Most of us, at the moment of conception, come into being with the potential for relaxed joyfulness and aliveness. We come with certain genetic predispositions towards developing in certain ways, given activation of those predispositions from outside. If the pregnancy was smooth, we are born with that wholeness still relatively intact. For many of us, however, that potential has already been considerably diminished before we are even born. This is due to parents and caregivers not acknowledging the consciousness of pre-natal and new-born babies.
Until just a few decades ago doctors and psychologists did not understand the pre-natal or the new-born and their focus was only on physical survival which created a society of people who do not trust, are scared and violent with increasing suicide rates and addictions in children and young people.
The things that the mother is doing, feeling, thinking is part of the baby’s environment. Technology can show us that a baby will move after the Mother has laughed. We can ask ourselves then what affect it has on the baby when the parents are fighting, when there is grief, separation, fear or death. Babies are in tune with their environment. Joseph Chilton-Pearce, Author, says that the Mother’s emotions determine the shape, nature and character of the brain structure of the infant. All mammals follow the same pattern. If the Mother experiences continued high stress the infant has a different brain structure – the reptilian brain is larger whilst the intellectual creative logical brain is much reduced. Nature is saying “can we go for more intelligence or do we have to defend ourselves”?
Our experiences in the womb and birth can affect relationships in adult life. Unconsciously we remember our birth and time in the womb. If there was an emergency which separates baby and mother the baby will “act out” that fear of death and disconnection into adulthood. The medical world does not always validate the spiritual and emotional life of Mother and child and until quite recently focused only on the physical and they ignored the emotional and spiritual.
It starts with what is happening in the womb and how we are birthing our children. We need to pay attention to pregnancy, birth and the first 7 years of a child’s life. The more women are supported and given unconditional love by a society the more her infant can be born fully human.
The baby, both before and after birth is far more sophisticated than we gave it credit for before. We didn’t think it could have an experience or think it could sense anything. We didn’t think it had a brain to sense what it is feeling. What scientists now know is that babies have a working mind which is part of their human consciousness. It is not something that develops in stages like the brain develops in stages, the mind is a part of who they are; this is a whole new idea.
What the pre-natal and new-born needs in order to develop is love, acceptance, respect and acknowledgement as a human being right from the start.
In some cultures such as Tibetan there are rituals and traditions to prepare a woman for conceiving to sort out their own mess so that it isn’t transferred onto the baby. A West African lady called Sobonfu Some (meaning “Keeper of the Rituals” ) left West Africa two decades ago to teach parents how to embrace and support the new life coming. These babies “know” that they are coming to an “ok” place. The baby feels safe knowing that there are arms waiting to hold them when they come into the world.
Studies have shown that we recall what happened pre-natally and what is recalled goes way beyond what the brain supports us to remember. Experiments have shown that babies can interact and have consciousness before birth
New advances in neuro-psychology have shown that imprints of our first experiences set up our belief systems and behaviour patterns into our adult life. We track our experiences right from conception. We remember not with our mind such as “I remember when….” but rather the memory is “felt” in the body – young children are observed demonstrating movement patterns reminiscent of the imprinting that occurred at birth – we “remember” with our body. When we understand that the baby is conscious then every way we are with our baby changes both pre-natally and in the first weeks and months after birth.
The time in the womb is a time to bond with the baby, it gives the couple time to evolve as a family and for the physical, emotional development of the baby.
Birth is an intense experience not only for the Mother but also for the baby. The womb is dimly lit, the sounds are muffled therefore when the baby emerges into the world the transition needs to be as gentle as possible. Immediately after birth and for the first few weeks of life the baby is hyper-sensitive and needs time to adjust to the outside world. The baby can be helped to adjust and to feel safe if parents and caregivers are mindful of this.
Newborns have a much slower rate of integrating what is happening to them than adults do; It takes them about 6 times longer. There are some cultures that have a tradition of staying around the house in dim light for 30 days – bringing the child slowly and willingly into the outside world. This gives them a sense of safety and security.
It is imperative that couples educate themselves by reading books such as “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth” by Henci Goer, and “HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method” by Marie Mongan or attending classes to learn hypnosis techniques to ensure that they are doing everything they can to create a safe environment for their child before, during and after birth. Further information about hypnosis for childbirth is available on my website page.