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CONSCIOUS BIRTHING INDIA

Holistic Perspectives & Directory For Northern India

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Deciding factor: Limbic Imprinting

By Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova

Limbic imprinting is the inborn capacity of the nervous system to absorb and memorize, on a cellular level, all of the information from its surrounding environment during the early formative period– the moment of conception through 9 months of gestation, birth, and the first few years of life. Every fluctuation of the mother’s hormonal, physical, emotional experiences are registered by the fetus and non-cognitively recorded in its developing nervous system. These early impressions and sensations remain with this person throughout their entire lifespan. Good news: If the original limbic imprint, or ‘basic settings’, were undesirable and painful, it is possible to consciously create an alternative later on in life.  

To better understand the term “limbic imprint,” let’s look at the basic structure of our brain. At the tip of the spinal cord there is a segment called the reptilian brain, responsible purely for the physiological functions of the body. That’s the part of the brain that still remains functional when a person is in a coma, for example, in a “vegetable” state, – the basic physiology of the body is still going on, women even keep menstruating and can continue with gestation if they are pregnant.

Then there is the cortex, usually referred to as the “gray matter,” responsible for our mental activity. That’s what we routinely call “the brain”, – the part of the brain responsible for our cognitive functions: logic, calculating, planning…

And then we have the limbic system of the brain, responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings.

Limbic imprinting happens in that part of the brain, which is not directly connected with the cortex, responsible for cognitive memory. During gestation, birth and early childhood, the limbic system registers all of our sensations and feelings, without translating it into the language of cortex, simply because it’s not developed yet. That memory lives in the body through out the rest of our life whether we know of it or not.

We come into this world wide-open to receive love. When we do receive it, as our first primal experience, our nervous system is limbically imprinted – “programmed” with the undeniable rightness of being. Being held in the mother’s loving arms, feeding from her breast and seeing the great joy in father’s eyes, provides us with the natural sense of bliss and security; it sets the world as the right place for us to be in.

If our first impressions of being in the body are anything less than loving (painful, frightening, lonely…), then that “anything” imprints as a valid experience of love. It is immediately coded into our nervous system as a “comfort zone,” acting as a surrogate for the love and nurturing, regardless of how painful, frustrating and undesirable it actually was.

And in the future, as adults, we will unconsciously, automatically re-create the conditions that were imprinted at birth and through our early childhood.

Research done by the pioneers of prenatal psychology, such as: dr.Thomas Verny, dr. David Chamberlain, dr. William Emerson shows that an overwhelming amount of physical conditions and behavioral disorders in are the direct result of traumatic gestation time and complications during delivery, including unnecessary mechanical interventions and an overdose of anesthesia.

Also, it turns out, on top of the devastating effect of trauma during the actual birth, what happens after it,- like routine impersonal postpartum care,- is also a source of trouble: lack of immediate warm, soft and nurturing contact with the mother, premature cutting of the cord, rude handling, circumcision, needles, bright lights, startling noises… all this sensory overload becomes instantly wired into the newborn’s nervous systems as the new “comfort zone”, against all logic. As logic resides in a different part of the brain, which is not quite developed yet. So that person will continue unconsciously recreate/attract the same repeated situation of abuse and/or become abusive. Even if later on in life his or hers rational mind/cortex will recognize this as pattern of “abuse,” the imprinting had already happened in a different part of the brain, which doesn’t have the skill to stop the pattern.

We can make an effort to heal our own birth trauma and embrace the opportunity of creating a masterpiece of our lives. We can recognize that however rude our beginning was, we do have a choice as adults to change our basic settings, to reprogram our limbic imprint and transmute our suffering and helplessness during birth into the love and joy of being born on this planet. We can regain our authentic power, clear the pain of our ancestors from our system, and set the stage for our children to step into their lives as peaceful, empowered guardians of Earth. I invite you to envision the possibilities that would open up for humankind if women fully claimed their original capacity that all mammals have – to give birth and raise our young without trauma.

Call me naïve, but I truly believe that we can improve the quality of our species in just one generation by allowing our kind to enter into this world without being ‘programmed’ on suffering and pain. I envision the new generation coming into the world of safety, compassion and common sense. Please, join me in this vision.” 

