Pre- and Perinatal Traumas

Ph.D. Joy Manne - fra "The Healing Breath" a Journal of Breathwork Practice, Psychology and Spirituality - 2002

(General Editor: Joy Manné, Ph.D.)
(Email: JoyManne@swissonline.ch)

Keywords: breathwork, placenta trauma, birth, birth trauma, disassociation, rebirthing, lotus birth, natural birth, rebirthing, cord clamping, wholeness, holistic, mother, baby, amputation, navel, umbilical cord, uterus, womb.

Introduction

This article is a personal sharing and a hidden book review of a book that I have not yet finished reading, that, just hearing about it, touched such a deep core in me that I instantly integrated its content experientially without further reading. It is also about relating, one of my favourite occupations, and it is written in praise and gratitude for Shivam Rachana’s work as a spiritual midwife that has improved the quality of life of many mothers, children and families in Australia and New Zealand, where her work is known. Shivam Rachana is the author of Lotus Birth. (1) Shivam Rachana is the founding principle of the International College of Spiritual Midwifery. She has been attending homebirth since 1977 and introduced Lotus Birth to Australia. She is a trainer of rebirthers and Tantra and the author of The Tantric Path. (2). I will also explain a technique for integrating placenta trauma with case histories, that I believe every breathworker/rebirther will be able to adopt and/or adept easily and to their practice.

Lotus Birth

During a Lotus Birth the umbilical cord is left intact and connected to the placenta until it separates naturally by itself from the navel. This practice helps the baby to make the transition from living inside the mother to existing independently outside of her body easier. I have known about Lotus Birth for many years, but unfortunately too late to have my own children benefit from this natural and spiritual method of bringing souls onto the planet. When I heard Rachana talk at the Australian National Breathwork Conference (May 2001) my aha! – realisation lights went on and led me into an instant 3-hour session in which I integrated my ‘placenta trauma’. I would like to share the content of this session.

Wholly Whole: A Personal Case History

The first time I encountered my ‘placenta trauma’ was during my very first rebirthing session, which happened to be about my birth. I saw something being thrown into a white enamel bucket and was not sure what it was. At the time I wondered if it was the placenta, but because I felt so close to it, and the pain of it landing in the bucket was so immense, I interpreted it to be a dead twin that was removed without mention.

The bucket appeared many times in later sessions and each time caused the same amount of separation pain that stayed unresolved. I frequently considered whether the content could be the placenta, but discarded the thought/feeling because I believed that the placenta was a part of the mother, after all in German it is called the Mutterkuchen (mother-cake). The intensity of feeling towards this ‘being’ in the bucket confirmed my belief that this must be more then an afterbirth, which in 1947 was not much more than a discardable leftover from the birth.

My Placenta Trauma Symptoms

For about half a day after the talk I wandered around pondering what the symptoms of my cord cutting/placenta trauma might be. I was sure that I would have the symptoms because I know my cord was cut immediately, and I realized that I must be attributing the symptoms to something else. During these hours a quite familiar feeling of dread developed in my belly, right in the pit of my stomach. It intensified to the point that I knew I needed give myself a quiet space to explore this experience. Using conscious connected breathing, (3) I was there immediately, in the womb, feeling my placenta and me as one. I reinstated my placenta as a part of me, an external organ, which had a very specific function during the passage from the universe via my father and through my mother’s body into my independent existence.… I felt whole and complete, really whole, how I had never felt before… And I thought my session was complete.

However, the feeling of dread returned within minutes, this time slightly to the right of where it had appeared first. When I let my whole consciousness slide into it I became aware of two parts of me. One was the me that I usually identified with, and the other was a slightly smaller me that I also sometimes identified with, but never recognized its separateness as distinctly as now. I was able to slide from one to the other easily. The smaller one appeared not to be embodied and its feeling was that of dreaming in an awake state. The bigger one was the one I usually identify with and live through in my awake consciousness.

The Placenta has Feelings Too

I noticed that the returned feeling of dread came from the smaller part and decided to stay in there to fully experience it. I discovered that my placenta was afraid. This feeling of fear was different from experiencing fear in a part of my body. It is difficult to describe. It was as if my placenta had been a separate being with an intelligence of its own (my earlier thinking that it was a twin), and that it had feelings separate from those of the baby. It had its own separation trauma from me, hence the dread came back after I had integrated ‘mine’. I also noticed that the location of these feelings of dread had been in two different places in my belly, as I described above.

