C-Section Birth: Origins of Psychic Trauma

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Sometimes we stumble upon the emotional roots of our behaviours in the most casual ways.  This morning, my partner and I were discussing my son’s penchant towards what I observed as “willful incapability”.  He’s 9, and an incredibly smart boy, who is capable of lots of amazing things.  But some seemingly simple or mundane things, particularly following set tasks or requests, appear to stump him sometimes.  (Suspiciously enough, these things often take the form of what we parents call “chores”.)  Ask him to load the dishwasher, as one example, and he would become upset at the sheer gravity of the request, the complexity of understanding what to load, which tray to put things in, where to get soap from, where to put it, fearful that he might do it wrong and something would get broken, or need to be rewashed, or … who knows what.  Rather than simply learn the steps involved, he becomes overwhelmed, shuts down and upset when pushed to achieve the task at hand.

These do not seem to me like normal reactions to relatively simple tasks, and I was musing that I wished he had an overall heightened level of confidence in his own abilities.

Mandy had an epiphany: “Wasn’t he born via c-section?” she asked. (Cesarian Section)

The light bulbs flickered on.   He was delivered by c-section due to hypertension.

We began muscle-testing for any trapped emotions associated with his birth, and sure enough, we came across this collection:

• Failure
• Helplessness
• Lack of Control
• Low Self-Esteem

Emotional Side Effects of Caesarian Delivery

From the perspective of a baby being unexpectedly cut out of his womb, these emotions make complete sense.  Babies are supposed to control when they come into the world.  This is a very natural part of their journey.  Indeed, it is the very first thing that a baby gets to control.  Aside from the reported neurological and endocrine stimulation benefits of being naturally squeezed through the birth canal,  induced labour and c-sections rob a baby of that very first experience of control, of that first sense of success at accomplishing something important.

When we think about a baby sitting happily in the womb and planning out his grand entrance in his own sweet time, what does the experience of being forcibly removed, man-handled by strange people with rubber hands, blinded by searing spotlights and then passed around on cold scales while being prodded and poked for APGAR scores teach them?   Does it teach them that they were successful in their planned “Coming Out” event, that they’re in control of their own destiny, that they are worthy of being left to manage their own birthing?

Of course not.  It teaches them that they are a “failure” (at birthing themselves), that they are “helpless” (they must be, otherwise why would those strange rubber-handed people have taken over for them?), that they “lack control”, and therefore feel like they weren’t capable of being left to manage their own departure from the womb.


Both emotionally and physically, I find it fascinating how this may manifest later in life.  I wonder if people delivered via c-section statistically experience greater levels of anxiety, PTSD, depression, obsessive-compulsion, feeling habitually overwhelmed, etc.

Psychic Trauma from Non-Natural Birth

As an additional interesting note too, my son’s subconscious told us the event constituted a “psychic trauma”.  This is a term Dr. Bradley Nelson developed to describe particularly traumatic life events in which the mind experiences lots of difficult emotions all at once.  PTSD is a good analogy for this, calling on the world of clinical psychology.  The subconscious packages these together in one big “ball” of emotions and stuffs them deep into the subconscious mind, where they sit, like a tumour, manifesting in broad and complex ways that are unwanted and counter-productive to emotional peace and physical health.  An experience or memory that calls on one of those trapped emotions will pull on a string, like a loose thread attached to a sweater, and bring up all of the emotions from that psychic trauma.  This is why certain songs, or smells, or even certain words can act as triggers for us suddenly recalling how we were feeling at a certain moment in time.


If you were delivered by c-section, or know someone who was, and have an intuitive sense that you may have some emotional baggage that’s holding you back or making you ill, contact us or make an appointment.  We’d love to help you explore it, get rid of those unhelpful emotions and investigate whether you’ve had any physical manifestations of them.


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