Perinatal psychology

 

At present my main area of interest lies in the field of perinatal psychology.

I have come to understand that the formation of our sense of self, which begins in the womb and which is most intensely active during the birth process and the first year of life, is the foundation on which self-perception is built.

Therefore if I start my life with deep feelings of being unwanted, unsafe, unloved or unseen this is the filter through which all preceding experiences are seen.

These feelings are not irreversible but they leave us with a vulnerability to later events which retrigger them. For this reason individuals vary widely in their ability to deal with the difficulties and traumas of life and in their ability to keep themselves safe from harm.

Over the past seven years of teaching perinatal psychology, I deepened my knowledge particularly through listening to my students experiences and through working with private clients. I came to understand how significant our own uterine, birth and attachment experiences are to ourselves as mothers.  Because our body is constantly influenced by our emotions, unresolved emotional issues can manifest themselves physically affecting not only our birthing and mothering but even our ability to conceive or hold a uterus in our womb.

As I started to research the literature on the subject I was amazed to see how much has been written and yet how little of this knowledge has infiltrated our consciousness.

 

For this reason I felt a need to bring this knowledge and my experience to working with women. Women who are not able to conceive, women who have had difficult experiences during pregnancy or while giving birth or who have been unable to establish a close connection with their babies.

It was my experience of the death of my baby daughter nearly thirty years ago that first led to me to understand and to study the mind-body connection. After her death I was unable to conceive even though I was fertile and I learnt that without both working through the emotional issues involved and without coming back into touch with my body I would not be able to bring another child into the world.

When I moved to Clil three years ago I meditated and asked what my work should be. Again and again the answer came. “Birth”.  As if to make sure that I understood, the very week that I moved here I was invited to give a talk to the staff and social workers in Naharia Hospital on the subject of Silent Births- children who die during or shortly after childbirth

Whole body fertility center

At present I am establishing a Whole Body Fertility Center here in Clil, together with an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility problems and a home birth midwife. The purpose of this center is to provide an alternative to medical intervention or to complement existing medical treatment. The nature of the work is both mental, physical and spiritual and it is individualized according to the need of each woman.

There is also the possibility of group meetings around a particular subject. This is highly recommended as we find a great amount of support and friendship when we meet together with other women around similar experiences.

 

Healing the Mind-Body

 

Fertility

 

Women often initially view their difficulties in conceiving as solely a medical problem. In broadening their views and allowing themselves to explore some troublesome and even sometimes painful issues of their personal lives and histories they are able to heal from past problems.

 

Healing childhood wounds is not only a way to reclaim your reproductive rights, which is vital for women seeking to become pregnant and to hold a baby to term, but is also a way to heal many other aspects of your life.

 

Becoming aware of how past events have influenced your mind/body and understanding the messages in your family system about sexuality, conception, pregnancy, birthing and parenthood can free you from self-blame and open you to the possibility of conception.

 

My work is both to reveal and explore these unconscious patterns and also to work with gentle, loving touch to reassure the body that it is safe to release emotion and that it can now soften and open those places which have acted as a shield from pain for so many years. A lot of my work is energetic (healing), but also includes massage, especially of the womb, and breath work.

 

 

Miscarriages; still birth and infant death

 

In my life experience the shocking, unexpected death of my little daughter caused a total freeze in my emotional system.

I was unable to allow myself to feel the grief and guilt so I numbed out.

 

This behavior is shared by many women; not only those whose children have died but also those who have had miscarriages and abortions. These experiences and the subsequent denial of feelings can affect every cell in our body and cause not only reproductive problems but often reappear as anger, rage or depression. When we are willing to be with “what is” instead of running away from it, we will often be able to work through painful experiences that have laid dormant and taken up our energy for years. Stephen Levine calls this experience “the pain that ends the pain”.

 

With the death of a child we must acknowledge his/her presence in our life and both allow ourselves to love that now departed soul and also to release him/her to continue

her/his journey. In my work we create healing ceremonies which suit the emotional needs of the mother and allows her the emotional freedom to create within herself a container for love, forgiveness and thankfulness.  In this way the healing journey is physical, mental and spiritual.

         

Theoretical Foundation

       

 Womb surround               Ray Castellino

 

Recollect healing              Renard

 

Family Constellations       Bert Hellinger

 

Perinatal psychology        Linda Hartley et al

 

Rebirthing and Holotropic breathing – Stanislav Grof et al

 

Past life and womb regression – mother/child matrix

 

Hooponopono