Babies remember birth. In her groundbreaking and inspiring works ‘Birth into Being’ and ‘Birth as we know it’, Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova explores why it is so important as a foundational stone to ‘get it right’ at the very beginning. These are her words;
Why is it critical for us to understand the importance of healthy, happy gestation and birth? Why is it important to make every effort to eliminate the birth trauma from the delivery room? Is it affecting us? How?
Well, it does affect us, in a very big way. The new baby, way before the birth day, during it and right after, is an extremely sensitive being, in fact, more sensitive than he or she will ever be during the adult life. And not only able to have all those sensations and feelings, but also to not-cognitively remember them! Our early impressions stay with us for the rest of our lives, for better or for worse. Twenty five years of thorough research and studies in the field of prenatal psychology show undoubtedly a direct correlation between the way we were born and the subconscious behavioral and emotional patterns in our adult lives. This is due to the mechanism called "limbic imprint".
To better understand the term "limbic imprint," let's look at the basic structure of our brain. At the tip of the spinal cord there is a segment called the reptilian/primitive brain, responsible purely for the physiological functions of the body. That's the part of the brain that still remains functional when a person is in a coma, for example, in a "vegetable" state, - the basic physiology of the body is still going on, women even keep menstruating and can continue with gestation if they are pregnant.
Then there is the cortex, usually referred to as the "gray matter," responsible for our mental activity. That's what we routinely call "the brain", - the part of the brain responsible for our cognitive functions: logic, calculating, planning...
And then we have the limbic system of the brain, responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings.
Limbic imprinting happens in that part of the brain, which is not directly connected with the cortex, responsible for cognitive memory. During gestation, birth and early childhood, the limbic system registers all of our sensations and feelings, without translating it into the language of cortex, simply because it’s not developed yet. That memory lives in the body throughout the rest of our life whether we know of it or not.
We come into this world wide-open to receive love. When we do receive it, as our first primal experience, our nervous system is limbically imprinted – “programmed” with the undeniable rightness of being. Being held in the mother's loving arms, feeding from her breast and seeing the great joy in father's eyes, provides us with the natural sense of bliss and security; it sets the world as the right place for us to be in.
If our first impressions of being in the body are anything less than loving (painful, frightening, lonely...), then that "anything" imprints as a valid experience of love. It is immediately coded into our nervous system as a "comfort zone," acting as a surrogate for the love and nurturing, regardless of how painful, frustrating and undesirable it actually was.
And in the future, as adults, we will unconsciously, automatically re-create the conditions that were imprinted at birth and through our early childhood.
Research done by the pioneers of prenatal psychology, such as: dr.Thomas Verny, dr. David Chamberlain, dr. William Emerson shows that an overwhelming amount of physical conditions and behavioral disorders in are the direct result of traumatic gestation time and complications during delivery, including unnecessary mechanical interventions and an overdose of anesthesia.
Also, it turns out, on top of the devastating effect of trauma during the actual birth, what happens after it,- like routine impersonal postpartum care,- is also a source of trouble: lack of immediate warm, soft and nurturing contact with the mother, premature cutting of the cord, rude handling, circumcision, needles, bright lights, startling noises... all this sensory overload becomes instantly wired into the newborn's nervous systems as the new "comfort zone", against all logic. As logic resides in a different part of the brain, which is not quite developed yet. So that person will continue unconsciously recreate/attract the same repeated situation of abuse and/or become abusive. Even if later on in life his or hers rational mind/cortex will recognize this as pattern of "abuse," the imprinting had already happened in a different part of the brain, which doesn’t have the skill to stop the pattern..... (the rest of this article can be viewed at www.birthintobeing.com)