The Birth of the Etheric Body

Now I remembered parts of Rachana’s talk about the function of the placenta, after the cord had completely dried up and several days after the birth,…. that the etheric body of the baby is still encompassing the placenta for much longer than the time of the physical transfer between placenta and baby, and that the etheric transfer is also interrupted and incomplete when the cord is cut before it disconnects naturally, by itself, from the navel. The etheric body, invisible to the normal physical eye, is a major part of us like the Earth atmosphere is to the Earth. (4) ….I could feel that I still had two separate parts to my etheric body here in current time as a result of the early cord cutting. One was inside the other, like a little balloon inside a big one, and now my task was to have them merge into one.

Merging My Etheric and Physical Bodies

This part of the session took a long time, more than an hour before I was able to get up. I assisted myself by holding a little soft cushion to feel the small part easier. The merging process was nothing I could consciously ‘do’. I had sent out a prayer to ask for this to happen and it began. The sensations of this process were quit physical. Heat built up in my belly and extended up to my neck. Both parts of me had to give up their separate identity. I talked to the smaller part and encouraged it, that it would be bigger afterwards, a lot bigger and I encouraged myself in the same way. It was a loving and divine melting into Me, the real me, I was making love to myself.

There were very funny moments too. I had the sensation of my head sticking out above the two bubbles that were engaged in the merging process. Every now and then my head would slip into the bubble alchemy and the process would stop until my head was above ‘water’ again. This sensation of having my head above water is still with me today as I am writing the article. It helped me to continue the merging process, which continued even after I had got up from the session.

What I learned

The effects of the session continued and are still in progress (three month after the event, when I wrote this article). Daily I notice that my perception of reality is different, as I perceive my environment and myself from a Whole Self. This is impossible to describe to someone who has not gone through the process of placenta reunification. Because we have called something whole, that is not whole, our language does not have a word for a ‘better than whole’. I will call it wholly whole. ‘Whole’ simply feels different from before. My energy body feels clearer, more aligned and less cluttered, as if I had exchanged a few pieces of furniture for one piece that serves the purpose of all of the previous ones. I am in a permanent state of joy and my heart feels warm and I am constantly in love with myself. I believe this is the state of cosmic joy referred to in eastern philosophies as being our natural state of being. Now, one year after the experience that umbilical cord to my joy is still intact, even in intense and emotional situations. I have some grief for what I missed and sadness for all the people who are still missing being wholly whole.

As a rebirther/trainer I have a new ability to perceive the real cause of separation and abandonment trauma started by the cutting of the cord, and how the effects ripple through all we do and effect our ability to relate. To let go naturally of our placenta is to learn how to finish things, how to leave, how to complete in wholeness and move on. It is about knowing when to go and when to start something new. It is about feeling full and coming to the lover in wholeness, and independence with a full heart to give of ourselves.

What is ‘Placenta Trauma’?

Placenta Trauma is the trauma associated with the period of birth, commencing at the moment when the umbilical cord is cut and the baby is separated from the placenta, not from the mother! This, i.e., the separation from the mother, only occurs when the placenta has come away from the wall of the womb and has been birthed, because the placenta is a part of the baby as I described earlier. Not many people are aware that the placenta is the first organ that ‘we’ develop when the fertilized egg settles in the uterus. The placenta is usually associated with the mother as it grows on the wall of the uterus and causes a wound when it comes away and is birthed. In our minds it has become a part of the mother’s body and is only useful during pregnancy and is shed in its redundancy after the birth of the baby. In Western cultures the cord is cut immediately after the full body of the baby is birthed. In Chapter 2 , Lotus Birth, Deva Darisha gives a vivid description of the post world war II depersonalisation of society with the introduction of the production line and it’s infiltration into the medical systems, in hospitals and overfilled labour wards of the 50s and 60s baby boom.

According to George M. Morley, M.B., Ch. B., FACOG the error of cord clamping was defined very clearly over 200 years ago:

"Another thing injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord cease. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child." Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s Grandfather ) Zoonomia 1801. (5)

Indigenous cultures have differing customs about the cutting of the cord and the treatment of the placenta after birth, (6) but… nowhere have I ever come across any information of the psychological effects of falsely attributing the placenta to the mother. As a breathworker/rebirther, this is the aspect which interests me most, because this is where our expertise will assist people in healing placenta trauma.

