes with the most defining moment of the human being.In those first moments of life outside the womb, separated from the umbilicus and placenta, all the baby's body systems must do their biologically planned and intended work. There is no moment in the brain's development and life that is not critical. Prenatally, women are told to be nourished, hydrated, drug-free, and stress-free. During labor and birth these "science-based" admonishments are ignored. We logically and now scientifically know that the baby's brain is also experiencing, responding to, and recording this event -- just as it does every other moment of life from conception. It's called fetal programming by the biologists and imprinting by the pre and perinatal psychologists.A baby's long-term survival depends upon his successful reconnecting with his mother and he'll forever view and experience the world through this early brain imprinting. Whether he is safe and protected, supported and nourished will be his first experience of the world. He or she is totally dependent on a caregiver (who is drugged and violated) for every aspect of survival. The more connected this caregiver, the greater the baby's survival; and importantly, the greater the quality of his or her life will be. Humans are known to be resilient, and so the violating way babies are treated is somehow justified by society (acknowledgement always requires inner change in relationship to the acknowledged one).While babies surely do survive physically in amazingly deprived situations, and most of us do ok in our life and relationships, most people yearn for greater love and connection. We know something big is missing. Many disrupt their lives in multiple ways in attempts to have it. (Mine hand is raised!) How we do this will be a reflection of our labor, birth, and attachment experience with our mother. It's imprinted in the brain. Am I loved? Am I wanted? Am I worthy? Am I safe?Healthy connection in the first hour of life ensures a healthier, happier life. Born in a situation experiencing safety, being wanted, knowing one is loved, and seen as worthy by those who provided the biological tissues that made us will create the foundation for healthy, happy relationships. Modern birth in the 21st century should be about using the best of the ancient wisdom of birthing and using our technology to create the highest human potential possible. It should not be about control of pain at any cost, with no regard for the effects on the baby, and not for other people's schedules and malpractice. It should be about a societal effort to truly support parenting -- both mothers and fathers.Above: Baby Adam, like many, are left alone, naked, and distraught to wait for their mothers in an other room. Throughout childhood he had great difficulty with his mother being out of his sight and it was very challenging whenever he enters new settings. He was kept in the nursery while his mother was kept on the surgical floor because there was not a bed for her on the labor and delivery floor (and why is that with a PLANNED cesarean?) His father finally raised such objections as to get the OB nurse to sneak the baby up to surgical floor "against regulations". Notice the color difference between his head and body.
The case against medical birth disrupting birth that leads to attachment and health issues is clear and thanks to the proliferation of brain, cell, and physics research since the late 90's, attachment theory is very based in science. Applied to birthing, it goes back to basic Anatomy 101; "for every structure there is a function." No where in medicine is this ignored more than in obstetrics. Routine inducing of labor is clearly detrimental when considers the baby is meant to start this process hormonally. Another example, early cord cutting before the cord stops pulsing is known to be related to jaundice in newborns and to lead to life long respiratory, circulatory, and other issues. The reasons for doing these interventions is purely ritual, historical, and self-serving for the needs of the medical establishment. Now, the collective work of an inter-disciplinary group of scientists supports the long denied belief that --- prenatal life and the experience of birth create the foundation for all emotional and physical health or dysfunction, including cardiac, blood pressure, diabetes, and mental illness. Medical birth is dangerous to our health and wellness.We are more than physical; we are spiritual beings who come into a physical presence in those first seconds. I believe separation from the inner world of the womb (and mother), from our umbilical cord, and from our placenta has profound spiritual implications for the lifetime. Could the placenta be the "other" that we humans seek at such great costs throughout the lifetime? Research in Europe shows that when the placenta in another room is touched, the baby responds. Psychology has yet to explore this vast frontier.The process of leaving the mother's womb, separating from the placenta, and reconnecting with the mother in a whole new way is disrupted by drugs and interventions, and the people (their needs and feelings, noise, etc) who are present in labor and birth. During the first moments of life only those who love this baby should touch him or her. Only their soft, cooing voices should be heard. A baby's first touch should be his mother -- no one can touch a baby with as much love, concern, and tenderness as the mother. Touch by anyone else should be minimized for as long as possible. Some women birthing at home are doing so in part in order to minimize contact by others. Some are staying in for the first seven or so days of life because of the vulnerability of the baby.The first hour of life is for bonding and attachment WHILE transitioning environments. It is NOT the time for weighing, bathing, diapers, clothing, cheering, lights, noise, chatter, shots, eye ointment, etc. Clothing and swaddling interfere with skin-to-skin contact.Any interventions, touch, and resuscitation should be done with baby in the mother's arms, or father's if she is unable.Above Left: Father holds baby skin-to-skin at a home birth while mother is being cared for --- after baby did Self Attachment. Right: Father connects with baby (VBAC) while separated from mother because of "potential risk" from meconium. Staff refused to do interventions on baby in mother's arms. Below Left: Father connects with baby after a cesarean birth. Mother and baby did not meet for 13 hours. Right: Father holds baby nearby mother while waiting for her to be able to sit up after a cesarean section.
