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As some of my readers may know, I have been studying process-oriented bodywork, pre- and perinatal psychology and Tibetan Buddhism for some years now. I have been giving and receiving treatments since 2004, and every day, I am amazed at how many layers there are to plumb the depths of. For instance, I recently received a treatment when the practitioner asked if I was a “forceps baby” – meaning were forceps used to get me out of my Momma? Yes, I was. So I am going to describe what happened next, but first some context.
I have been taking regular classes – at least 60 hours of class time per year since 2005, I have been giving and receiving regular treatments – I need my self-care / bodywork maintenance (!), and I have gone through some intensive birth process workshops and somatic process retreats. So I am probably not a novice anymore, right? I am blessed and yet I make stop-and-go progress which is occasionally frustrating. So this is the context in which I was receiving this most recent treatment.
So yes, I was a forceps baby. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, I’m not an obstetrician, and I am not licensed to practice medicine. So this is just for entertainment purposes or to be used as experiential testimony. After going through some basic listening stations along my body (feet/ leg bones / hip bones / ribs / paired cranial bones, etc) and then checking my sphenoid bone (the bone behind the eyes), she told me that my cranial bones were pretty locked up. I was feeling that. She asked if I wanted to try something. I said sure!
So she asked me to put my hands on my head, above my ears, and then she put her hands on mine. Keep in mind that this practitioner working on me has years of experience and she is certified as a registered craniosacral therapist, and on top of that, she is more of a listener and a healing coach than a “I’m going to fix you” type of practitioner, and that is why my body responds so well to these treatments. I am not recommending this to be tried at home – if you want a treatment like I am describing, you should research who in your area has studied some solid modalities like Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Pre- and Perinatal Psychology, Somatic Experiencing, etc.
Back to the story, her hands were on top of mine, applying very gentle “pressure.” Then she asked me to put all my angst and feelings about those forceps into my hands as I pushed hers away from my head. She recommended I make some sounds. So I did. I grunted and expressed my objection to anyone using a harsh, invasive, powerful force on my malleable baby head. And then we did this another two times, each time I was moaning or groaning or saying “No!” with determination. She resisted my hands a little, so this was not easy.
Then, after the third time, I told her I noticed a small, vulnerable part of me that wanted to cry. She asked where I felt that in my body, and I said I thought it was in my gut. Keep in mind that it is not easy for me to get to this baby part of me. I have done years of work, and yet I think some non-verbal aged trauma (pre-one-year-old) is very difficult to touch and process. So I was amazed at how such a simple exercise could do this.
Then she re-checked my cranial bones and she said I needed to take it easy for the next few hours as my bones had loosened up, but that I might feel wonky for a little while as a result. And sure enough, that afternoon, I could really only do about half an hour of work before I felt a strong need to rest for the same amount of time. It was like a magnetic pull to rest down!
I just want to express my little non-educated opinion on the subject of using forceps. First, I am glad forceps was the “worst” intervention used to get my baby body out of my mother! If a C-section was the next step, I’m glad they used forceps. And apparently, for babies who are sort of “stuck” in the birth canal, the use of forceps can sometimes be forced to be done blind. So I hope my doctor was very skillful!! And I certainly hope doctors are still skillful using this technique today.
With that said, the use of such a strong force on a baby, even if done right is an invasion. Therefore, I think it is necessary to talk to the mother and baby ahead of time – tell them what is coming. And just as importantly, it is necessary to have someone (a nurse, a mid-wife, a doula, etc) present at the birth who understands how to adjust babies’ cranial bones so that they don’t internalize that loss of control. I wanted to make my own way down the birth canal – but after 8 hours of contractions and pushing, the doctors decided things for me.
So there I was at the tender age of Zero, already developing a distrust of doctors, a fear of the medical system and I was already getting my sympathetic (fight-flight-or-freeze) nervous system geared up as I wanted to fight the doctor who had that horrible contraption around my head. BLEHCK!!!! No thank you!
And this is just one trauma that I experienced as a baby. You know, I wonder if this (and other traumas too) is why I do not enjoy celebrating my birth day. I always thought it was because I wanted to be humble or modest, but it might be more than that. Why would I want to remember the most important day of my life when it was marred by complications, mechanical interventions and potentially insensitive doctors? Yeah.
If you have read this far, you might need to take a deep breath. I am fine. Fortunately I have met with teachers and practitioners who know how to help me process all this “stuff.” I have overcome depression and headaches and other issues and I am really doing well. I am healthy and I continue to enjoy plumbing the depths of these psycho-emotional layers of what it is to be a body and be a human. Yay!
Thank you for reading.