Tag Archives for " healing birth trauma "

Healing Your Own Birth and Why it Matters: Guest Podcast Interview

This week I had a fabulous opportunity to be interviewed by friend and mentor, Joel Young, Founder of the NPA Process  and host of the Be a Brilliant Human Podcast and we delved into some great topics surrounding healing your own birth.

It always amazes me how many people have not considered their own birth as a factor in how they choose to birth their children, especially if they have unexplained fears. But it is not just a useful exploration for when you are expecting a child. In this episode I delve into why it matters for all of us, especially now,  and how much our experience us when we were being born may still be impacting us now.

We covered:

  • Why healing your birth experience matters
  • The link between birth trauma and guilt
  • How I help people go back to their birth
  • The unseen effect of post-birth separation from Mother
  • My story of giving birth by instinct alone
  • What it takes to repair birth trauma
  • My Number 1 piece of advice for expectant mothers
  • And more…
  • It was super fun, I hope you enjoy it.

    Letting your soul catch up in the fast paced challenging world of today.

    Stop the Train, I want to get off!

    Anyone else been feeling like this of late, or any time over the last year really?

    I’ve had this feeling a number of times Usually a final small thing, the proverbial straw that broke the camels back comes along and breaks me. It seems there is just too much change, too fast and each time I think things are calming down something else happens.

    This year has been tough on so many and perhaps all of us in one way or another. For some it is complete overwhelm, home schooling children whilst working from home and perhaps with a precarious or reduced family income, whilst recovering from Covid, for others it is total isolation and removal of all their usual support system. For many of us it has been both simultaneously.

    Alongside coping with our various personal situations we are all feeling the collective grief, fear and emotional states. There is so much grief over the loss of all we thought certain and steady, grief for lost loved ones and lost loved activities, fear of death and illness and of more changes and an uncertain future.  There are concerns over moves to a more authoritarian state, polarised opinions and emotions running high. The planet is noisy and everything is shifting fast. 

    It is no wonder we sometimes wish we could just get the train to stop, just for a little while, a little relief.

    Last week I found myself at breaking point again, nothing different really, perhaps a child saying no he sees no reason to tie his laces or come for dinner. Something small. But I found myself yelling internally STOP, enough.  I felt overwhelmed with too many changes too fast, too much information to process and too many things to do.  You may well recognise the scene or something similar, where three children simultaneously yelling for different reasons and yanking at your clothes whilst the door bell rings and the phone also rings and you know there is something else you need to do before a certain time and you can’t hear yourself think and dinner is burning too.

    So if you recognise something of your own situation in this description please read on.

    First, I’d like to tell you a story I heard years ago and have always remembered (no idea who to attribute the story to if you know do drop me a line)

    The basic gist I remember goes like this:

    A group of intrepid mountaineers have planned a trip. They are in the Himalayas and have hired a team of Sherpas to carry their equipment. They have a schedule. They are happy they are making good progress against their timetable. They are making such good time they find themselves two days ahead of schedule and are celebrating the extra time they have. They are looking forwards to their main climb which is still some days away across country. The sun is shining, they are tired but energised and in good spirits.
    Then the next morning their Sherpas sit down and refuse to move. Until now they have cheerfully followed the mountaineers schedule.  But now nothing can persuade them to move another step. Their reason: They have walked too far, too fast. Now their souls need to catch up. They will wait in this spot until they feel their soul has caught up.

    I can picture the surprise and consternation of the Western mountaineers faced with a different mentality and beliefs to their own and I can also feel the truth in what the Sherpas told them.

    And here is how that showed up for me, and what this has to do with our current situation and healing birth trauma.

    When the overwhelm descended last week I booked a session with a colleague.  I opened into the energy of wanting the train to stop so I could get off back and back to its origin. This was not the first time I had felt like this and the original pain was only being triggered by similarities in our current situation to the original situation.  I found myself back as a new born baby. A sensitive empathetic baby who was overwhelmed with the noise and everyday activity of this new world she was born into. The birth had been a big experience for her. The first big transition of her life, where everything was changing and she had no control over her environment and no idea what was going to happen next. Bright lights, talking-  no longer muffled-  from many different, unfamiliar voices, no rhythmic pulsing of her mother’s heart, no comforting feel of the umbilical cord and placenta which is all she had known. The strange sensation of the space around her. It was all just too much at once. Even one of those things would have been a major experience to process.

    I went back just a little to when I was half in and half out of my mother. To the first moment when I kind of knew what was about to happen and I was screaming for more time.  It was happening too fast and was too much to cope with. I wasn’t ready, I needed time.  Time for my soul to catch up.

