The Significance of Birth Memories
Increasing numbers of people, from age two and upward, are remembering their own birth. They are doing this with a variety of methods and sometimes no method at all. Although controversial for a century, these memories can now be set in a broad empirical framework for the first time. Narrative memories of birth are minidocumentaries of potentially great significance. Four dimensions are cited: 1) Clinical. A growing literature indicates the importance of birth in the creation of many psychological problems. In birth memories we can see the onset of pathology and devise appropriate methods of treatment; 2) Humanistic. Birth reports are first-person accounts of human feelings, values, virtues, and shortcomings. They reveal how babies are affected by parents, doctors, and nurses; 3) Wholistic. Memories indicate a fully sentient, cognitive newborn, capable of communication and intimacy; 4) Transpersonal. Because birth memories contain so much wisdom and caring, analytical thinking and perspective, and other manifestations of higher consciousness, they raise fundamental questions about the nature of persons. Many examples are given in each area, from birth memories obtained in hypnosis by the author in his psychology practice.
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David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.
David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D., is a Psychologist, San Diego, California.
This paper was prepared for The Third International Congress on Pre- & Peri-natal Psychology, San Francisco, California, July 11, 1987.