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This article was originally published in the Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal 8(3) (Spring 1994),187-199. This paper draws on the latest scientific findings to show how specific changes in 1) parenthood, 2) birthing practices, and 3) how we view ourselves (psychology) could transform the world.
In the 20th century, it is likely that more people had the experience of birth than in all previous centuries combined: Most of the people who have ever lived are alive today. The current rate [in 1994] is almost 10,000 births per hour. In any given nine-month period, there are about 180 million expectant parents going through a unique life-changing experience. Research and therapy focused on the prenatal and perinatal period confirms that pregnancy and birth are formative experiences for both babies and parents. Yet, in the century of maximum birthing, psychological principles and interactions have been radically altered. Indeed, large-scale experiments—unplanned and unmeasured—have upset human feelings and relationships, and may be playing a destructive role in modern society. Meanwhile, studies of babies have brought us to a new understanding of human consciousness, learning, and memory. This paper draws on the latest scientific findings to show how specific changes in 1) parenthood, 2) birthing practices, and 3) how we view ourselves (psychology) could transform the world. The population of the world is growing by almost three babies per second. This translates into about 180 million expectant parents for every nine-month time span. These parents may be feeling jubilant, ambivalent, angry, or hopeless during this period: Meanwhile, their babies may be feeling welcomed or rejected. The actual arrival ceremony may be peaceful and comfortable or violent and terrifying, depending on cultural norms, the birth place, and birth attendants. We believe that both prenatal and perinatal experiences are formative for parents and babies. The "games" played in the first house—the womb—will automatically become the "games people play" in the larger house—the world. This view explains the theme of the 6th International Congress on Pre- and Perinatal Psychology: Womb Ecology/World Ecology.
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