    In this healing process I was able to ask for this.  It was the most curious feeling. Time literally stopped. As if I had taken a photograph of the moment and then entered and become the photograph.  Yet I was alive and experiencing myself not in this world in a space of stillness and silence. The pause that I had needed. I stayed there and let myself feel supported by the spirit world as my soul caught up and poured itself into my body. I felt my body and soul gradually relax. Time out from the fast and furious pace I had been experiencing in the powerful energy that is birth.

    After a few timeless minutes,  and if you have given birth and experienced the way time can go all kooky then you know what that feels like, I was then ready. The image shifted and the baby me was born, this time she was able to cope with the noise and bright lights. She had the resilience and presence she needed.  She had something I cannot put into words.  A sense of peace and rightness with where she was and what was happening no matter how challenging. The knowledge that she would get through this and it would be ok even if she couldn’t see how or know what would happen. I trusted this feeling and this knowledge.

    This was integrated all the way up to the present day where I am still working my way  through life with Covid restrictions, my business, my family, my dreams, and all of life ahead but once more with peace in my heart, a greater sense of trust in life that everything is working out well, and feeling supported in that.  It makes all the difference especially in these challenging times.

    If this story speaks to you, I suggest first asking your body and your soul if they need time out and time to catch up and if yes plan it into your schedule. Plan some time to do nothing very much, listen to the birds, rest in nature or in your bath tub.

    If you would like to go deeper and explore how your birth experience is impacting on your present day life then please message me to see how I might support you.  I offer 121 healing and support via zoom.

    Guest Post: How to transform your birth experience from the inside out, by Dr. Gulara Vincent.

    Today I welcome writer and law lecturer Dr Gulara Vincent to the BirthEssence Blog with a guest post about how completing unfinished business helped her transform her birth experience.

    ‘Unfinished business’ from the past can block your dreams. I learnt this lesson the hard-way through childbirth, and here’s how my journey began.

    In November 2012, I was attending a Journey reunion in Birmingham. I was really into the Journey, a method of cellular healing developed by Brandon Bays, and these meetings gave me an opportunity to meet other people who knew this method too. We took turns to swap and give each other some free support. Each meeting had a practitioner who told us about their Journey path: what brought them here and how the Journey transformed their lives. As I sat on a chair listening to the speaker that day, I stroked my belly feeling slight movements of my baby. I was 18 weeks pregnant with a long-awaited baby. The speaker’s voice soothed me, and watching her face framed with long dark hair, I softened in response.

    That speaker was Charlotte Kanyi.

    I am not going to recount her story here because it’s hers to tell, but it touched me so much that I approached her during the break and started talking about her business. I had seen her business cards on the stalls during every re-union, and even took it home on one or two occasions, but never dared to speak to her before.

    ‘I have some anxiety around childbirth,’ I said. By then I’d been attending workshops in Stroud to do some ‘birth works’, a process which explored our own birth experience and also explained how birth impacts the child. It was in one of those workshops that the facilitator explained that women who have past sexual trauma may struggle giving birth naturally. The cells remember the invasion and may clamp up in response to the pain caused by a child trying to exit. To me, this was not the time to deal with past sexual trauma. My focus was on delivering my baby into the world, not dwelling on painful memories. It was better left untouched for now, I told myself, even though deep down I was still worried that past trauma can impact my chances of giving birth as naturally as possible.

    ‘I’d like to have a session before I give birth,’ I said to Charlotte tentatively.

    ‘If there’s anxiety, it’s best to clear it sooner than later. You don’t want to carry it throughout your pregnancy because the baby is aware of it too,’ she said.

    Her words made sense, but I didn’t follow her advice on that day.

    Soon enough though, life presented me with plenty more worries. I was classed as ‘high risk’ and a consultant at the Women’s Hospital saw me every two weeks. Each time, he looked for what was wrong. And of course, if you look hard enough, there’s always something to find.

    ‘Your baby’s head is quite big, and this is a big baby,’ the consultant said every time I met him. ‘You may need to deliver via C-section. And there seems to be too much liquid around the baby. We may need to pass tubes through his nose to make sure that his lungs are free and he can breathe properly.’

    The idea of tubes being passed through the nose of my new-born baby was so distressing that I found Charlotte’s card and gave her a call. A few days later, I was sitting on a couch in her front room shaking uncontrollably as an avalanche of memories overwhelmed me. By the end of the session, I felt calmer and more at peace. Miraculously, the next time I saw the consultant, he said that the liquid levels around the baby were normal and there was no need for intervention.