The Function of the Placenta

The placenta is the first organ that develops when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. It’s function is to be the bridge between the mother and the baby. It "breathes" and nourishes the baby. "Breathes" because it is responsible for transporting oxygen to the baby.

As I said above, the placenta is a part of the baby and the etheric body of the baby encompasses the placenta. At the time of birth, when the baby has begun to breathe air, the bridging function is no longer needed, and ‘knowingly’ the baby (!) detaches itself from the wall of the womb! The birth of the baby is only complete when the placenta has emerged. This shows that the ‘cut-it-and-discard-it’ procedure is equivalent to an amputation. It seems natural to wait until the placentas function is fulfilled and let it come away naturally. It is not, after all, a sick or diseased part of the body.

This process has been called Lotus Birth.

The placenta contains vital nutrients and one-third to one-half of the baby’s blood. It is logical to think that if the baby is able to detach it’s placenta from the womb, it also is able of extracting all it needs form the placenta before discarding it. Hence to wait until the cord stops pulsating is the least we can do to assist this process.

When the cord is cut straight after birth not only is the physical organ cut off but also the part of the etheric body that envelops the placenta. It is known that people who have lost a leg still have an etheric leg that experiences pain as if the real leg was still there. I don’t believe a person ever forgets the leg they once had. In the same way I don’t believe a baby will ever forget it’s placenta.

The difference here is that no one ever acknowledges the placenta as a lost organ, or more a stolen organ. Moreover, through the shock of being severed, the etheric part of the placenta forms a small separate bubble that continues to exist in it’s separate state until we actually reabsorb it. Most of us have this somewhat strange occurrence of a part of our etheric body living its own independent existence in isolation and abandonment.

On page 7 in her book, Rashana describes two heart-warming events that occurred during an exchange gathering of lotus birth mothers. A photographer had displayed many beautiful birthing photographs and invited the children, aged six month to eight years, to choose one they liked, of which she would make a copy for them. Each child, apart from one toddler, chose the placenta photo. This is very significant, because a picture of a placenta is not the most pretty sight by any means. New born babies on mothers breasts would seem a lot more appealing. The other one is a story of a 2 ½ year old taking her 3 year old neighbour friend by the hand to view her new baby brother. She took him to the placenta bucket and both peered silently, hand in hand at the placenta.

Birthing the placenta and letting go of it is like the shedding of a skin. The physical part dries up and drops away when the etheric transference is complete. This can take two to ten days and the baby’s etheric body remains intact. (7)

Why And How This Part Of Birth is Traumatic

We carelesslyoverlook that the placenta was formed by the fertilized egg and therefore is a part of the baby. By treating it as a part of the mother we disassociate ourselves and others from the placenta – from a part of our – and themselves, as I explained above. Most of us have learned in our inner work that disassociation causes immense emotional pain. Our placentas have been brusquely separated from us at birth. They have been treated as ‘dirty’ and either disposed of like garbage, or "stolen" to be turned into skincare products or to store the cord blood in cord blood banks. Cord blood contains stem cells that are used for transplants. (8) My personal experience and work with clients has shown me that this is a major contributing factor in our feelings of separation, abandonment, violation, loneliness and confusion of identity.

Since my understanding of this error of perception I have been able to introduce clients to this new theory around the placenta first, and then easily integrate patterns like: ‘I-am-not-getting-what-I-need-and-want,’ ‘there-is-still-something-missing-in-my-relationship’, I-get-what-I-want-and-as-soon-as-I-have-it-I-want-something-else. Just introducing the theory in workshops has been very effective, it seems to set the process in motion and in a very short time placentas are being re-owned. People describe it as remembering something that deep down they have always known.

Why Is Placenta Trauma Release Important?

…Because nearly all of us were the victims of this mistaken belief during the first hours of our lives: the belief that we are separated from our mother, when in reality we are separated from our placenta; the belief that the placenta belongs to the mother and that the relationship we had with our placenta, the first organ we developed when nestling into the walls of the uterus, is not important. Breathwork/rebirthing and many other therapies have shown us how the first impressions of life imprint in our consciousness and become the reality we live by. (9) Because most of us have disassociated from owning our placenta in the ways described above, we do not recognize this as a malfunction of the human psyche but see it as a ‘normal’ human trait. It is common knowledge that error builds on error... and therefore, this mistaken belief about this first stage of development of our body must have created a web of illusions upon which we base our concepts of reality, and further wrong beliefs that we are not yet aware of. I find this realisation and the correction of this error of perception an exciting and challenging prospect for mankind.