All of the settings above are different -- and there is no standard of care for newborns. Protocols vary and are decided by individual hospitals and caregivers on different shifts.Protocols that are developed only based on staff needs are the priority, not science-based. They are for time control and liability, not to protect and support the need for mother and baby to reconnect in the first moments of the baby's life. Mother and baby are routinely separated (even if in the same room) while the baby endures traumatic interventions. Sadly, this is considered "normal birth" and scientifically sound in our society, even with abundant research showing that even sick or seriously ill babies respond to treatment better when they are in their mother's arms.Mother's are more in touch with their baby than anyone - her body has built this baby. Her uterus has provided skin-to-skin contact for over nine months. Her body knows every detail of this baby. Her body is her unconscious (science is now explaining old, nebulous psychological theories, such as the Unconscious). Intuitively, a woman has the ability to know the whole gamete of her baby's needs (in the womb, during labor, and at birth and beyond) when she knows how to trust her own instincts.Theoretically, a woman who trusts her own instincts and judgments and makes her decisions with people who love her and support should not be plagued by guilt. Obstetrics is the least scientifically based medical specialty and the treatment of women (denial and violation) in medical birth is the source of great wounding and anger. This is the root of mother's guilt. Women are choosing homebirth instead of hospital birth and it's disempowerment. It is one huge step towards taking back their power and protecting their baby from traumatic interventions.Medical caregivers doing shift work -- never before seen by the mother and her baby (who experiences and knows everyone she knows during the nine months in the womb) are strangers. These people are strangers to the baby. Their medical expertise is very polluted by their own fear of birth in which they are trained. Birth is a potential medical crisis, protocols must be followed to prevent litigation. Fear of birth, fear of women's bodies, and even the sounds women make during labor and birth dis-empower women. They bring their own traumatic birth experiences, through which they have perceived their professional training, to the birth of every baby whose birth they attend.Babies should be treated with respect and told what is happening and why. This true at any time -- one hour, two days, four years, or forty years old. A baby wants and needs to be treated just as we would wish to be treated. We would not someone to give us shot in the leg without warning, or to scrub our face with a rough cloth. Never is this more the case than in those first moments in this new world.Above: Against his wishes, Father is forced to take baby to nursery for measurements and cleaning -- just after he intervened with the neonatal physician who was scrubbing the baby's chest so hard that the skin was rubbed off. He wanted his son to stay with his mother in recovery, but the nursery nurse insisted that the baby be taken to the nursery. The nurse was angry that the father refused to put his baby in a cart and had insisted on carrying the baby in his arms. The nurse asked the doctors, "Can he do that?" Another nurse said, "Its his son." In the nursery the nurse kicked me out for "being germy" when I backed the father's wishes during a "second tug 'o baby". Nurse was forcefully trying to pull baby from his arms to put on scales and the father was insisting that he did want not to weigh the baby yet. She said, "It is hospital protocol." I said, "It's not what the baby needs right now." I gained a little time for the father -- time it took the nurse to kick me out of the nursery that was right off the hallway with extensive foot traffic by the public. Left: Then, between interventions Father is supporting baby, gently holding his head and telling him what is happening, and he is gently holding his son's head telling him, "I am sorry, I am here." Baby's head had significant molding and father wanted to hold his son's head gently and not be roughly measured. The baby had moved posterior and had the classic head shape of laboring of posterior. The head has to be extremely sensitive to touch. Right: The nurse is literally trying to pry the father's hands away from his baby as he is asking her to please slow down. The other birth companion and cousin of the mother taking photographs was kicked out of the room at this point for speaking up. Later the parents were threatened with DCFS intervention for not allowing eye ointment (a big interference in attachment as the eye contact between parent and newborn is what triggers certain hormones and brain activity) and observed closely when they insisted that the baby room with the mother and would not allow the baby to be in the nursery.This father is the exception because he was prepared. He participated in healing his own birth experience during the prenatal period and he participated in every aspect of the prenatal period.Most men are also disempowered in their baby's birth -- it is a learned experience from their own births. Birth IS the baby's birth. Where else in this society -- besides in labor and birth and hours after -- does a man stand by powerlessly watching