Abstract: Isolation experienced during the foundational period from preconception through early infancy affects core imprinting. Attachment and embodiment issues are central to core isolation since it affects our achievable levels of presence, and therefore how deeply we can connect. Prenates, born babies, children, and adults show us that no matter what their issue, or at what stage it occurred in their creation journey, core isolation is common. Core isolation is a relational wound from which we can heal to emerge more fully into presence, connection and embodiment. It is preventable by consistently and lovingly parenting babies much earlier, ideally from preconception.
Keywords: Core Isolation, attachment, embodiment, parenting, consciousness
From preconception through early infancy we are developing our somatic, emotional, physiological, and spiritual foundation in relationship. Decades of research in bonding and attachment inform us of the importance of nurturing by caregivers, and the consequences that result when they are absent, literally or figuratively (Bowlby, 1982; Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus, 1995). When we experience isolation—feel disregarded, neglected and alone—during this period, it can become a deep issue that is entwined in our fundamental core self. Ann Weinstein states, “From the perspective of prenatal and perinatal psychology, an individual’s earliest experiences from conception through the postpartum period play an especially significant role in the imprinting of core beliefs and . . . in the shaping of enduring response patterns over the life span” (p16).
Our core self has been defined by Narvaez (2014) as “a primal visceral-somatic representation of the self-as-body in the world” (p. 58). Who we think we are, how we perceive ourselves as worthy and deserving of love, whether we feel safe in the world are all concepts that are shaping our core sense of beingness.
Core isolation occurs prenatally in societies that don’t parent their babies from preconception onwards because they are not perceived as sentient or conscious. Narvaez (2014) states, “Sadly, modern childbirth, child care, and social systems appear at times to isolate children” (p. 322). Isolation and separation appear to be routine after medical birthing, but can also be experienced by a prenate emotionally and energetically in utero. When trauma or other stressors occur during the formative period, accompanied by an absence of attuned and empathic parenting, core isolation can create an additional component in the somatic and energetic imprinting of the baby. Those somatic, emotional and energetic impressions, often referred to as imprints (Janov, 1983) can be carried for a lifetime, or until a therapeutic relationship provides the repatterning and healing necessary for the restoration of a healthy core self.
Core isolation is very common because unborn babies are not widely perceived as conscious and sentient (Chamberlain, 2013; Verny, 2002), and are therefore not normally actively parented during the foundational period. This lack of relationship and connection can lead to core isolation, which itself becomes another factor in existing stress, trauma and challenge. Core isolation can also lead to attachment issues because it affects our ability to receive love and connection, and to be present, when we are so deeply, internally isolated.
In his book The Developing Mind (1999), Siegel states, “repeated experiences become encoded in implicit memory as expectations and then as mental models or schemata of attachment, which serve to help the child feel an internal sense of what John Bowlby calls a ‘securebase’ in the world” (p. 67). Our minds, our perceptions of ourselves, form by means of interpersonal connections. Core isolation may be entwined within our core imprinting if there was a lack of consistent connection in the foundational period.
Core isolation is preventable when we are parented from the preconception period with empathic, consistent, authentic, connected parenting. Early parenting of this nature has the added benefit of mitigating early trauma and creates a much earlier secure attachment relationship. Core isolation sits deep in the heart of our prenatal core self and can be touched and healed when loving, conscious contact is made with a prenate, an unborn baby or the baby within born babies, children, and adults. Gently transforming core isolation is a consistent and necessary component in therapeutically healing prenatal trauma and environmental challenges, and facilitates deeper embodiment and presence.
