92633475 Being With Babies What Babies Want

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Transcript of 92633475 Being With Babies What Babies Want

  • www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • What Babies Are Teaching UsA Collection

    By

    Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D., R.N.

    WB Publication eDocument Usage AgreementOne PDF file of document, one printed copy.

    Please do not distribute additional copies to others.Support this work by referring them to:

    www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • Copyright 2005 Wendy Anne McCarty. For copies, www.wondrousbeginnings.com.

    WB Publishing2022 Cliff Drive, #306Santa Barbara, CA 93109www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    Copyright 2005 by Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.

    All rights reserved. These booklets may not be reproduced in wholeor in part, or transmitted in any form, without permission from theauthor, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in areview; nor any part of this book be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other, withoutwritten permission from the publisher.

    Cover rose image and photo of Wendy Anne McCarty by Patsy An Grace.

    McCarty, Wendy Anne.What Babies Are Teaching Us: A Collection/ Wendy Anne McCarty.

    First ebook 2005 McCarty Collection, February 6, 2005.

    ISBN 0960658-0-0

  • Copyright 2005 Wendy Anne McCarty. For copies, www.wondrousbeginnings.com.

    What Babies Are Teaching UsA Collection

    Introduction

    Being With Babies Booklet Set

    Volume One An Introduction

    Volume Two Supporting Babies Innate Wisdom

    The Call To Reawaken and Deepen Our Communications with Babies

    Keys to Healing and Preventing Foundational Trauma

    The Power of Beliefs

  • www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • Copyright 2005 Wendy Anne McCarty. For copies, www.wondrousbeginnings.com.

    Introduction

    This collection contains my Being with Babies Booklets and three previously publishedarticles. You will find some overlap in that each publication is an introduction for anew group. Each article brings in new elements as well.

    Being With Babies: What Babies Are Teaching UsVolume One & Two

    These publications were written in response to parents request during theirinvolvement at the BEBA research clinic. I was working therapeutically with infantsand their parents at the BEBA Clinic. Families who had heard of our work, hadchallenging births, or had infants who were showing some stress/trauma symptomsor difficulties would come to the clinic. The agreement was that they would allowtheir sessions to be video recorded and allow the material to be used for researchand educational purposes. We would work with the baby and parents for 10-30sessions until the babys stress patterns appeared to be resolved and the familyresourced and ready to complete.

    During this time, we were modeling and teaching parents new ways of being withtheir babies that incorporated prenatal and perinatal psychology principles and avariety of therapeutic skills. As we modeled the principles with how we interactedwith their babies, they saw and felt the difference and healing changes in theirbabies. Yet, it was a different orientation that what was in the mainstreamAnd they asked if we could write something simple something that they couldshare with their parents, friends, child caretakers, and other professionals workingwith their families. I wrote these booklets to meet that need. Now they are global.(They are still available in the original gift-quality printed format through mywebsite.) For years, I have wanted to come back to writing more in the series, butinstead, I helped to create the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Now, I amcurrently writing a parenting book that will greatly expand these originally publishedprinciples and others as well.

    The CALL To Reawaken and Deepen Our Communication with Babies

    I wrote this article as I was writing my Welcoming Consciousness book and I beganthe paper much like my book. The article was for the doula community. Often doulaswould say that they intuitively knew or felt some of the principles emerging out ofPPN research, yet because these concepts and principles are still so different than ourcurrent mainstream ideas, they would feel hesitant to go there publicly with theirfamilies. I wrote this article to provide information, support, and encouragement toincorporate these ways of perceiving, conceiving and relating with babies into theirpractice.

  • Copyright 2005 Wendy Anne McCarty. For copies, www.wondrousbeginnings.com.

    Introduction

    Keys to Healing and Preventing Foundational Trauma

    This article was actually assembled by the ISSSEEM staff. They contacted me sayingone of their staff members had heard me present at the 2003 ATLC meeting. Theythought my message and the handout I had provided conference attendees was veryvaluable. They had gone to my website and read Luis family story and had put thesetwo pieces together as an article. I revised it slightly, and an article was born. It is agreat little article with a list of prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN) principles anda list of questions to ask in terms of exploring aspects of early experience. Luissstory beautifully portrays key PPN principle and one way to utilize this material withones children. It was oriented towards the Subtle Energy and Energy Medicinecommunity.

    The Power of Beliefs

    This article was based on a presentation I made at the Association of Prenatal andPerinatal Psychology and Health Congress in 2001. The importance of theimplications that young babies already have imprinted behaviors and beliefs wasaddressed in this work and has been a primary theme of mine. It truly changes ourentire understanding of babies and our beliefs about babies as we begin to see thatmany of babies behaviors, challenges, and ways of being in the world are reflectionsof what they experienced, imprinted, and learned during the prenatal, birth andnewborn periods. This paper was the beginning of the articulation that has lead tothe integrated model I began to articulate in Welcoming Consciousness (2004).

    Thank you for valuing this material and what babies are teaching us.Enjoy.

    Wendy Anne McCarty2/6/05

  • www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.5662 Calle Real, #221

    Goleta, California 93117

    CopyrightNovember 19, 1996Revised May 2000

  • I want to express my gratitude to the families and babies that I havehad the opportunity to work with in the BEBA Clinic and in myprivate practice. Their integrity, courage, love and commitmenthave truly been inspiring. They are the true teachers of what iswritten here.

    I want to thank the many teachers that I have had the opportunityto work with and four that have helped me build the foundation formy work today: William Emerson, Ph.D.; Franklyn Sills, R.P.P.;Peter Levine, Ph.D.; and Raymond Castellino, D.C. R.P.P.

    I want to thank my friends who believe in the importance of thismessage and who have graciously given me their feedback andsuggestions.

    I also want to acknowledge and thank my many beloved friends inspirit. This book is dedicated to Bill, my partner in spirit, whowas devoted to the messages contained in this volume.

  • The principles and ideas in this booklet areas true for the prenate, the baby being born,

    and the newborn as for an older baby.

  • Babies, children and adults have been telling their stories of what itwas like for them to come into this world - what it was like for thembeing inside their mothers womb, being born and coming out intothe world with all of us. Over the last thirty years, a new field ofprenatal and birth therapy has developed that focuses on these earlyexperiences. This new therapy is profound and is helping babies,children and adults heal the stress or trauma that may have occurredduring that time. One of the most significant discoveries in this workcomes from babies, children and adults showing us ways of beingwith them that would help them as they come into our world.

    If someone has given you this booklet, you probably have a baby inyour life. In this booklet, I share with you some very importantprinciples we are learning from babies about how to help them intheir transition into life. Incorporating these principles into yourrelationship with babies and children can have profound impact.

  • What we are learning is revolutionizing thefundamental beliefs we have about

    prenates and babies and our ways of beingwith babies to support them.

  • Our experience from the first moments of conception, from the timein the womb and birth itself has profound and lasting impact. Theseearly experiences imprint and establish our core view of the world,our feelings about ourselves, our health, our body, and how weare going to relate to it all. Being a conscious and aware being doesntdepend on our brain development or physical body. We come inthat way!

