“The way the infant experiences this early separation from the mother becomes the foundation for all anxieties experienced later in the individual’s life.” Otto Rank (1924)
Why is it so important to let the power of Nature guide us during birth? While being natural and glorious, the event of giving life is also traumatic – to the baby and to the mother. The close biological bond between them seems to be torn with the cutting of the cord. The baby leaves its warm shelter in a painful twist from the adrenaline-charged body of her mother. She comes out of the warm coziness of the womb, where she felt safe and protected, enjoying the harmonic sound of mother’s heartbeat resonating deep in her inner world. It’s cold outside, all new. The baby experiences too many impressions all at a time…and this is all traumatic by itself.
Many researchers and psychologists believe that the way we come to this world defines who we are later in life, how we define ourselves, how we relate to people and respond to situations. They believe that “our first encounters in this world are imprinted in our cells and psyches, creating a “life script” or pattern that informs the way we perceive later life circumstances, as well as how we feel about and respond to them.”
Though you can’t change the fact that the baby experiences the trauma of separation, you can choose a health care provider that supports natural birth, ensuring that the process is less violent but smoother, calmer, in a supportive environment, one that aims at reducing the baby and mother distress to the extent possible. With less medication, less intervention, a harmonious and supportive mother-centric environment during birth, immediate skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and not allowing anyone take the baby away unless absolutely necessary for medical reasons and for the wellbeing of both.
I am fascinated by the notion that we all, as infants, are “born into trauma”. If it is true that as infants we are indeed “born into trauma,” is it possible that as adults we have the experience of trauma at the very foundations of our psyches and emotional lives?