David Chamberlain, A Tribute

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before people like you and I had computers, I was spending many hours in university libraries in hot pursuit of research that would bolster my theory, based on clinical case material I had assembled over the years, that it was possible to remember events going back to birth, perhaps even before birth. Imagine my surprise when I discovered David's breakthrough research on reliability of birth memory in my Sunday newspaper! It was a feature about his report to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis in Minneapolis. I began corresponding with David in March 1981 and immediately felt I had met a kindred spirit. In January 1982, we had our first chance to meet face-to-face during a promo tour for The Secret Life of the Unborn Child when I was a guest on the Merv Griffin Show in Los Angeles. I had invited David and Donna to be in the audience, and after the show we went out for dinner and non-stop excited conversation. While in L.A., we decided to propose a symposium, "Prenatal Psychology Comes of Age," for the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association and also for the next annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. When neither of these large bodies could accept our offer, I suggested to David that we plan a conference of our own. We quickly agreed that it would be held in Toronto in the summer of 1983. I would make the arrangements, advance the funds and send out the invitations to potential speakers. David had an excellent list of names and addresses of leading scientists, many of whom he knew personally. We combined his list and mine—and the 1st International Congress on Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology turned out to be a glorious, enthusiastic and deeply moving event, successful beyond our wildest imaginations. At the conclusion of the Congress, a general meeting was held in which David was elected Vice President and I was elected president of the newly formed PPPANA (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America), which ten years later was officially changed to Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH). After the Toronto Congress I begged, entreated and cajoled David until he agreed to chair the next Congress, which he did with great skill in San Diego in 1985. In 1991 David succeeded me as president and led APPPAH brilliantly for the next eight years. In 1988, David launched his popular book Babies Remember Birth, which focused on the drama and importance of birth and contained the largest number of birth memories ever published. On its 10th anniversary, he produced a larger, third edition and renamed it The Mind of Your Newborn Baby. To date there have been fourteen translations. From 1980 to 2011 the complete Chamberlain bibliography has grown to include sixty-one publications. His lectures and workshops have reached audiences in twenty countries (most recently in Ukraine, Chile, Belgium and Mexico). David is Founding Editor of birthpsychology.com, APPPAH's gateway on the internet. And of course, he has served continuously on the Board of APPPAH until his retirement after the November 2010 Congress—twenty-seven years. David was, and I am sure will continue to be, a tireless ambassador of this Association and a charming and persuasive spokesperson for the humanity of unborn children. On the Board he will be missed, both for the wonderful person that he is, as well as for his unique knowledge and understanding of the bylaws and history of APPPAH. I would like to close by quoting from an address David gave at the 1999 APPPAH Congress. It tells you more about David than I ever could: "I marvel at how the Association has influenced my own life and work. What I realize now is that while I was busy investing my time and talent in the activities of the Association, the Association was building its investment in me. Had there been no Association, I cannot conceive how I could have done all this work. The truth is, the Association is the mother that nourishes us all. She generates energy and momentum, provides the structures for professional stimulation, enlightenment and support for pioneers David Chamberlain, PhD and enthusiasts like you."