    We are the naturally empathic. From the beginning, we are wiredto be very sensitive, responsive, receptive beings that merge withothers around us, especially mom and dad.

    We learn by feeling and experiencing with others and are thereforeaffected by others. And, we learn about who we are by how othersaround us relate to us.

    We have been repeatedly awestruck by the level of presence andawareness prenates and babies have. They are able to understandwhat is said to them, follow the meaning of it, and they respondappropriately. They are very sensitive to what we think, feel, sayand do.

  • Babies are communicating and responding to us and their environ-ment all the time. Their expressions are not random, rather theyare intentional and meaningful. Some expressions are quite overt,while others are very subtle. Babies express themselves through:

    Facial expressions.

    Eye contact and what they chose to look at.

    Where they place their attention by focusing on somethingor someone in their outer environment or by focusing insidethemselves with closed eyes.

    Body language and movement (very important).

    Gestures with their hands and feet.

    Level of tension or relaxation.

    Body rhythms (such as sucking, nursing, and general move-ment tempo).

  • A good place to begin is to treat the baby as you would want to betreated. One of the basics is that we all want to be included, consid-ered, and responded to. So, imagine how you would want to be re-lated to in a situation. Then check in with the babys responses andyou will find if you are on track!

    Talk to the baby directly.

    Include them in the conversation.

    Pause and wait for their response. (This pause is essential.Babies process and respond generally at a much slower pace.)

    Acknowledge their response.

    Respond appropriately according to their response.

    How you relate to the baby does have impact. They are consciousand do understand and have feelings. Treating them with respect,love, understanding, empathy, acknowledgment, and considerationbuilds a positive sense of self and a sense of safety and being loved.

  • Babies can easily get overwhelmed or overstimulated. These arespecific ways to help babies be able to integrate their experience, tofeel safe, and to build trust.

    Slow the pace down. Slow down inside yourself. Fastactions, interactions, and transitions from one thing toanother can easily overwhelm the baby.

    Adapt the environment: temperature, lights, sounds, to theircues.

    Approach the baby espect for their boundaries and be sen-sitive to their cues.

    Ask permission when you sincerely are giving them a choice,such as Would you like me to hold you? Then wait for acue from them.

    Tell the baby ahead of time what you will be doing orwhat is going to happen, such as:

    When you are going to break contact with them and moveyour attention.

    When you are going to do something with or for them,e.g. Im going to pick you up to change your diapernow.

  • When you are about to initiate a transition. This is anespecially important time to tell them about the changeahead of time. For example, Daddy has been playing withbaby and has to leave for work. He might say, This hasbeen so much fun playing together...and in a fewminutes, I am going to leave for work. Ill be back laterand we will play more then.

    Notice babys reaction to the changes and acknowledgethem. Often our transitions can be too quick for them tointegrate. To acknowledge that and pause helps the baby.

    Acknowledge or reflect what the baby is expressing. Thisis so helpful for the baby and a great way to interact withthem, For example, Oh, youre reaching out with your hand.I see.

    Tell the baby what you are feeling. If you are around thebaby and are upset about something or are in conflict withsomeone, the baby will naturally pick up on it. It helps themif you identify whats going on. They often feel it is some-thing they did and so it can be helpful to say something like,Im upset about something from work today. It doesnt haveanything to do with you, but you may feel my upset.

  • Babies are exquisitely sensitive. They are also very vulnerable anddependent on us. Babies have fewer means to deal with theirenvironment than we do. For example, they cant get up and leave asituation that doesnt feel right for them. They count on us to be assensitive as possible to adapt the environment and interactions tothem. This helps them feel safe and allows them to stay with theirexperience.

    For a moment, imagine a time in the past when you felt veryvulnerable and sensitive. From that sensitive place, imagine howyou would want others to be and how you would want yourenvironment to be. In that sensitive place, you can sense and under-stand how easily you can feel overwhelmed and overstimulated.

    Some of the cues babies give us that they are overwhelmed or over-stimulated are:

    Speeding up and moving more into fussing, upset or crying.

    Movements becoming more jerky.

    Arching their back and becoming tense, shuttering, or startled.

    Moving away from a person or stimulus.

    Going inside in attempts to cut off the stimulation, forexample when loud music is playing and the baby appearsto go to sleep.

    Looking disoriented or dazed.

  • Slow down inside yourself.

    Check your own tension level and center or relax. Forexample, take several long, slow breaths.

    Slow the pace down with the baby by your movements andvoice.

    Acknowledge their response of overwhelm or agitation.

    Respond to meet their need, if action is called for.

    Watch for their response and acknowledge that.

    For example, the baby seems to be overwhelmed and younotice the music that is playing is loud and fast. You couldsay to the baby, Is that music too much right now?..... Letme put something slower on. (You change the music andthe baby calms.) Is that better?...Yeah, that was too much,thanks for telling me.

    Some of the things that babies are showing us that they reallyappreciate and that help them are things with which we can allidentify. When we feel someone is being sensitive and responsive toour needs and relating to us as an aware, conscious, and feelingperson, we feel heard, valued, and cared for. When you treat babiesin this way, they grow up feeling heard, valued, and cared for.

  • Allowing and acknowledging babies feelings helps to validate theirexperience. As adults, we know it is healthy to feel a full range offeelings and not feel guilt or shame about having them. We arefinding out how unhealthy it is for ourselves, our bodies, and ourrelationships to stuff feelings. What the babies are teaching us isthat this is also true for them.

    We are developing new ideas about protecting babiesprotectingtheir right to have their feelings and responses. Again, imagine atime in your past when you felt most heard, most comforted andmost accepted. That probably included having someone with youwho was willing to be with you, acknowledge your feelings andtrust your ability to deal with them; someone who was sensitive,allowing and didnt judge you.

    This is what babies want. Babies have intense feelings and experi-ences. Just like us, they may be expressing their feelings or respond-ing to something happening right in the moment, such as hunger.They may also be expressing or responding to something in theirpast. The prenatal experience and birth can be very intense and of-ten babies are expressing feelings about these early experiences aswell as about their present situation. Many times, something fromthe present will trigger an earlier experience which impacts the waythey feel about or respond to the present situation. Their feelingsalways have meaning. We may not always know the exact meaningof their expressions and responses, yet we can identify with theiremotions and feelings, such as joy, gratitude, sadness, overwhelm,anger, grief, love, fear, trust, etc.

  • Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D. is an author, teacher, and consultant.Dr. McCarty has worked for over twenty five years with families throughvarious avenues-as obstetrical nurse, childbirth educator, marriage andfamily therapist, prenatal and birth therapist and consultant. She has a Ph.D.in Counseling Psychology, MS in Family Studies and Child Development,B.S. in Nursing and training in numerous complementary healing arts andtranspersonal practices.

