We all acknowledge that birth is hard. For the mothers who are delivering the baby, we acknowledge that it can be the most painful experience they ever have. But what about the baby? The way we have set up birth in today’s culture introduces trauma to babies. Read more to understand how baby doula services can be the best gift you can give yourself and your baby.
Services include prenatal craniosacral and massage treatments, postpartum care, breastfeeding support, hands-on guidance interpreting baby body language, sleeping, bathing, infant massage, emotional support, laundry, meal preparation, errands and grocery shopping, help with older siblings, and overnight support.
Today’s culture and rituals around birth often pathologize the process and introduce technocratic birth interventions while also ignoring the fact that babies are conscious and aware of their experiences. The baby is not only leaving the home he/she has known, but under remarkable circumstances, the baby must pass through a space so narrow and experience tremendous cranial pressures. If delivered by C-section, the baby may or may not have already descended into the pelvic inlet, but it will be aestheticized at a dosage suitable for it’s mothers weight not its own, and aggressively ripped out of its home most often without any conscious preparation from the parents are staff attending the birth, meaning no one communicates directly to the baby what circumstances are about to unfold; thereby, the birth process is no longer a mutual dance between the baby’s chemical messengers and impulses and the mother, but rather the baby is delivered by an outsider, violating intimacy, choice, agency and constitution.
In most cases, the people present at a birth are so focused on what the mother is going through that they don’t spend equal awareness and empathy on what the baby is going through until it crowns or emerges from the C-section incision. As a result, babies cry when there seems to be no reason, or they are diagnosed with “colic” for weeks and months or longer after their births. I frequently hear midwives tell mothers after the birth that their baby may be inexplicably fussy Day 2 and Day 3 post birth, and to have a pacifier ready to soothe them.
We can birth babies differently, and we once did! We can take on compassionate birth practices to help ease their passage and when we do so, babies can recover from birth trauma and have more access to spirituality and reach their fullest human potential. Unresolved trauma and the way we currently handle babies explains how so much violence, mental illness, and behavioral disorders are rampant in today’s culture.
Karlton Terry, a world renowned baby therapist explains this phenomenon so well in his book, New Parenting Can Change Your World,
“In some cases, adults cry off and on or feel intense anxiety for weeks or months or longer after experiencing trauma. Everyone knows that when there has been a trauma there are consequences: physical and psychological. The physical consequences are usually more obvious, the psychological consequences are unpredictable and diverse, “PTS”, post-traumatic stress. If we can acknowledge that babies suffer from mild to severe PTS after birth, we can help them get through it. Otherwise, if we deny or repress awareness of this malady, they must get through it on their own like most of us did. Little agonies stay stuck inside. Ultimately, millions of unresolved individuals’ woundings get acted out in society as the objectionable aspects of business, politics, and relationships.”
My baby doula services address all of this within the context of your family field. So, I do not just see the baby, I see the parents, the medical staff, extended family, and siblings. I teach the family how to see the baby’s trauma and coach everyone on how to listen empathically to the baby telling their story and sharing emotional and physical pain they suffered during the birth. I create space for accurate empathy to unfold, thereby the baby and family has space to release and drain emotional and physical stress out of the body system, emotional system, and relational system. Contracted ligaments and connective tissues in the face and cranium relax after intense crying, and membranes are cleansed and invigorated. Neural pathways in the brain can release and redistribute after a period of intense crying. Craniosacral fluid in the brain is refreshed and flows more easily.
Baby Doula services offer 6 steps for parents to support their babies with the most compassionate, effective care for their newborn baby:
- Learn about presence—I help coach parents prior to birth about the power and healing of presence with yourself and in relationship with your loved ones. We discuss your own birth and childhood experiences that may be bringing unresolved trauma to your current birth.“The most decisive event in your life is when you discover you are not your thoughts or emotions. Instead, you can be present as the awareness behind the thoughts and emotions.” ~Eckhart Tolle
- Learn Infant Massage—babies need bodywork immediately after birth and the best person to provide frequent healing touch is a parent or family member. Massage of the cranium, abdomen, chin, and neck reduces the intensity of birth compression sites and cranial molding (or lack thereof in the case of C-section). Massage helps babies who have been exposed to Pitocin and pain medications. The tissue manipulation helps stimulate the lymph system and milk the drugs out of the muscle tissue and flush from the body through urine.
- Receive Birth Pathway Presence Education—Birth Pathway Presence is a method developed by Dr. William Emerson, one of the preeminent founders of prenatal and perinatal psychology, to treat the conjunct pathways and compression sites along the baby’s cranium and face that scraped against the mother’s pelvic bones and were compressed by muscle contractions. This subject uncovers the meaning of implicit memory and addresses “Memory Crying”. Babies have three types of cries: Needs Crying, Self-activated Crying, and Memory Crying. Often we categorize memory crying as colic. Implicit memory is referred to as unconscious memory or automatic memory and it is stored in the body during an event that imprints upon the automatic nervous system and is coupled with emotion. “Implicit memory relies on structures in our brain that are fully developed before we are born. Because it’s an unconscious, bodily memory, when it gets triggered in the present, it does not seem like it’s coming from the past. Instead, it feels like it’s happening now. Thus, we react as if we are back in the original situation.” I help those who are caring for the baby to see the conjunct pathways on the baby’s head and face and help them understand what obstacles and forces the baby encountered during their birth journey.
- Finding the most peaceful, non-reactive site along a conjunct pathway—I help caretakers with presence and palpation skills to apply pleasurable pressure along a site on the conjunct pathway where the baby experience spirituality and stillness. This experience creates meditative space for the caretaker and the baby to co-regulate together and experience coherence, peace, joy, and love. Once this has been discovered, a parent can move forward and treat the more reactive sites along the conjunct pathways.
- Exploring how the baby’s crying is making you feel—it’s important to identify a friend or a therapist who can support parents with their own body reactions to their babies’ cries. A baby’s cry will often trigger implicit memories in the parent and can cause unwanted reactions, disassociation or disconnection from their child’s emotional needs. Every one of us carries our own inner child and if we have unresolved trauma or adverse childhood experiences that lend to unmet emotional needs than we often misunderstand what our babies’ needs are in the moment. This reaction can be healed by bringing awareness to your own implicit memories.
- Setting boundaries—I help parents stabilize in their intentions for their baby. Often times, we can merge with another person’s experience or think we are treating trauma in our child, but we are actually projecting emotional states from within ourselves. We want to be accurate in our treatment, but we can also make mistake. Babies are conscious, and they do not care if you make a mistake. Our words organize compassion. By knowing the principles of boundaries, we can be more supportive for our child’s needs.
Babies are the most miraculous gifts, and we are charged to hold and nurture their full potential. The benefits of booking a baby doula are immeasurable. When a baby is supported in this way to form secure, loving attachments and experience compassion first-hand, they can become more deeply connected to their soul and to spirituality. They can grow and care for others and the world in which they live. They are given the gift of human potential and a clear path to carry our their soul’s purpose in this life.