his wife and child being drugged, coerced into things she said she didn't want, manhandled and not become an aggressive protector? Where does he have to process his shame and guilt about his "failure" to do what he is biologically meant to do -- protect -- especially in a society that does not honor and respect the bodies of women and babies? He acts it out in addictions (including work) and it is believed in pre and perinatal psychology that the experience of modern birth is a major contributor to failure of marriage.Birth in modern society is no longer considered a normal and sacred event; rather, it is a medical event to be managed. Women no longer believe that God made their body with an amazing capability to bring forth life. Society does not apply scientific logic and heartfelt compassion to the first hour after birth. Not only is it a sacred time, it is a "critical period" in the continuum of brain development that began at conception and never ends until death. The first hour of life is when physically, emotionally, and spiritually the human being's biological impulse and primary need is to meet and reconnect with his or her mother outside her womb.
Natural, empowered birth can be exhilarating, intense, and loud -- sounding and looking much like love making and orgasm. Natural labor and birth are sexual and medicine, religion, and psychology fear birth. (One of the reasons I suspect the medical machine works so hard to drug and suppress women, and to control birth is to control women. Women and their partners gain their power and their voice in birthing their babies on their terms. Earthly, sensual, natural women are powerful and scary to the status quo. Men who support their partner and protect their baby in birth are engaged fathers and partners.)Self-Attaching:During the first twenty minutes after birth the mother's instinct is to rest and allow her baby to rest; meanwhile, she will touch, smell, lick, and caress her baby, look into his or her eyes, and coo loving words. Like lovers do. Baby will look for his or her mother's face and her eyes, and respond to her. This eye and physical contact will set off the biological cascade of hormones, known as “the love cocktail.” They are meant to fall in love with each other -- the new human being's survival depends upon it.When the baby is ready and begins to crawl, his or her mother's instinct is to never to force the baby to the breast. Her biological impulse is to maintain visual contact, and quietly and gently support him or her to find the breast. Working together mother and newborn accomplish their biological and emotional need to re-attachment, a process that is crucial for attachment and bonding.This impulse for self-attachment and completion of this sequence is virtually unheard of in most modern births; yet it is a biologically programmed impulse. This is crucial for the foundation for the mother-child relation and every other relationship. A newborn wants nothing but to be with his mother.In the first hour of life a baby's flailing, wailing, and resisting interventions are his way of communicating his objections, but well-intended caregivers are not conscious of this.Above: First moments of life after a planned cesarean. Highly trained, well-meaning professionals do not see the fighting, crying, and flailing -- in noisy room with masked strangers, rough handling, bright lights and cold air -- as communication. "PUT ME BACK!!" perhaps, or "LEAVE ME ALONE!", or maybe just, "WHEEEERE'S MY MAAMA!?!?" The latter, by the way would describe his primary emotional concern in the first six years of his life.For the baby above and 90% of babies born in the US in the past 100 years, the clear message is "Welcome to the mean, cruel world, kid" as he or she is accosted by loud masked strangers gloved in latex. Ancient cultures reserved this treatment for those babies destined to be warriors.NO WHERE else in our current society would anyone, and especially not parents, watch while their baby is treated so violently; sometimes, after they explicit instructions not to. How could we believe he is not feeling and won't remember this? But, we believe that baby does remember the mother's loving touch and voice and we now KNOW that babies in the womb feel and hear.What is this little baby boy above (my grandson) feeling? He looks scared and to be fighting. Does anyone else notice how odd and incongruent it is for adults to be smiling (at best) as they do this, or just loudly, roughly doing their routine protocols on the baby while oblivious to the emotions and needs of this new life in their hands? When we fail to protect our babies in birth, how could we not be creating the foundation for fear and distrust? Don't we teach them this by not protecting them from strangers? How does a baby ever know appropriate boundaries after violation in the first hours of life? HOW does a baby know that this is a peaceful world? Or, is it?Induced birth with epidural are known to lead to malpositioning for baby which leads to cesarean with devastating results for baby (below) and Mother. Above Left: Mother waited an hour while resident and attending argued over whether to do cesarean. After hours of Pitocin labor, the resident wanted "to pump up the Pitocin and get the baby out." Mother refused, knowing something was wrong, and she wanted a cesarean. Right: Baby and mother meet for first time thirteen hours after her birth by