During a home visit to help a newborn I witnessed a beautiful experience of supported embodiment. I see people primarily as souls who are here to have an embodied experience. My work with babies is a combination of cranial sacral therapy and somatic pre and perinatal therapy. Mia, at four weeks old, had layers of stress in her mouth, jaw and neck due to a revision – the cutting of the frenulum after a tongue-tie diagnosis. A revision can add another layer of stress as it’s a lot for a newborn to manage. Mia was also completely avoiding turning her head to her left side.
I usually support newborns whilst they are held in their mother’s arms if their mom is calm and resourced. Mia’s mom, Victoria, was grounded and very tuned in to both herself and to her baby. Babies are conscious and sentient throughout their creation journey and they are always having their own experience. A mom and her newborn are like one; even so a baby’s experience from preconception to newborn is unique. Both mom and baby need lots of room to share their prenatal and birth experiences – baby because she has just been through that journey, and mom because it’s normal for pregnancy and birthing to bring up parents’ creation journey imprinting.
At the beginning of the session Mia was sleeping and coming in and out of consciousness, then mom changed her diaper and she woke up a little more. I had my hand on the back of her head and was tuning in to her whole system. Even with her eyes open Mia seemed as though she was in a distant place. Looking in a baby’s eyes can tell us a lot about how they’re feeling, and about their current level of presence and embodiment. It’s harder to show up when we have unresolved experiences.
Mia was largely not present; her eyes were glazed over and there was little sense of available connection. Because she seemed to be out of her body at this point in the session, I opened my awareness much wider to encompass Mia’s soul/energy body. I held some open curiosity about where she was hanging out in relation to her physical body, why she had needed to disconnect, and what was keeping her from being present. Energetically leaving our body is a common defence behaviour, it’s a way to cope with something challenging or overwhelming and there’s always a good reason for it. We can rely on this defence when we’re feeling stressed, scared, traumatised, isolated, etc. I purposefully became very present, grounded and centred to give Mia a sense of an anchor. In addition to gently holding the back of her head I held her sacrum so that she could orient to grounding into her root chakra. Mia’s system began to unwind.
In baby sessions there is often a point when there is a felt sense of deepening and an alignment – an energetic coming together between the practitioner, baby and mom/parents. In this resonant state everything, and anything, can happen because baby is ready to open to healing on a much deeper level. It can take a lot of slowing down, hanging out, and listening before this deeper opening can happen and it may not happen in the first session.
After holding Mia’s head, and then holding her sacrum and head simultaneously for about 30 minutes, she eventually became more present in her eyes and, with a little smile, she made eye contact with me. She was getting the support that she needed to land more in her body and become present.
I was gently holding the back of her head when Mia suddenly moved her head quite fast side to side 3 times! I looked at mom and said, “That was all coming from her.” Mom was surprised that Mia could move that way. Afterwards Mia began very slowly to navigate moving her head to the left side, which had since birth been a ‘no go’ area for her. I encouraged her to take her time sensing that this area may be holding some memories about her birth. As Mia slowly moved her head to the left Victoria shared, “I was laying on my left side for a very long time during birthing … it was uncomfortable and at times painful… I don’t know how it was for Mia during that period of time.” I said, “You each had some uncomfortable left side experiences.” We held an open curiosity together about what Mia may have been experiencing during that time.
It’s important to trust not only what mom’s share, but when in the session the information is shared, because it is always significant and intuitively correct. Mom’s in particular are totally tuned in to their babies – as one. Mia’s movements, and her orientation and movement into her left side, invoked the left side memory in mom that was an important part of their birthing dance together.
I was supporting Mia’s head on her left side, which she had chosen to occupy, and she suddenly dropped into herself even more deeply. Imagine seeing someone in a posture in which they are not quite at home, or which looks uncomfortable, and then feeling their energy drop in and occupy their body – it’s as if a light goes on. They’re able to occupy themselves fully in that posture in a new way, to embody themselves within it. In addition to becoming more present generally in this session, Mia had now become more embodied in a part of herself that she had previously been unable to occupy. This is an example of supporting embodiment, which many mom/baby dyads need.
As Victoria saw this integration happen in her baby girl she looked on in wonder. Mia’s landing was accompanied by a feeling of expansion in her whole body and she took the most fabulous big stretch with her whole body, arms and legs stretched out to full length. Mom had never seen her stretch like this before. Mia’s neck looked longer than it had been at the beginning of the session, which is not unusual when a somatic stress or trauma has been unwound and/or released.
Witnessing a moment of further embodiment in a little one is a great joy to behold. Embodiment is such an important process for which we often need some help and support. It takes mindful, present contact and holding, and sometimes some unwinding of stresses. Connection, listening, empathy, safety and support are important as we’re not wired to do it by ourselves. We need to be held so that we can arrive more, and more, and more. Stress and trauma can keep us out of our body, feeling disconnected, isolated and unloved. Many of us live in this state our whole lives because we don’t get the support that we need. The more present we are the more connection we can achieve with our loved one’s.
A couple more sessions with Mia allowed her to complete her embodiment into the left side of her head, neck, and shoulder, which increased comfort in breastfeeding, in her general presence level and in her ability to connect with her loved one’s. It also helped to unwind her body from the stress of the tongue-tie revision.
Always opt for the less invasive options like cranial sacral therapy before going towards surgical procedures with newborns. Take your time and don’t be pressurised by well-meaning practitioners and medical people. Unwinding stress and trauma in the body can often be enough to resolve the issues. I recommend a few cranial sacral sessions to reduce tension and unwind stress and trauma before having a revision for tongue-tie, as it may become unnecessary. It is also a wonderful gift to give to yourself and your baby as a support to integrate your prenatal and birth journey.
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