    I started seeing Charlotte regularly. Life kept throwing at me opportunities for distress growth. I was severely traumatised by the intervention of midwives during the induction, and the emergency C-section left me reeling with disappointment. I cried for days after the birth, and all the stress and tension culminated in two painful episodes of mastitis. I worried about everything all the time. The more I worked with Charlotte, the lighter I felt.

    A little over a year later, I was pregnant again. This time, I had no second thoughts about diving in at the deep end to clear any ‘unfinished business’ which could impact my pregnancy and delivery. We worked to clear my past sexual trauma; the trauma caused by my son’s birth; fears around speaking up and standing up for myself when I was at the Women’s Hospital – the list went on and on. I remember vividly the first time Charlotte suggested that I could refuse to follow medical advice and even have a homebirth. Horrified at the idea, I gawked at her ready to run for my life. It took one session to clear that fear, and I came to realise that a home birth was the best option for me. I hired a doula and the home birth team at the Women’s Hospital transformed my experience of the last pregnancy and childbirth – there were no invasive scans with consultants looking for faults. Instead, there was a team of gentle loving women who saw natural birth after C-section as absolutely normal and even desirable. I felt like I had a personal cheering squad and their love and support were healing and nourishing.

    When the big day arrived and I went into labour on the due date, I had a birthing pool in my front room. The birth team came to support me and my husband was there to hold me in the water. My labour was beautiful, almost ecstatic, and although I ended up having another emergency C-section, the birth experience itself was at the opposite end of the spectrum to my son’s birth; I was calm, confident, supported and in control.

    In short, I’m living testament that when we shed off our emotional baggage, our experiences transform. Childbirth is no exception.

    Dr Gulara Vincent is a writer, university law lecturer and a Momentum Mentor for Writers. When not writing or teaching, she helps women writers to release their inner fears and emotional blocks so that they can have a successful writing career.

    You can connect with her at www.gularavincent.com, visit her facebook page or Twitter account @gulara_vincent.

    Breech baby messages: Turning my baby and my birth experience around

    Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash

    This post is a follow on to last week's post on reflections on the meaning of my birth stories. It details some of the deeper meaning for me behind my encounters with the breech position. I won't give any more away.  I invite you instead to read on to discover how my son and his playful positioning supported me on my path to healing and growth.

    Were you ready to give birth? I was asked gently, kindly.

    The answer came in a flood of tears.  'No!' I wailed.

    My heart felt it would burst against my ribcage. The long suppressed pain now released was overwhelming in its intensity. I stayed with it. Waves of grief, loss, anger followed each other. I surrendered fully and lived the emotions as they poured through me. For a few long minutes the painful emotions were all I knew. They were all of my existence as I heard and experienced them fully. Then as they had come they subsided, spent at last.

    I was 34 weeks pregnant and at my last antenatal appointment, a week earlier, my baby was lying breech. As I walked home I felt the red warning flags flying and alarm bells sounding.

    What was I worried for?

    Not as you may think because his choice of position was threatening my natural home birth plans. No! I knew that breech was a variation of normal, I had read Mary Cronk’s paper- Hands off the breech and devoured Ina May’s book Guide to childbirth several times over. I was determined to birth the way I wanted, it just felt so right.

    I had time too. I mistakenly thought at the time that I had only 4 weeks for him to turn to a more favourable position.

    I don’t quite know where I got the idea from but I was under the false impression that babies could no longer physically turn after 37 weeks due to their growing size. I have since heard all kinds of stories of babies turning just before and during labour. This was yet another myth that underestimates the capabilities of us women. Still I thought 4 weeks was a good amount of time in the grand scheme of things.

    I did have a vague sense that I may have a job of persuasion to convince my midwife of that my choice was the right one. I think the way she rolled her eyes, bit her lip and pushed her unspoken words back down into her paperwork when I casually, unthinkingly mentioned that I would not automatically have a caesarean if I was breech that gave me some clue to her view of the subject…! But even this was not what was bothering me.

    So why was I worried given that I knew it was ok for babies to be born topsy turvy, I had a month to turn, and wasn’t too daunted by the difference of opinion with my midwife?

    ‘He is lying breech and I was born breech… I was breech and now he is too…’

    The phrases kept repeating themselves over and over in my mind. On the one hand part of my confidence that he could be born breech came from my own direct experience.

    I totally knew it was possible to be born breech just fine because that was my experience.

    I don’t remember my birth on the conscious every day level of reality but I knew that the memory of my lived experience was informing my confidence as it came to my turn to give birth. Which leads us neatly over to the other hand.

