Normally re-birthing is a process that happens over a few hours in a therapists office. It’s a very specific process that is intended to uncover and work through issues that center around birth and very early childhood, and the resulting body-memory/energy/emotional-set-point that a person could potentially carry indefinitely.
For me, I have essentially experienced this as a gradual unwrapping over approximately the last 2 weeks (a bit more perhaps). It as happened in little snippets of those intuitive flashes I reference so often. For me the flashes happen as images, short clips like YouTube videos or memories, and sometimes feelings, sounds, and even muscle memory. Anyway, I’m going to relay my unfolding to the best of my ability, and what it has helped me figure out, so that others might be able to glean similar progress.
The Facts I know of my birth from parental stories:
-I was delivered by Cesarean (c-section). My mom was lightly sedated, so upon delivery my father was the first to hold me. Story goes I immediately peed on him and the nurses has to change his gown.
-My mom had blood sugar issues, but no treatment. It was a time when gestational diabetes was still a new-ish diagnosis and diet suggestions were made but not even strictly enforced, no medications were used because they were not widely accepted as safe during pregnancy.
-The doctor was a short man (my dad thought that was hilarious and has joked about it repeatedly over my life) that needed a step stool for delivery. His name Dr. Gupta, he was from India.
-At birth I was Jaundice and spent a few days in critical care nursery. My level of jaundice was so intense my skin looked orange and my dad nicknamed me pumpkin. I also didn’t want to eat for several days, but was tickled into nursing/bottle feedings to keep me hydrated. It necessitated at least an hour of direct sunlight (4 hours suggested) daily to help bring the jaundice down. It took about 2 weeks for my skin to return to relative normal color.
-At the time my mom was the only significant income in the family, so she only had 2 weeks off (whatever the minimum was for the incision to heal) and went back to work.
Facts about me in general:
-I require regular sunlight or I get depressed.
-I have been told I’m borderline diabetic and was considered Gestational Diabetic during my son’s pregnancy/birth. I controlled the pregnancy and my current state with Diet, Exercise, and certain Supplements.
-When I am very depressed or in a moment of severe negative emotions, my inclination is always to rock myself. I literally sit in a quiet space and close my eyes and rock my body back and forth like in a rocking chair. It is nearly always the only thing that helps when I’m at my worst.
-I don’t believe that I have actual conscious brain memory of my birth, but there is possibility of subconscious memories or body/muscle memory.
The intuitive flashes I’ve “received”, which may or may not be 100% accurate, please know that these all happened in meditative space, I have not consumed any mind altering drugs:
-I had a visual clip of the doctor rocking and rocking my bassinet in the nursery and humming/singing quietly to me.
-I had a similar clip of my dad’s early interactions, lots of bouncing, holding me and touching me with furrowed brows and very stiff movements. Another clip of the moment after I peed on him, being held in mid air (almost like Simba from Lion King) while nurses wiped my dad off and put a new gown or blanket over him.
-I had a moment where I felt the sensations of the rocking in the nursery, the lights seemed too bright so I closed my eyes, I felt very scared and wanted to cry, and then the rocking started and the humming/soft singing started shortly after.
-I had a moment where I felt very scared because I didn’t know where mom went. Dad was there but I really felt like “I want mom”, again making me feel like crying.
-I had a visual of my mom in the rocking chair by the window (at home), rocking me and singing.
My current interpretation based on all of those elements put together:
Mom was all I knew before birth. I perceived her as being my protector. Yet, she was unable to protect me from sugar, and I got far too much sugar while in-vitro. She did her best, and especially after birth, once I was home, she really worked hard to try and make up for it, rocking and rocking me, singing to me, like the doctor had done.
My dad loved me, but being a man from his generation, didn’t really understand how to interact lovingly with a newborn. Men were simply not taught how to do that. He was doing his best, but I as an infant without words could tell he was just different from mom, and I wanted the feeling place of mom, really I wanted the feeling place of what the doctor started.
As an adult I’ve learned a lot about alternatives. I perceive the doctor, even though he functioned through western medicine, probably had beliefs regarding spirit and it’s ability to heal because of his upbringing. I think that immediately he saw a beautiful baby girl, that was very special (I’m certain that my skin tone evoked memories of certain rituals in India) and that he knew I needed a little extra TLC. I think he was so touched by my appearance that he simply wanted to help me heal. He would have gone to his upbringing and did what would have been done in India. Attempting to connect me with my inner self, my spirit, to heal my body. So, he didn’t hold me directly, knowing that babies can get attached to those first few people in their lives. He rocked my cradle and sang to me, helping to calm me and soothe me so that my body could heal.
Now he probably thought that not actually holding me for any length of time exempted him from me getting attached. Unfortunately my new understanding is that I did anyway. For the first few days of my life, he was the only significant interaction outside of my mother at nursing time. Holding me or not, his interactions helped to soothe me and did help to heal me, so I attached anyway. His presence was a God send in an otherwise harsh sterile environment, and I now have no doubt that it was a major influence in decisions that I have come to over time. I simply didn’t know that I was making decisions based upon that interaction.
What do I mean?
