Focusing and My First Child

In September, 2004 issue of The Focusing Connection

Nine years ago I gave birth to this beautiful baby girl: Caro. During the pregnancy I already noticed how much I loved being pregnant, but not for the physical part of it. It was hard to feel my body being taken over by this other creature. Taking up so much space, changing everything. But the fact that something inside me was growing and I didn’t need to do much for that, was what made me love it. It just happened by itself, it just grew and grew. It wanted to grow, not much could even be done to stop that. This baby was part of the Life Force itself. The birth was not a good experience. I wish now I had learned and practiced a lot more of Focusing, but I hadn’t at that time. If I had, I could have sensed more clearly what my body needed to do in order to get this baby out. Instead of that, I did what the physician told me, only days later finding out his biggest concern was to get back in time for his other patients in his practice, and everything looked so well, so “Why not just start pushing?” Just on will power! While the body had given no signs of wanting to start that yet!

We learn a lot, even from unpleasant experiences. I tell all my pregnancy clients now, to start pushing only when they sense that’s what the body is wanting. Or the physician must give a very good reason to do so, to start just on the willpower. But anyhow; even after this difficult birth, the baby was fine. And as I was trained as a Bio-dynamic therapist and a child physical therapist, I could see, especially in the movements, how this baby’s life force was flowing so clearly through her body, doing all the things a healthy baby needs to do. I had seen many motor problems with babies, yet this one was just exploring everything in a healthy way and fine. Nothing I needed to do, nothing I needed to facilitate here. I could simply trust the Life Forward Motor and Expressive flows of this being. And I remember being so happy and glad and proud. As every new mother-to-be I had had my doubts and fears whether everything was going to be all right with the baby. I was 36, and I had refused the tests that could detect some intrauterine fetal diseases (and not tell about others). So I felt I was taking a risk. And here she was; her instincts were perfect; she sucked the milk in a fine way, she slept nicely, cried when she felt something was wrong, she made contact, connected, she developed in her own perfect way. I felt I could trust her to do what she needed to do, from her Inside. There was so much faith. I didn’t need to impose it, or teach her, as I had to do in my practice as a therapist. I only needed to support her explorations, keep the space safe for her and be there a lot of the time so she could have me as an anchor.

And now, a week ago, Caro had to do a talk in front of her class. She had been preparing for it for weeks, wanting to do it well. She takes pride in doing things she wants to do, well. That morning before her task, I asked her; “Caro, just check inside for a moment, how do you feel in there (touching her stomach/heart area) about your talk?” (I have hardly done any Focusing with her, I don’t want to use my children for my work so much, except for the fact that I’ve always mirrored them a lot, just naturally.) She was silent for about a minute and said, “It feels just as it feels when I would jump like from that high cupboard.” And she pointed to our highest cupboard in the kitchen. “Ah,” I said, “I think I know just what you mean, a fluttery kind of jumpy, nervous feeling.” “Yeah!” she replied. That afternoon she came back happy, all had been well, the children even had laughed about something and she got a good grade. “Were you nervous”? I asked. “Oh, yeah, my hand was even trembling when holding a paper, but it didn’t matter, it didn’t stop me from telling what I wanted to tell.” And again I was so happy and proud of her and for her. “Good for you,” I said. Only nine years old and sensing and having words for all of that, holding both things, having space for both things; a wanting and a nervousness. What a promise for a future!

Wilja Westerhof may be contacted by email at info@focusbronnen.nl.