When I worked as a nurse in labor & delivery, and in postpartum, I was very good at avoiding circumcisions. I had a 6th sense about when they were due to be performed, and would always manage to be busy and out of sight in a mother's room when the OB/GYN was looking for a nurse to assist. My luck ran out one day, when I was working at Booth Maternity Hospital and I was tapped to assist Dr. Gandhi Nelson.
My job was to get the baby, to restrain him on the Circumstraint immobilizer by attaching velcro straps to his arms and legs to keep him in a starfish position, to remove his diaper and to hand instruments to the physician during the surgery. The baby started crying when he was restrained; he cried harder when his genitals were swabbed with betadine; he started a high-pitched screaming when Dr. Nelson forcibly loosened his foreskin and started cutting the tender flesh. Dr. Nelson became irritated, "Can't you soothe him?" he irascibly demanded. I replied, "How can I? You are hurting him terribly."
No one asked me to assist at a circumcision ever again.
Years later,when I first started using craniosacral therapy in breastfeeding rehabilitation, a mother brought her 10-day old son to me for help. After the introduction, and paperwork, I started with some gentle touch on her baby. What happened next was shocking, to me and to the mother. The baby started that same high pitched screaming as his arms and legs moved into the restrained position of a baby on a Circumstraint immobilizer; he was having an emotional release and reliving the circumcision. I had no idea that this would happen. The mother became so upset that she snatched her baby away from me, bundled him up and left. She never responded to any follow-up telephone calls or written letter of apology.
I honor that dyad with every client who receives CST from me; mothers are prepared for the fact that babies may tell their stories and release their emotions about the story. Some mothers can relate to this, having had emotional releases, such as starting to cry, while receiving a massage. Other mothers need encouragement to ask their baby to tell that story, and to listen. Almost always, releasing the story clears the way to breastfeeding recovery.
The foundation for my belief in the power of releasing the story comes from my own personal work, from studying CST and SER (somato-emotional release) in Upldeger training, and from observing hundreds of babies in a 40+ year career. You can be sure that I prepare mothers for what might happen after that painful first experience!