I went searching for that feeling place early on in life. I was in 4th grade the first time I tried someone else’s church: a Pentecostal church (prior to that we’d gone solely to dad’s Mormon church). The Pentecostal church was fun, but didn’t give me that feeling. By the end of middle-school I’d been to the Quakers, Lutherans, Methodists, and Catholics. By high-school I’d read the Bible (blaech-boring and so damn convoluted with contradictions), Sidhartha, most of the Tao de Ching, and had looked up tons information on Confucianism and Zen Buddhism. I was a junior in high-school the day that my friend Erin invited me to her home, which doubled as the Buddhist temple, to speak with Lama Renpoche. It was a very expansive experience, being 2 hours of 5 high-schoolers speaking with an esteemed Buddhist leader. It answered some of my questions, but not all of them. It was about that time that I started learning about Paganism and Hinduism. Between the knowledge of the 3 paths, I found mine. I called myself pagan, because no other label really fits, no one box label is truly accurate, because honestly I just blend what works for me. Adding hindsight about the birth, explains why I resonate with mantras, it’s likely that that is what the doctor was singing to me. Regardless the feeling place of being rocked in the cradle with the mantras being sung is evoked when I meditate, and I would not have found meditation if not for learning about Buddhism and Hinduism. So the attachment to that doctor guided me to find the knowing.
Fast forward, and my birth again guided me when I went to have Ian. I knew that I wanted my child to have an amazing birth. A loving birth. Essentially, I wanted my child to have the experience that I was denied, I wanted the opposite of my birth. I went to great lengths to ensure a home water birth while having “Gestational Diabetes”. I stuck to it because I was deciding for someone that had no say. And I did.
Ian’s birth was nearly perfect. 12.5 hours of labor, as gentle as could be. Soothing warm water surrounded me for three quarters of it. Ian was born in occiput posterior (OP) position (really most of labor was that way), but my midwife was unfazed by the positioning and so I was fine too. I knew I was in capable hands and that helped the birth experience go great. Ian was born, and with the exception of a very brief removal of the cord from his neck, I was the first person to hold, to touch my child in those soothing warm waters. Dad (Nathan) reached forward around me and held his tiny hand. It was a very soothing wonderful experience. Even when we finally got out of the birth tub, it was 10 steps to bed and cuddle time for essentially 24 hours straight. Blissful.
I have said and will continue to say that Ian’s birth went as perfectly as any mom could expect, and I know that a major part of that was my willingness to do whatever that took with diet, exercise, and mindfulness.
The only thing that I would have changed was how much time I took off of work afterward. I too was the sole income for our little family (perhaps another remnant of my birth re-manifesting), so I only got 3 weeks off and even during that 3 weeks I did work a little. I sincerely hope that Ian can forgive me for that when he gets older. We minimized my working as much as possible, but when you are the only source of money, it’s unavoidable to return to work sooner than you’d like.
My birth experiences as a baby led to greater effort on my part and decisions that produced entirely the opposite experience for my child. I am ever so grateful for that. I can not fully put into words the relief I felt when I realized that. It was a very healing realization.
That being said, I love myself even more. I appreciate that I was able to undo a well accepted and well established “necessity” to provide my child a loving birth. I appreciate that the energy of the birth experience far outweighed my desire to take the easy route with medicine and a hospital birth. I appreciate that my efforts will likely turn into better manifestations for my son later in his life, and hopefully a better understanding of my love for him.
The only thing that remains from my rebirthing is this cycle of Indian men ‘loving and leaving’. I can see the pattern now. I can see that I keep inviting them into my life when I need help the most, my darkest hours. And like the doctor at my birth they duck out when the worst of the storm is over. It’s really more of a quiet unnoticed exit, as in you can’t see me, so now is my chance. This latest man is the 3rd such repeat of this cycle: one when I was a child in school, and the other -Rajesh- as an adult.
At this point, now that I see the pattern, I find myself reiterating that I would like for one of them to stay. I would like for one of them to love me enough to be a permanent part of my life. As much as I appreciate the healing they provided, I want to wipe the idea of detached from their slate. And perhaps it’s because I can see that even though they tried to remain detached, there is really no such thing. If I have these memories, I have these feelings, I have these associations, then there is an attachment- for better or worse.
You don’t remember things that you don’t care about. Do you remember what color your shoelaces were on a pair of shoes from 3rd grade? Do you remember what you ate for lunch the 3rd Monday of 4th grade? Do you remember all of your clothes from your entire childhood? No they were things that you were not attached to, so your brain didn’t lock them away. You might remember your favorite item or events from each school year, or your most precious toys, but you won’t remember them all. You simply didn’t attach to them all.
To me attachment is an inevitable subtle side-effect of caring. When you care, it affects you, and then you remember those things, those events, those places, those people. I want the things that affect me in that way to leave happy feelings, like childhood vacations and favorite meals.
Yet, my current experience of 3 of the 4 Indian men in my life is regret. Regret that I wasn’t able to convey my appreciation for them being there. Regret that they got away without knowing truly how much they helped me. Wishing that I had said or done something that would have led them to reconsider leaving. Wishing that they could have taught others in my life a better way (though that mostly pertains to the doctor in regards to my dad’s interactions).
So, it all boils down to love (thanks Ms. Hay ). Those are all symptoms of love. Those are all aspects of interactions based on love. I couldn’t tell them that they helped me and that I loved them for it, and yet those that remained in my life were somehow unable to do what those men did. It also boils down to my ability to love myself and find that connection. Those men taught me how, but I don’t seem to be able to maintain it consistently to this day. I can’t spend all day sitting in the sun rocking myself and singing mantras. I can’t convince myself indefinitely that things will really be all right. Oh, I have my moments like that, I can do it for a few minutes here and there, even a few hours at a time, but all day every day is where I slip. I have yet to find their level of zen. SO then I want them to stay, because maybe I could absorb it vicariously through them.
That’s probably not healthy either. It must be another lesson on learning to love myself. I find it interesting that every layer of the onion produces one round of healing and another yet to solve. I love and forgive myself over birthing experiences, but have yet to figure out a way to love and heal myself in regards to interactions with other adults. Perhaps the point at which my memories of the men no longer carry regret, I will have one decide to stay. But maybe that is just a belief needing revised too. Some days I feel like all of my work is on myself, and that the interactions with life are merely the filler.