Volume 14, Issue 1/2
APPPAH will herald the new century with the 9th International Congress from December 3-6, 1999, at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, San Francisco, CA. Based on the theme, Birth and Consciousness in the New Millennium, the conference will offer "an opportunity to look back and reclaim ancient wisdom, to take stock of the present reality of contemporary birth . . . , and to envision the future."1
As a prelude to the conference, you might consider reading Elizabeth Lesser's recently published book, The New American Spirituality: A Seekers Guide. Lesser, best known as the cofounder of the Omega Institute, was for many years a midwife and childbirth educator. Her book offers a profusion of delicate insights, profound quotes and splendid notions on "meaningful, joyful and individualized spirituality."2 Perhaps my favorite quote from the book is a comment by Rainer Maria Rilke:
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.3
This special Millennium edition of the Journal is dedicated to the research of David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D., who, at the conference in December, is to be the recipient of the Verny Award-named for APPPAH founder, Thomas Verny, M.D., D.Psych, FRCP(C). The Verny Award offers the highest recognition for singular contributions to the field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. With his groundbreaking inquiries into the life of the sentient prenate David Chamberlain has truly "lived the questions."
The comedian Sam Levenson once wrote, "Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped."4 I can hear my dear friend David Chamberlain's laughter as he reads that comment. Editing the Journal is both an uplifting joy and at times pure tedium. Working with David, who was the President of APPPAH for eight years, constantly minimizes the exertion and makes my task very close to a total delight. David is one of the pioneers who helped to place a foundation of scientific research beneath prenatal and perinatal psychology. Previously, information on the subject consisted almost entirely of clinical data and individual reports. David emphasized that all three types of data are valuable and necessary. This issue honors and acknowledges his place in the development of these ideas.
His involvement in the field of birth psychology was made possible by extensive training in clinical hypnosis a technique which helped elucidate the surprising birth and womb memories of clients, which he writes about. When he began this work in 1974, not much scientific research had been focused on the capacities of prenates and neonates. David comments that his endeavors, "flourished in the next 25 years and I took it upon myself to keep following this literature and to provide reviews of interest in birth psychology."5
Between 1986 and 1999 this Journal had the privilege of publishing ten articles by David. The papers investigated many of the basic issues in prenatal and perinatal psychology and contributed significantly to the scientific and anecdotal framework which now supports the discipline. Some of these classic articles are: The Expanding Boundaries of Memory (1990), Is There Intelligence Before Birth? (1992), How Preand Perinatal Psychology Can Transform the World (1994), The Sentient Prenate: What Every Parent Should Know (1994), What Babies Are Teaching Us About Violence (1995), Early and Very Early Parenting: New Territories (1997), Prenatal Receptivity and Intelligence (1998) and The Prenatal Psyche (1999).
During this productive period, David contributed an equal number of compositions to other magazines, journals, and books, often outside the scope of the APPPAH circle. In this issue, the Association is pleased to recognize David's work by presenting a selection of these stimulating articles. The papers are arranged under the following headings: Original Research, Prenatal Life, Clinical Work, Pregnancy and Birth, and Toward a New Paradigm. Two articles in this collection are being published for the first time. One of these, Obstetrics and the Prenatal Psyche, was written in collaboration with the noted photojournalist, childbirth advocate and author, Suzanne Arms. Three of the papers were previously published in European journals and one, Babies Remember Pain, was originally published in this Journal in 1989. Both the format and the substance of the articles reflect elements of the content and style of the original publications. Recurring themes are enhanced by new research and narrative accounts. Each of the articles was formulated to make a strong case on a particular topic and therefore each stands alone. A synopsis of David's widely acclaimed book, Babies Remember Birth, which has recently been revised and expanded with the title, The Mind of Your Newborn Baby, offers an overture to the collection.
The poet Oriah Mountain Dreamer wrote, "I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away ... I want to know if you can get up ... and do what needs to be done to feed the children."6 It seems to me that David Chamberlain is sustained by courage and dedication in striving toward a world where the child from conception to birth and beyond is nurtured, respected and loved.
1. Marti Glenn, Chairperson, 9th International Congress.
2. Lesser, Elizabeth. (1999). The New American Spirituality: A Seekers Guide. New York: Random House.
3. Lesser ibid., p. 230.
4. Byrne, Robert. (1996). The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said. New York: Galahad Books, Part I, Number 89.
5. Chamberlain, D. Letter to the Editor, July 30, 1999.
6. Lesser ibid., 209-211.
Ruth Johnson Carter, Ph.D.
Georgia College & State University
Publication Date:October 1999
Volume Page Numbers:1
Volume Page Numbers:185