Healing powers of Spiraling

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova speaks about ‘Spiraling’:

“When asked directly about why the Birth Into Being Method has such a staggering display of efficiency, I would always limit myself by saying something like ‘one of the main factors is that all of our processes are experienced by participants in a slightly altered states, achieved by a few very specific types of movement alternating with a few very specific types of breathing’. That was the most revealing statement about my work that I was open to sharing publically, feeling that I can’t properly introduce this deeply mystical experience in a brief intro and do it justice by giving out only a fraction of information. But at this point, it feels right to start sharing more openly. So, in this interview, you can see a short version of the First type of movement, necessary to gently ascend the group of people into that proverbial slightly altered state, up into the vortex of the Birthing Field, the very source of our creativity and sexuality, into the pre-cognitive space ‘beyond the Story’, in which they can easily access and activate their Free Will.  Done properly, it goes with very deep breathing in the rhythm of waves rolling on a seashore.  Do try this at home. It feels incredibly healing, recharging, rejuvenating. Let your body flow like a piece of seaweed on a bottom of a shallow lagoon, completely at the mercy of the pulse of Life Force that charges and moves the water around it! Allow yourself to experience in real time that level of surrender, support, and mercy, all at the same time… Sending you so much sweet longing for more of THAT in your Life, that will inevitably bring you more… It all starts with us knowing what we want and what we don’t want. Lots of Love and Blessings, Elena”

Conscious Child Birth in India

Conscious birthing is as much about conscious conception and parenting, as it is about the actual natural birthing process. Although one would expect India to have holistic doctors and natural birthing  facilities available en masse – given its rich yoga and ayurveda traditions – the reality is far from it. When searching for clinics for water birthing, midwives for home birthing and experienced, holistically thinking gynaecologists in Uttarakhand (North East India), there are NONE to find.

While Mumbai and Hyderabad offer already some good alternatives to the standardised allopathic birthing procedures, the region between Delhi and Dehradun are way behind.

India, the largest democracy on the planet with 1 billion people, is going through big changes with the new government. While ambition and strength are needed for the country’s development and expansion, balance and discernment are equally crucial.

Given the speed in which India’s population is growing, shouldn’t the  provision of an environment where babies, India’s future generations, can enter life naturally, in peace and calm, without time pressure and trauma, be amongst the top priorities? (Short and longterm implications for mums and children after stressful, hurried, medicated and invasive births are well documented.)

Women who were used to natural births (for example Garhwali women in Uttarakhand), started believing that it is unfashionable to do so. They have to be encouraged to return to their natural ways, which might take a generation of education and training.

Democracy is about choices. And in this fast paced world it is more urgent than ever to ensure the fullfillment of the basic needs of women giving birth. To become aware and understand their physiological and psychological processes, and to give women knowledge and the freedom of choice.

“Being from Europe where natural birthing, home births, waterbirths and trained nurses have long ago started to be widely available – just check Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland–, I see a massive lack of such options in India. The caesarean rate is 98%, presence of midwives maybe 2%. And even if clinical doctors promise to support expectant parents in their natural birthing process, they more often than not change their minds last minute because higher hospital fees can be charged for c-sections.”
HypnoBirthing Practitioner, 2014

Vision for Uttarakhand, the ‘Land of the Gods’:

  1. To have a reliable network of holistic birthing professionals and experienced midwives for home- and hospital births in Uttarakhand.
  2. To have reliable support from committed staff in well-equipped hospitals.
  3. To ultimately have established a holistic integrative birthing sanctuary in Uttarakhand – between Rishikesh and Dehradun – with skilled midwives and doctors (trained under international standards incl. alternative medicine), facilities for natural birthing (e.g. water pools, private rooms, calm atmosphere) and a state of the art ob/gyn department for emergency interventions. To have the space and facilities for parents to stay well in advance of the due date, and stay as long as needed. Focus: Treat expectant mothers with respect, acknowledge their individual needs and allow them to experience birthing without time pressure and enforcement of medicine or invasions. This sanctuary would balance the best of all worlds – mum’s and baby’s body wisdom, naturopathy, spiritual science and healing modalities as well as conventional medicine.

If you are interested in supporting the realisation of such a sacred birthing home, please get in touch.

Where to Walk?!

Conscious ‘conception-birthing-parenting’ are part of conscious living. What about conscious city planning and landscaping? Shouldn’t this also be an integral part of our considerations and social responsibility, in order to prepare the ground not only for the well-being of our children but also for creating sustainable infrastructures for generations to come? Increasing traffic, the related bad air quality, noise and lack of safety are major concerns that need to be addressed – urgently and wholeheartedly.

I am German and love India. In fact, I also live in this magnificent country with my beloved (who is Indian). One of the things I really do miss here though, is an environment that allows an exploration of land and cities by foot with ease.

It is impressive how people have adapted to the apparent road chaos and creatively move around (remarkable how accepting citizens are), but I have also observed how challenging it is to go for a walk in public, without risking health and life. There’s no denying that the traffic situation, services and facilities, are characterised by a significant neglect and attitude of indifference.  

The below videos show the situation in Rishikesh (Tapovan/ Laxman Jhula) for example, and unfortunately it is emblematic for many roads in the country. Just see for yourself in the second film how a mother shields her son from all the speedy traffic. But then, the parked motorbikes force her to step on the road…

A simple stroll turns into an unnecessarily risky adventure. The current infrastructure is frustrating and worrisome – not only for mothers and fathers with their kids, pregnant women and dog owners, but for everybody who wants to go for a walk, or must walk in order to get from A to B.