cesarean section. (Naval hospital originally with nurse midwives until emergency cesarean was necessary.)Below:The baby was induced and this almost always leads to using epidural anesthesia because of intense labor, which is known to lead to abnormal positioning of the baby, and this leads to cesarean. Her face shows she was obviously seriously hurt in her labor and birth and that her mother's instinct was right. Baby was obviously repeatedly ramming her face against pelvic bone. Hospital caregivers did not even acknowledge or speak of her injuries. Her injuries were ignored, not acknowledged, and not addressed medically by hospital staff. This is likely because they don't want to admit their wrong-doing, and frankly, as we all know, that injuries are often disregarded by medical field because they don't know what to do, and so we're told, "It won't effect you and it'll just go away." Sure the bruising or pain eventually does because our bodies are mean to survive, but the memory of the experience is still in our body. Our medical and psychological systems shrug their shoulders and say "It seems to go away in a few days," "Take a pill, get a steroid shot, but don't believe in complementary methods.") and in doing so, promote their nonsensical science -- denying that the birth experience is recorded (remembered); denying that brain of the birthing baby remembers birth. In psychological world of addiction recovery, this would be called "Going down the river DENIAL" which just simply allows one to continue to do what they are doing and not be responsible for it. Research shows that epidural anesthesia is strongly associated with abnormal fetal position (occiput posterior) at delivery and may help explain the high rates of operative delivery observed after administration of an epidural. (Obstetrics & Gynecology 2005; 105: 974-82). Scientific research is showing that babies do remember birth and it gets acted out throughout life. Physician heal thyself.
Your brain is receiving, processing, and acting upon environmental information from conception beyond. During gestation everything is filtered through how mom feels and views the world. It is imprinted in your developing brain and body, and your body holds the memory. The body is the unconscious according to new scientific understandings of cell behavior according to Bruce Lipton, PhD (www.brucelipton.com). Your labor, birth, and re-attachment experience become your template for being in the world. It is communicated through our body language and mainstream psychology even says that 75% of communication is NON-VERBAL. We know in Pre and Perinatal Psychology that those times when we just can understand why we do what we do, why we can't get past this certain issues, etc, it is the PREVERBAL period of brain development. As children and an adult, you have learned to put words to experiences and feelings and created an understanding of the world that becomes part of your neocortex -- the thinking part of the brain. The preverbal, nonverbal is clearly known to the body. For this reason, effectively changing our issues, dysfunction, pain, relationships can not logically or scientifically be resolved unless we use a Mind-Body type of healing modality.Perhaps, medicine, psychology, and religion will soon consider that the human brain is a living, growing, during labor and birth as it is known to be at EVERY OTHER STAGE OF LIFE before and after birth. Sound, touch, taste, smell, moments after -- for both mother and baby. We have to change what we do during labor and birth, and first hour of life, to the most vulnerable. You, the adult, were once that vulnerable baby.Some research shows that the baby follows the smell of his and his mother's combined body fluids on his hands; therefore, immediate scrubbing of the baby interferes with his ability to do so (and is mean). One of the current obstacles to not roughly wiping the baby is the mother's abhorrence to her own and her baby's fluids. This is a learned response and a consequence of the modern, sterile, hospitalization of birth.Self Attachment Ecstasy and Falling in LoveAbove: Left. Baby completed Self-Attachment after Cesarean birth. The hormonal bliss is obvious on her face. The father and I supported her and the baby to come together. Later, as always, the baby initiated doing the process again in our conversations as the parent's processed their feelings about the birth. The entire pictorial will be here soon. Right. My daughter and grandson gaze into each other's eyes after he did the self-attachment.The indoctrination by medicine that birth is to be feared, and our bodies denied has also lead to a denial of the consciousness of the human baby. Medicine, religion, and psychology all ignore the real science (that could unite the three) that shows us that the labor and birth and attachment experience form -- in the BRAIN! Our relationship with our mother at birth IS the template for all future relationships. The human birthing baby remembers everything that she or he experienced -- prenatally and during birth.No More Mother's GuiltThis may seem like "bad news" to most moms and your feelings of guilt and hopelessness may be triggered for how your little one experienced birth -- no matter how old that child may be. Let me say, I am very sorry for whatever experience you had that interfered with your attachment with your mother or with your children. The "good news" is