Out of the Incubator and Into Life

Over the many years of my healing practice that has taken many different forms dovetailing into one of body work – Family Constellations, Reiki, Energy Healing and Shamanism, I have had the privilege of working with many clients who started their sojourn in this life through the life-saving marvel that is an incubator.

There are several reasons why a child can end up in an incubator and together with the immediate circumstances, a foundation is created from which some or many aspects of a healthy life can be interrupted. Many infants need the emergency care of an incubator owning to premature birth. However, the circumstances of the premature birth also have their additional role to play. The circumstances can be: illness of the mother, substance abuse by the mother, tobacco and alcohol use, shock and trauma to the mother and many socioeconomic factors such as young age of the mother, poor diet, domestic violence and general environment.

In addition to the trauma of being placed in an incubator, the circumstances leading up to the mother’s illness, the baby’s illness or if a premature birth took place all leave their mark on a developing individual. What is important to realise is from the moment we are born it is our natural instinct to bond. When healthy circumstances are present and there is no emergency at hand, then our first bonding is the deepening of intimate contact with our mother. When left to our own devices and with encouraging words, a new-born will naturally want to climb up his mother’s belly and feed from her breasts for the first time. With this movement, many biological and psychological functions are served. With incubator babies, this is not the case.

Here are some of the elements that can have a life-long impact of incubator babies who grow into adults:

– The sleeping pattern of mother and child is interrupted and therefore the natural rhythm of sleep and wakefulness of and incubator baby can be interrupted throughout life. This occurs as the natural circadian rhythm has been arrested.

– Babies and all human beings respond to touch. It is in our bonding that we gain a greater sense of self. In decades gone by, parent’s, especially fathers, were excluded from the care units. Additionally, some babies with high risk of infection could only be touched wearing rubber gloves. Skin to skin affection and touch is an essential part of our bonding process. Rubber gloves also interrupt interaction between auric fields and makes it a greater challenge for the infant to feel the presence of the loving parent.

– Hospital units run a shift system. Very often our infant is cared by several different people in one day. Our infant may repeatedly become attached to ‘the kind lady with big eyes’ only to find that she is not there later, the following day, or for the entire following week. This creates constant interruptions to bonding and recognition.

– If the mother is excluded owing to custom, hospital policy or her own illness – that together with the ever changing nursing staff and an excluded or absent father, can cause he infant to bond with the incubator itself.

– The very nature of an incubator is ‘mechanical’. Breath, fluid flow, temperature and all other natural processes become accurately timed and served with precision. The pulse of life has a natural rhythm and flow and does not run to clockwork, but more to the rhythms of grander scales that form the ebb and flow of life.

– The infant can experience a lot of terror along with an almost constant sense of abandonment. The incubator itself then becomes the constant reliable source of life and care.
– Medical staff are often trained ‘not to become emotionally involved’ – which in terms of emergency care and situations being faced on a daily basis, this is a reasonable response.

However, for our new born infant who is forcibly separated from its mother and father, ‘distant and unattached staff’ simply add to the infant’s experience of being ‘left out in the cold’.
Our culture has unfortunately often held the view of ‘If it can’t be remembered, it can’t affect us’. Unfortunately, our culture has frequently held the view: ‘what we don’t remember, has affected us the most’. Epigenetics, a science, along with Ancestral Healing and Family Constellations work, has already shown us that PTSD for example can pass down through the generations, not only affecting behaviour and psychology, but also biological function and disposition. – So no personal memory is involved.
Very often the clients who reveal as having had spent time in an incubator frequently report:

– Feeling separate from life
– The ‘good’ in life frequently feeling a little out of their reach
– Difficulty in identifying feelings
– Feeling numb
– Fear of intimacy and closeness or an inability to feel others or themselves in the presence of others.
– Hidden or visible feeling of: ‘there is something wrong with me’
– Existential fear

The above ‘symptoms’ can either be experienced across all aspects of life, or perhaps show up with one aspect of life. Much of this is determined by the after incubator care and the environment the infant was brought into after leaving hospital.

It is important to remember that the part of our consciousness that may still be living an incubated life is very young indeed – therefore it is important for clients, healers and therapists to realise that what works is a gentle approach that allows for time to heal.
Many modalities are available to us today, such as NLP or EFT, however, whilst these are great tools for providing a coping mechanism, they can end up simply providing a by-pass, not a real solution.

What is required are gentle processes and movements that encourage bonding. Our ability to bond is the foundation of life. It is how we relate to one another and as a species that lives in a collective, just like other primates, bonding is essential to our physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
Notes for Healers
These notes are only suitable for those individuals who have been enrolled in a healing training programme or school of at least 2 years duration.

Cord Healing

Chakra Cords are bi-directional, meaning, they flow between two people – parents to child, child to parents, between partners, grand-parents, teachers to students, organisations to individuals etc., etc. each connection receiving a response.

In the case of Incubator Babies there can exist, and most often does, a ‘Phantom Cord’ from the infant to the incubator. Instead of this cord being bi-directional – for example, from parent to child and child to parent, it is unidirectional* – from infant to machine. One could describe it as a ‘uni-directional attachment cord’

• It is not 100% strictly true that the ‘Phantom Cord’ is only ‘uni-directional’. All objects, even those we consider ‘inanimate’ have a certain level of consciousness and do interact with us, however, their influence, unless physical, appears to be negligible.