    In 1987, at an APPPAH conference, she was introduced to the new field ofprenatal and birth therapy with infants by William Emerson, Ph.D. andbegan her training and practice in this specialty. In 1993, she and RaymondCastellino, D.C. R.P.P., co-founded the non-profit corporation, BEBA.Dr. McCarty was the first co-executive director of BEBA and a primarytherapist and researcher in the clinic until fall of 1997.

    In 1999, Dr. McCarty joined a core team to develop and open the SantaBarbara Graduate Institute. She and Dr. Marti Glenn, President of SBGI,co-founded and co-created the Prenatal and Perinatal Studies Program atthe new institute.

    Dr. McCarty has also been involved with consciousness studies andresearch for over two decades. Her work embodies her core perspectivethat we are spiritual consciousness who choose to have human experiencewith purpose and design. Her work incorporates the principles of prenataland birth therapy within a framework emphasizing spiritual perspectivebringing mind-body-spirit together.

  • Association for Pre-and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH)P.O. Box 1398, Forestville, CA 95436

    707-887-2838 www.birthpsychology.com

    APPPAH is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to the in-depthexploration of the psychological, emotional and social development of babiesand parents from preparation for pregnancy through the postpartum period. For16 years, the Association, through its publications and conferences, has broughtpublic attention to the critical influence of the developmental period fromconception to birth. The Association and its members have documented thesentience of prenates and newborn babies and the therapeutic importance of earlyparent-infant relationships.

    502 E. Micheltorena, Suite 205Santa Barbara, CA 93103

    805-963-6896 www.sbgi.edu

    Dr. McCarty co-created and co-developed with SBGI President Dr. Marti Glennthe first graduate degree programs in prenatal and perinatal psychology. SantaBarbara Graduate Institute opens fall, 2000 with four pre-and perinatal degrees.

    The Pre- and Perinatal degree programs are designed for those who are inter-ested in the healing arts, education, or work with pregnant women, babies,young children and families and for those who want to incorporate into theirpresent work a more in-depth pre- and perinatal psychology perspective. Thesedegrees provide a solid foundation in pre- and perinatal theory and applicationas well as important counseling and therapeutic skills within a humanistictranspersonal framework. SBGI offers assessable weekend classes withdistinquished leading-edge faculty in Santa Barbara, CA.

    Birthing Evolution-Birthing Awareness1105 N. Ontare Road Santa Barbara, CA 93105 805-687-2897

    In 1993, Raymond Castellino, D.C., R.P.P. and Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.founded BEBA. BEBA is a non-profit corporation dedicated to exploring anddeveloping how to best welcome human beings into the world and supportbabies to fully actualizing their potential. BEBA provides prenatal and birththerapy for babies and families in the BEBA research clinic. A videoarchives provides practitioners, professionals and community membersan opportunity to learn directly from the babies themselves through tapedtherapy sessions.

  • Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.5662 Calle Real, #221

    Goleta, California 93117

    Copyright June 1997Revised 2000

  • I want to thank the families and babies that I have had the opportunityto work with in the BEBA Clinic and in my private practice. Theircourage, integrity, love, and commitment have been truly inspiring.My heart felt gratitude to the babies who are teaching me so muchabout the power and beauty of their innate wisdom.

    I want to thank and acknowledge Ray Castellino, D.C., R.P.P., mycolleague and co-therapist at the BEBA clinic. His expertise and ourcreative collaboration have contributed greatly to the fundamentalsof I also want to acknowledge three othercolleagues I have learned greatly from: William Emerson, Ph.D.,Franklyn Sills, R.P.P., and Peter Levine, Ph.D.

    I want to thank my friends who have graciously reviewed and helpededit the booklet: Ray, Harvey, Beryl, Ginny, Marsha, Elizabeth, andPeter. Your contributions made a difference. I want to thank Carolfor her graphic design and formatting assistance.

    I also want to acknowledge and express my deepest gratitude to mymany beloved friends in spirit, and especially my partner in spirit,Bill. I am so grateful you are a part of my life.

  • If you have received this booklet, you probably have a baby in yourlife. This booklet contains some important principles we are learn-ing from babies about how to help them in their transition into life.Incorporating these principles into your relationship with babies canhave profound impact.

    Since the early 1970s, prenatal and birth exploration has grownimmensely, revealing profound insights. Babies, children, and adultsalike have been portraying their experiences during conception, inthe womb, being born, and coming out into the world. The similaritiesof stories and information gained from all ages give us a rich newfoundation of understanding early life. The pioneer field of prenataland birth therapy is evolving from this foundation and focuses onhelping babies, children, and adults heal early stress or trauma,thereby, dramatically enhancing their well-being and future.

    This booklet series explores new beliefs about who we are from thebeginning of life and ways of being with babies that would be mosthelpful to them as they come into our world. The principles andideas in this booklet are as true for the prenate, the baby being born,and the newborn, as for an older baby and child.

    1

  • In booklet, I introduced many of theimportant principles we are learning from babies. This booklet buildson the foundation of For those of you who may have beengiven this booklet first, let me briefly highlight a few key conceptsdiscussed in

    2

  • In this booklet, I suggest at certain places for you to pause andexplore something for yourself. These experiences can deepen theunderstanding and the feeling sense of what is written here.

    In this booklet, I share in more depth, four key ways we can helpbabies be and grow into the most healthy, happy, and whole peoplethey can be. I include some examples to help bring the principlesand ideas come together and become more real and alive.

    Lets start by exploring some of the qualities of a healthy, happy,and whole person. In other words:

    A common thread woven through most discussions of isthat the whole person is in relationship with, to, and living from, aconnected place inside themselves. There are many names given tothis place inside:

    I use the name You may like a different name:

    _____________________________________________

    3

  • The following are qualities of being connected to and living fromour Authentic Being that I imagine and experience. I state them inthe ideal, yet I know that we are real and human also. We come andgo from this state of being. When we are in the flow of this state ofbeing:

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  • 5

  • 6

  • 7

  • In the rest of the booklet, we will explore four key ways you canhelp. As a prenatal and birth therapist, I work with prenates,newborns, babies, and their parents. Babies have been consistentlyshowing us the power of these four ways of helping. These ways arepart of the foundation we use for helping babies heal stress andtrauma and to grow from their innate wisdom. For many of thefamilies, we have worked with, it has become a way of life notonly with their baby, but with themselves and others of all ages.

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  • Most people in Western cultures have not considered babies to becapable of understanding others and expressing themselves. Mostpeople have not believed that babies are that conscious. This isreally a whole new orientation! You may wish to reread the beliefshighlighted on page two of this booklet and consider their signifi-cance. When we hold these beliefs, we are also assuming that, fromthe beginning of life, prenates and babies already have an AuthenticBeing and an innate wisdom.

    The beliefs we hold about prenates and babies form the basis forour attitudes, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices and actions inour world. Consequently, these beliefs color every aspect of ourinteractions with prenates and babies, and profoundly impact theirfeelings and beliefs about themselves.

    For example, one new father told me that during the first part of hiswifes pregnancy he never thought of directly communicating withthe baby. He was very excited about having their first child and talkeda lot about the baby to others. He just never thought that his babywas capable of understanding what he said.