    Had I inadvertently imprinted a bottom first approach and was now repeating history?

    It was slightly confusing and contradictory. I knew it was possible but still wanted to try and change his position to a more usual head down position that I believed would be easier for him, me and my midwives.  I didn't really want a fight with the system but I didn't want to push or force my baby if he was happy. The only way to resolve such conundrums for me is to go within. I  needed to go within to find out and clear the imprinting. Free of the imprinting I would then be able to see clearly along the path of this birth. Then if he chose to be born breech I would know it was a free choice that was beneficial to him in some way.

    Which brings us back to the question at the start of this post. I was half way through the kind of 1:1 session I take my BirthEssence clients through and this question was the breakthrough moment of that process.

    My friend and colleague gently guided me through the process of discovering the cellular memories that were stored in my body and I spontaneously accessed the memory of my birth quite easily. It popped up in my awareness, strong and real. Some details were hazy but the general gist was crystal clear. I was not ready to be born when the doctors assisted my stuck head. I was resisting life with all my might but got pulled out anyway against my will.

    These moments of heightened emotions at such a vulnerable time caused significant imprinting that affected how I related to the world. I saw all the times since that I didn’t feel ready for my life experiences. I saw how often I felt caught in a ‘tug of war’ over which direction to choose; How often I felt frustrated over outside circumstances that seemed to dictate what I should do that I had no control over; How often I felt pressured by others to do things a certain way or by a certain time.

    I also saw the gifts in this birth experience. I had chosen a less common route to be born, one that was not so easy. I wanted to experience things my way, do things differently and explore how that felt. I was learning to be myself no matter what circumstances came my way. I was learning to stand tall and true to me no matter how unconventional that looked and no matter what obstacles I needed to overcome.

    Did I have to experience disempowerment and separation during a birth I found deeply traumatic before I could feel empowered and connected?

    I don’t know all the answers to that but I do know that I found peace that day with my choice and timing of birth circumstances. I healed the pain of not being ready or in control and in so doing two more gifts were revealed to me.

    • Gift Number 1: In choosing a challenging birth for myself I would be motivated and determined to do things differently and follow my own path once more when it came time for me to give birth.  
    • Gift Number 2: Choosing trauma was a step along the way to helping heal birth on a larger scale. I started by healing my own birth experience and followed on by creating different birth experiences in my own family. Now I am sharing what I have learned with you.

    It is my hope that those reading this will be inspired to make peace with and heal the challenging aspects of their own birth.  I hope that even as you realise that a difficult birth experience does indeed shape you just as a peaceful experience does, that it does not have to scar you for life.  I hope to offer a pathway for you to appreciate all parts of your birth story and know that even the painful parts bring you gifts. Gifts that offer you comfort, peace and  ultimately deep insights and wisdom that will serve you, your children and the long term future of humanity.


    In case you are wondering, shortly after that process my son turned. I don’t even know when, it was almost an anti-climax. No drama of fanfare, but at my next appointment the midwife announced he was in the perfect position and there he stayed. You can read more about his birth story here

    My son, one week old at his naming ceremony- which he slept right through!

    Resources for Breech Birth and texts mentioned in the post.

    Here is a list of the resources I mention in the post plus a few extras. If you would like personalised support to clear energetic blocks to helping your baby into an optimal position for birth or to clear trauma from a previous birth experience including your own then please check out my 1:1 Transformation page.  Thank you and enjoy your pregnancy and baby.

    Mary Cronk's wisdom about Breech Birth:  http://www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol10No3/handOffbreech.htm and 


    Some Beautiful photographs of Breech Birth:   http://londonbirthpractice.co.uk/index.php/educational-info/36-home-breech-birth-photo-series.html?start=1

    For optimal positioning:  http://spinningbabies.com/

    Uk based Facebook Support Group for Breech Birth:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/371624862918154/ 

    Inspirational Reading, the book I started with:

    Healing Birth Trauma: Reflections on the meaning of my different birth stories.

    My second son Idrisa at three days old.

    This post was first published on 27th July 2015 as a submission for The Birth Story Project where you can still read it and many other inspiring stories.

    Both my sons were born at home.

    Calm, Serene and blissful; my first son was born still sleeping into a pool and gave a gentle sigh for his first breath, to a delighted audience of four, myself, my husband and two lovely midwives.

    Loud, raucous and exhilarating; my second was born in a hurry on the floor of my shower, crying on arrival for his first breath, to a delighted audience of one, me.

