Information from the birth history is usually only included in a case analysis if the delivery was very traumatic and a seemingly causal relationship exists between birth and later problems in life, e.g. a child with nightmares and a history of forceps delivery (Stramonium) or an infant with constipation and the use of opiate-like substances during delivery (Opium).
It is therefore mainly in the case-taking of children who need acute remedies that the history of birth seems significant, since it is especially the very last moment of birth that impresses as being traumatic and during which mother and child run the highest risk.
My experience after having listened to the birth history of hundreds of children, is that also in other cases, traces of the simillimum can already be found in the birth history. Some of these cases give magnificent information and allow us to reach a deeper understanding of birth and how to interpret its signs and symptoms.
In a way, every birth is traumatic. Whether we can then infer that it is therefore also a cause of pathology later in life, is open to question. Perhaps it is better to say that birth is an experience that can be traumatic but is always meaningful for the individual born and, as far as I can conclude from my work with patients, always similar in its tune to the repetitive themes later in life. It will always provide a meaningful experience for the newborn, but the better the mother and those helping her are able to let it unfold in a natural way, in tune with the child’s nature, the less traumatic it will be.
Some of the things I learned from including the birth history in every case I was able to get it are the following:
- · The birth process shows in a nutshell the journey of mankind on this planet.
- · An individual birth history shows in a nutshell the mains themes of the individual that will show later in life.
- · The nature of a delivery is similar to the nature of the individual born.
- · The same state is often already visible during pregnancy and conception.
- · Rather than being causal, birth is therefore synchronous with and similar to the state of an individual.
- · A thorough analysis of the birth history in children as well as adults can help to understand and solve a case.
- · There is a clear analogy between the phases of birth and the miasms.
- · There is a clear analogy between the phases of birth and steps in the individuation process.
- · Analysing the birth process deepens the understanding of the miasms.
- · Miasms play a role and serve a purpose in the development of the human race.
- · Each miasm is connected to a phase in human development.
- · Miasms are connected not only to pathology but also to qualities.
The following case is an example of how important the birth history can be for understanding the state of an individual later in life.
I hear a kind of ticking and then my hearing vanishes
A ten-year-old boy with epilepsy and strong fears
Peter’s case is taken while in an adjacent room students follow the case on a television screen. He is a bit tense as if he has to perform and wants to see the class to ease his anticipatory anxiety. He can express himself well, chooses his words carefully, and does his utmost to explain things as well as he can.
‘Sometimes I have complaints with my hearing and then I panic. All of a sudden the volume of my hearing goes down. What is happening? What should I do?
I run to my mother then and want to tell her what is happening, but I can’t find the words. I’m very much afraid then. I want to explain that something is going wrong, and I’m afraid that it will stay this way and that I won’t go back to normal.
First I hear a sound that is not there. A kind of ticking. Then my hearing vanishes.’
Mother: ‘He runs to me with his eyes wide open and clings to me. It is as if whatever I say does not reach him. He just says ‘… I, I, I cannot … I, I, I don’t know.’ After the attack he is tired and yawns.‘
Examination: EEG results show disturbances in the area of the brain concerned with hearing and speech.
Medication prescribed by neurologist: Depakine 2×300 mg.
‘I have another fear that I feel a bit ashamed of. I don’t dare to go outside. I’m afraid that someone will kidnap me. Also I’m afraid of dark alleys or if I’m alone in a strange country. Suppose my parents can’t find me.’
‘In a bus or train I can suddenly become afraid of people. I don’t feel safe. I’m afraid that people will suddenly come out of the shrubs. I don’t have enough trust that things will be all right with me. I get into a sort of panic. When I’m in my own village this is better.’
‘I’m afraid that someone will grab me and won’t let go, that a kidnapper will not release me.’
‘Since the epilepsy I’m afraid of water. I only dare to go into water for which I’m too big (meaning shallow water actually intended for children younger than him). I’m afraid the epilepsy will come and that I won’t know how to swim an more and will drown. In the night I’m afraid of the dark. For ghosts, monsters that will suddenly enter, that will attack me, and that I will be dead or kidnapped.’
