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This article is a sharing of the author's deep knowledge of prenatal and perinatal psychology as related to unwanted pregnancies along with her personal journey as “someone whose own conception was an unintended surprise and who was carried in an ambivalent womb.”
Lifelong effects of conflicted pregnancy are explored from the perspective of the “mistakenly” conceived baby and the adult he/she becomes. Braiding current and classic research with her experience as an adoptee, the author focuses on first trimester influences upon an individual’s predisposition toward optimal growth versus chronic existential struggle. Examples of stage-specific first-trimester imprints; discussion of reward circuitry damped through adaptive mutation; relevance to adoptees’ heightened psychosocial vulnerability; “perception hygiene” and healing; and implications for abortion are offered. The conclusion spotlights a potent avenue of hope (as in Pandora’s unpacked scary box) abiding as a developmental substrate and healing resource.
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