Case History Jenny

Jenny had a reoccurring event in her breathing sessions. It was the moment after the birth, when she was put into a crib away from her mother. This event had emerged in connection with many different issues. Jenny and her partner both attended a relationship workshop to help them through their separation. During one of Jenny’s breathing session this familiar event from her birth in hospital came up again. She was cold and wanted to be close to her mother. During previous sessions she always believed that the coldness and fear was the trauma of being kept separate form her mother. Before this session she had heard the talk about placenta trauma and during the session she realised for the first time that the fear and shock had to do with the traumatic severance of her cord and her separation from her placenta, not her mother. As soon as she allowed this new understanding in, the fear and shock waves subsided and she became peaceful. Since this process this particular event has not resurfaced in her sessions.

Placenta Trauma and Breathwork

Birth trauma work is a fundamental part of breathwork. Every rebirthee sooner or later encounters his/her birth trauma. (10)The cutting of the cord is one aspect of birth trauma which, until recently, was the only aspect breathworkers focused on during this phase of the birthing process. Concentration on this particular traumatic experience was stimulated and supported by the advocates of the home birthing movements. They placed a lot of importance on waiting until the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating before severing the baby from the placenta/mother. (11) The placenta has always been perceived as a part of the mother which made the severing of the cord the point at which the birth was seen to be complete, and the beginning of the new relationship between mother and baby to have started. The placenta’s common name ‘after birth’ confirms that.

In the next part of this article I give a more objective overview of my findings from the perspective of the breathwork practitioner. I want to show how important this issue is and what deep reaching effects the integration of placenta trauma will have on society.

Working with Placenta Trauma

In the short time that I have worked with placenta trauma, I have discovered that there are six simple common stages in the process. They are:

  1. The stage of recognizing that, if our cord was cut and our placenta discarded, we will have placenta trauma.
  2. The stage of acknowledging that we must have the symptoms of placenta trauma and are not recognizing them, and, most likely, are attributing them to something else.
  3. The stage of re-owning the placenta as a part of ourself.
  4. The stage of reintegrating the lost part of our etheric body.
  5. The stage of recognizing and readjusting the errors in many life situations.
  6. Dealing with the depravation syndrome of not being able to have something that is ours (the nutrients from the placenta at birth)

Once the Placenta Trauma concept is understood (first stage) it is only a matter of time to recognise the symptoms of the second stage. They are usually felt in the stomach. (Mine was a very daunting feeling of dread.)

Breathwork Techniques For Placenta Trauma

From the third stage onwards I find it necessary to work with breathing sessions.

So far what has worked well for me is to give a talk on the importance and reasons for lotus birth and the relevance to the traumas that are likely to be encountered by not having one. I also elaborate on what current life situations are the most common triggers.

Re-uniting with the Placenta - The Client’s Perspective

Once the symptoms are felt clearly in the body, I have the client breathe into the symptoms while holding a little cushion to symbolise and represent the placenta, and to surrender to the feelings that arise. These are likely to be pain of separation, anger and rage for being separated, resentment and betrayal for having something stolen or taken away, fear of loss, joy of being reunited, contentment and fulfillment of being whole and of having found something that was lost.

Re-uniting with the Placenta -The Placenta’s Perspective

It is important to switch to experience the situation form the perspective of the placenta as well. Rashana mentioned in her talk that it had become apparent that the placenta has the ability to feel and a certain amount of intelligence. This is concluded from the fact that it exists before the rest of the baby’s body forms and that it contains stem cells. The strongest feeling from this perspective is the terror and rage of total abandonment, worthlessness and rejection and the joy and total peace of being reunited and whole. The experience of wholeness is quite overwhelming for some people, all report never having felt this whole before.