Unable to Feel Connected
In a state of core isolation, we can feel as if our most vital self is hiding in a dark cave within, waiting for someone to come and get us, while we quietly and desperately yearn for a connection that never seems to reach us. It can feel like, “This is just how I am,” or, “This is just how it is,” when, in fact, core isolation is about something that either happened to us, or most likely didn’t happen when and how it was needed. We all have a need to belong and feel connected, even if we are not consciously in touch with that need. Many of us were conceived by unconscious, disconnected parents who were stressed, anxious, carrying unresolved trauma, and/or were not ready to be parents. In addition, we may not have been welcomed, wanted, or planned so we have, at our core, feelings of isolation that are coupled with beliefs, often mistaken, such as:
There is isolation inherent in each of these beliefs, caused, and influenced, by our environment (parents/family-of-origin/ancestry), our own experiences, and cultural practices regarding prenatal, birthing and born babies, which unconsciously creates core isolation. E.g. prenate’s are not real people, parenting doesn’t begin until after birth, babies don’t remember anything, let them cry it out, you can spoil a baby with too much attention, they need their own bedroom, raise them to be independent etc. These multi-layered influences create deep, somatic, and often debilitating beliefs that are all too common and that can transform when they are deeply and somatically understood, embraced and safely witnessed in the presence of another.
When we have core isolation imprinting, we can feel a strong and natural yearning to connect with others. We may have loving people around us, but are unable to feel the love touch us deep inside. It can feel as if there is something between us and others that prevents us from receiving what is available. Core isolation can prevent us from perceiving that there is love here for us, because we can’t feel it. We can heal and transform core isolation with professional pre- and perinatal support. We need help because core isolation is a relational wound and relational wounds require relational healing within a safe, somatic therapeutic relationship.
During the foundational period both the loving and the more challenging experiences go very deep, forming our core on all levels. Our core imprinting can be re-patterned to a certain extent; it can become more integrated, and we can grow new internal resources for healthy self-care. Foundational experiences are not stored in our cognitive mind, but are somatic imprints (physiological/energetic/emotional/soul memories) imprinted into our very fiber, affecting our psychophysiology. When we are triggered into an early imprint it can feel as if it’s truly happening in present time, when in fact we are actually experiencing something from our earliest developmental period. Early imprints manifest on the soul, spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical and relational levels. Their profound influence remains largely unconscious unless we have been fortunate enough to have conscious parents, or enough support to remember and integrate our whole selves.
The Baby Within
We all have a baby within who remembers their creation journey; I will refer to that inner baby as the Little One. Little Ones, unborn babies and born babies all want to feel connected and welcomed. They want to be lovingly held and heard with attunement because they are conscious and sentient. Loving contact supports healthy development, integration of experiences, and the feeling that we are held in love and the warmth of connection. The Little One, unborn, and born babies will be referred to here as The Collective Baby because they all have the same need for love and connection. We have a blueprint inside that provides us with a natural impulse towards health and connection, balance, integration and presence right from our earliest beginnings. Babies and children are continually communicating to us about their needs to be heard, held and to return to balance and health; they speak in a non-verbal language that adults need to learn.
Causes of Core Isolation
The most fundamental cause of core isolation is the widespread lack of parenting in the foundational period, beginning in preconception, due to limited understanding about early consciousness in prenate’s and babies. Conscious early parenting would ideally include consistent, authentic connection throughout the foundational period. Prenatal trauma and challenge are exacerbated by core isolation. Core isolation is a significant component in prenatal imprinting because conscious, sentient prenatal babies are not held in a loving, aware welcoming relational field. Early secure attachment mitigates trauma and stress and prevents core isolation.
A challenging womb, or a traumatic event, experienced alone – without conscious connection to a parent – can cause us to struggle or need to find a way to adapt to stress and/or trauma. Early challenges during which there was no support and connection are isolating because we went through them alone. Other factors can cause, or add to, isolation such as an overwhelming event or environment which disconnects us and leaves us feeling alone. In the womb we find astonishing ways to use our limited resources to survive trauma, stress and challenges. These kinds of experiences can hold deep inside of us and can absolutely be transformed at any time afterwards. Many communities and cultures are unaware of how conscious and sentient babies are, and this is creating disconnection between us and our babies, and between us and our own soul consciousness.
Babies need love and support long before we can look into their eyes and hold them in our arms at birth. The Collective Babies are talking to us constantly, in their own non-verbal language, about what they have experienced, are currently experiencing, and what they need. It’s our task to learn how to listen to them, and to parent them earlier. In earlier parenting, we provide a consistent presence during preconception for the soul baby, and for the prenatal baby, during their necessary creation journey experiences so that they feel supported and connected. We are not attempting to change, or prevent, what needs to happen or to make everything perfect. The intention is to be present and connected, and to acknowledge and support consciousness.
