In this issue, we honor David Chamberlain, PhD, co-founder of APPPAH and creator of the APPPAH website, http://www.birthpsychology.com. Dr. Chamberlain passed away in May of this year. The Journal has greatly benefited from his prolific writings on the sentience of babies and foundations of birth psychology. In 1999, the Journal selected 10 papers published in a two-volume set (volume 14, issue 1 and 2). Here, we offer a few papers previously published in the Journal and some original work published elsewhere. We open with his obituary written by his son, John Chamberlain. His early professional life was spent in ministry before he received his PhD in pastoral counseling, which eventually led him to hypnotherapy and his discovery of memories from the womb. Tributes honoring Dr. Chamberlain were sent from all over the world. We are sharing those in this issue, along with tributes from past and present APPPAH presidents, Thomas Verny, Barbara Findeisen, William Emerson, and Sandra Bardsley, and a good friend, Sheldon Stoff. In each story there is a pattern that held true throughout the research and information we could find about Dr. Chamberlain: He was a nurturing, present, deeply caring man whose professionalism and vision laid a foundation for APPPAH, and helped guide it to the present time.
We are also pleased to present an interview with his son John Chamberlain whose stories give us snapshots of his father as a parent, professional, builder, outdoorsman, and pioneer. John recently joined APPPAH’s Board and shares his own unique vision for the growth of the organization. We also feel the consistency and continuity of the fine attributes Dr. Chamberlain offered APPPAH: Patience, thoroughness, discipline, connection, and awareness.
Two of Dr. Chamberlain’s previously published papers were selected for this issue: “The Sentient Prenate: What Every Parent Should Know,” published in the Journal in Fall 2011 (Volume 26, Issue 1), and “Communicating with the Mind of a Prenate: Guidelines for Parents and Birth Professionals” published in Winter, 2003 (volume 18, issue 2). It was Dr. Chamberlain’s wish that good scientific data be available to parents through APPPAH and his amazing contributions are reflected in these papers for parents and birth professionals. His work consistently had an upbeat tone about the growth of birth psychology as a profession and a paradigm.
In the latter paper, he writes:
After a struggle of many decades, the true dimensions of fetal consciousness are emerging, thanks to a growing literature of firsthand reports from parents and abundant observations of life in the womb. In retrospect, scientific views of the sensory, emotional, and mental nature of prenates and newborns, grounded exclusively in a brain-matter paradigm, were grossly inadequate. A new paradigm is replacing it based on baby awareness and knowing. (p. 95).
We are also publishing two papers not as well known, “The Prenatal Psyche: Evidence for a New Perspective” (1998/2005), and About Real Babies, an address given at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute July 21, 2006. The first paper was presented to the 3rd Int. Congress of OMAEP in Rome, March 1998. It was later published in Italian and Russian. It was also published as a Guest Editorial in the International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, 17(1 and 2), 17-22 (2005). In this piece, Dr. Chamberlain eloquently argues that brain development is not what signifies awareness and consciousness; it is present in the prenate shown through its actions in a variety of ways. He says, “These findings suggest that prenates do possess a ‘psyche’ in the original sense of the word--mind, self, and soul” (p.1). The latter of these two papers, “About Real Babies,” is a call to action for anyone to see babies as they really are, and not how obstetrics sees them. Passionately, he says, “I am talking about our roots, our mission, and our contribution to society” (p. 3).
Finally, we publish a book review of Dr. Chamberlain’s little known work, How Jesus Loved. This small, self-published volume is a guide to practice Christian love. It is a study guide for small groups and its own call to action. Originally published in 1969 and then again in 1971 before Dr. Chamberlain discovered womb memories, this book portrays the attributes many people loved in him: The ability to nurture and tend to the growth and process in a person as well as an organization; assertiveness that shows up in his relationship and the relentless way he went about realizing his vision for babies and families; and his tireless efforts at portraying and communicating the truth about baby sentience.
Our last addition to honor Dr. Chamberlain is a bibliography of his papers. Enjoy this list as a reference. Dr. Chamberlain is well known for his own use of research citations. He felt strongly that his arguments and presentations needed the best scientific research possible to withstand public and professional scrutiny.
Award-winning poet Maya Angelou, who also passed away in May, 2014 had an easy but profound way to say meaningful things. She said, “When you know better, you do better.” Dr. Chamberlain wanted people to do better, and so he worked hard for them to know better. Thank you David Chamberlain, for all you have done for us. You have given us an amazing paradigm with which to make the world a better place for human beings.
Kate White, MA
Kerry Cerelli, MA