Monday, April 11, 2011

A prenatal massage that edited motherhood

This came my way via @TomMartin. When I read it all I could do was respond, "wow".

Written by Ashley Bond   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 20:22
A few weeks ago, I sat down on a bench to rest my weary legs.
This was my view.

It was a beautiful day in Telluride, where I spent a week with dear friends and family.
The idea of a ski "vacation" while 5 months pregnant and two kids in tow created a lot of anxiety for me. The dreadful anticipation of a long flight, playing musical beds for 6 nights and being left behind to babysit the kids all day while everyone else skied was reason enough to just stay home with the baby and send my husband and 4yo packing.
But I went anyway. And everything was fine.
Since I couldn't/wouldn't ski, I had to create my own vacation. And for me that meant a chance to be alone, come and go as I please, treat myself to a fabulous cut and highlight and indulge in a 90-minute massage.
So I booked a babysitter for a few hours everyday and took what was mine.
I snapped this picture 10 minutes before I had one of the most powerful experiences of my life as a mother.
I've had at least 50+ massages in my lifetime. It's one of my guilty pleasures. I don't buy expensive shoes (anymore) and I don't shop (anymore). I splurge on babysitting, Thai food and really good massages.
I did my research and found a therapist who seemed to have a good handle on things. Her name was Diana Marshall. Booking a massage without a referral is a risk but I was desperate. My body ached from travel, pregnancy, parenting and general over-exertion.
I also had an uncomfortable tightness on the left side of my belly. My OB said I was fine but I couldn't help worry that there was something wrong with the baby.
So I went in for my massage. I told her what I wanted and in a joking way asked her to use every tool in her toolbox to make me feel better: deep tissue, Thai massage, Prenatal massage and Craniosacral Therapy (whatever the hell that was...but it was on her website and looked pretty good).
She nixed the Thai massage because of pregnancy limitations and went for the deep tissue. Out of the all the massages I've had, this was by far the best one yet.
The last 20 minutes, she asked me if I'd like her to do some Craniosacral work and try to "tune into baby" to see if there was anything baby wanted to tell me.
Ummmm, ooookay?
Her hands cradled my head and with the lightest touch and slightest movements, my mind and body became quiet. It was the most still I had ever been. I felt like I was floating. I had no thoughts. It was peaceful.
Once I settled into the stillness, she moved to the baby. She went strait to my left side where the tightness was, put one hand over it and the other beneath it. She used the same techniques. I never mentioned anything about my left side.
Out of the blue, she asked me if I had been a "cord baby", as in "were you born with the cord wrapped around your neck".
I asked her why she was asking and she said that she had the sense that the baby was holding on to something. That the baby was tense, uncomfortable.
Oh, crap.
I snapped back into reality for a moment and started to worry: Wait a second. Maybe I DON'T want to know what baby has to tell me. What if baby tells me something is wrong? What if baby tells me something is wrong with ME!
But it was too late. I was in. I had to listen to what my body (and baby) had to say.
"No." I said. "To my knowledge, I was not a cord baby."
She continued working.  I felt the baby fall into the same stillness. Diana said that if I'd like to ask the baby if there was anything it wanted me to know, now would be the time.
Oh, god. Weird...but why not.
So I tuned in and sent the message...and the baby sent one right back:
"Let go."
All of a sudden a flood of emotion poured out of me, my eyes drowing in tears. I knew exactly what this message meant.
I just cried.
But then I regrouped. And when I found my stillness again, I did it.
I let go.
Then I felt the baby move. It drifted away from the tightness and floated across my entire belly as if to finally stretch out and relax for the very first time.
This was a sobering moment for me. It was in this moment that I gained a deeper understanding of motherhood. I realized how my own anxieties, fears and insecurities affect not only the little person growing inside of me but the ones growing up right before my eyes. I got it. We're connected.
I let go of a lot that day. And I have since made a conscience effort to be kinder to myself, to let go of unrealistic expectations, to forgive, to enjoy life a little more, to rest. I owe it to myself and I owe it to my children because if I want them to live peaceful and joyous lives, I must do the same.
Afterwards I sat with Diana for a while to process exactly what just happened to me. She talked to me about Craniosacral Therapy, how it works and how it is being used to address not only pre/postnatal issues but also pediatric issues such as colic, chronic ear infections, learning disabilities, behavior problems, autism, attention deficit issues and more.
This was mind-blowing to me.
Craniosacral Therapy was developed by an Osteopathic Physician and biomechanics professor named John E. Upledger. The therapy has to do with releasing restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. You can read all about it at and I've listed some more resources below.
This type of therapy is used to treat a whole host of issues in adults (headaches, back pain, depression, sinus congestion, TMJ) but what I am most interested in learning more about is how it is used to treat infants (tramatic births, colic, reflux), children (learning disabilities, sleep problems, ausitm, ADHD, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders), pregnant women (stress, past emotional/physical trauma, discomfort) and postpartum women (realignment, muscle rehabilitation, c-section recovery, traumatic delivery).
Unfortunately, there are very few resources here in New Orleans; however, I did manage to locate ONE person who, believe it or not, is actually a leader in the field of Pediatric Craniosacral Therapy. We are playing phone tag at the moment. I hope to connect with her and gather some more information to share with nolaParents so that anyone interested in exploring this alterntative therapy for themselves or their children can do so.
 Check out the article on

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