Everyone has a need to tell their creation story and to be heard deeply. This is a natural and necessary need; being heard in connection helps us to integrate our experiences and feel a sense of belonging. We need to be included, loved and seen during this most extraordinary and foundational time of life when we are learning about people, the planet, relationships, safety, sexuality and what to expect here. We need conscious early parenting. This means being welcomed, invited, loved and included from preconception.
Isolation is an unnatural state because we are fundamentally all about connection. There are many isolated Little Ones inside born babies, children and adults who haven’t been truly seen and heard, nor had a chance to unwind from stress or trauma that happened early in their lives. It is currently normal for parents un the USA, Canada and Europe to be completely unaware of the preconception and prenatal experiences their child has been through. This can make it difficult for them to understand why their baby/child is unhappy, struggling or traumatised. What is happening to us as unborn and newborn babies and children that is causing so much enduring isolation? Core isolation can be a symptom of something that:
Early trauma can be integrated and healed, supporting us to land more fully in our Soul Body. Healing can happen before birth and at any time after birth, although the earlier, the better.
Specific Causes of Core Isolation:
An Absence of Early Parenting, Connection, Love, and Welcome
The foundational preconception through early infancy period is an epic time in which, as a soul, we enter into our creation journey and move towards a new family, primarily to have an embodied experience. In addition, we are often motivated by a more personal sense of purpose. At conception, we begin to enter into the physical realm as we grow our physical body, simultaneously occupying space inside of our mothers’ Soul Body.
Adversity and lack of connection during our creation journey can disconnect us from our soul’s purpose, which can cause our presence here to feel pointless and frustrating, as well as isolating. An absence of mirroring and attunement of our soul’s embodiment journey from Source through preconception, conception, our time in the womb, and birth affects whether we want to be here or not, our sense of belonging, and our achievable level of presence/embodiment. When our soul consciousness, emotions, and spiritual life remain unacknowledged during our creation journey, it can cause a deep sense of isolation for us, especially if there has been some difficulty, or even trauma.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Other Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART)
How we are conceived has an impact on our experience of core isolation as well. Our awareness of our baby’s consciousness always, no matter how we bring them into life, is crucial for the prevention of core isolation, reduction of adverse imprinting, and the nurturing of secure attachment.
Two central challenges in IVF are that parents are physically absent for much of the conception, and the conception happens outside of the mother’s body, which has implications for embodiment. Conception is usually a private inside-out experience in which the egg and sperm know how to meet and create on the inside of the mother’s body. There is a lot of outside-in activity in the IVF process, such as when a doctor removes the eggs, inserts the conceptus, puts the sperm and egg together, chooses which conceptus is suitable, etc. There is also a cast of other characters involved in the IVF process, such as lab technicians, other medical staff, etc.
Traumas and Stressors
Any traumatic or stressful preconception or prenatal event, a challenging prenatal environment, and/or a difficult birth can leave us feeling isolated at our core if those events stay unresolved or unacknowledged. In addition, those imprints become places around which we constellate developmentally. Each developmental building block is affected by the unresolved imprints, impacting attachment outcomes, our level of presence in our lives, and our ability to feel or receive love, or to connect deeply.
Stress and trauma disconnect us from ourselves and make it harder for us to land in our new life, body, and family. We may feel isolated and disoriented and wonder why we are here. Perhaps we feel a deep longing that is hard to understand until we look at how our journey into this life disconnected us from ourselves, our body and from others who were here waiting to love us. Disconnect and overwhelm make it almost impossible for us to receive the love that is here for us. Unresolved and challenging Source to preconception experiences can be exacerbated by later prenatal trauma, family of origin dynamics, and our parents’ unresolved traumas.
Separation and Disruption During and after Birth
98.4% of babies in the U.S.A. are born in hospitals (MacDorman and Declercq, 2020). Many early imprints come from outside-in disruption of the natural rhythms of the mother/baby dyad by medical staff, protocols, structures, birth interventions such as drugs, forceps, vacuum extraction, induction, routine separation at birth, premature cutting of the umbilical cord, and much more.