‘I dream about monsters. Then I am very powerful, like a king of everything, or the strongest, and I can cope with everything. I dream about being pursued. Suddenly monsters come forward and I’m afraid of being destroyed. To be suddenly eaten by a monster, a dragon or a huge insect. I feel very small and powerless then.’
This all started after he heard there was a kidnapper in the neighbourhood.
Mother: ‘If we go out he always wants to hold my hand. He used to come out of his bed at night, trembling with fear. He wants a light on at night.’
He’s an intuitive child who senses if someone is angry with him. He’s sympathetic to others’ problems. Gives Reiki to injured frogs, calls a friend with a broken arm to ask how he is doing.
When his mother says he had periods with bad concentration and restlessness I notice that he quickly replies, ‘but I’m nice‘. He easily gets the feeling that children are teasing him, ‘as if I don’t have many friends‘. He admits that he can become angry and that he can strike and kick, but says, ‘I’m also afraid they might kick back hard‘.
He likes to prepare something nice for someone else or to help others. He desires French fries, hamburgers, spaghetti, fish, fruit, especially apples and has an aversion to Brussels sprouts
Asked about the difference between him and his twin brother he replies: ‘My brother likes sports, is rougher than I am and is much more daring.‘
Mother about the pregnancy: ‘It was a twin pregnancy. It was a busy time. We moved house and I was finishing my medical study.‘ During pregnancy she had a desire for grapes and an aversion to coffee and Chinese food. ‘At twenty weeks I got contractions. I was afraid things would go wrong and I vomited enormously. At thirty weeks Peter’s growth was arrested. Five weeks later I was hospitalised. Since Peter was not doing well, labour was induced at 36 weeks.‘
Labour: ‘Lying on my back I couldn’t feel the contractions. Strange, I no longer knew what to do. As if I had to deliver strength I didn’t possess and in a direction I didn’t feel. His brother came first. After 45 minutes they used vacuum. On the monitor I saw Peter’s heartbeat wasn’t good. As far as I was concerned they would take him out immediately, but they told me there was no need to rush things. For half an hour I was very much concerned and kept checking his heartbeat. Finally they also used vacuum extraction for him. He came out blue and limp and didn’t respond to anything. ‘Come on, give him to the paediatrician’, is what I thought.‘
A plain repertorisation of the symptoms in this case suggests solanaceae as the top three, Belladonna, Stramonium and Hyoscyamus. Analysed using Expert analysis (MacRepertory) the sequence changes a little and some other remedies are added making the following top six: Stramonium, Hyoscyamus, Cannabis indica, Carcinosinum, Lyssinum, Belladonna and Cuprum.
The fears running through the case resemble the solanaceae, especially Stramonium.
Regarding the epilepsy the following confirmations for Belladonna can be found:
â€¢’He could neither hear nor speak plainly.’ (Allen)
â€¢Noises, convulsions before
During the epileptic attacks Peter starts panicking because he cannot hear anymore, and when he tries to call his mother for help the fear gets worse because he also can’t express himself properly. In a situation of danger what is most essential is that the senses are alert to warn in time where the danger is coming from. So the senses make it possible to control a dangerous situation. If we combine this element of control with a boy who is precocious, does his utmost to explain himself during the interview and has anticipatory anxiety before it, we need a cancer remedy from the solanaceae, which would be Tabacum, one of the main causes of cancer in our society.
â€¢Precision of mind increased
Besides the clear connection with cancer, Tabacum being the main cause of lung cancer, the strong feelings of responsibility and the tendency to ask too much of oneself in the cancer miasm is expressed in the following rubric:
â€¢Delusion the world rests upon him
I’d seen the element of fear due to a lack of sensory input already in another case of Tabacum and was therefore able to decide on the remedy with confidence. With the need to control the danger of death, Tabacum is not a remedy for smokers, but rather one for people who live as healthily as possible and so refrain from smoking. It is a remedy that, to my understanding, is not prescribed enough, probably because the way it is represented in the materia medica doesn’t clearly bring up this element of control, and because in a repertorisation it will easily be overshadowed by Stramonium.
