So often in my practice I find that women who are having problems in pregnancy and/or labor have been victims of sexual abuse.
The feelings and emotions that are heightened during pregnancy, the entire process of carrying and then releasing a baby have tendrils that are deeply attached to a woman’s sexual and reproductive history. I recently worked with one such client who was experiencing a very slow protracted labor.
Anna was past her due date and had been dealing with painful contractions for over 2 weeks without much dilation. I asked her if she knew of any reason, however illogical, that would prevent her from fully releasing this baby. She verbalized a fear that she would have to take care of the baby by herself. Anna and her husband have an 18 month old who is a handful and Anna cares for this child much more than her husband. We did a few rounds of:
Even though I am so angry that my husband slept soundly while I was up with the baby all night last night…
Even though I am afraid that my husband won’t help me with this new baby, I could try and ask him for help instead of being frustrated that he can’t read me my mind.
As soon as we got her level of intensity to zero on a scale of 0 to 10, on those statements, Anna had a flashback of a scene when she was 7 years old. Her alcoholic father walked in on her crying and instead of comforting her he walked off complaining about how he didn’t care for girls. Anna’s father constantly told her that he would never take care of her since he didn’t understand girls. We did several rounds related to that scene as well as how there was a subconscious association between her father’s lack of support and her husband’s when Anna remembered being raped by her father at age 9.
The scene was so charged that we spent almost 40 minutes dissecting each and every frame of the movie to finally get her to release all negative emotions around it. The feeling that came up most was the loss of control of her body. When I pointed out that it’s similar to the loss of control that happens in labor she felt I had hit the nail on the head.
Through tapping on all associated fears of losing control in labor, Anna was able to relax deeply and true labor began. The baby arrived virtually painlessly soon afterwards!