We are totally dependent on our primary caregivers and are wired to know instinctively that without them we will not survive. Consequently, routine separation of babies from their mothers in hospital births can feel life-threatening for babies and at minimum increases their cortisol (stress hormone). Routine removal of the baby for washing and other procedures in-hospital may cause unnecessary stress and disruption for both parents and babies. We need to stay with our mother, and/or other parent, at all times especially in the first ‘sacred hour’ after birth (Phillips, Raylene, MD). Disruptions to the natural birthing process can be stressful for the birthing dyad, often causing disconnection both during and afterwards. Babies can dissociate to manage the overwhelming experience of separation, which often happens without explanation, inclusion, or negotiation with baby. Separation is often overwhelming, and when we are in overwhelm we are not in a receptive state and are unable to receive the good that is available.
Prevention of Core Isolation
Earlier Parenting & Attachment
Prevention of core isolation can be achieved by parenting from the preconception period onwards. A two-way connection with our baby, in which we can listen to their experiences and needs and communicate with them, is crucial to create a secure, safe relational field. Secure attachment in the foundational period also mitigates trauma, stress, disruption, and challenge. Early parenting also makes it possible to repair any breaches in the attachment relationship, which can prevent later relational issues.
Prevention of core isolation happens through authentic, loving relationships and strong healthy attachment and bonding as early as possible. Conscious, authentic parenting means that we are in connection with what is really happening and we are talking to baby about what is real in our lives. Attuning to our unborn babies, honing our intuition, listening to our dreams and intuition during preconception and pregnancy as parents, and being open to connection with our unborn baby, invites our baby to feel connected, welcomed, and wanted. Parenting our children needs to happen much earlier than has previously been understood. Staying present to incoming souls when something during their creation journey, or within their new family, is challenging becomes easier when there is already an established attachment; this is the essence of conscious early parenting. In connection, we can help our children to feel held, and to heal.
Presence and Connection during IVF or Other Forms of ART
Parents can hold consciousness and be energetically present during IVF and ART when they are unable to be physically present. I suggest that parents request to be physically present for sperm and egg collection and for the actual conception. If this is not possible, parents can connect with, and prepare, their soul baby before conception and stay in contact with them throughout the process. It particularly helps if parents stay connected and grounded with each other in their love, sexuality and intentions for having and welcoming a child, particularly during the collection of eggs, sperm, and the actual conception (Melton, 2013).
Connection During Birth and Postpartum
A labouring mother and baby need quiet and intimacy. They need respectful and consistently-present attendants with no agenda except to support the dyad and family in their own timing and experience, and to provide medical care only if absolutely necessary. Both the birthing parents and baby need to be trusted, respected, and empowered and to have their primary connection supported at all times. They need to be put in the center of birthing, and treated as the conscious, sentient beings they are. Babies are having their own experience at all times.
Parents and their chosen birth attendants can include baby throughout with empathy, connection, and by sharing information about what is happening, what is going to happen, and that they will see their parents again soon if there needs to be a separation. Babies are working hard to be born and they have their own needs, timing, pacing and agendas. Slowing down and taking time to make decisions can be crucial for listening to, and respecting, the birthing dyad. Birthing parents can seek empowering support from midwives and doulas working from an attachment-based model. Birthing at home may also be a very good solution to avoiding many of the issues that may happen in well-meaning hospital birthing.
If birthing in a hospital, many medical procedures can be carried out with baby in the arms of a parent, preferably skin-to-skin. In this way, attachment, safety, gentleness, consciousness, and calmness are paramount, instead of procedures, schedules, and technology. If a baby must be separated from their mother at, or after, birth, this can be communicated to baby by the parents with slow pacing and information about what is happening. One of the parents can stay with baby.
