Sunday, February 28, 2016

Baby Love

I am at my wit's end, friends.

It's said that marriage introduces you to yourself.  If you thought you were a noble person, that little fantasy balloon has to pop.

Well, counseling does that, too.  This gal is not as grown-up as she thinks.

Baby lover.  That's me now.

I doubt you've thought about it much, but did you ever wonder how a baby feels inside the womb of its mother?  I mean, do we sense something in there? Do we sense whether we're welcome, or unwelcome?  Do we feel...Exuberant?  Hurt beyond measure?  If we sense we're unwelcome, the world is a scary place, without solace.  We linger at the edges of social circles.   We are in our own little shell.  If we manage to come out, we still may have one foot out the door, as adults.  Researchers can tell now, by telltale emotional scars carried into adulthood, precisely when trauma happened in a child's world. Trauma that didn't get healed, I mean.  The victim's emotional development gets frozen in time.  Or, some of it, anyway. 

Of course, my counselors are all too happy to reveal what they see in me.  My bubble is popped.

The following passages resonated with me so much that I shared them with my counselors this week.  Yup, my symptoms match trauma in infancy.  Confirming that you, dear readers, are reading the musings of a baby.

 If you're curious, if you've ever wondered why some people get stuck in their terrible two's, now learn about why someone gets stuck from the get-go.  

Laurence Heller's "Healing developmental Trauma", chapter 7, Physiology and Trauma.

" If safety through loving connection [with one's mother] is not possible, as is the case with depressed, anxious, or dissociated mothers, the [baby's] system falls back on the dorsal vagus [the more primitive, reptilian nerve structure we all have]...the heart rate rises in preparation for survival." 

"When there is early trauma, the older dorsal vagal defensive strategies of immobilization dominate, leading to freeze, collapse, and ultimately to dissociation.  [In other words, they don't fully feel alive and safe.]  As a result, the ventral vagus [the emotional capacity, a higher function] fails to adequately develop and social development is impaired.  Consequently, traumatized infants favor freeze and withdrawal over social engagement as a way of managing states of arousal.  This [withdrawal] pattern has lifelong implications...On the psychological and behavioral level, the capacity for social engagement is severely compromised, leading to self-isolation and withdrawal from contact with others."

Whew!  Given all I went through, I couldn't have BEEN any other way. Until this amazing PTSD therapy, which allows me to feel safe.

Now, friends, baby love is here!   I do hope you stick around with me as I grow up.  


  1. Glad it's working for you and that your feel safe. That is two BIGGIES to be happy about.

  2. I am! This is substantive change, at LONG last. This proves to me how malleable our brains and nervous systems are (even older ones like ours).

  3. Well, you've done your homework and you self-exploration. You deserve the rewards you're reaping.

  4. I hadn't wondered about myself in the womb, but did about my own children and tried to keep anger/fear/stress away from my thoughts and life. They were born, happy and contented, except my last one (Jennifer). Is it because my husband wanted me to abort her and I wouldn't, so he left me for 6 weeks? Who knows. Anyway, I am wondering, could you trust enough to have a satisfying marriage? Could you be truly, emotionally close and intimate?

    1. Interesting about Jennifer. Some stresses, like you had, are impossible to avoid. Jennifer did become content in your care, didn't she? How could she not - you are such a loving woman.

      Yes, my husband and I were as close as I've ever been. I could tell him anything. And boy, he saw all sides of me. LOL I always felt safe (except when his eyes strayed). I never had close female friends that I felt safe to share my deep dark secrets with. Finally I got so lonely that I threw caution to the wind and started sharing here. Weirdly enough - you started listening and writing back!