How birth trauma is shaping your personality, your health and your relationships

Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness, Traumas, Birth Traumas

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Leading practitioners in the arena of birth psychology believe that how we are born – whether it is free from trauma or not – can play a key role in our subsequent development, our personality, our health and our relationships. Birth traumas cause our nervous system to be fixated on the pain, leading to physical and mental illnesses. Freeing these traumas allows our mind-body to heal.
Henry Lee Lucas was responsible for the death of his mother when in an argument they fought and he slashed her with a knife, but more than that, he was also hailed as the most prolific serial killer ever known in America. Though hundreds of cases were later attributed to him, he was convicted of 11 homicides for which he died later in prison at the age of 64.

The life of serial killers had been examined in depth by the media and one of the most strongly consistent patterns is a history of head trauma and head injuries, and a significant number of them occurred during birth. Henry Lee Lucas was only one of many serial killers who suffered birth trauma in the form of a head injury. In fact, neurological evidence seems to suggest that there is an abnormal electro-chemical process in the brain caused by head injury which is responsible for the ritualized behavior shown by serial killers. Researcher Dominique LaPierre believed that the prefrontal cortex, the most developed brain, seem to malfunction and was overridden by the primitive brain which is impulse and aggression-driven. Markku Timonen and colleagues, in 2001 study, studied over 10,000 people in Northern Ireland and found that any traumatic head injury increase the risk of mental disorders by two-fold, with a particular emphasis on higher criminal behavior.

Of course, it is a far stretch of imagination that our own birth could have led to pathological traits as extreme as that. But these researches do point to the possible wide-spread effects that our own birth trauma could have shaped our personality, our health as well as our relationships.

In fact, leading practitioners in the arena of birth psychology have already concluded that the birth event is the most critical trauma that shapes our subsequent life experiences. For example, Otto Rank, a disciple of Freud, wrote The Trauma of Birth in 1924 and attributed all psychosomatic issues to birth trauma.

Whether birth trauma can be as severe as what it is made out to be is determined very much by whether a fetus already has awareness of its environment and can feel pain. Daniel Siegel, M.D., found that the limbic brain which is involved in memory storage is already fully developed by the time of birth, yet many medical practitioners and laymen still believe that a fetus comes in without awareness.

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In fact, leading practitioners in the arena of birth psychology have already concluded that the birth event is the most critical trauma that shapes our subsequent life experiences. For example, Otto Rank, a disciple of Freud, wrote The Trauma of Birth in 1924 and attributed all psychosomatic issues to birth trauma.

Whether birth trauma can be as severe as what it is made out to be is determined very much by whether a fetus already has awareness of its environment and can feel pain. Daniel Siegel, M.D., found that the limbic brain which is involved in memory storage is already fully developed by the time of birth, yet many medical practitioners and laymen still believe that a fetus comes in without awareness.

During the carrying term, the baby believes that all emotions experienced by the mother are that of itself. Hence, any emotional stress experienced by the mother can adversely affect the developing fetus. Even as early as 1934, Dr Sontag and Wallace found the baby registered higher heart and respiratory activity when the mother was being chased by her psychotic husband. Some of the adult complexes can actually be traced back to emotions experienced by the mother while the fetus is in the womb.

At the moment of birth, the human baby, with its disproportionately large head due to the size of the human brain, has to be born through a narrow birth canal as the woman cannot have too wide a pelvis for standing upright. In fact, the human baby is the only species on this planet where the baby rotates from head up to head down at full term in order to be born. As such, birth is both a difficult and painful process for both mother and child. All sorts of things can happen during birth – the umbilicus cord can encircle the neck, the head can be pressed against the wall with too much force, oxygen deprivation, etc.

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If a birth trauma happens intensively enough, the nervous system can be permanently fixated on that trauma. During birth, a fetus experiences some of the most excruciating pain that it would ever experience in her life. In fact, almost no babies come out unscathed, the difference in the traumas experienced being only a matter of degree.

Dr Stanislav Grof, founder of holotropic breathwork, devoted his life to healing birth trauma using the power of rebirthing – a technique in which a patient consciously uses breath to release stored traumas in the body. He found that artwork that were created during rebirthing sessions of their birth bear strong resemblance to artwork describing war trauma from around the world. Therefore, he believed that trauma during birth imprint the individual to acts of violence, crime and war, and why we as a human race seem to keep perpetuating our cycle of self-destruction. As the story of Henry Lee Lucas demonstrated, his birth trauma could have even predisposed him to a life of a cold-hearted murderer.

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The release of traumas during birth is a key component of our healing focus. Miss Universe may seek world peace. Perhaps the solution is already within sight – a healthy birth free of trauma, or a healing of our birth trauma!

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