Why would anyone need to heal their birth trauma? Is that even possible?

We come into the world primed to receive love and whatever we experience, however loving or not, will get imprinted deeply into our nervous system as a valid expression of “Love.” How we are received by the world teaches us, at a cellular level, who we are, what our value is, and what is possible for us in life. 

The fact of the matter is that modern birthing practices are invasive and traumatic, often times severely so. Statistics show that 45% of births are classified as severely traumatic and another 50% are classified as mild or moderately so. The implications of this are: For 95% of us, our primary experience of life on this planet is fearful and unsafe, and the experience of that is imprinted directly into the deepest parts of our brains, into the limbic system. A natural response to feeling unsafe in the body is to vacate it or to never fully arrive in it.

To inhabit and feel safe in our bodies is a fundamental need. To this end we have created forms such as dance, meditation, yoga, etc… which are designed as pathways to guide our awareness to a settled place inside. In some cases we are trying to find a place that perhaps we have barely, if at all experienced in this lifetime. For many of us, the feelings of detachment, fear, physical dis-ease and anxiety we experience had their origins in the womb.

Bruce Lipton, Cellular Biologist and the author of The Biology of Belief, concerning pre-natal imprinting wrote:

“that in regards to human pathology it’s clearly revealed that the issues that effect us as adults, primary issue such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, etc. got their roots in peri-conceptual, fetal, and neonatal life. Science now understands that the conditions under which a child is being shaped in-utero profoundly shape it for the rest of it’s life in regard not only to it’s behavior but in regard to it’s physiology as well…. The baby literally builds a body that is ideally suited to survive in the world as the Mother (and by extension the Father) perceive it.”

In other words, as a baby grows in the womb, its body is literally built out of the Mother’s feelings and chemistry. So the quality of her experiences contribute powerfully towards the type of body (emotional, physical, psychological) that grows within her.

This would be fine if our parents and our society as a whole were functioning in a healthy way and perceiving reality as life-affirming and empowering. But that is not the case in the majority. So what should be a head start for the child, designed by evolutionary instinct, becomes the process through which racial, social, and familial woundings and programming are passed on to future generations.

The Limbic brain is what is developing in the womb through the first few years of life. Its responsibility is to download as much information about the world that it can without conscious filtering. The Cortex, what we consider to be the seat of rational “thought” does not develop until much later in life. Studies, as well as common sense show that those earliest primary experiences, especially the first few minutes of life outside the womb set up our frameworks for Reality.

To those reading this, take a moment if you want right now to feel into your body, your level of tension and your breathing…notice your thoughts and feelings and what is happening inside? Staying in this mindful place, notice what arises as you read over the following questions:

Is it Safe here?

Is your body sacred?

Can you trust others not to violate you when you are vulnerable?

It is safe to move forward?

Is your sexuality and genitalia safe and sacrosanct?

Do you feel supported by those closest to you?

Can you trust the earth to hold you?

Does Gravity press you down or hold you up?

Can you feel love for and from your Mother and Father?

Can you discern between loving and invasive touch?

Do you have trouble maintaining healthy boundaries?

Your body’s experience in response to these questions represent some of your fundamental assumptions about self and others. These assumptions are so close to the core of who we believe we are and how we believe the world is, that it is difficult to gain any perspective on them. It can be as radical as moving from a flat earth reality to a round earth. They are literally the eyes we see through and the body we feel with.

Regarding the process of awakening St. Francis wrote: “What we are looking for, is what is looking”


The first and most important step in healing trauma is acknowledging that it is there. The body builds many psychological and physical buffers that surround traumatic experiences. Beginning to feel it and learning how to meet it with some degree of acceptance is key. We were born knowing what is right and what is wrong and we cannot compromise that knowingness for another without necessarily abandoning ourselves in the process. When we do so, we lose the capacity to feel vast segments of ourselves and confine perception to a narrowed field, often centered in the mind or completely out of the body in the imagination. We lose our ability to engage with what actually is.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

This work is an important step to recognize, and shift our earliest patterns and bridge the fragmented aspects of our experience.

Together, we begin at the beginning. What better place to start?

April 23, 2015

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