    Then he read that babies are conscious from the beginning of life.He began talking his baby. One evening while talking to the baby,he felt the baby move in response to his words. Itwas a precious moment for him. He really understood that the babywas communicating with him! That was a turning point for him.

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  • Each day, he would look forward to coming home and spendingtime with his wife and baby inside talking and playing together.Communicating daily with their baby became a new way of life.One night, they went to a movie that ended up being violent. Theirbaby was very active inside, in an agitated way. They decided toleave. As soon as they were in the car, they explained to their babytheir concern for the baby and why they left. The baby calmed andsettled inside.

    These parents' new beliefs opened the door for new experiences andtheir new experiences with their baby opened the door for newerbeliefs. Their beliefs shaped their attitudes, thoughts, feelings,decisions, choices, and their actions.

    Our holding these new beliefs and images of them helps prenates,babies, and children (and adults) to stay connected with theirAuthentic Being and to function from their innate wisdom. Thisvision supports their developing these beliefs and images of them-selves.

    Setting our intentions to interact with babies from our new beliefsabout them, will set in motion our For example, as atherapist working with babies, I hold the belief that babies will showme what they want help with, to grow, learn, and heal. I set thatintention in order to be available to them, to be receptive to theircommunications, and to hold their communications to be meaningful.In this way, the babys communication guides my interaction withthem.

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  • 11

  • Prenates and babies are developing their beliefs about themselvesand about the world from the moment of conception. These beliefsare imprinted into their being. It is a time to have an incrediblywonderful impact on them. It is an

    In I discussed many specific waysof interacting with babies to help them. In the remainder of this booklet,I will suggest more. Still, it is such a reorientation for many people,you may wonder what it looks, sounds, or feels like. How do youinteract or be in relationship with babies in this new way? It mayfeel like a voyage into uncharted territory. If you have the map ofthese beliefs and set your intention to relate to prenates and babiesfrom there they will show you the way they can be your guide.You will see them respond and the words presented here will

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  • Babies need our help. When we realize how conscious, sensitive,and aware they are and how impressionable their early experienceis, the importance of helping them maintain their sacred space andthe safety they feel within it, becomes so clear. They are dependenton us to be sensitive and willing to help keep them safe. Our doingso allows them to blossom within a cocoon of love, respect, andsecurity, without having to become specialists in

    Protecting babies sacred space involves respecting their boundaries.So many emotional problems, mental illness, violence, territorialwars, and more are rooted in our early intrusive experiences. Babiesare not able to prevent or stop frightening or painful events or inter-actions. A lack of understanding and empathy from others can leadthem to feel objectified and isolated. The implications for thisimprinting are staggering. During the therapy we do, we see theimpact of unresolved stress and trauma on the babies and parentslives. We also see the enormous positive and healing impact thatthese new beliefs and interactions can have. That is why I believe sostrongly in interacting with babies in a way that affirms theirAuthentic Being and fully respects their awareness and sensitivity.In this way, we support individual health, happiness, and whole-ness. We promote world peace and cooperation.

    One way to help prenates, newborns, and babies thrive is to besensitive to their communications and to take care with how weapproach and interact with them. They show us when somethingfeels right or not. Babies communicate through voice, overt andsubtle body movements and rhythms, and emotional expressions.

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  • A friend of mine recently told me how he understood this idea. Heimagined approaching an animal in the wild, especially a babyanimal. He would approach quietly and read their cues of disruptionor fight-flight that approaching them may create. He would let theanimal show him if it was O.K. to come closer and how they wouldlike him to interact. These images enabled him to learn babies cuesand to give the babies the same respect he gave the animals.

    Prenates and newborns, as well as older babies, react protectively totheir space being invaded. They show us in similar ways as do adults.The following are some distress responses babies may have to adisruption in their sacred space. Babies may:

    These responses are ways that babies ask us to help them reestab-lish their sacred space.

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  • When babies want us to come closer, they often will:

    Sometimes, babies exhibit a combination of come closer and go awaysigns as they negotiate what feels right to them. We all have experi-enced that relationship scenario of:

    This is the dance of relationship! The respectful dance is a vital partof the therapy I do with babies. Here is an example of theseprinciples in action. A five month old baby, Alex, and his parentscome in for a therapy session. The parents have already learned thatslowing themselves down and going slow with their baby helps himto orient and feel safe. So, they come into the office slowly. I standstill, rather than approach, and greet the baby and parents from adistance. I slow myself down. I watch the baby for cues. On this day,Alex seems agitated and wary. I acknowledge that, saying slowly,Oh yeah, you are just gett ing here...maybe feeling a bitunsure?...Yeah. I see him holding tightly onto Mom. I say, Thatsright, you can hold onto Mom...Im going to stay right over here...andthere is nothing that you have to do right now. The mother knowsthat telling Alex what she is going to do ahead of time helps him feelsafer so she says to her baby, Alex, Im going to move over to thecouch to sit down. You can stay right here with me.

    We try not to have too many things happening at once, so we wait tostart talking. The parents sit on the couch. The baby seems to berelaxing more and begins to smile at me. I say, Alex, Im going tocome over there (pointing to a spot between us) to sit down. If that

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  • feels too close, let me know and Ill move back. I move closer andhe starts to turn into Mom with his body. I say, Oh, that was tooclose? Thanks for telling me. Let me move back. Hows that? Inotice him soften and turn back to look at me. I focus on settlingwithin myself, making eye contact with him, and say slowly, It isimportant to me that you feel safe here. I appreciate you letting meknow when something isnt right for you. I pause and keep thecontact with Alex. Then I say, Im going to move my attention andsay hello to Mom and Dad now. I pause and then make contactwith Alexs parents. Alex starts to relax more and feel safe.

    Parents often ask how to help their baby during a situation that bynature may be invasive or scary, for example, medical proceduresor interventions. The following is a story of how a mother helpedher baby during a potentially traumatic invasion of the babyssacred space. With sensitivity and care, she helped her baby feelincluded and allowed the baby the opportunity to take an activerole. The baby responded by cooperating, thereby, increasing thesafety of the procedure.

    The mother was pregnant and was going to have an amniocentesis.(In an amniocentesis, a needle is inserted into the amniotic sac of theyoung prenate to withdraw fluid. The doctor uses an ultrasoundimage to help safely guide the needle to avoid the baby). She wasplanning on having the baby whatever the test outcomes, but forpersonal reasons wanted to have the information. During the weekprior to the amniocentesis, the mother communica ted withwords and images to the baby about the test why she was goingto have it and what was going to happen. She repeated this processseveral times. When she went to have the procedure, she asked the

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  • doctor to tell her before the needle was inserted. At that moment,the mother told the baby that the needle was about to come in. Sheand the doctor watched on the ultrasound monitor and saw the babymove to one side of the womb and remain still. After the needle wasremoved, the baby began moving again. Her baby had understoodand had responded by protecting himself and by cooperating.

    Prenates and babies are establishing the imprinting that will deter-mine how they view themselves and their world. Feeling thatothers are sensitive to and respectful of their sacred space profoundlyimpacts their future.