Reintegrating and Merging with the Lost Part of the Etheric Body

In the forth stage we reintegrate this lost part of ourselves. Again, once the theory of what has happened is understood and the symptoms are recognized, they serve as the entrance into the sessions and the use of a little cushion is a helpful tool. It is only a matter of asking for the etheric body to return and surrender to the merging. The client simply expresses the wish to reunite with the lost part, verbally or in feeling and thought. This part is so close to us, to my astonishment all clients seem to immediately know where to find this part of them. Some clients had to find their lost part in the hospital or where they were born, for others this part was in close proximity. The merging may take some time, fifteen minutes to several hours. I encountered resistance with some clients, a fear of changing into something completely new. The reassurance that each of the two parts would gain and be bigger helped. As soon as the client surrendered the process of merging began, difficult to describe, like coloured ink slowly mixing with water.

The result of this integration brought an even greater sense of wholeness than experienced during the stage of re-owning of our placenta.

Case History Jenny

"During one of my processes in an sweat lodge session I merged with my separated etheric bubble. I don’t remember the issue. I found my bubble above my head , 1.5 to 2 meters. Immediately when I decided to look for it I was there above my head. It was a very familiar feeling and I knew this part of myself. I invited it to merge with me, but encountered strong resistance. I talked to this part and it did not want to come to me, "It-is-better-if-we-don’t –come-back-together, because-we-won’t-have-to-experience-the-pain-of-separation-again." This belief was holding us apart. The etheric bubble and I had only a concept of being two parts and coming together meant two parts connecting up. Still talking to the other part I explained that we would merge, not connect, and that merging meant to be bigger than before and that there would not be two things that could ever be separated again. the merging process began. It was a feeling experience on the cellular level. I could feel the energy in my body changing…. I was changing.

Since this session I could really let go of things… my attachment to things and to people and to the outcome of how things should be. When I relate to people now I don’t have this neediness that they have to be a certain way, so that I can get what I want."

Integration

The fifth stage is the period of time after this session(s), during which the client recognises many life situations where Placenta Trauma has been in action; an integrative period. Sometimes during this period a new/old symptom emerges. Most of us know the immensely frustrating situation in life where we want something that we can’t have or get, and where we spend much energy, sometimes to the point of being undignified, to attempt to get the object of our desire. It could be a lover or an experience or a material object. We also know the pattern of making the wrong choice (see the paragraph on detoxing below). These are Placenta Trauma patterns.

Placenta Trauma and Nutrition

This trauma of wanting one thing and getting another is all too familiar to us. The session work in this sixth stage needs to focus on what happened to the nutrients in the placenta after birth, that were truly meant for us and that we never got. We transfer this feeling onto many life situations, often not finding any solutions for the frustration that results form this lack. Eventually we tolerate the situation and make the lingering deprivation "normal" so that we can get on with life.

Travelling the journey of the placenta has brought healing to the people in all the sessions where I have applied this theory. It is not usually a pleasant journey because the places where our placentas land are not the most hygienic and welcoming: compost piles, incinerators, garbage dumps etc. However, no matter where the remains land they re-enter the cosmic Heaven and Earth cycle eventually and return to us in a transmuted form.

Personal Case History Again

My own placenta’s journey was pleasant, so I will share it. It landed in a white enamel bucket from where it was transferred to the hospital compost heap. The hospital was run by catholic nuns who cultivated a herb garden behind the buildings. My placenta remains fertilized the garden and turned into herbal ointments. I still remember their smell. When my childhood injuries landed me in hospital for treatment a nun would come in and apply a herbal ointment to my wounds, after the medical staff had finished stitching me up. Via this detour, the healing and nourishing effect of my placenta returned to me.

Case History

Samsara has battled with very deep-rooted patterns of worthlessness. The integration of this part of her placenta trauma has finally given her the ability to free her creative energy. "I can create something now". She has started developing her writing talent.

Samsara’s placenta landed on a garbage dump. It was very unpleasant for her to experience this. However after some perseverance during the breathing session, she stayed with the feelings and saw that the garbage dump had been turned into a hockey field. Being trampled on by the hockey players was her worthlessness. Then she noticed that the players were enjoying their game and that her placenta was contributing to creating this joy. The feeling of contributing to the enjoyment of others brought the release during the session. Samsara now feels that she can contribute something to the world.

