Members Reflect on 25 Years of APPPAH

Marilyn Milos (1985) At my first Congress, in 1985, Ashley Montagu was at the podium receiving a Human Rights Award, and I stood not far from him in my booth. Ashley pointed to the sign above my booth that read, National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), looked at me, and said, "I've talked against circumcision for years. I'm glad to see someone has picked up the banner." I later told him I didn't realize I had, but I have spoken about the harm of circumcision and the importance of genital integrity to a receptive audience at every Congress since. Lynn Rinehart (1985) In 1982, in San Diego, I was working with a client who responded well to regression and began to speak of a "friend" in a dark place who suddenly disappeared. She was left alone. When we finally realized where she was (in the womb at the fifth month), she learned that her friend (brother) did not leave because of her; he was spontaneously aborted and did not survive. Her family had never told her she was a twin. With this realization, her lifelong fear of abandonment vanished. I was alone with that, my first experience of prenatal memory, until the 2nd PPPANA Congress came to San Diego in 1985. I had to join. It was the most enthusiastic, loving, accepting group of professionals I had ever experienced. APPPAH still is! Julia Pickett (2011—48 hrs. ago as of this writing!) I've been listening to Gabor Maté's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, and I went to his website to look up his speaking engagements, and there was a link to APPPAH's site and I was like, "Oh, my gosh, I've never heard of this organization, I have to join it, this fits me perfectly!" So it was indirectly through him. [Ed note: Dr. Maté is one of our Congress keynotes.] Vicky Jeter (2001) I have been privileged to keep the APPPAH archives since 2002. Working with all of the presentations as a collective body of information has been a transformational component in both my professional and my personal life. This 25th anniversary occasion is an opportunity to tell you all who work in this field and/or have contributed to APPPAH through sharing your experiences, what a profound impact the cumulative effect of APPPAH has made. When each of us only sees our part and the parts of a few people around us, it may seem difficult to realize the progress we are making. Within the whole picture of APPPAH's history, it is doubtless we are difference-makers. May this fuel our resolve. Dagi Heider (2011) As a therapist in New Zealand, it is of great concern to me that we have an alarming rate of child parents, child abuse (resulting in death), suicides and other emotionally induced illnesses. Through my membership in APPPAH I have obtained access to research material that otherwise would have not be accessible to me—material I use to educate parents-to-be on how beliefs and thoughts influence not only their own life but the life of the unborn child, physically, emotionally and mentally. I believe that through the continuous efforts by all of us, soon government policies, obstetrics, and other related services will all pull together to achieve the same outcome: Creating future generations that will be healthier, happier, full of creative thought and more resilient to the ever-changing environment. Pamela Yenawine (2003) Early in my practice of craniosacral therapy and after training as a birth doula, and through encounters with a number of children and babies, I became aware of my sensitivity to and awareness of birth trauma issues. A colleague gave me a copy of her APPPAH journal to read. I did not hesitate to join, even though it was a stretch for me financially. I have never EVER considered dropping my membership, and even though I have been unable to attend a conference until this year, I have always felt a part of this amazing community through the Journal and the Newsletter. APPPAH "speaks my language" like no other professional organization, and we have a lot to say that the world still doesn't understand, or want to hear. Thank you, APPPAH. Jen McCurdy (2009) I was inspired to join APPPAH both as a mother and a student. Discovering an organization dedicated to empowering conscious choices regarding fertility, pregnancy, and beyond, was a breath of fresh air, and continues to be a joy to belong to. PPN issues in my Midwest community are slowly evolving, but my hope for the future of APPPAH is to spread farther and dig deeper into communities that may not be aware of the incredible PPN consciousness. I hope more empirical research will be conducted to further APPPAH's reach into mainstream universities and healthcare organizations. I am incredibly thankful for APPPAH's presence in my life, and look forward to what comes next from such an enlightened group of individuals. Marjorie L. Rand (1989) I have been a member since it was called PPPANA, when I first started training with William Emerson. I was involved in congresses in Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, and DC. We started an LA chapter with Wendy McCord and Judy Chapman, where Barbara Findeisen and Lisbeth Marcher came to speak. I have a long history with APPPPAH and have introduced it to many of your prominent members, including Myrna Martin. Myrna Martin (1996) This year has shown me that ours is a field whose time has come. I was encouraged when I was presenting at a recent international conference in Toronto on The Early Years that a top Canadian researcher, Nicole Letourneau, was also presenting, about heart-rate variability, cortisol levels, and attachment styles co-created between mother and baby. What seems to be really key in reaching out to this mainstream audience is presenting from the heart. Our field is all about connection, and when people are exposed to the scientific information AND they have a personal experience related to their own life, they begin to take action steps to help us change the ways birthing families are supported. That is the difference we can bring. Stephen Maret (1993) During my PhD coursework in the late 1980s, I stumbled across the work of Frank Lake and was immediately hooked. As I began doing some preliminary research and sketching out a possible dissertation on Lake's theories, I (of course) immediately found the seminal work of David Chamberlain and Thomas Verny and discovered APPPAH (which was PPPANA at the time). I subscribed to the journal and eagerly attended the next available conference (in San Francisco). The very first day I happened to be on an elevator with Dr. Chamberlain and introduced myself. He was gracious, kind and brilliant, a wonderful role model and a great "personal" face of APPPAH. I am very grateful. Ludwig Janus (1989) The cooperation between ISPPM and APPPAH began with the friendship of Peter Fedor-Freybergh and Thomas Verny, who knew each other from school and met again in the common interest in prenatal psychology. Both were presidents of their societies. This was the rootstock for the close connections of the associations all these years. Laura Uplinger (1985) I read The Secret Life of the Unborn Child in 1982, when I was part of a psychosomatic medicine team in a renowned Brazilian maternity ward. The relevance of a woman's inner life during pregnancy was already at the core of my work, but science didn't comprehend this powerful realm of the making of a human being. Thomas Verny's book was a gift of hope: Perhaps scientists were willing to explore the world of our beginnings. I attended the 2nd PPPANA congress, got married, moved to the US, joined the PPPANA / APPPAH Board of Directors for 11 years; and chaired its 1993 and 2007 Congresses! My life on three continents is greatly inspired by the shared glow of this soulful community.

Reflections on Two Notable Late Members

Ashley Montague was a beautiful, traditional-appearing English gentleman with a far-out attitude about women and birth. He taught at Princeton and was a vigorous advocate of breast-feeding and bonding in a time of bottles, drugged births, and tight schedules. He was an outspoken advocate of mother-infant attachment before we used that word and had the science to back it up. Dr. Bob Oliver was an early advocate of natural birth. He actually left his profession as an obstetrician to protest how women were being treated during pregnancy and birth. He later returned to practice as a physician in Samoa, where he observed firsthand the difference between wives of Americans stationed there, and native Samoan women. When I questioned him as to why there was such a huge difference in their births, he answered, "Samoan women come in to give birth, and do so in about 20 minutes. American women come in to have labor, and are in pain for hours." Bob was on the APPPAH board for many years. His mantra was "I do not deliver babies. I assist women to birth their babies."