After birth, the ideal place for baby is skin-to-skin on their mother’s chest, which is designed to respond to the baby’s temperature (Phillips 2013). Parents should be able to discover for themselves what their newborn’s sex is, and not be given this information by medical staff. All non-emergent hospital procedures could be carried out with baby on the parent, or in contact with them, for example, during weighing or cleaning. Any separation needs to be slowed down and negotiated by the parents first, including the cutting of the umbilical cord. Routine hospital procedures should never take priority over the healthy connection needs of the birthing dyad.
Birthing trauma can be a repeat of the birthing parent’s own unresolved birth experiences and/or trauma. The intergenerational repeat of early trauma is preventable when it’s made conscious by the parents, and healed if necessary, before birthing. Conscious early parents can prepare for birthing during the preconception and prenatal period by looking at their own birth imprinting to determine if it will cause disruptions to their birthing plans and intentions.
Parenting Our Born Babies and Children
Born babies speak to us somatically through crying, showing us their feelings through their eyes, demonstrating the level of presence they can achieve, in their movements and postures, and in sharing energy, sounds, movements, postures, a variety of cries, and emotions. Children are able to process their experiences and feelings and tell us their womb/birth stories through play and hands-on body-centered support (attuned touch, cranial sacral, tracking their nervous system and observing how they are handling transitions, etc.). Play and exchange of energy is the natural language of children. Babies and children seek balance, healing, and health and are constantly seeking listening, empathy and support from us because they need our help to feel heard and present. Parents can learn to listen underneath their child’s behavior; this is where the deeper information resides and they can truly hear about, and support, their child’s core issues. Learning how to listen to our babies and children, and supporting them to come into wholeness, is imperative for health and satisfying connection with others throughout life, and for the integration of early imprinting.
Adults can connect with and listen to their own Little One (baby within) if they want to understand more deeply what is truly driving their lives, to reconnect with their soul’s purpose, and to have more choice in living, relating, and parenting. Conscious early parents benefit from getting support to look at their own early imprints, dynamics, attachment styles and trauma so that they can heal and transform foundational imprints before, or during, pregnancy. This early healing work, and internal consciousness raising, can prevent parents from unconsciously repeating their own early imprints when they step into parenthood.
Transformation of Core Isolation
For wholeness, balance, and presence we need to be heard, held, and seen. The impact of any challenging experiences on the journey into being are mitigated by the continuity of a loving, consistent relationship with authentic parents. Feeling met somatically, and as a soul, are important because we are primarily a soul having an embodied experience.
Pre-conception, conception, pre- and perinatal and birth traumas can be healed and integrated with trained pre- and perinatal practitioners who understand how to heal and integrate early imprinting with babies, children, and adults. Making contact with isolated Collective Babies must be carefully and gently negotiated, at their pace. (deleted rest of prior sentence) Acknowledgement of what was missing back then, how it felt to be so isolated, and repair of the early lack of connection can take place as a secure connection is nurtured with the Little One.
Transformation of core/early trauma is possible for all ages through attuned, empathic somatic and relational support that integrates early trauma and shock and listens to the Collective Babies. While a trained practitioner is usually the best option, conscious, mindful parents can also be effective in helping their children with loving empathy and deep listening. Family work can be very beneficial for this kind of healing too, and imprints can have an intergenerational component.
When adults reconnect with their Little One, they can learn more about their creation journey and what may need support and integration. Reconnecting with our soul consciousness can put us back in touch with Source and with our purpose on the planet at this time, with this family. We can cultivate our felt-sense by connecting with our Soul Body, which also helps us to ground, center, and further embody. Through our Soul Body we can know where we are in ourselves. “Even when you are not consciously aware of it, the felt-sense is telling you where you are and how you feel at any given moment”, (Levine, P & Frederick Ann). For example, when triggered, we are mostly in a younger part of ourselves that has its own distinct physiology. Listening to our Soul Body continually gives us the information we need to choose to come back to the present and feel resourced and centered in our adult self. Our Soul Body is our deepest and most important resource in all aspects of life, especially in parenting.