if you got the previous paragraphs you will also feel the stirring of hope. You can, no matter what age you and your child, whether present in your life or not, you can heal what happened to you -- in your own nervous system.You can heal this break in your relationship with your child -- at any age. Even when drugs are used, when birth is by cesarean, and when baby is removed from the mother for interventions (as in the majority of births), a baby can do this process later.Above: "Creative Opposition" -- a technique to address a multitude of behaviors, such as frustration and anger -- with a mom and eleven year old. Laboring babies work with the mother during natural labor using their feet. Mother's uterus and baby's feet work together in a way that becomes their pattern of relating. Drugs during labor interfere with the process. This young boy's labor was forced by hospital staff. It was Sunday morning and "it seemed like the doctor had somewhere to be." Mom was not allowed to make any noise. She was given Demerol without her consent. Later, when the baby was unable to awaken to breast feed nurses poked at his chin repeatedly trying to awaken him to get him to attach. His mother recalled this suddenly as he was repeatedly and forcefully poking at her chin. This is how therapy works -- mother and baby both sharing and telling their experience of birth, from their own perspective. In telling their story, children and parents can experience working together physically, gently, respectfully while hearing the child's perspective of the birth, usually through behavior. Right: Mother and child come together. This process of sharing and validating, making eye contact, working through where baby was blocked creates new neural pathways for relating.Currently, medical and psychological establishments denies that we are energetic beings. It is reported that it takes about seventeen years for new research to make it in to medical education and practice. This is the case in obstetric medicine. Scientific facts of human biology and the brain development needs of our birthing baby lead medical care providers to insist on inducing or refuse to keep our baby in our arms to do malpractice dictated interventions. You can, while we wait for them to catch up, no matter happens, still find a way to support the baby to complete the Self-Attachment process. Even children who are adopted can experience leaving the birth mother to attach with the adopting mother.To do so, a woman will need to process her feelings about her experience of birthing her baby, and just as important, hear and acknowledge her baby's perspective and story of his or her birth experience. Otherwise, one can spend their life time trying to tell her ("You just don't understand me!!"), connect with her, be acknowledged, supported, felt, and seen by her. Biting, hitting, head banging, hyperactivity are all communication. Coming to the mother for nurturing or when hurt, and then pulling away from her is communication about how it was at birth. Acknowledgement of that is really all any of us want and we look for it in the ways we were wounded. Some of us look for it in the most difficult of places and people. This is how we continue to draw the same difficult, pain-producing people and situations into our lives. We look for connection with others until we go within to find it within. Drug addiction, domestic violence - why one does it and the other always comes back -- can be explained and healed at the prenatal and birth level.Above left: I am resolving my own cord trauma (2-1/2 times around my neck) with colleagues in my training with Castellino (www.castellinotraining.com). I learned that cord trauma was a cause of many of my lifelong issues related to motivation, movement, and follow through. Cord trauma effects one at a core level because of the tendency for a lack of oxygen during the monumental task of leaving the womb. EVERY baby born with the cord around his or neck ought to have prenatal and birth therapy. Right: My partner and dear friend, Gene, and I are doing "Creative Opposition" dealing with the resistance and anger (blocked biological impulse) and powerlessness I experienced in relationship after relationship because of a forced birth (with low oxygen due to cord wrap) with forceps resulting in broken clavicle (unrecognized). He is "meeting me" -- not forcing, pulling, or pushing me, just letting me feel my deepest wounding in safety. Forceps and vacuum extraction create a need to look for resistance in one's life. Visit www.emersonbirthrx.com for info on psychological and personality traits that result from cord trauma, forceps, and cesarean birth.Above left: Kitty and Gene, classmates, who were parents in reimprinting my prenatal and birth imprints (being gestated in their relationship dynamics) that lead to my umbilical cord being around my neck (from my reactions to events in the environment). All a newborn baby wants is to be in her mother and father's arms and to be held and seen by them, to be the joy of their union, not a conduit for their issues. I have what we call "amgydala eyes" -- when the brain is lit up with love hormones. An experience such as I had, regardless of age, creates the neural pathway for a new way of relating. With no other effort or counseling, and without "trauma and drama", my relationship with my mother and father dramatically improved. It's quite amazing