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  • When we work with babies in our clinic, we are conscious of howwe focus our attention, which helps babies stay relaxed, present,and in their body. You, too, can help them tremendously by learningto focus in this way.

    People are always moving their attention, as in surfing the television,radio, or the Internet. We flow moment to moment, shifting ourfocus from one thing to another. Sometimes, we do this uncon-sciously. By using our intention, however, we can choose what wewant to focus on.

    For example, a baby appears to be sleeping in her mothers arm.The mother is watching her baby and is focusing her gaze at herbaby enjoying the peaceful, sweet moment. The mother suddenlyrealizes she forgot to do something she said she would do that day.She looks up at the clock to check the time, and her daughter startles.Her daughter is reacting to her sudden shift in focus and emotionalstate.

    Often in therapy sessions, a parent will be interacting with their baby,having eye contact, touch, and The parentthen shifts to talk to me, moving their attention suddenly away fromthe baby. This may be a natural movement to the adult, yet, manybabies feel this as a disruption. They may stir, startle, or start to cry.

    18

  • The parent may wonder what is wrong, not realizing the impact theunannounced and sudden shift in their attention has had on theirbaby.

    Babies have consistently shown us how sensitive they are to atten-tion shifts. Adults may relate to this by imagining being in the flowof a nice conversation on the telephone, only to have the connectionsuddenly gone.

    When working with families, I suggest to parents that they:

    Keep contact with baby.

    Tell the baby ahead of time, if they are going tobreak contact.

    Pause to let baby catch up.

    Then shift their attention.

    You will be amazed at the powerful impact this one change can have.Your baby will be reassured that you are aware of their sensitivityand can communicate clearly with them.

    Prenates and babies will understand when you let them know whatis going to happen. For example, lets say you are having contactwith your baby and the doorbell rings. They may startle. You saywhile looking at them, Thats the doorbell sound you hear...Imgoing to get up to see who is here. Pause... Keep in contact with thebaby while you let them catch up. Then say, O.K. Im getting upnow.

    19

  • Babies are great teachers in helping to raise our consciousness ofhow we move our attention! (Most adults love to receive that muchconscious care themselves!)

    Another subtle, yet powerful way to help babies maintain theirsacred space involves where we place our attention in relationshipto ourselves. Are we coming from our center within ourselves orsomewhere outside ourselves? Most of us know a lot about func-tioning from outside ourselves! The following guided imagery isdesigned to help you understand and experience the inside or out-side concept.

    First find a quiet spot, relax, and settle yourself down. When youfeel quiet inside, read and imagine the three scenarios below slowenough to notice your responses to each.

    Imagine sitting at a restaurant having lunch with a friendor co-worker. They are giving you their attention, but for somereason, you feel like squirming. Something feels too close. You feel aneed for more space between you. You may feel slightly tired oranxious. You notice yourself leaning back in the chair with your handgripping the chairs arm. You are edgy and cant quite figure outwhy. What do you feel in your body as you are imaging this? Whenready, let the image and sensations go.

    Imagine yourself at the same table with a differentperson. They are moving their attention all over the place. They keepforgetting what you are telling them. One moment they are withyou, then they are not. They interrupt you and dont seem to notice.Feeling frustrated, you want to get the check and get out of there.

    20

  • Notice what you feel in your body while you imagine this. Whenready, let these images and sensations go.

    Imagine being at the table with yet another person. Theyare giving you their attention, are present and soft at the same time.You feel relaxed and are really enjoying the contact and the momenttogether. You are comfortable with this person. Its one of those

    moments. Notice the sensations in your body.

    Whats the difference between these three scenarios?

    Heres my assessment and response to the three scenarios:

    This person is falling into me with their attention andenergy field. Im feeling that they are too close. You are in my space!My natural defensive movement is to try to create the distance thatis more comfortable for me.

    This person is not centered. Their focus, their attention,and energy field is scattered all over the place, creating a chaoticfeeling. They are not very present. I dont feel very attended to norsafe to share much of myself with them.

    This person has their attention and focus well plantedwithin their own body and space.

    I feel their presence. They are not spaced out, outside theirbody, nor falling into my space. They are demonstrating the

    I feel relaxed and present myself and enjoy beingwith them.

    21

  • The quality of experiences with these three people is very different.I suspect your responses and body sensations are different as well.Most of us can also relate to being like these people. Do you everfeel yourself falling into someone, scattered all over the place, orpeacefully centered?

    Now imagine how the use of our attention impacts babies who arenaturally connected to us. Being centered and having our attentioncome from within us is tremendously helpful to them. Babies canresonate with our centeredness, which helps them experience theirown. Also, by being within ourselves, babies sacred space is main-tained, providing them with a feeling of safety which they need tostay with their own experience.

    22

  • Parents often share that learning to slow the pace or tempo down isa major key for themselves and their babies. Prenates and babiesneed a slower pace than adults in order to integrate their experienceand to not become overwhelmed or overstimulated. Most of us havelearned how to function at a pretty fast pace. In fact, I believe thatmost of us have lived in an overwhelmed and overstimulated statemuch of our lives. We have learned to cope and adapt so that it hasbecome the norm. For many, slowing down can feel uncomfortable.Yet, we are hearing and reading more and more about how slowingdown, learning to relax, meditating, doing yoga, or working in ourgarden, can help our body and our mind. It can help us becomemore connected to our Authentic Being and produce a sense ofwarmth and well-being. Though previously valued much more inEastern cultures, Westerners now seem to be yearning for the abilityto relax, and to connect with themselves and the divine.

    Babies are powerful teachers. Even though I do yoga, meditate, andvalue being in a state of quiet presence, I have learned new depthsof slowing myself down by being with babies. With each new levelof slowing down, babies reveal more of their abilities to access theirself-healing potential and innate wisdom.

    Parents often are not accustomed to slowing down as much as wedo in therapy with their babies. They can become quite sleepy duringthe initial therapy sessions and sometimes nod off! By the end oftherapy, however, these same parents are able to slow themselvesdown, stay awake, and be present. They understand how slowingdown within themselves makes such a difference in their ability andtheir babies ability to be more present.

    23

  • If babies have experienced stress or trauma, which most of us have,the imprinted pattern tends to be one of speed up. The fight/flightresponses in their body were stimulated during the stress or traumaand the propensity for repeating those responses remains higher.These babies will tend to speed up and become upset, agitated, afraid,and tearful more easily. We observe that this speed up can contributeto what we label as colic, constipation, inability to nap or sleep,breastfeeding problems, or

    In therapy, we purposely slow down the pace to help babiesrenegotiate or repattern their tendency to speed up.

    The art of learning to be relaxed, present, and in your body whilethe baby is crying and upset is the Consider whatthe stewardess requests at the beginning of a plane flight. Sheexplains that, as caretaker of a small child, you should put the maskon yourself first to ensure you are able to then put one on your child!

    When you feel yourself accelerating, getting anxious, having yourattention fall into the baby, or getting scattered:

    Pause.

