Learning as you live ... an EFT journey for birth trauma


As a mum of four I’m quite often in too much of a hurry to go softly softly with my children when they are causing a fuss, especially over something self-inflicted. Although, as you read on you’ll see why I have changed my views on what is actually so called ‘self-inflicted’.

by Jay Kelly

This is what I wrote up after a fantastic tapping session with Thea, my nine-year-old eldest daughter:

Thea was desperate to have her ears pierced for years, which I really didn’t want to happen. I managed to hold off until she turned 9. She was prepared for the pain, but obviously it was still a banging shock when it happened. After the first ear had been done she was frozen in shock, and only when I told her that she could cry if she wanted to, she sobbed and let me cuddle her. She let the lady pierce the second ear and felt proud of herself.

She did a job of keeping them clean, and after eight weeks we took out the sleepers to change to new pretty ones and she almost fainted with fear. She kept on holding her throat saying she couldn’t breathe and was panicking. We hadn’t even removed them and she was absolutely traumatised. Not like her at all. She likes to make sure we know she is normally brave and tough.

I eventually established that Thea was actually in fear of the clipping sound of the butterfly clip at the back being removed, not the pain. We managed it, but it wasn’t pleasant for her. Even though we tapped for all sorts, she still had fear and she was not happy.

Two weeks later she really wanted a different pair in, but was still super scared. We tapped and brought it down from a 7 to a 5. But each time I tried to progress it kept shooting back up.

I would stop and we’d tap some more. We tapped for the shock of the initial piercing, the pain, the disapproval of me not wanting her to have it done, the worry about it hurting again, her concern that removing them would split her skin. Nothing seemed to have a positive effect. So, at a loss at that point, we continued to tap and I asked “When I hear the clipping sound it reminds me of ...” Every time I said the word clipping she would melt down and curl up. A big reaction for the minuscule sound of the tiny clipping noise when removing the back.

After asking a few more times she said: “I don’t like the clipping sound and being pulled.”

There was the key word that helped us move forward!

jay kelly Her birth was a 40-hour one. After 30 or so hours they fitted a fetal scalp clip (a corkscrew shaped needle) to her head while still inside the birth canal, so that they could monitor to make sure there wasn’t a lack of oxygen. I had an episiotomy and a failed ventouse (suction cup that should have pulled her out, almost like a sink plunger attached to her head!).

She was so stuck that it left her inside, and also left a nice big bruise on the top of her hairy head. They then used forceps to pull her out, finding the cord wrapped round her neck three times, so they cut that while she was still inside, only her head out. Lots of clipping for a poor little baby. They then pulled her out, but by that time she was heavily starved of oxygen and had to be resuscitated back to life. I was in a poor state myself and asked for her to be taken away as I no longer wanted her. I was also angry at myself for not managing the intervention-free labour that I wanted, and also guilty for possibly putting her at risk for my own benefit – a desire for a natural delivery.

She had never been told of these details for obvious reasons, but what I did with her was to talk her through what happened while tapping through what I've just told you here, stopping at points when she interjected words like “were you screaming?”, “they pulled my head”, “so I could have died”...

It took the number down to a 3 and I was able to do the earring change with little problem. Obviously we still need to work on this further, but it’s great to find a little link to help guide us in the right direction!

I am going to tap with all of my girls’ birth stories. It may help Kitty (one of my twins who clings to me like a koala and gets separation anxiety). She was the firstborn twin and spent a little time in a side cot straight after birth while I delivered the second twin.

As a quick follow up, Thea continued to tap on a special teddybear that night when she went to bed. Tapped along to her personal thoughts. The following morning she really didn’t feel any anxiety about it all. Fantastically, but frustratingly at the same time, she thinks it wasn’t that bad after all! She is now a zero on the scale and changes her earrings with no problems.

We have talked about tapping further for her pregnancy, birth and onwards (and prior!). She said “well there’ll be plenty there to tap on!”

Before I go further with my other girls births I want to work my own side of the birth story.

It may be totally fine to work directly with them, as Thea’s was the only traumatic one for me and we worked well tapping together about it. BUT I still have things that I couldn’t say to her and would be good to work that through.

My other births were wonderful for me, but still traumatic for the babies.

I really want to take this so much further. I now can’t believe that we all start our lives in pretty much the same traumatic style and then continue to build issue after issue as we understate the trauma of the birth for a baby. For a lot of babies, I believe that stroking, patting, cuddling, rocking and loving bonds help to release the trauma for the baby, through clearing blocked energy channels and releasing all important oxytocin – I believe this happened for my other three daughters, but Thea had a mum with post-natal depression who couldn’t breastfeed properly and didn’t want to attempt to bond with her baby for over a year. We’re still working on these extra issues, but now we know where to start the next phase of our journey!

Jay Kelly

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