work. Above right: I am working with my 75 year old mother who has also participated with myself and two other siblings in birth trauma healing sessions. At one point, she leaned over and whispered to me, as if someone in authority (doctor or nurse) might over hear, "I believe we women have been robbed." This made more sense to me when later she told me the story -- for the first time in 45 years -- that when I was born she had been watching me through the nursery window and she witnessed the nurse being abusive to other babies as she "cared" for them. My mom said she wanted to tell the doctor, but didn't tell anyone, because "I was afraid the nurse would just get in trouble and then take it out on you." Say, whaaat? How AWFUL is that!?!? for a mother and a baby?!? For a mother to not be able to protect and her nurture her newborn, an severely injured one at that, but to witness and be scared to tell of mistreatment of a newborn, and then be fearful of her baby's safety? Lord o' Mercy!! We are brainwashed to believe we are safer in hospitals than in our homes with a supportive, trained professional -- and it's been done with generations of mistreatment (control).THIS MYTH of hospitals as safest for birth is our country's mis-belief and LEGACY -- and we see the effects of violation and fear during the labor, birth, and attachment sequence being acted out in our society. The Burden of Society's Guilt is carried by MOTHERS! We have the ability to turn it around -- if we only choose to.We women have so much guilt that originates in own own birth experience and in the experience of birthing our own babies. Women have hurt and victimized and unwilling, uninformed, and unknown subjects in one long experiment -- medical birth. Ninety percent of us were born and we also gave birth under the influence of drugs. Historically, these drugs - ether, scopalamine, Demerol, epidural narcotics -- have never shown to be safe for our babies. We were forced to go without food and water and confined to our backs to give birth in the worst physical position possible -- on our backs. I was tied down with my first child's birth because scopalamine makes a birthing woman nuts. Our entire emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual lives as women is defined by our birthing experience that is violent, disempowering, and shameful. We women bear the guilt that results and our hearts break when our children hurt and we can't find the answers. Men also experience the guilt and shame from not protecting their wife and baby and watching hours of violation.We women who gave birth in conditions that disempowered us and harmed our children can do our own healing at any age. We can face the shame, guilt, and anger and support and hold one another to do so. We can forgive our self, and those "who know not what they do." We can see our children, whatever their age, as acting out their story -- in relationship to us. We can heal our own early birthing experience (brain development) and having created new neural pathways, we change. We don't have to look for change outside of ourselves -- drugs, surgery, or others -- to be who we want. We can become advocates for birthing women and babies; and, we can expect society to stop violating women's bodies and souls. We can stop the insanity by choosing wisely. We can allow men to be the protectors in their baby's birth. We can support our children to birth our grandchildren differently.Left: I am supporting my daughter and grandson, Andrew, to do the Self-Attachment. Right: Father and I are supporting mother and baby to do the Self-Attachment after cesarean section. Babies born under the influence of drugs and their mothers need more support.It is an extraordinary journey for a woman to go within to heal the wounds from birth and to face the disempowerment, guilt, and shame from her birthing experience. We can do it only with support and in relationship with others who are willing to go within to witness their own earliest wounding. Sometimes, it is as simple as holding witness for the baby and mother by the doula, friend, husband, or grandmother who was present and then supporting them to re-experience birth the way they wanted to. In order to do so, one must also be able to see and hold the baby who experienced the trauma and separation from his or her mother. Doing so will create new neural pathways in the baby and mother's brains. Most often those who love the woman and her baby who were present are also traumatized, and most often the mother has not resolved her own Self-Attachment wounding in her own birth. Professional assistance is often needed.Supporting and facilitating self-attachment is a primary objective of the Prenatal and Birth focused CranioSacral Therapy -- at any age.You can do this if your mother or child is not living; or if you are apart because of adoption or relationship issues. We can do this in individual sessions or group sessions. You can do the Self-Attachment healing even if you can not be in contact with the other who is alive, but unavailable or not safe to be with. You can do so because it is about working WITHIN THE SELF, in one's own nervous system, rather than in the external world that looks for an outer source (medicine, psychology) to either change us or look to others to do the changing.Attachment and the mother-child relationship are critical in brain development and the interference during birth is