Neta Shaked Kuchli
Birth section and experienced “rebirth” in Rebirthing processes – rebirth through conscious breathing – A Quantitative Research
This work investigates the birth stories of adults who were born by caesarean section and had an experience of “rebirth” in the Rebirthing processes – rebirth through conscious breathing .RB is an integrative therapeutic approach that combines body-mind and spirit, the aim of which is to identify the “birth pattern” experienced by the person at birth in an attempt to heal birth traumas (since according to this approach every birth is seen as traumatic), in order to change patterns of thinking and behavior that are not good for that person and that stemmed from or were related to the birth experience. A central therapeutic tool in this approach is breathing, with an emphasis on continuous breathing without a break between inhalation and exhalation, which helps flood the body with oxygen and energy. This breathing creates physical – emotional and spiritual reactions, which help reveal the repressed contents, process them and drive personal growth and healing processes.
Leonard Orr (Orr, 1977), known as the one who developed the theory and practice of REBIRTHING – rebirth with conscious breathing, assumes that every birth is experienced by the newborn as a trauma and that the trauma of birth has a decisive effect on the body and mind, on relationships and on the whole life. The experience of birth is seen as part of the first life events that influence the development of personality and basic behavior patterns (Mandel and Ray, 1987).
The theory underlying the approach refers to “birth patterns” that are created in the baby during birth in accordance with the manner of the birth process, where each type of birth is expected to affect the baby in a different way and imprint on it a typical “birth pattern” that will be reflected in the energetic, physical and mental aspects of life. These “birth patterns” affect a person’s relationships with himself, with others and with the world in a way that he is not aware of throughout his life. Or and his colleagues developed an integrative therapeutic model that combines body, mind and spirit work which they claim allows for the identification and study of the “birth pattern” that has been created, the way in which the pattern affects a person’s perception of himself, his life and his relationships. According to them, the identification of the birth pattern revealed in the RB process as part of psychotherapeutic treatment may lead to liberation, change and “rebirth” into a life free from the sediments of the past (Or, 1992). Although the experience of RB has become widespread in Israel and around the world over the years since it was first discovered and developed by Leonard Orr, there are very few studies in the world dealing with the field in general, or studies that have specifically examined the theoretical premises of this approach.
This study focused on the birth stories experienced by adults born by caesarean section in RB processes, while referring to the conceptualizations and theoretical basis of this method, as formulated by Leonard Orr, discoverer and developer of RB (Orr, 1992), and his colleagues Bob Mandel and Sandra Ray (Mandel & Ray , 1987), and the research findings that exist today in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, a field that studies psychological consequences that may have the experiences experienced by the fetus before birth as well as the baby during birth and during the early life period. The fetal and perinatal research is based on the assumption that the early experiences in human life, and especially traumatic experiences, there is a significant impact on future psychological development and personality shaping.
This study posed two questions: 1. what are the themes and narratives emerging from the therapeutic experience of RB that characterize the birth experiences, as they are perceived by the participants. 2. What changes in the perception of the interviewees in this study occurred in their lives following the experience of giving birth at RB ?.
The study included 15 interviewees, 13 women and two men between the ages of 27-56 who were born by caesarean section and had experienced a RB birth at least a year before the interview. The research tool was a semi-structured in-depth interview.
The study is a phenomenological qualitative study that investigates the “lived experience” and focuses on the way events are perceived and interpreted by the individual (Gubrium & Holstein 1994; Schwandt, 1994), and does not look for one “true” reality or objective facts that can be quantified.
From the analysis of the interviews I conducted for the purpose of this research, three central themes emerged: 1. Loneliness, fear, terror and helplessness 2. Centrality of “control and dedication” 3.Narratives of correction
This study is the first phenomenological study conducted in the context of the experience and treatment of RB and this is the first time that a critical analysis of the content that emerges during the birth experience in RB takes place, with the aim of checking whether these contents connect to the theory that underlies the approach that describes “birth patterns” in general and “birth pattern” which characterizes those born by caesarean delivery in particular.
The findings emerging from this preliminary study reinforce some of the basic assumptions in the field of fetal and perinatal research regarding the various effects that the pregnancy period and the birth process itself may have on the development of the baby, as well as some of the theoretical assumptions underlying the approach of RB treatment regarding the emotional and mental difficulties and challenges with which the cesarean birth is expected to deal with in adulthood, as influenced by the pattern of his birth.