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For almost a century clinicians have encountered birth memories and wondered if they were real memories or creative fantasies. Empirical studies have revealed both the fallibility and validity of human memory. In this study a side-by-side comparison was made of birth memories obtained in hypnosis from ten children (ages 9 to 23) who had no conscious memories of birth, and their mothers who claimed they had never shared details of the birth with them. Their independent reports were found to be coherent with each other, to contain a wealth of appropriate and accurate facts, and to match exactly at many points. A variety of human errors were also found in reports but serious contradictions/fantasies were rare. Accuracies and inaccuracies are illustrated and discussed and the need for caution noted. Birth memories appear to be real memories and contain valuable information about birth from the baby's point of view.
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David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.
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