Where is the walking space? How to navigate a walk when there is no pedestrian and footpath? Buses, trucks, cars, autorikshas and motorbikes have taken over. Vehicles pop up from all directions, oftentimes super speedy. Rubbish, stones, loose bricks, gravel, dog poo, cow poo and what not, create additional obstacles on the narrow sidewalks.

Feeling safe and comfortable while walking in the street is naturally given in almost any other country. In India it’s a dream and one wonders where the responsible street and city planners are. There seem absolutely no regulations for protection of public space. Least concern for pedestrian safety. 

I do not even dare to wish for public parks and green areas for doing sports, walking, socialising or to simply enjoying mother Earth, although such facility is an indisputable must have in most cities on the planet. Here instead, the main focus seems on commercial spaces which pop up by the minute. The city landscape tends to be a mess and eyesore. Big old trees get ruthlessly cut and supposed height limits for buildings are blatantly ignored. And it pains me even more, when I notice the lack of maintenance of India’s ancient spiritual treasures and sacred powerspots like Rishikesh. An Indian friend also pointed out that the open loos for men and garbage dumps are a violation against public hygiene and global efforts for environmental sustainability

Just shortly after recording the above videos, I saw a car from Delhi bumping into a woman holding a baby in her arms. She walked on the stingy path beside a busy road. The driver caught her from behind, just laughed (!) and drove away. Supported by family members, she was ok, but shock and disbelief stood on her face. While it is hardly possible to control the driving behaviour of individuals, it is possible to control the development of road structures.

Time to take a strategic approach and bring awakened consciousness, humanity, sustainability and beauty into public space-planning and infrastructure implementation.

In the following 2 mins. recording, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev eloquently describes that a new attitude is indeed needed to secure India’s development and survival (original: “Sadhguru & Baba Ramdev at Rally for Rivers event at Haridwar” on YouTube):

Slow Birth & Social Implications of Fast Birth

So called modern societies have dramatically disturbed women during the child birth process and these days we seem to have not only a lack of an appropriate cultural model for childbirth but also a lack of time, patience and trust in a woman’s body, and the natural orchestration of mother and baby during birthing.

It seems standard to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. The artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the ‘bonding effect’ as the natural hormone. 

Mechanised, rushed birthing ‘appointments’ really have a vast array of side effects. To name a few: physical and emotional trauma (in mother and baby, as well as father), mothers’ and fathers’ sense of disempowerment, mums’ struggle with depression and feelings of disconnection towards their babies. And a baby’s anesthetised body which is forced to exit from the womb has manifold implications as therapy work with adults reveals again and again.

Last but not least, there is a the spiritual side to childbirth. This is rarely featured in mainstream media although even scientific research shows that hormones of love and transcendence are released in peak doses during labor, birth and breastfeeding.

Now, this raises several big questions:

What effect has birthing on a baby’s life and the individual relationship of mother and child?

How will humanity evolve over generations of women giving birth under unnatural conditions? And where does it leave the father?

And how will women ever get back their sense of ease, grace and ownership for childbirth, and her their own bodies?

It is more urgent than ever to become aware and understand women’s physiological processes and emotional needs, to ensure the fullfillment of (at least) the basic requirements of women giving birth and to give them more knowledge and freedom of choice.

“How a baby is born and how well a woman is treated when she gives birth sets the tone and is the matrix from which a child will grow into a future we have not yet imagined. (…) f each pregnant woman were well nourished and supported in her community, each birth was attended by a skilled and loving attendant and each child had an enriched loving environment, we could change our world into a world of peace, not war.” – Marianne Littlejohn (professional nurse and midwife, and ambassador for natural birth)

Similar to fast food, fast birth is neither nourishing, empowering nor sustainable in the long term. 

“As a reaction to industrial agriculture and food marketing, the Slow Food and locavore movements have recently been born. If de-escalation of our food production practices is healthier or more humane, why is intensification of our child production practices better than sustainable childbirth? I’m waiting for the birth of the revolution, or at least, the revolution of birth. Will women who are interested in Slow Food or cage-free eggs find their way to a Slow Childbirth movement? Imagine: educated upper-middle-class women who buy songbird-certified organic coffee and worry about their carbon footprint, just saying no to the quick-fix cesarean culture. If they’re not part of the problem, maybe they can be part of the solution. But the impetus must come from women themselves. Do we really believe that industrial obstetrics is the best model for ourselves and our children? We must clearly understand that real autonomy does not mean cesarean on request, but instead a spectrum of birth options that honor women’s authentic choices. Real autonomy also means, to borrow a sentiment from Gandhi, that women should bring forth the change they wish to see in the world.”  Excerpt from “Mommy, What Did You Do in the Industrial Revolution? Meditations on the Rising Cesarean Rate” by Lauren A. Plante


 

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