    I began to wonder about these hugely contrasting experiences in a similar starting environment. Was it simply their different personalities shaping the way they came into the world? Their birth, their chosen start to life and me a willing co-creative partner. Certainly each entrance was a perfect fit for what each of my children needed and desired to experience. Still, I felt there was more, I felt that there was also a message for me. What I wondered was my side of the bargain? What was the gift for me in their birth stories?

    Rewind to my own entrance into the world.

    A stark contrast, according to baby me's perception. Born breech, with my mum in the unfortunately all too common recumbent beetle position, pushing against gravity was never going to be easy. My mum and me, we did brilliantly, right until the end when my stuck head needed to be eased out with forceps and I was immediately whisked off to a temporary abode by a sunny window in an incubator.

    Gentle as the doctor was in his assistance, I found the experience to be deeply traumatic. Birth and the first hours immediately after are a potent time for imprinting

    Me, with my mum, one month old.

    I constructed my version of reality around an unfriendly universe, separation, and abandonment. Stripped of my power and any say in what happened to me, I felt truly worthless, unheard and unseen. I doubted my ability to complete any task by myself.

    Of course this was only a short blip in a happy, loving environment. But my expectations were set: Life is hard, People take over against your will, maybe you couldn't have done it anyway. Better not try.

    As an adult I have been gradually unpicking, unravelling and replacing this subconscious programming.

    As free as I became, on the approach to my second son's birth I felt my foundations shaking. I was terrified. I didn't know if I could do it. It didn't matter that I knew consciously that women are made for birth, that it is an entirely natural physiological function performed without drama by every other mammal in the animal kingdom. Or even that I had already done it once. There remained a persistent doubt.

    Hold on a minute I hear you question? You've skipped to your second? Shouldn't the terror have come up with the first?

    Well it did to a point. But as I have discovered the universe is pretty friendly, especially when you ask for help. During my first pregnancy fears surfaced and were released. I dug deep and cleared out all the blocks and conditioning I could find. I felt confident. I was rewarded by a delightful birth experience. I was on top of the world. I had done it!

    So why the extreme terror during my second pregnancy?

    The answer was revealed to me in my ongoing growth and transformation as a confident woman that threads through my adult life and two birth stories. My first birth experience was my first opportunity to really embody confidence deeply into my cells. The first visceral, lived in the body proof that I was not worthless and a failure as a woman. That actually I was an amazing and powerful woman.

    My first son Younusa, at 5 months old

    However, having achieved one birth with assistance, (albeit rather hands off assistance, limited to one respectful and consented to vaginal examination and two giggling midwifes lit up by their head torch peering through the ripples of the pool to tell me of my progress.) I still didn't know if I could do anything on my own.

    Step two along the path was learning that I could.

    And I needed a different experience to fulfil that. One I could not foresee or second guess. My second son's birth perfectly met that need and put paid to the remnants of lingering doubt of capabilities as a woman.

    I can pinpoint the shift in my being, to the last stages of the birth. At the time I was still, with some delusion, telling myself the labour journey had only just begun. We had planned a water birth for him too and the pool was to be my husband's main responsibility...

    "I want the pool and there is no pool" I roared. Dimly aware that trotting off to move furniture and make space for the pool was no longer the best use of my husband's loving support at that moment, I was already too far gone for ordinary communication. But that roar of frustration released my agenda for the pool and something else took over. I knew and finally admitted to myself what my husband was as yet sweetly unaware. This baby was coming right now.

    I retreated to the shower with a vague thought; warm water, nice. All my focus and energy was on the task at hand. Just me and my baby, cocooned in the shower cubicle and all else ceased to exist. I was no longer focused outwards, checking externally if what I was doing was correct. I was no longer handing over responsibility blindly to someone I perceived as more qualified and competent than me. Failure wasn't an option. Of course I was not thinking in these terms. I was barely even thinking at all in fact. I was living my experience of birth in communion with my son. And in the crucial final stages I did it alone.

    The imprint of disempowerment exploded against my shower floor as my baby was born in a sudden whoosh of amniotic fluid.

    I brought him smoothly round through my legs and sat down laughing in total euphoria at the enormity of the moment and at the expression on my husband's surprised face as he came running to my summons.

    I did it alone. No assistance needed. Nothing.

    There is still a delighted young girl skipping around inside me going, "Look, look everyone, look at what I did, you didn't know I could do that, did you?" and, "See, see," she says to the doctors who helped me be born, "I can do it after all."

    My next step on the road? Well I don't know if there will be a third child or not, but I do know that my exploration of personal confidence is leading me to a place where I am so confident that even though I know I can do it alone, I no longer need to. That place is filled with laughing women in community and support, and in that place I am truly home.