Case histories from the book Lotus Birth

"… I have since come to see that one of the most striking qualities that I have noticed about Lotus births is an absence of ‘things to do’; less doing and more being."… (p. 140)

"… However three days after the birth, Maria’s nipples were sore, Kian’s nappy kept falling off, and the cord was constantly in the way. This turn of events severely tested Maria’s patience. ‘We both almost reached the point of wanting to cut the cord,’ Maria told me. "At his point Kian looked up and took one of our fingers in each hand. He looked at us for some time. He was so still. He then placed first one of his hands, then the other, onto his cord. And we understood. His cord stayed attached for another five days, until he was ready to let go."… (p.142)

The Importance of Doing the Work

Merely understanding the theory of the above mentioned processes does not resolve the placenta issues. It is necessary to find one’s individual placenta journey by recognizing ones unique symptoms and taking one step at a time in healing the trauma. I see a place for this work in all relationship trainings and self transformation workshops, in systemic work and in detox programs as explained below.

T. W. Dowling uses the analogy of a tree in a guided visualisation to assist clients to connect with their in utero experience of baby and placenta. He recognised that: "The simple revealing of aspects of the person’s relationship to their placenta and womb environment had been enough to begin the reordering of their relationship to various aspects of postnatal reality, their home, their sexual partner, their eating habits, their own body in general." (12)

Placenta Trauma and Detoxing

My first aha! during Rachana’s talk was about the importance of integrating my placenta trauma. The second aha! Concerned the lack of nutrients in the organs of the baby when the cord had been cut before it fully stopped pulsating. This provided a missing piece of information for the end of the detox program that I run. It became very clear to me that the first meal at the end of the program triggers the feeling of this lack of nutrients from the placenta after cord cutting.

Detoxing

I regularly run detoxing programmes. A detoxing programme is a 10 day body cleansing procedure that includes juice fasting, a herbal and homeopathic treatment, nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals, a detox mixture of clay and fibre and the administering of 2 enemas per day. The program also includes breathing sessions and a sweat lodge cleanse to support the emotional cleansing triggered by the somewhat radical physical treatments. One of the results of this method of detoxing is the elimination of thick deposits from the walls of the colon and small intestines. None of the preparations taken stimulate digestive juices, and after 10 days of resting the digestive system, it is very clean and in a very sensitive virgin like state, similar to that of a new-born baby.

Problems with re-introducing food after fasts and detoxes

This is of interest for those who have experimented with such programs. Many people, including myself, have reported difficulties in disciplining themselves about the amounts of food consumed when coming of the detox/fast. For most people it is very difficult to eat only a small amount during the first ceremonial meal and the introduction of food during the following days. Uncontrollable ‘appetite’ or food desires seem to prevail. I have experimented with several techniques to overcome this that proved only partially successful.

Nutrition and the Placenta

During Rashana’s talk on Lotus Birth it was mentioned that the baby’s organs suffer a lack of nutrients when the cord is cut before it completely stops pulsating, and that an etheric transfer from the placenta to the baby continues for the entire time during which the baby is connected to the cord and placenta before it naturally comes away at the navel.

When the cord is cut the transfer of nutrients from mother to infant via the placenta is rudely interrupted. The website www.cordclamping.com explains in detail the importance of these nutrients. Once separated from its placenta the baby is put to the breast or in some cases fed a bottle. Its body, however, is still craving nourishment from the placenta. Psychologically it associates it’s first meal with the ‘wrong’ food. The baby wants what is left in the placenta and instead receives breast or bottled milk

My experience has showed me that there is a connection between the cord cutting trauma and the difficulty to control one’s appetite mentioned above.

The first meal taken at the end of a detox/fast is usually a very important event. This food is eaten into the ‘virgin’ stomach and very clean intestines as described above, just like at birth. This virgin feeling activates the ‘wrong food trauma’. It creates the craving for the ‘missing nutrients’ and blocks us from experiencing the real effects of the first meal. Instead we eat more and more in the hope that each further mouthful of food will finally bring the missing placenta nutrients.

Case History Jenny

Jenny worked on her physical pattern of not digesting and absorbing nourishment from her food. During the session she encountered the frustration of : "I could not digest my food." "I did not want my mothers breast after birth, I wanted what was in my placenta. So much of my blood was still in my placenta. I went into shock and, after reconnecting with my placenta, using a little cushion, I went into a blissful state and remembered that I feel like that when I make cheese (she is learning the cottage industry of cheese making). The work of cheese making sends me into the same bliss state that I was experiencing when in connection with my placenta. (she laughed at this equation) It helped me to understand what feelings in my body to look for that will tell me what foods are right for me to eat." …What was in the placenta was right for her. When in touch with the placenta her body rejoiced. This has given her a guideline what to ‘feel’ for when looking for the dietary need of her body. The body had registered that separation from the ‘right’ food was the normal state, hence her body was not absorbing her food. "Since this session it is so much easier for me to stick to my diet and I know what is good for me."