    Acknowledge what is happening for you and foryour baby.

    Slow down.

    Notice where your attention is and bring it backwithin yourself.

    Reorient and relate from this place with yourbaby.

    Then acknowledge to the baby what is happening.

    24

  • The key concept here is that the more we learn how to be present,relaxed, and centered in our own bodies, the more babies can thenstay oriented, connected, and present with theirs. When babies arein that slowed down, they have fuller access totheir innate wisdom.

    Babies are incredible teachers because by helping them, we learnmore about ourselves. We learn how to live within our innate wisdomand from our Authentic Being. The suggestions in this booklet arekey ways to help. They are meant as a guide to explore and to learn.

    Averys grandfather tells a wonderful story that sums up the mainpoints of this booklet. Avery and his parents are a part of the BEBAresearch study. Avery completed the prenatal and birth therapyprocess, graduating several months prior to the time of this story.During Averys therapy, his grandfather, so moved by the healingimpact of these principles had, made a commitment to relearn howto be with his grandson. Here in his own words is a story of he andAvery:

    25

  • 26

  • We began this booklet looking at new beliefs regarding howconscious and aware we are from the very beginning of life. Weexplored how we want to help babies experience and grow. Wediscussed the qualities of living from our Authentic Being and whatit means to live from our innate wisdom. We then explored importantways you can help babies feel safe, protected, respected, and loved,which in turn, will support their growing from within in touchwith their innate wisdom.

    Now it is time to leave. After setting this booklet down, let yourselfjust be with what has been stirred within you. Allow yourself toexperiment with your baby in this new way and let them teach you.They are the real guides of this new world.

    with love,

    Wendy

    27

  • Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D. is an author, teacher, and consultant.Dr. McCarty has worked for over twenty five years with families throughvarious avenues-as obstetrical nurse, childbirth educator, marriage andfamily therapist, prenatal and birth therapist and consultant. She has a Ph.D.in Counseling Psychology, MS in Family Studies and Child Development,B.S. in Nursing and training in numerous complementary healing arts andtranspersonal practices.

    In 1987, at an APPPAH conference, she was introduced to the new field ofprenatal and birth therapy with infants by William Emerson, Ph.D. andbegan her training and practice in this specialty. In 1993, she and RaymondCastellino, D.C. R.P.P., co-founded the non-profit corporation, BEBA.Dr. McCarty was the first co-executive director of BEBA and a primarytherapist and researcher in the clinic until fall of 1997.

    In 1999, Dr. McCarty joined a core team to develop and open the SantaBarbara Graduate Institute. She and Dr. Marti Glenn, President of SBGI,co-founded and co-created the Prenatal and Perinatal Studies Program atthe new institute.

    Dr. McCarty has also been involved with consciousness studies andresearch for over two decades. Her work embodies her core perspectivethat we are spiritual consciousness who choose to have human experiencewith purpose and design. Her work incorporates the principles of prenataland birth therapy within a framework emphasizing spiritual perspectivebringing mind-body-spirit together.

  • To order booklets and other publicationsby Dr. McCarty,

    Visit: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    Printed Booklets on Pastel Linen AvailableBeautiful Gifts for New Families

    For the sake of our babies,For the sake of ourselves,For the sake or our families & communities,For the sake of the world,Read and be nourished by these wonderful booklets.

    Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.Author, Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma: The InnateCapacity to Transform Overwhelming Experience

    Dr. McCarty is available for private consultations forfamilies and professionals who want personal assistancein incorporating these and other ways to deepencommunication with and support babies to flourish. Someparents and babies may want help to heal unresolvedgrief, stress, and trauma. Common behavioral cues ofbabies that indicate need for help are patterns ofdifficulty associated with sleep, transitions, feeding,settling and regulating their state of being, andseparation reactions.

    To inquire about a personal consultation with Dr.McCarty, email: [email protected]

  • www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our Communication

    With Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

    Compelling Findings from Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

    By

    Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D., R.N.

    WB Publication eDocument Usage AgreementOne PDF file of document, one printed copy.

    Please do not distribute additional copies to others.Support this work by referring them to:

    www.wondrousbeginnings.com

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    2

    They dont think Im a person. I know I am.

    This experience and statement captures a core theme echoed

    throughout decades of clinical reports from the field of prenatal and

    perinatal psychology. This particular statement comes from Emily under

    hypnosis as she described her experience in the newborn nursery to Dr.

    David Chamberlain (1999, p. 80). Over thirty years of clinical and

    research findings indicate babies are much more conscious and aware and

    able to communicate more meaningfully and learn more intensely from

    the beginning of life than traditionally thought.

    In this DONA article, I would like to introduce the emerging field of

    prenatal and perinatal psychology and seven key principles and clinical

    findings that directly affect our practices supporting families and babies.

    Often when I share this material with professionals such as doulas, they

    relate that they have intuitively known or have already been working

    from some of these principles. Yet many professionals have also confessed

    to being hesitant to openly incorporate these principles into their

    interactions with babies and parents because they challenge traditionally

    held beliefs about babies and may appear too far out. My hope is to

    support you and give more examples of practices and ways of being with

    babies that incorporate these key principles.

    The Field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

    Two professionals instrumental in the founding of this field during

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    Original article published in International Doula 12(3), Summer 2004.Copyright 2004 Wendy Anne McCarty. To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    3

    the 1970s and 1980s were Thomas Verny, M.D., and David Chamberlain,

    Ph.D. In the 1970s, Dr. Verny became intensely interested in the mind of

    the unborn and newborn child and traveled to meet others researching

    this area. Dr. Chamberlain began utilizing hypnosis with his clients and

    was surprised that many of them spontaneously went to and described

    their prenatal and birth experiences while in trance. During the 1970s

    and 1980s, Drs. Verny and Chamberlain, along with other

    psychotherapists and physicians from various parts of the world, began

    sharing reports of their adult clients birth experience recalls. They were

    finding that many adult problems appeared to originate, to their own

    surprise, during their clients early experiences in the womb and during

    birth. They reported that working with the original early experience often

    resulted in dramatic relief and resolution of the clients presenting

    problems.

    Dr. Vernys book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (1981), broke

    new ground and is considered to mark the conception of what would

    later become the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology (Chamberlain,

    2000). Dr. Chamberlains book, Babies Remember Birth (1988), opened

    up new territory with his clinical research findings revealing the reliability

    of birth memories.

    By the late 1980s, prenatal and perinatal psychology had expanded

    into a multidisciplinary field dedicated to the in-depth exploration of the

    psychological dimension of human reproduction and pregnancy and the

    mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our CommunicationWith Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

    Original article published in International Doula 12(3), Summer 2004.Copyright 2004 Wendy Anne McCarty. To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    4

    (Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Healths purpose

    statement). The field focuses on both the prenatal and birth process and

    experience directly, as well as the understanding and treatment of

    children, adolescents, and adults exhibiting constrictive-to-traumatic

    patterns rooted in their prenatal and perinatal experience.

