Christianna Deichmann, RCST®, PPNE from Balanced Bodies unravels some of the scientific and spiritual mysteries that surround the pre, peri and postnatal universe we live in.
Do you believe we all suffer from some kind of trauma before and during birth?
Yes, absolutely. Birth is transformative – it is an event that is an initiation to life. A baby comes into this world and enters a new realm. In order to do this, the child has to go through a metaphorical death of one life, in the womb, in order to initiate another, where they are breathing air into their lungs, and on their own.
The same thing happens during the period of conception – the same transformation takes place – and I do not believe it is an easy transformation. We all know that humans experience hardship and challenge during any transitional period in their life. Periods of transcendence open up liminal and existential spaces that shape who we become.
This touches on the current and prevalent science of somatotropic processes – the study of how matter moves and organises itself to take shape. This happens at various stages of our entire existence. The science has been around for thousands of years but has only recently become a buzzword in our modern culture.
Babies experience their environments in utero. Bruce Lipton, who has been coined the father of epigenetics, has carried out numerous studies that highlight this. Epigenetics means the DNA of an embryo is imprinted in generations prior to its inception – so for example, I was a fully developed egg in my mother’s ovary when she was in my grandmother’s womb at 5 months gestation. My DNA was tagged according to the environment that my grandmother thrived (or didn’t thrive) in.
We know that babies are aware of everything to do with the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental happenings that are taking place inside the mother and in the mother’s surroundings. The baby is bathing in an energy field that is shaping everything about them; their hopes, their fears, their beliefs, their dreams, their neurobiology… Ultimately, we can ascertain that birth is a lifelong event, nevermind the ancestral overwhelm that comes into play as mentioned earlier.
“The latest research in neuroscience and epigenetics reveal the majority of disease is linked to the environment in which a child is conceived, develops in utero, birthed, and raised from the earliest years from 0-3.” This is pretty terrifying for any parent – can you elaborate?
I had this view when I first started this work, and being a mother, I too found it a daunting thought. However, the most empowering statement that you can have as a human being is that you can come to understand who you are and where you came from. This understanding and connection to yourself can help you change who you are and change who your children become.
This science of epigenetics and neuroscience that we are coming to understand is forming this powerful statement that we can claim as a human race – our conscious minds dictate and manifest our realities. We are entering new times and the human race is experiencing a paradigm shift in how we view our reality. We have started to understand the power and destruction that we harness as humans, which is why this is so terrifying.
It holds humans responsible for our actions, and we cannot hide from the truth. However, we can embrace it. We are sacred and spiritual beings, and our children are sacred entities. They understand and know more than we thought they ever did. Helping a child form, develop and grow is essentially the greatest feat you can accomplish on Planet Earth. It is the very essence of love, connection and harmony. Ultimately, it is peace on Earth.
Everything you do will impact your child, and everything that was done to you will shape how you view the world. We can’t shame or blame ourselves for not knowing what we didn’t know, but once we come to know and understand this, we can make a choice for how to proceed with our lives.
This is our greatest challenge facing us now- rediscovering how we can rewire our nervous systems, embrace spirituality and reclaim consciousness over all aspects of our lives, and usher in this new age where babies are honored as the royalty of the Earth.
As a parent, there are many things that you can do to establish a gracious, welcoming and sacred space, not only for yourself but for your child: Personal work on your own behavioral patterns and attachments, bonding with your baby in utero, practicing meditation and mindfulness…
How did you first become interested in Craniosacral Therapy and how did it change your life?
I discovered CST seven years ago when I was 33 and my daughter was 4. I was a single mum at the time and was suffering from severe back pain due to slipped discs. I could barely function and was taking a whole concoction of medication – to no avail. I was going through a life crisis.
A friend recommended I go and see an acupuncturist and I was healed within a month. I did various other treatments and through these, I met a lady who had a daughter with congenital deformities. The only thing that helped her daughter was craniosacral therapy. This lady would practice CST on my daughter who had numerous issues dating back to birth (anxiety, fits of rage..) while I was being treated for something else. This was my first introduction to CST, through my daughter, although I never really understood the process.
A few years later, I had another child and the birth was extremely traumatic – we both nearly lost our lives. I remembered back to how my daughter had received CST three years before and I took my son within a few weeks of being born. The same lady treated him, and she helped us heal from this traumatic birth experience, and helped him to breastfeed.
At this stage, I was hooked, I needed to know more. I ended up working with them for 9 months, worked with their clients and practiced on my family. I trained and certified as a CST practitioner and then started to practice professionally. I went on to study craniosacral in much more depth, amongst other disciplines.
Is Craniosacral therapy best used when combined with other modalities?
I really love being able to incorporate pre and perinatal psychology with somatic experiencing – which is the artform of being able to help a person feel sensations in their body and help them name and express what they are feeling – in addition to craniosacral therapy.
However, if a craniosacral therapist isn’t trained in any other modalities, that is also absolutely fine. If a person does simply one session of cranio, the body will never forget and it can be resumed at a later stage. The nervous system never forgets. As Peter Levine said “ The body keeps the score!”
Do you believe that if treated from birth, regardless of environment, a person can suffer less from behavioral or psychological issues later in life?
Without a doubt. I dream of a world, in addition to a number of my colleagues, where there is a new practitioner that is prevalent at all births. This practitioner is a pre and perinatal somatic practitioner; a trauma informed touch therapist, versed in polyvagal therapy, somatic experiencing and CST. They are part of the hospital team at the time of birth, every single birth. This is what we are busy working towards – having a collective of practitioners at birth so that we can relieve some of these patterns that appear just from passing through the birth canal or undergoing a C-section – helping the mother settle and allowing for that sacred, gracious space of one hour right after birth – just mother and child.
How do you navigate with a new client?
I always have a first free consultation with someone and ask them to tell me their story. I always ask what their intention is for treatment, which is sometimes quite intricate. 99% of my clients experience some form of prenatal and perinatal somatic therapy from me when they come for treatment, whatever the cause of their ill-ease.
Inevitably, somehow we will traverse the shadowlands of their psyche during treatment. For the most part, they come in not knowing what is really going on, and then we dive in deeper.
When was Balanced Bodies first created and what can you tell us about your practice?
Balanced Bodies has only been in existence since January 2018. I help people of all ages but I take a particular interest in working with mothers and babies because I see them as more vulnerable than others. The irony of this is that the womb is a classroom and we all attend – I see people of any age as they have of course all been babies at some point in time.