When the people who matter most to us can meet our Little One’s need to be heard and to telltheir story, we can feel more deeply connected to ourselves, and to those who listened and got it. When disruptions are met with love, gentleness and authenticity, they can be healed. Babies and children know when someone is open and listening to them at the deeper level of soul and creation, and they will share their experiences, feelings, and story in their own language. When sitting with a newborn, or unborn baby, hold an open and curious space for the epic journey they have taken to get here from Source to this point in their life. Watch, wait, and listen and expect to be amazed.
Healing, connection, love, and empathy transform isolation into deep connection, both inside (feeling more connected to self/body/emotions/Source) and outside (feeling connected to others, life). Bringing our understanding that babies are conscious to our parenting makes room for them to show up more. Babies and children settle into themselves when their journey into life is heard in combination with somatic support. They become more present, embodied and calm with eyes wide open and ready to connect and receive.
Following are two case studies to illustrate core isolation and transformation. All names and identifying information have been altered to protect the identities of the individuals involved, and permission was given for personal material to be used.
James: An Adult Whose Little One Needed Support
James was having marital difficulties with his husband, who was constantly complaining that James was unable to show up emotionally, or to share his inner life. He also felt James didn’t take responsibility for anything, and that he avoided intimacy. In a somatic session James touched into deep feelings of isolation that connected him to his time in the womb when he sensed that his mother was struggling and low on resources. His response to her lack of emotional and physical resources and support was to feel that he must take care of her or he wouldn’t make it. This dynamic also expressed itself in his need to please her.
With his focus on caring for his mother, James left himself out emotionally, and his mother was also unable to make any room for his emotional life in their relationship. When we feel our mother doesn’t have enough resources or support, if she’s not thriving and is perhaps is in survival mode herself, we can respond by trying to make up for her deficits. This is a clever and common prenatal survival strategy – simply put we won’t survive if our mother doesn’t so we are compelled to respond for our own survival. James’s prenatal survival imprinting continued throughout his childhood and his mother fed into this dynamic by inappropriately talking to him about all of her troubles and woes.
This was way too much for little James to manage. He didn’t have the resources to support an adult, especially one on whom he was dependent. Both of his parents were very isolated people; there was an ancestral history of isolation, emotional immaturity and of not asking for support. James’s role in the family was to please his mother so he would survive. His Little One continued to feel that if he didn’t take care of his mother, he wouldn’t make it and this continued to be his default strategy as an adult.
In his sessions James connected with his Little One and began to listen. He realized that his Little One had been in charge of trying to do the adult job of taking responsibility for his husband’s happiness, emotional wellbeing, and even his professional life. His Little One was working so hard without the resources to do these big adult jobs, which was exhausting. James habitually and unconsciously excluded his own needs and emotional life in all of his relationships, inadvertently maintaining his core isolation and survival imprinting. We connected with James’s Little One and discovered that he felt profoundly isolated and was whimpering in a dark, cold corner feeling exhausted and totally unseen. With support, James negotiated coming into loving empathic contact with his Little One, who immediately liked receiving the love and attention. James felt his whole heart area open up and was engulfed by a feeling of bliss. As soon as we make contact with an isolated Little One we are transforming their isolation. It’s important that contact with Little Ones is negotiated with empathy, gentleness, love, slow pacing and great respect, and that we understand they may take some time to connect with us adults, especially if they had a challenging time with an adult ‘back then’.
This was the beginning of a beautiful new relationship between James’s adult self and his Little One—a growing internal attachment relationship. This new internal attachment was gradually freeing James’s Little One from many years of being alone, isolated, and working hard on jobs that were too big for him. His core isolation was coupled with low resources in his mother that caused a survival response in James. Prenatal survival strategies require careful work with a trained practitioner.
As James nurtured his relationship with his Little One, he gradually shifted the burden of being the caretaker away from his Little One and onto his adult self, as he developed new internal resources that enabled him to include his own needs and feelings in relationships. His Little One eventually let go of needing to take care of everyone for fear he wouldn’t survive, and allowed adult James to manage his life and relationships. End
One of the great advantages of conscious early parenting from preconception is that we can prevent core isolation in the foundational period. The roots of core isolation are deep and in our day-to-day lives can remain untouched even by our intimate others. We’re not creating isolation in our babies on purpose; most of us simply unconscious about the existence of early consciousness and sentience, our own and that of others. Many of us have no idea what babies really need, nor do we know how to listen to them because we have not been heard ourselves at that level.
