Birth Imprints and The Cranium

By Thomas Bertels

Birth is a big event in everybodyʼs life, whether you are the parent or the baby. We generally donʼt cognitively remember our own birth even though to borrow an expression from Babette Rothschild, “the body remembers”.

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There are forces that enter the system at birth, whether they are part of the natural process of the journey through the birth canal or whether they come in the form of intervention. Forces from intervention can come in the forms of procedures such as inducement, anesthesia or extraction.

The cranial bones, which at birth though soft and flexible in order to move through the canal, are quite at the effect of physical forces as the baby enters the pelvic inlet and navigates the bony structures to outlet.

Compressive, dragging and twisting forces, that can be amplified by drugs that both speed up birth or slow it down, come into play and can result in patterns evident in the bones and membranes of the cranium. As in any conditional forces in life, whether it be birth or an accident, the body can be overwhelmed to the point that those forces can not be resolved completely.

Strain patterns and congestions that display in the cranium can reflect through the physical system and especially manifest in conditions along the vertebral axis and the pelvis. These can have repercussions in other tissue relationships throughout the body, since the various systems in the human being are in tensile relationship.

Clients can present symptomatically with TMJ syndrome, headache, back pain and joint issues, to namea few. Because of impingement or conditional activation, nervous system and hormonal imbalance can also come into play.

Certainly these same bones can be effected by physical forces, bumps and knocks later in life, and so when we meet these areas, we can be met with numerous historical patterns that are stacked or coupled with each other.

The latter may take pre-eminence in treatment, and may need to be addressed before birth issues arise.

There is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence for memory of the womb and birth experiences, which is often dismissed scientifically because of our knowledge of the late development of the hippocampus. That being said our understanding of memory is incomplete at best. 

When we are working with babies or with adults processing birth patterns, some big feelings can arise. Suffice it to say that because the human system is inherently holistic, the feelings that arise at the time of a physical happenstance can be encapsulated within a complex held in the body. Part of our training is to learn how to be with them in a supportive field as clients’ clear physical holdings.