I am not a huge fan of ‘removing’ , ‘yanking’, ‘fixing’ or ‘extracting’ cords – even if they are ‘phantom cords’. Cords exist because we, in past, have agreed to the connection. In the case of an incubator baby, the ‘machine’ has saved and given life – therefore the machine is to be respected as if it were a surrogate mother.

The Suggested Process

After making contact with the part of your client that still lives in an infant state within the incubator, ask the following and wait for the cords and attachments to be revealed:
– Is there an important member of the medical staff? A doctor or nurse?
– Which of the ancestors can support this process at the moment?
– Is the mother’s own trauma acknowledged? Is the father’s?

First strengthen the cord between your client and the assisting ancestor (it is most often a grandparent. As it is a ‘maternal’ issue, don’t be blind to uncles and grandfathers who may reveal themselves). If necessary, invite in the presence of the ‘supporting member of medical staff’.
Secondly, begin to work slowly and gently on the cords between the infant and each parent. Issue of abandonment, deep grief, terror, betrayal, rejection may surface – this is all within the normal range of response.

Once satisfied, check with your client that he/she feels comforted and resolved with the connection to his/her parents, grandparents or other family members. If affirmative, then thank the medical staff first with great respect and guide your client to bid them farewell. The next step is to bring your client’s attention to the incubator itself. Let them feel the bond and also the difference between the bonds with human consciousness and the consciousness of this machine. Guide your client through thanking the machine for saving her life and gently start the process of dissolving the phantom cord running between them. However, it is vitally important to state here, that this ‘Phantom Cord’ will not dissolve permanently unless the infant’s consciousness believes and feels that there is something better to go to – for example, a grandmother, his own mother etc. If this is not the case, then there is other work to be done. However, no matter how dysfunctional a family may be, there is usually the presence of a ‘Healing Ancestor’ who is more than willing to bond with the client.

If you haven’t already identified the phantom cord – scan chakras 1-5. However, most Phantom Cords I’ve seen have been lodged in and around the navel, some just outside the 1st Chakra, some inside a tear in the 2nd, and at times other aspects of it in Chakra 5. Phantom cords can also be attached to organs such as lungs, colon, liver, kidneys.

In order for this process to be successful, our infant has got to have somewhere safe to attach or cord to. Therefore, if the biological mother is currently estranged or an alcoholic, then it is imperative that we find a supportive ancestor for them to connect with safely. The issues around the mother can wait for another time and session, it is important not to do too much in one session. It generally overwhelms the client and the healing often collapses, if not during, but after the session.

For Family Constellations Facilitators

General guidelines:
– Allow around 30 -40 minutes
– Do not allow this process to become distracted by other systemic issues. If you allow yourself to go off track into another story, the likelihood is re-traumatisation for the client. Have good and clear boundaries.
– Represent Parents, Grandparents, a ‘Healing Ancestor*’, Medical Staff, Incubator etc

If your Incubator Client comes from a family that has other ‘heavy’ systemic issues, it is best to avoid those issues in this piece of work. Once this piece of work is done your client will have a stronger foundation to face other necessary pieces of work.

Constellation Model

I generally take 4 people to lie on the floor in a square to represent the incubator. The client then lays in silence in the incubator and is given plenty of time to feel his surroundings. The other representatives sit around the incubator making eye contact with the client. Although the client may need help and encouragement to leave the incubator – it is unhealthy to coerce or encourage use of will. It must come from a clear inner movement, very gentle encouragement is fine. It is important that the medical staff are acknowledged, thanks and said farewell to.

Our entry and introduction to this world forms the template for the life we are to lead. The presumption that if we cannot remember something then it does not affect us leads countless individuals to not even be aware of the root of their difficulties, challenges and dysfunctions in life. Birth traumas, in-utero trauma, caesarean birth, incubator habitat, infantile circumcision, infantile surgery and severe illness all contribute to the scars of trauma that can affect healthy functioning and our ability to love and be loved.
Incubator babies need a safe and gentle guiding hand to bring them more fully into the world.
With love,

For Skype sessions with Shavasti (John L. Payne) HERE

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4 thoughts on “Out of the Incubator and Into Life”

  1. Hi Shavasti, this is a great article. Thanks for sharing your insights and experience. I was in an oxygen tent, which is probably what an incubator was called in the early 60’s, for a week when I was a few months old. I’ve worked to resolve the issues in various ways. Your recommendations for a constellation are powerful and I plan to set up a healing this way in the near future. Thank you.

    1. Hi Chuck,
      Thank you for your kind response. The incubator process is something that i started to develop several years ago when in South Africa. It has almost always created quite a dramatic shift in clients….I love it….a variation on this theme is also applicable to those of us with ‘masochistic’ characterology. – Shavasti

  2. Hello, in December 1958 due to complications at birth, I spent my first 3 months in a incubator. I feel it is one how been affecting me in some form the past few years

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