I recommend that parenting begin a year before conception with a preparation phase that includes establishing a two-way connection with a soul baby. We are primarily souls having an embodied experience. McCarty (2012), in proposing a more Integrated Model for pre- and perinatal psychology (PPN) states, “The most important ground upon which to build the Integrated Model is the fundamental wisdom that our primary nature is as conscious, sentient, non-physical beings that exist prior to and beyond physical human existence. She goes on to say that “The most powerful themes echoed throughout the PPN literature are the myriad unfortunate-to-tragic repercussions from the denial or lack of understanding of our sentient spiritual nature and our sensitive-aware human nature.” (p62).
Earlier support and parenting are crucial for us to have a coherent sense of ourselves as conscious souls embodying. Connection with already embodied conscious others who are able to acknowledge, embody and nurture our divinity can help us to feel more at home in ourselves and with our dear Mother Gaia. Our blueprint naturally inclines us towards wholeness, health and balance and needs support during the creation journey. To be present and receive the love that’s here for us, connection, safety and welcome are important during the foundational period.
Matt: A Newborn Who Needed Support
Five-week-old Matt and his parents came into my office looking very frazzled. This was their first baby and Matt had been screaming and crying inconsolably the whole time he was awake, ever since his birth. His parents were at their wits end and extremely sleep deprived. Matt had been conceived through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I held Matt facing me with one hand under the back of his neck and the other holding his sacrum. I tuned in and stayed totally open to hearing what he wanted to share. Inside I was saying, “You can tell me about anything,” – sometimes I may say that aloud to a baby or child.
Matt looked very unhappy, his eyes looked very boggy and watery even though he wasn’t crying. He was looking up and to his right as if he had a connection with someone up there that was upsetting him. I have seen this look many times in babies; it’s as if their energy is going out and up towards someone “up there” and simultaneously they’re trying to land in their body. I sensed much grief and longing in Matt as I wondered if he had lost a companion on the way in. I asked the parents if there had been another one with him in the womb. Their story unfolded as they shared that before the assisted conception the doctor had chosen and inserted another embryo with Matt to support his chances of survival. The brothers were placed in the womb together and they both implanted. The parents had wanted one baby but welcomed both boys on receiving the news they had both implanted.
Later in the first trimester Matt’s brother did not survive, and as a newborn he was sharing with us how bereft he felt at the loss of his sibling. This had been a very challenging process and he felt a lot of grief. Often with the loss of a twin it’s hard for the survivor to fully embody and get present because part of their energy is going out towards the one who left. Unresolved grief and loss can also make it hard to be present. Matt had been alone with his grief and loss since his brother left. No one knew how much it was affecting him back then and throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, so deep isolation was added to an already challenging experience. When all of the dynamics in the conception and Matt’s feelings were acknowledged by his parents, he, for the first time in the session, turned his head and looked me straight in the eyes. His eyes no longer looked boggy and he was very present.
Matt’s inconsolable crying stopped completely for the whole of the following week. We had two more sessions in which we helped him with other aspects of the In-Vitro Fertilization process that were very hard for him and he has been doing great ever since.
Take a moment to imagine what it may have been like for Matt to hold that huge experience and all those big feelings on his own for several months in the womb. It was way too much to bear alone and could have resulted in lifelong core isolation, and other issues, if his parents hadn’t sought help for their family.
The ideal scenario for Matt would have been that his parents were aware from preconception that he was conscious and sentient and was having his own experience. They would have been able to parent him through his I.V.F. conception and the loss of his brother. Being parented through our creation journey doesn’t mean that there won’t be some very hard experiences to navigate, and maybe some big feelings to handle. If Matt was being parented during those experiences he wouldn’t have been isolated and alone with his feelings for the first year of his life. Matt was very lucky that he had parents who knew he needed help and who were able to find the right support.