a national tragedy. It's no coincidence that we live in a world where humans are desperately trying to survive by all the wrong, external means -- blaming others, blaming government, using drugs. Malpractice crisis in the US is a consequence of this mindset of the outer world is the answer.To begin to change the ills of our society, the first simple step is to change what we do to babies in the first hour of life. Policies, procedures, protocols meant to manage time and to protect doctors, nurses, and hospitals, can be easily changed. We could create human beings who are focused on love, not fear because they were protected and nurtured in their first moments of life. When we are conscious of the needs of the newborn and self-attachment, we will treat babies differently and we will change the world.We can heal Earth by healing Birth.Janel Lou Martin Miranda, MA, LPCcopyright, January 14, 2006Special thanks to my dear children and friends with whom I have been blessed to participate in either their birth or their healing. The babies who shared their pictures and stories are:David, above, is one of my amazing teachers and I was blessed to be at his birth and a part of his healing with his mother, father, and brother afterward. Right: My baby, Mariah, a most amazing girl. Her birth induced and with epidural and our healing has taught me how to sit with women in the deepest of dark places of guilt about choices that hurt our babies. Every time I work with a baby and mother with induced and epidural, I honor her and appreciate her father, an obstetric trained physician, for our life experiences together that led me to my work. (see my article "Beware and Be Aware: When your doctor says, 'If you were my daughter or wife, this is what I'd recommend," it doesn't necessarily mean it's scientifically based!http://www.infantparenthealing.com/parentsknow/doctorsays.htm
Above left: My very special friend and teacher, Caleb, and I are doing "Creative Opposition." Right: Baby Elijah, an amazing baby with extraordinary courage a and beautiful heart. Both babies' are on the homepage and their mother's have shared their stories. Elijah and his sister were featured in a newspaper story about my work.Above left: Daniel, the homebirth baby who did Self-Attachment -- here at two weeks. Seriously, he's only two weeks old. Isn't he amazing? Right: Jasmyn and her daddy have a special relationship -- Jasmyn is the baby whose face was so bruised and her daddy supported her during the separation from her mother. Seems like she likes her hand near her daddy's mouth. Hmmmmm. And "they" say babies don't remember birth -- the good times and all.Thank you to the people with whom I have done my own prenatal and birth trauma healing:Left: My "Womb Surround" in the Castellino Prenatal and Birth Training. They are my teachers and my spiritual family with whom I learned so much about who I really am and how to be in relationship. Right: Gene, me, and Ray. They are such nice men.Some of my very special teachers, some little, some big.Saying good-bye to my friend, Janessa, above left. She is a very special, beautiful little girl I met at The Farm in Tennessee when her mother and I were studying with Ina May Gaskin and midwives. On the right, above, Farm Midwife, Pamela, me, and Ina May. I express my gratitude to Ina May with a kiss.By the way, whether you are now pregnant, planning to be, and/or only have time to read one book, read Ina May's book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth."Click here to go to my story - introduction below:
My son, Andy, was born April 8, 1975. He is one of the most decent human beings I know. He’s a respectful, trusting, successful, funny, and a well-liked man. He is a wonderful husband. So, why is his birth story so important to share? My story about his birth includes trauma, but our story is more about hope and healing. While I don’t share it here, it is about his struggles with “symptoms” of motivation as a child and what is now grossly misdiagnosed as ADHD. I began this as a short birth story for a parenting publication and it has become a tapestry of stories. My birth and his birth are the main threads woven in with my journey as a young girl giving birth and "trauma bonding" with my son, which I am still healing. It is about my personal healing, my intention for our family healing together, my work as a prenatal and birth therapist. It is about pre and perinatal psychology, birth in our society, and issues for birthing women. My lifelong work has been in empowering women within the systems. It is about how healing my own wounds as a birthing baby and a birthing woman lead me to empower myself.Our story is about the generations of violent birth, fear, drugs, homebirth versus hospital birth, preparing for birth, making choices, valuing a woman’s body, creating support for women to birth naturally, and the need for social acceptance that babies are aware in the womb and at birth. Sharing his story is an honoring of him and is a testament to his development into the person he is today. He is truly a wonderful man. It is meant to share that the “bad news” that birth in this country is traumatic and the interference with mother-baby relationship is the reason for our dysfunctions and pain. At the same time, and more so, it is to share the “good news” of the ability of the body, mind, and soul to be healed. Motherhood does not have to equal Guilt.