In 2005, I took my first Craniosacral Therapy (CST) training. At this first class, my instructor used the phrase ‘unearned intimacy’. That phrase stuck with me, never leaving me (unlike the long forgotten, Upledger CST 10 Step Protocol).
At that first class, when my instructor used the phrase ‘unearned intimacy’, he was describing the relationship that a CST therapist enters into with clients. Since CST is done with the client clothed, it appears to be less physically intimate than forms of bodywork that are done naked (and sheet draped). However, since CST engages the Craniosacral Rhythms, the Fluid Body, the primitive and yet incredibly refined Nervous System, it is very intimate. Client and therapist are creating a two person biology of safety and resilience. CST is very intimate indeed.
CST is a subtle form of body work that engages and explores the craniosacral system, an amazing inner Fluid Body that nourishes every nerve and tissue. There are many reasons that people choose CST, but as a whole, clients say that they find CST to be deeply relaxing, restful and restorative.
When I took this first training, I had received CST both as an integrated part of an hour-long massage and as a solo therapy. As part of a massage, I found CST interesting but a little boring. As a dedicated, solo therapy, CST changed my life.
I walked in to that first dedicated CST session with a headache. This was not a simple headache; at that point, I’d had a headache for a year. Literally. For a year, I’d had no more than two hours without head pain, day or night. My neurologist had strongly suggested getting CST, so I searched out a practitioner that would do CST as a primary therapy and found Diane Simpson, LMT in Troy, NY. I walked into her office, wincing at the jarring pain in my head caused by my foot falling on the carpeted stairs. An hour later, I pranced out, headache free.
That experience put me on the path that lead to my becoming a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist. At this point, aspects of Biodynamic CST are interwoven into every part of my daily life and work.
On first hearing those words, Unearned Intimacy, it struck me that the phrase rang true for midwifery. There are so many things that a midwife does that are intimate, more intimate than our relationship with a client would allow were it not for our license and our job. From taking a Personal Health History, to performing a Pap smear, to catching a baby, the job of midwifery is peppered with moments of unearned intimacy.
Without being a midwife, how many breastfeeding sessions would I have been privy to? How many sexual histories would I know? How many vaginal exams would I have done? How many newborns would I have held? Without being a midwife, how many births would I have attended? Maybe a few, but surely not thousands!
Since that first CST training, I have endeavored to be conscious of unearned intimacy in my professional life. As a midwife, I work to recognize, honor and respect the intimate moments and relationships that come to me because of my license and title. It is a blessing and a privilege to work with women, babies and families, and, unearned intimacy is part of that parcel. It is my personal and professional responsibility to be ever worthy of such a gift.
May all babies be born into loving hands