Ending the Fast and Placenta Trauma

To deal with this problem a detoxing or fasting program that includes emotional release work needs to include a theoretical module on placenta trauma earlier in the program and then include two days of the food re-introductory phase at the end of the workshop.In my program and others that I know, the first meal is currently taken at the end of the retreat and participants undergo the re-introduction phase of food at home by themselves. Changing the program in this way would allow enough time, both for the placenta trauma to emerge and to be integrated.

Endnotes

1. Reviewed in the present number of The Healing Breath.
2. Available from Greenwood Press, PO Box 233, Yarra Glenn, VIC 3775, Australia.

3. The breathing mechanism used in rebirthing . Dowling , Catherine  (p. 1), Begg,  (p. 13), Manné, 2002.
4. Lotus Birth (p.20). Brennan, Hands of Light is a modern guide to the Human energy field.
5. www.cordclamping.com
6. Chapter 4, Lotus birth.
7. Lotus Birth
, page 20.

8. http://www.milaskincare.com/, http://www.cancer.duke.edu/ccbb/cordblood.asp
9. Manné, 2002.
10. Grof , 1976. See his four stages of birth and related traumas (p. 102).

11. Leboyer, 1975.
12. T. W. Dowling , p. 140. 

Bibliography

Begg, Deike (1999), Rebirthing, Freedom Form Your Past. London, Thorsons.
Brennan, Barbara (Reissue edition, 1993), Hands of Light. New York, Bantam Doubleday Dell.
Dowling, Catherine (2000) , Rebirthing and Breathwork. London, Judith Piatkus.
Dowling , T. W. (1988 ), ‘The placental symbols in accessing pre – and perinatal experience,’ in Peter Fedor-Freybergh & M.L. Vanessa Vogel (eds), Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine: Encounter with the Unborn; A Comprehensive Survey of Research and Practice. UK: Parthenon. Fedor-Freybergh, Peter & M.L. Vanessa Vogel (eds) (1988), Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine: Encounter with the Unborn; A Comprehensive Survey of Research and Practice. UK: Parthenon.

Grof, Stanislav (1976), Realms of the Human unconscious, New York: The Viking Press

Leboyer, Frederick (1975), Birth without Violence. London : Wildwood House.

Manné, Joy (2002) ‘Rebirthing – an Orphan therapy – or part of the family psychotherapies’ in The Healing Breath, Vol.4, No. 1.

Shivam Rachana (2000), Lotus Birth, Victoria Australia, Greenwood Press.

Acknowledgement

Thank you to Joy Manne for her encouragement to go public with this information and for her excellent support with editing and proofreading the article.

About The Author

Nemi Nath began rebirthing in 1981 and was certified as a rebirther in 1983 by Ararah Bhakti Carrisbroke in the first rebirther training in Australia. She established a rebirthing Centre soon after and in 1985 founded Breathconnection, a workshop and training centre for professional rebirthers, which is now one of Australia’s longest standing breathwork/rebirthing schools. Nemi is a trainer member of the AAPR, the Australian Association for Professional Rebirthers since 1983, and has actively supported the International Breathwork Foundation since 1995 as a national coordinator for Australia and member of the integrity committee. She has experienced some of Stan Grof’s and Leonard Orr’s workshops/trainings, and became a yoga teacher in 1987, trained by Alakh Analda. Between 1985 – 1989 she took an energy transformation and meditation training with Adam Davis of I.A.M. Australia. From 1993 - 1999 she made an extensive contribution to establishing breathwork in Russia. Nemi’s current projects are a nationally accredited breathwork training under the Australian Qualification Framework together with 10 Australian trainers form divers rebirthing backgrounds and, since 1985, the development of a spiritual community at Kaivalya Meru. Her newsletter publication, Breathcollection, has been in circulation since 1988.

Website: www.breathconnecion.com.au

Email: breathe@breathconnection.com.au 

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