    There are two core professional organizations in the field, each

    publishing their own journal. The American organization, The Association

    of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), publishes the

    Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. The European

    organization, The International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal

    Psychology and Medicine (ISPPPM), publishes the International Journal of

    Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine.

    I was first introduced to the field in 1988 when I attended a

    conference sponsored by what is now APPPAH. Even though I had worked

    with families having babies since the early 1970s as an obstetrical nurse,

    a childbirth educator, and as a marriage and family therapist, I was

    stunned by what I learned and experienced at the conference. It changed

    my perceptions and conceptions of babies and our earliest experiences. It

    changed me. It changed my life.

    Although I had a great deal of relevant education, a BSN in Nursing,

    a masters in Child Development, and a doctorate in Counseling

    Psychology, as well as fifteen years of experience working with families, a

    very different picture of early development was being presented. What

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our CommunicationWith Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

    Original article published in International Doula 12(3), Summer 2004.Copyright 2004 Wendy Anne McCarty. To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    5

    made it so different? This group had been mapping out our earliest

    development from the babys point of view!

    Researchers and clinicians had been gathering reports of adults

    remembering, re-experiencing, and healing issues pertaining to their

    prenatal and birth experiences. Various methods were utilized such as

    hypnosis, holotropic breathwork, various regression techniques, and

    spontaneous entry into the earliest experiences. As the reports, research,

    and clinical findings were shared and cross-referenced, significant trends

    and patterns were discovered. It became evident that our experiences in

    the womb and at birth had powerful influences on our behavior, health,

    psyche, and how we function in the world. Not only did these influences

    affect us during infancy and childhood, but also throughout adulthood!

    Prenatal and perinatal psychology was giving us an inside view of how we

    experience and are affected by a multitude of factors from pre-conception,

    life in the womb, birth and bonding, and the newborn period. Greater

    understanding of potential life-long effects, a new appreciation for the

    needs of babies, ways to prevent life-constricting patterns, and new

    recommendations to support babies and families emerged as a result of

    this research.

    At that conference, I attended a presentation by Dr. William

    Emerson on his pioneering psychotherapy work with young babies to heal

    birth trauma. Not only had he had been working with prenatal and

    perinatal material with adults for two decades, he also had worked with

    children to identify signs and symptoms of prenatal and birth trauma and

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    6

    therapeutic interventions suitable for children. During this period, a friend

    whose baby was in the NICU after a very difficult birth asked him if he

    could help her baby. He didnt know if he could, but he worked with their

    baby and she improved. He was subsequently inspired to work with babies

    and developed the subspecialty of therapeutic interventions during infancy

    and early childhood to resolve prenatal and birth trauma.

    I trained with Dr. Emerson and began working with young children

    in 1990. In 1994, Ray Castellino, D.C., and I co-founded BEBA, a

    nonprofit research clinic, to work with families and young babies in

    treating early trauma and to explore the implications of this work

    (www.beba.org). I often use the phrase What Babies Are Teaching Us in

    my seminar titles and publications because they truly have taught me a

    whole new level of possibility in being with babies.

    In 1999, I joined Marti Glenn, Ph.D., and others to create and open

    Santa Barbara Graduate Institute with the first masters and doctoral

    degrees in our specialty, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. Program

    instructors include Marshall Klaus, M.D., Phyllis Klaus, MFT, Thomas

    Verny, M.D., David Chamberlain, Ph.D., William Emerson, Ph.D., Ray

    Castellino, D.C., and I, among others. Students are now beginning their

    doctorate research and will be making significant contributions to research

    in the field. In conjunction with the institute, I now provide continuing

    education seminars that are primers for professionals to reap the

    benefits from the decades of research in this vital field.

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our CommunicationWith Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

    Original article published in International Doula 12(3), Summer 2004.Copyright 2004 Wendy Anne McCarty. To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    7

    Seven Key Principles from Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

    Now that you have a brief orientation to our field and my

    background, let us turn to what I consider to be seven key principles that

    emerge from the fields research.

    1. We are sentient beingsconscious and aware from the

    beginning of life.

    2. Our ability to transmit and receive communication during the

    prenatal and perinatal period is much greater than traditionally

    thought.

    3. During our gestation, birth, and early infancy stages, we learn

    intensely and are exquisitely sensitive to our environment and

    relationships. During this period we form a foundational

    blueprint for life based on these early experiences. This

    blueprint becomes the infrastructure from which we grow and

    experience lifephysically, emotionally, mentally, relationally,

    and spiritually.

    4. Our early experiences become part of our implicit memory

    reflected in our subconscious and in our autonomic functioning.

    These affect us below the level of our conscious awareness and

    directly shape our very perceptions and conceptions of reality.

    5. Young babies already show us their established life patterns

    developed in utero and during their birth. The majority of

    babies born in the US show signs of stress or traumatic

    imprinting.

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    8

    6. Many of the needs we have considered essential for healthy

    development during infancy and childhood are needs we have

    from the beginning of life: To be wanted, welcomed, safe,

    nourished, seen, heard, included, and communicated with as

    the sentient beings we are.

    7. Communicating with babies in the womb, during birth, and the

    newborn period and directly including them so that they feel

    we are doing this together is one of the most powerful tools

    we have to help babiesespecially when there are difficulties or

    medical interventions.

    Each of these principles can be understood and appreciated at many

    levels. For instance, what does our sentient nature really mean? How does

    that change how we support babies and teach parents? After fifteen years in

    the field, I am continually deepening and expanding my understanding. In the

    remaining portion of this article, I would like to give a few examples of the

    principles and their implications and recommendations for working with

    babies.

    Principles Illustrated

    Let us return to the quote at the beginning of this article, They dont

    think Im a person. I know I am. This poignant statement by a woman

    relating her experience in the newborn nursery under hypnosis is a very

    commonly reported one in prenatal and perinatal oriented work. Her

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our CommunicationWith Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

    Original article published in International Doula 12(3), Summer 2004.Copyright 2004 Wendy Anne McCarty. To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    9

    statement and perspective illustrates that we have a sense of self as we enter

    life and that we have meaningful memory of our experiences.

    Chamberlains study, Reliability of birth memory: Observation from

    mother and child pairs in hypnosis has become a classic in our field

    (1988, 1999). Many of the narrative descriptions of these memories can

    be found in his book Babies Remember Birth (1988).

    In his study, Chamberlain hypnotized children (ages 9-23) and their

    mothers separately and asked them to describe their birth experiences.

    He then compared the coherency of the child and mothers memory of the

    birth. (Pairs chosen included only children who had not been told the

    details of their birth and who had no conscious memory of their birth.)

    He found that the independent narrative matched exactly at many points

    and dovetailed in an interlocking pattern at other points with the baby

    having its own experiences. Rarely was there a contradiction and when

    there was one, it had a different quality, one of fantasy rather than

    reported memory. Chamberlain concluded, The content of birth memories

    suggests a sophisticated level of physical, mental and emotional

    consciousness at birth, beyond anything predicted by developmental

    psychology (1999, p. 26).

