What can you, as individuals and parents, do about the way you are bringing your children in to life, so that they have the best chance at holistic health? One of the core principles of Somatic Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology is that babies are conscious and sentient. I advocate for early attachment practices, which can begin as early as pre-conception and continue throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond. Prenatal attachment is very nurturing for both mom and baby, and provides a much needed attachment buffer against stress and trauma. We all have to deal with stress, and sometimes trauma, so it’s important to have effective ways to mitigate those stresses for your children; attachment is wonderful for this, the earlier the better. I encourage all parents to prepare before conception and to practice early attachment parenting, although attachment parenting can start at any point in a pregnancy. When your baby’s consciousness, and sentience, is placed at the center of how you bring him/her in to life, a very different model of early parenting emerges. Two-way communication channels open, and there is a reverence for the sacredness and magic of life.
It’s actually normal for parents to remember their own journey into life more actively when they think about getting pregnant, conceive, or are pregnant or birthing, and in the post-natal period. If this aspect of a prospective parents life remains unconscious to them, they can repeat some of their own imprints from back then. For a more empowering and conscious conception, pregnancy and birth experience, I advocate for parents discovering their own journey into life story before they get pregnant, so that they don’t unconsciously repeat stressful or traumatic circumstances when they become parents. Taking a look at ancestral imprinting is also part of this inquiry, as trans-generational dynamics can be changed or stopped. The good news about early imprints, including ancestral imprints, is that you can have choice about them, and heal from them.
You don’t have to repeat your own journey into life, you have a choice and that’s what conscious early parenting is really about. E.g. A doula asked for my help with a client, she said “I am seeing my client tomorrow who has gone into early labor at 32 weeks with her second child, she had her first child premature at 32 weeks. What would you do to help a mother like this?” I suggested that she ask the mother about her own birth. The next day she asked her, and the mother said “I was born premature at 32 weeks.” As she spoke these words out loud the truth of her own birth being repeated with her children clicked inside of her, and she began to shed tears about how her own birth had felt. It’s hard to come in early when you are not ready yet; you often have to endure a long separation from your mom when you are premature, and deal with lots of medical attention in the neonatal intensive care unit. This mom was lucky to have a good doula that supported her feelings. After the mom had shared her feelings about her own premature birth with her doula, her early labor stopped. She went to full-term and had a lovely, normal birth. Sometimes it can be this simple, and sometimes it is more complicated depending on what happened to you, and on your family dynamics.
Conscious Early Parenting begins before conception when baby is just a twinkle in your eye. There are three areas to early parenting that I recommend for prospective and new/pregnant parents:
1. Raising your consciousness and knowledge about your own womb and birth experiences. This is necessary because your own early imprints affect both how you bring your baby in, and how you parent. This inquiry includes your early attachment imprinting and ancestral imprints (see article ‘About Womb and Birth Imprinting’).
2. Prepare on all levels for conception and pregnancy, especially spiritually and emotionally.
3. Learn Prenatal Attachment, develop a two-way communication with your baby. Early attachment mitigates trauma and stress for baby, creates better birthing outcomes, eliminates prenatal isolation imprints, and reduces post-natal depression. Dad and other siblings can participate too, as well as grandparents.
Your own Journey Into Life Affects You as a Parent
Here are some of the common areas that you may have experienced interruption, stress, difficulty, and trauma during your journey into life:
Conception – was it planned – or not? Were you wanted?
Imprints from conception include your parents’ energy, and the kind of relationship they were having; How it felt to come into the physical realm; The influences from your ancestral lines that have been repeated for generations, In-vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies.
Prenatal imprints – these arise from both the nature of the womb environment and your experiences during your gestational period:
• Was the womb you came into healthy or toxic?
• Major occurrences during gestation including traumatic or stressful events, e.g. considered/attempted abortion, divorce/separation, lost twin, bereavement of a significant person in the family, abuse, violence, neglect, or an ongoing stressful situation. Our prenatal experiences affect the way we experience our birth, and our birth affects the way we give birth later on as an adult.
Our own birth affects the way that we give birth:
• Birth can be very traumatic, especially a high intervention hospital birth. Even if it is not traumatic, it is
a significant and intense transition from the inside to the outside, which has a profound affect on us all.
• Unresolved womb, birth, and other traumas, can come up in pregnancy and affect the opening up and letting go necessary to give birth naturally. Past traumatic imprints can manifest in the present and distort your perception of what is happening in the moment. Self-healing before birthing helps clear the way for baby and creates the space for a joyful, positive and empowering birth experience for the whole birthing family.
• Did your parents connect with you before conception or during your womb life? Did you feel isolated in the womb? Was your mom present in her life? Did your parents have a secure attachment with their parents?
• How were you received at birth and what was the quality of attachment primarily with your mother, with your father, and/or significant others? How was your early attachment affected by your womb and birth experiences?
We are all conscious as prenate’s, and we are having our own experience.
Early imprints are not difficult to access through your body-system:
Raising your awareness about your imprints is great early parenting because you give yourself and your family the gift of being able to make choices that are not unconsciously based in your past. This gives you more access to the present and to what you want for yourself and your family now. It’s good to have a cognitive understanding of your early story, but that won’t change your early imprints because they are somatic, and therefore require somatic work. Healing, integrating and re-patterning somatic imprints can’t happen in our cognitive brain alone, that’s why somatic therapy works best for lasting resolution of early imprints.
One of the wonderful side effects of deepening into your own journey into life as a parent, is that it will deepen your empathy for your baby’s journey. Prenatal attachment, building an early two-way relationship with your unborn baby, creates a strong foundation, secure attachment, and healthy relational skills for the whole family.
© 2016 Karen Melton