Birth games are one way to give older babies and children the opportunity, the safety and the support they need to repattern and resolve early difficulties, to heal from trauma and to complete their birth sequence.
There are three different approaches to playing birth games:
It is important to be sensitive to the child’s responses, and vary
the approach to suit the needs of each individual child. These games
need to be challenging but not overwhelming.
Birth games can be fun, supporting the managable release of feelings of anger, frustration, fear, desperation etc. and the new experiences of success, choice, confidence, and being welcomed.
It is important to begin by creating a safe space and by resourcing the child...
and to end the session with something calming.
The child or baby can tunnel under the crook of an arm, under the legs of an adult or under a blanket. Make the tunnelling easy at first. Keep it playful and let the child lead. Gradually increase the challenge, offering gentle pressure and more body contact to make it more of a push and a wriggle. Remind the baby or child it is not like it was when they were born, now they can do it their own way. Encourage the child to push with the feet and emerge head first. Then give the opportunity to be welcomed and held by the mother and invite them to make eye contact.
Using 4 large floor cushions, make a den, womb, volcano or house to
surround the child. encourage the child’s own imagery. What would you
like to be? a dinosaur hatching from an egg, a volcano erupting, a
growing from a seed, etc.
Ask if it is ok to put a blanket over the top.
Two or three adults hold the walls ( if possible include both the mother and father)
Suggest rocking or pulsing movement and invite the child, when they are ready, to find their own way out. With a C section birth the child may try many different ways of emerging . Cheer them on enthusiastically and offer the opportunity to be welcomed and held whenever they emerge.
Use a suitably strong blanket (red if possible). Lay it on the floor. Two or more adults take the corners. Now invite the child to lie or curl up in the middle. Lift the corners.
would the child like the blanket open or closed
would they like to be on the floor or lifted up
would they like to be rocked or swung
would they like fast or slow
Encourage the child to say what they need.
Give the child advanced warning when you need to stop...
eg. my arms are getting tired now so we will give you three more swings and then stop
or ...we will need to stop soon, what would you like before we stop?
Use a large cardboard container or packing box. Cut a circular door space. Line the box with soft padded red fabric and attach a red curtain at the door. This space can be furnished with whatever else the child needs: consider silky red cushions, favourite cuddly toy, torch, baby bottle, tape player with womb music.
(If a box is not available, a space under a table or in a walk-in cupboard is ok as a temporary home though it has the disadvantage of not being the child's own space)
Links and References
Babies to Heal
Understanding Early Difficulties
The Importance of Touch