For many years I traveled this path alone. As I began therapy, joined therapy groups, and went to many workshops and trainings, I drove everyone nuts continually exploring this material. None of the therapists I met, or worked with, knew anything about the pre and perinatal period, so I essentially felt alone. I couldn’t understand why no one else was talking about this subject, especially within the Psychotherapy and healing professions! I knew that if I’d had an experience in the womb that was affecting my life so deeply and pervasively, that this period must be affecting us all profoundly.
One day in 1989 a dear friend waved a flyer at me, saying “You HAVE to go on this residential workshop!” – it was a prenatal and birth workshop in Surrey, England. “£300! You must be joking!!”, I replied. It might as well have been £3,000 as I was a single parent living on the poverty line. She said, “I don’t care how you get that money, borrow it, beg for it, just get it, you have to go on this!” Well, I got the money, as one does when important things are at stake, and went to the workshop. As soon as I walked into the room and saw William sitting cross legged on the floor, I ‘knew’ that he could ‘go there’. Relief is too small a word to describe how this felt to me after so many years of searching for someone with this knowledge who could help me with my womb trauma. Simultaneously, I felt enormous terror rise up in me.
I had felt terrified all my life, especially in groups, and had often joined groups out of curiosity about why they scared me so much. Talking in a group, especially about emotions, was particularly terrifying; coming out, being seen, vulnerable, and heard were extremely hard. I later discovered that this was because my strategy for surviving in the womb after my mothers’ attempted abortion was to ‘play dead’. I stayed very still and quiet feeling that if they didn’t know I was here they would not kill me. Consequently, at a deep level I lived my life in hiding, unconsciously feeling that I was in danger of annihilation from everyone except close trusted friends. I’d learnt back then how, as a matter of survival, to always keep the lid on my terror, look like I was ok, and to do what I wanted in spite of it. I was described as a ‘good baby’.
We began William’s group with a ‘go round’, and before I’d even told anyone my name, I went into a full-on, flat out terror attack – sobbing, panicking, unable to speak. This was amazing because it was the first time in my life that I had been able to let myself express the terror I had always held inside, I had never let it out before, nor ever felt such a huge ‘panic’. I had always been very controlled emotionally, so this was very shocking to me and most out of character. Just finding a safe place for my prenatal terror of annihilation was the beginning of healing my core wound.
Dr Emerson used a direct regression technique, and we regressed into many places during the workshop: birth, pre-discovery (that time before your parents know you’re there), and conception. I experienced myself as a cell dividing after conception, and that’s still one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I had a felt-sense of cell division in my body, the sensation went all the way down my back and it felt like energy running up and down my spine, I have never had this felt sense again in any other context.
To have my prenate seen, held, loved and acknowledged in this workshop, and to be able to talk about what happened to me with someone who knew a lot about it, was incredibly healing, uplifting, and validating. Like a long awaited meal, this was the real food for me. Since that first workshop 30 years ago I’ve continued to follow, listen to, and heal my inner prenate. I’ve learned to care for her and to give her what she needs to feel safe, and to listen to her wisdom, and her feelings.
If everyone became aware of how conscious and sentient we all are as predate’s we could change the World one baby at a time. I love that bumper sticker “Peace on Earth Begins With Birth – Support Midwives”, except I feel it should read “Peace on Earth Begins Before Birth….”
We all have a vulnerable prenate within, I hope that yours feels welcome, happy, safe, and loved.