We’re committed to spread information to parents that the unborn baby’s personality and development can be impacted during pregnancy. Today we have solid research to support that the mother’s stress during pregnancy may indeed impact a child’s personality. Thus, an intervention to help parents know ways to engage with their unborn baby, whether in a low risk pregnancy or one that follows a perinatal loss is an important goal. Our book outlines specific interventions to use at each stage of pregnancy that facilitates prenatal parenting to connect with the unborn baby. We hope that you find it useful resource, and we thank you for your work with bereaved families.
We develop in a sequence: conception, implantation, embryo, fetus, baby. Our cells unfold in a sequence, too. We form our bodies in relationship with our mother, our first environment, and then our family. Participants in the Womb Surround Process create specific intentions based on patterns that continue, in many ways, to confine and function as constrictions detrimental in their lives. These patterns are adaptive to the overwhelming event or events in our history but no longer serve in the present; in fact, they can get in the way of our growth or even the resolution of the original trauma.
APPPAH is proud to announce a collaboration with In Utero filmmakers, Kathleen and Stephen Gyllenhaal, and Kindred Media and Community to create a powerful and practical In Utero Film Discussion and Resource Guide. (It’s a large file so be patient!)
Like many parents, I fantasied about the mother I hoped to be. Unfortunately, as a young mother, I experienced the birth of a pre-term baby. The birthing process itself and the subsequent moments following are significant and prepare us to connect with the baby, but in the case of premature birth nothing is known, or expected. Nothing could prepare my daughter and me for the cognitive dissonance we experienced at her birth. I called my uterus the ‘unfaithful uterus’ that betrayed not only her, but also me. A plastic box and a medical team that undoubtedly saved her life were her external uterus.
Working with families and babies who have had overwhelming experiences requires a certain skill base. I have been working in the prenatal and perinatal realm for over 15 years, over 20 years as a body worker, and over 25 in maternal and child health. In the last 14 years, advances in the fields of interpersonal biology, epigenetics, fetal origins, trauma resolution, affect regulation, neuroscience, and attachment have created more acceptance that babies have experiences in utero, during birth, and postpartum (neonatal). My work is about healing moms, babies, and adults with early trauma; prenatal and perinatal therapeutic approaches focus on giving babies the best possible start.
The “two-chair” process is a remarkably effective, gentle and safe way to support new families. Popularized in the late 1960s by Fritz Perls, MD (1893-1970) as part of his Gestalt therapy, the method was expanded by Robert Hall, MD (1934-) based on Hall’s study with polarity therapy founder Randolph Stone, DO, DC, ND (1890-1981). The present-day manifestation of the two-chair process also reflects the influence of Peter Levine, PhD (1942-), who studied with Stone and Hall. For a complete description of the method, see Dancing with Yin and Yang (2013) by John Chitty, which contains an extensive 80-page, highly detailed chapter of the two-chair process.
For the past 25 years, I have educated professionals in prenatal and perinatal psychology. I have found that the potential connection between their clients’ current therapeutic issues and their prenatal and perinatal experience is often a rather mysterious terrain for most practitioners. More practitioners now recognize that these early experiences are important and have appreciation for “prenatal stress” and “birth trauma” as significant, but fewer feel confident to systematically identify, assess, and work with this developmental period and its long-term repercussions in their practice.
Michael Shea, PhD, educator, author, and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist explains that for healing to happen both the client and the practitioner “symbolically return to the undifferentiated wholeness of the original fluid body in the early embryo while staying in present time.” Through embodiment practices, Shea says, we have the capacity to maintain our interconnectedness throughout our lives when we connect with our fluid nature, our blood, and our heart.