Any baby who has come to a new family, whether they have gestated for nine to ten months or come earlier, whether they have navigated the birth canal or needed surgical support to be born, could use some help integrating their experiences and telling their story to empathic, loving parents. It is normal for us to need this support, and to need an opportunity to integrate after such an epic journey. This support offers us the opportunity to transform isolation, resolve trauma before it becomes more entrenched, and become more fully embodied and connected.
Our first nine-ten months are the most formative. We are laying down our emotional, spiritual, psychological, somatic, and attachment imprints and beliefs as we grow our foundation and embody into the physical realm, into this world, and into our new family. This is a phenomenal and multi-layered developmental period for all of us, like no other time in our lives.
Experiencing our own Little One as adults’, and future parents, gifts us with a felt-sense understanding of early consciousness and how it feels to come into life. It can also facilitate our reconnection to our Soul Body – the best parenting resource we have. Our deepened somatic and soul wisdom positively affects how we parent our soul baby. When future parents have a felt-sense of their own soul consciousness, embodiment experience and how they felt in their prenatal period, it’s easier to place their babies’ needs at the center. Connecting with our Little One gives us a somatic understanding of the need to create an optimal growing environment for our baby, and a way to think about how we can best meet that intention.
Adults, children, and babies need empathic support to heal from early separation, core isolation, disruptions, trauma and stress so they can feel whole and have more choice, fulfilment, presence, clarity as parents, and connection.
Prenatal attachment and bonding build a strong attachment between mother and baby long before birthing. This connection makes the mother the authority on her baby because she can connect with her soul baby, or prenatal, baby intimately and know their needs and emotional states. A mother has the strongest, deepest connection with her baby and often her intuition from preconception through pregnancy is heightened so she will be well equipped to listen to her baby. Early attachment and bonding put the mother/baby dyad in an empowered position and positively affects birthing outcomes. It also strengthens a mother’s connection to herself, and nurtures her trust in her intuition and instincts as she becomes the authority on her child.
Parenting our babies much earlier in their creation journey is important so they feel love and connection throughout all their experiences. Authentic relationship and consistent connection vastly reduce the effects of early trauma and challenges and prevent core isolation which, if not lovingly transformed through empathic connection, can abide for a lifetime.
Knowing that we’re conscious, sentient, and profoundly affected by how we come into the world, creates opportunities for us to heal ourselves and to nurture our children earlier in their lives. Parents, especially mothers, can create an optimal environment for their babies when they heal their own early imprints and transform core isolation from their own foundational period. When we get support to heal ourselves at our core, we’re giving the gift of more presence and connection to our children as well as to ourselves. Core level healing is where real change can happen. Core isolation requires deep and gentle excavation, negotiation, and attunement. Initially, working with a somatic prenatal and birth therapist who is experienced in early imprinting is recommended.
Parenting incoming souls and loving them into life prevents core isolation. The prevention of core isolation through consistent, authentic, loving and empathic attunement is a profound practice. Connecting with an isolated baby, whether it be a prenate, born baby, or a baby within a child or adult, shines the light of love into their dark, lonely cave and wakes up the precious soul so that it can shine out into the world and meet its purpose feeling fully present and receptive to life.
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Klaus, M. H., Kennell, J. H., & Klaus, P. H. Bonding: Building the foundations of secure attachment and independence. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
Weinstein, A. (2016). Prenatal Development and Parents’ Lived Experiences. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Narvaez, D. (2014). Neurobiology and the development of human morality. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Siegel, D. J. (1999). The developing mind: Toward a neurobiology of interpersonal experience. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Verny, T. R. (2002). Tomorrow’s baby: The art and science of parenting from conception through infancy. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Melton, K (2013) Article: How In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Affects Babies and Children
McCarty, W.A. (2004). Welcoming Consciousness: Supporting Babies’ Wholeness From the Beginning of Life – An Integrated Model of Early Development. Wondrous Beginnings Publishing
Many thanks to Susan Highsmith, Ph.D. (2014). The Renaissance of Birth. Inkwell Productions – for her support in providing the references herein, and to Stephanie Deuger, JOPPAH Edictor-in-Chief for her above-and-beyond editing input.
© Karen Melton – All rights reserved
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