The symptoms from pregnancy and birth strongly confirm the remedy:
â€¢Vomiting from anxiety
â€¢Mother controlling heartbeat
Mother was reluctantly waiting for the second one to be born, where she had asked for him to be taken out directly, and yielded to the doctor’s refusal, and was controlling the situation of danger with her eyes and ears, observing the monitor and listening to the sound of the heartbeat. The falling away of the beeps from the monitor would indicate the death of her child.
What is also significant is that the time that the anxiety reached its peak was in the transition from the dilatation phase to the propulsion phase, a phase fitting the cancer miasm (see my books), whereas in a Stramonium case the emphasis will lie on a very violent and traumatic experience of the very last phase of the delivery, the actual birth.
Tabacum has many symptoms similar to Stramonium, but mostly in ordinary type. Some Tabacum symptoms fitting this case are:
- Fear to be murdered or arrested
- Anxiety sudden, paroxysmal
- Anguish while walking in open air
- Fear, agoraphobia
- Anxiety night when alone
- Anxiety when alone
- Company, desire for, aggravated when alone
- Death, presentiment of
- Delusions, murdered
- Delusions, phantoms
- Delusions, smaller
- Delusions, robbers
- Dreams, animals
- Dreams, anxious
- Dreams, death
- Fear of sudden death
- Fear to be murdered
- Fear of people
Also regarding the epileptic attacks the remedy can be confirmed:
- Dreams, unsuccessful efforts to talk
- Forgetful, words, while speaking, word hunting
- Memory, loss of, for expressing oneself
- Hearing, impaired, nervous
- Hearing impaired, like leaf or membrane before ear
- Weakness, convulsions after
- Senses, dullness, blunted
- Senses, vanishing of
Six weeks after Tabacum 200K Peter reports:
‘I feel more at ease, calmer. I have the feeling I sleep better, fall asleep more easily, and that my sleep is less restless. I dare more at night, can walk alone now in the evening, and I’m less afraid of the dark. Also if I’m in the city I dare more.
My dreams are less aggressive and I have less somnambulism.
I dreamt of a huge mountain of candy and that a small rabbit came hopping‘ (very different from the animals that were going to eat him in his previous dreams).
His mother says:
‘He is less afraid. For instance in the zoo he just went his own way instead of dragging us along with him. He goes to the swimming pool on his bike on his own and he doesn’t make a fuss at all. In the past his brother would be the more courageous one, now it is completely the other way around.‘
Six months later he is still doing fine and needed no repetition of the remedy. His fears for epileptic attacks have gone, and the medication will be stopped as soon as the neurologist agrees.
This case beautifully shows how a central theme in a case builds up layer by layer. Biographical events add up with similar experiences during pregnancy and birth, together forming a theme or sensation, or, as Grof calls it, a system of condensed experiences.
One might argue that the news of a kidnapper in the neighbourhood is what caused his state. Many children though will not respond this strongly, if they respond at all. It is never the event that causes chronic pathology; what causes disease is the sensation present within the patient which generates thoughts about reality. Reality just is as it is. On the basis of the sensation within a patient, on his view of himself and the world around him, events triggering this theme will repeatedly occur until the sensation is healed. In line with the law of similars the problem is the solution, and homeopathy offers a gentle and rapid way of bringing a person into the here and now, free from stories the mind connects to the here and now that prevent us from accepting and loving what is.
1. Grof, Stanislav and Joan Halifax Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious, The Viking Press, New York 1995
2. Grof, Stanislav and Hal Zina Bennett, The Holotropic Mind: the three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives, Harper San Francisco, San Francisco 1992
3. Zee, Harry van der, Miasms in Labour, Stichting Alonnissos, Utrecht 2000
4. Zee, Harry van der, Homeopathy for Birth Trauma, Homeolinks Publishers, Haren 2007