In Profile

In Profile: Feeling Beloved on this Earth

Tantra Team member Heidi Oravasaari explains how training with the Birth into Being Foundation helped her to heal her birth trauma and offer the gift of helping others to heal their own.
”She is fully present; graceful. She allows her body’s wisdom to anoint her. There is blissful surrender in her eyes as she is at the threshold of giving birth, spiralling deeper into her cosmic knowing. This woman is not afraid, she trusts herself, her baby and life herself. She is in charge, no doctor or midwife navigates this for her – she does.

A peaceful birth – a baby welcomed into the birthing field of love. Her eyes wide open, enlivened by love and each cell in this baby’s body have a full ‘yes’ for life. In the eye gaze of her mother, arms of her love, safety is deeply imprinted. She belongs.”
These are my words which attempt to share how moved I was when I first saw the film ”Birth as We Know It” by Elena Vladimirova. Elena is a Russian visionary and founder of the Birth into Being Foundation based in California. She voices through her powerful and educational film the importance that conception, pregnancy and birth have in how we will live and perceive life as adults. It shows that what we, in Western society, often perceive as a ”normal birth” is actually quite a traumatic one. The numbness and disconnection often created by our hospital birth practices has become the accepted norm. In the USA 95% percent of births are classified as traumatic, of which 45% are classified as severely traumatic, according to a 1995 study by doctor William Emerson. These figures are thought to be similar in most European countries and Caesarean sections have become a more common medical practice, reaching even rates of 90% in parts of Brazil, South Africa and several Asian countries.
Childbirth is no longer seen as natural and hospital practices often fail to respect women’s own knowing. They bring an attitude of control to a process that has its own rhythm, which can contribute to unnecessary complications. Change is needed in hospital systems and also in how women perceive childbirth. It may be their own birth trauma that lies at the core of their fear and disempowerment.

Like all mammals, we learn from our mothers how to be a human. Much of our nervous system has already developed mid way through gestation and therefore what a baby learns as ‘normal’ starts to be imprinted very early. This is called our limbic imprint and it is nature’s assurance of continuity across each new generation. The quality of pregnancy, our parents’ relationships, the delivery itself, the beliefs in our family and culture; all of these shape the imprint on our nervous system of what becomes our ‘comfort zone’. If this was loving and safe, that will be imprinted upon how we experience and create our life as adults.
Pioneers of prenatal psychology, such as Dr. David Chamberlain and Dr. Emerson have shown that a surprising number of physical conditions and behavioral disorders are a direct result of experiences during pregnancy and complications during our birth. Elena was one of the co-creators of the conscious birth movement in Russia since the early 1980’s. Footage in Elena’s film – especially the summer camps of women giving birth in the Black Sea – is a bold statement that shows the main stream media presentation of birth to be strikingly unnatural and cold.
One of the main correlations discovered at that time was that women most often give birth the way they were born themselves and that complications during delivery were connected to the birth trauma of the woman herself and importantly, also to those who were present at the birth. It was found that addressing this birth trauma in preparation for the birth during pregnancy could assist the couple in creating a very peaceful birth. Is it perhaps time that pregnant women start to ask their doctors and midwives if they have healed their own birth trauma?

Often as we grow emotionally and spiritually, we understand that some of our choices were not the most loving for ourselves or others. Yet something in us may feel a familiarity with these unloving choices and continue perpetuating them. Our intellect struggles to override our unconscious conditioning. Rather than co-operating, different aspects of our personalities get engaged in an unhealthy competition. Research show this can be the result of an emotional trauma experienced during our formative period, from conception through the first years of life.  The good news is that we can re-code our limbic imprint to be more loving and blissful.
The facts of my own birth were traumatic. I was sixteen the first time I talked and cried about it together with my mother. Two powerful experiences of death in my teenage years had made me very curious of conscious birthing. Life led me into a series of healing experiences from aqua-balancing (bodywork in water), vision quest rites of passage work on the land and time spent swimming with wild dolphins. With hindsight I can now see these were all connected with healing my own birth trauma.
Yet still, all these years later when I saw Elena’s film I was deeply called to go and explore her work. As I do not yet have children of my own I was aware of some fear around this potential in me. In the past I also interpreted this as a disinterest in being a mother. I wanted to approach my own birth trauma through these “Birth into Being” processes Elena had created. I felt motivated to heal my own birth trauma and change the unhealthy family messages around childbirth before I considered motherhood.
I travelled to California to participate in Elena’s training. We were an international group, mainly women, but also a few men gathered to journey into this Birthing Field with Elena and her apprentices. Some were pregnant, some wishing to get ready for a baby, others using this work to prepare for a new project or a change in their life. Sometimes there was simply an unnamable calling to join. This work is indeed not just for pregnant women, it can support anyone who has had a less than blissful birth and are ready to change the ways that influences their present life.

Through a series of processes using specific movement and breath, role-play and guided imagery within a field of intimacy formed by the group, a new imprint for each of us was created. I personally had an experience of the most blissful birth within our training which stayed strongly with me for some days after as a direct, kinesthetic field of deep mother’s love and father’s support. During this time I would wake up and feel so aware of this field of love between my parents, relaxing my body with such sweetness. I shared about this experience by telephone with my mother back in Finland and it had a profound effect for her too.
In this timeless zone of the birthing field much healing took place within our group and deep pain was made peace with. I now feel excited for the potential to give birth in my life one day. All of us in the training became such close family and a global tribe, I have so much love for these people who shared this journey and for the future of our planet. I feel a lot of gratitude for Elena, for her love of humanity and her dedication to enabling women to claim back their birthright of dignified birth giving. Her work offers everyone the opportunity to claim their deep sense of belonging.  As she beautifully summarized; ”Within one generation of conscious procreation and healing of our own birth trauma, we can change the quality of our civilization and create respectful relationships with our earth”. I feel inspired to be carrying these “Birth into Being” practices and I look forward to guiding people in creating new limbic imprints and new experiences of blissful birth on this earth.
Pictures courtesty of ‘Birth As We Know It’ website.

To find out more or to have sessions of Limbic Re-imprinting, email Heidi (pictured left) or see her website.
Birth Into Being Foundation
Birth As We Know It
Elena Vladimirova interview

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