    Chamberlain reported that the narratives from the children revealed

    accurate reports of: time of day, locale, individuals present, verbatim

    recollections of events outside the womb, paranormal knowledge of

    unspoken thoughts of others, knowledge of type of delivery, instruments

    used, room layouts, sequencing of events, and detailed images of outside

  • The CALL to Reawaken and Deepen Our CommunicationWith Babies: What Babies Are Teaching Us

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    10

    the womb while baby was still in the womb. Here is an example of what a

    mother and child each separately reported of a situation soon after the

    birth. Notice how literal the memory is:

    Child says, Mother is talking and playing with me. There is ahassle about the name. Mother didnt like V. or G. but daddy did.Mother says, Im tickling and playing with her, stroking her. There isa disagreement about the name for the baby. I dont like V. or G. butprefer Mary K. (1999, p. 23)

    What is worth highlighting is that the types of accurate reports

    Chamberlain found in this study have been also been reported by many

    other researcher and clinicians.

    There is evidence to suggest that not only do we have a full sense of

    self and have memory of our experiences, but that we are also very

    sensitive to events occurring at the time of our birth, as well as the

    emotional states and intentions of those who are present. This is evident in

    the following story told by the mother of six-year-old Evan:

    Evans mother asks her six year old, Do you remember your birth?He replies, Sure. She tries to hide her surprise, and asks, What doyou remember? Evan puts his hands up on the sides of his head andsays, It was really dark and smoochy. It really hurt my head. Then Icame out and they handed me to dad. Then dad came to youdidyou love me? She felt a dread. She had felt very guilty that when hewas born and brought to her, she was still in so much pain as theepisiotomy was repaired that she could not even look at her newbornand had told her husband to take him. She had never told anyoneabout this because she judged herself harshly for that moment. Shethen told her son the truth about that moment and said that laterwhen they brought him to her, she fell in love with him. She told himhow sorry she was if he felt not loved in that first moment. He said,Okay and changed the subject. (McCarty, 2004)

    In this example Evan demonstrates a sense of self and other as a newborn,

    remembers sensations, sequences of events, and was left with a question

    about his mothers feelings towards him from his newborn memory.

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    11

    Vinnies story also portrays several of the key principles. His mother,

    Rachel, related to me that when Vinnie was three years old, he would cry and

    have tantrums when she left him at preschool. She related that he was really

    upset that she wasnt going to come back, and she wasnt really sure why he

    was having such intense reactions.

    Rachel was a also a midwife and said that during this period she had a

    class in which the midwifery instructor, Karen Strange, discussed how

    conscious babies are at birth and how difficulties at birth may affect them

    later. Rachel decided to talk with Vinnie about his difficult birth and newborn

    period. She told me that she talked with him about how they were separated

    after his birth and that he had some breathing difficulty and was kept in the

    nursery under an oxygen hood for several hours. She told me that as she was

    telling him about how she was sorry they were separated and that that might

    have been scary for him, he chimed in with, Yeah, I didnt like that. I didnt

    think you were going to come back. I didnt know if you were going to come

    back.

    Rachel went on to say,

    so, we talked about that and I thought maybe it must feel likethat when he went to school and he wasnt sure I was going tocome back. He said, Yeah, I wasnt sure you were going to comeback. So in just talking about it, it seemed like he was sort ofrelieved to be able to say yeh-that is what I am feeling, eventhough he might not have been able to have the words for it. Heseemed relieved, glad that somebody acknowledged that that waskind of scary for him, or painful, or hard. He really seemed afterthat to be able to separate from me more easily and having talkedabout how I was going to come back and that I would always comeback for him was something he really needed to hear.

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    12

    Vinnies story portrays how conscious, aware, and affected he was by

    the separation with his mom after his birth. It also illustrates how some event

    during the birth and newborn period can become a traumatic imprint, part of

    the foundational blueprint that affects how later events can trigger an intense

    return to the original feelings and fears.

    In both of these examples, the mothers illustrate several principles of

    communication that supported their children.

    They appreciated and respected their childs memory and reaction to

    events during and after their birth.

    They were honest in talking about what happened and had a sense of

    empathy and compassion for their childs perspective.

    Vinnies mother saw the relationship between her sons newborn

    experience and his intense reaction at preschool and was able to help

    him understand himself and the circumstances better.

    Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., in their book

    Parenting from the Inside Out (2003), discuss the importance of having a

    coherent narrative, a coherent sense of our childhood events and

    experiences. As human beings, we have a need to understand and resolve

    intense or traumatic events in our lives. I find this is true from the

    beginning of life.

    I hope these examples support your intuitive knowing and your own

    ways of working with families. Although this article only briefly introduces

    prenatal and perinatal psychology and key principles, I have included a

    selected bibliography to help you explore these issues in more depth. My

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    publications, Being with babies: What babies are teaching us-Booklets I & II,

    are brief introductions of these concepts and practical ways of implementing

    them intended for parents and caretakers. (Look for a book version in 2005.)

    Each of my papers and my book contain more stories that bring life to the

    clinical research findings. My continuing education classes are another avenue

    to learn more from this exciting field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and

    how to incorporate these principles in working with families.

    Recommendations

    The evidence emerging out of prenatal and perinatal psychology and

    clinical practice indicate that we have a sense of self as we enter form and

    that we want and need to be communicated with and included. I highly

    encourage practitioners and parents to communicate directly with the baby

    and be responsive to the babys communication with them from the beginning

    of life. The more you as practitioners do this, the more natural is will be for

    parents to do this.

    The evidence suggests we are natural telepaths as we enter human

    form. Babies read and are affected by peoples thoughts, feelings, and

    intentions. Telepathic communication is prevalent at the beginning of life. As

    their bodies and brains grow, their communication grows to include

    movement, gestures, vocalizations, and the communication dance between

    baby and other becomes a synchrony of mind-body-spirit expressions. I find

    when we do this throughout the prenatal period, there is already a closeness

    and clarity of communication that positively affects the birth and bonding.

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    In many indigenous cultures, telepathic communication is as natural a

    way of communicating as verbal language. Unfortunately, in our modern

    Western world, as our views of early development became so grounded in

    only our biological human nature, our sentient spiritual nature and mind-to-

    mind communication was denied or discounted. Recently, I had a sad

    reminder in my private practice of this.

    A woman came to see me two months after her baby died in utero at

    37 weeks gestation. She related that she had a sense something was not

    okay yet did not trust it. One day, she thought the baby was clearly

    communicating to her that she (the baby) needed help. That evening, she felt

    the baby communicate that she was hanging on. She told me she hesitated

    in trusting that that was truly her baby communicating to her and said, How

    could I call the doctor and tell him my baby said she is in trouble? She felt

    they would have thought her loony. Sadly, during a routine ultrasound the

    next morning, the horror unfolded as they saw the baby had her cord

    wrapped around her neck three times. Within an hour, the baby was dead.

    This young mother felt tremendous pain about not listening to her daughters

    call for help. This is a very sad story, one that motivated me to write this

    article to support professionals and parents in trusting their inner knowing

    and intuition and in reawakening and deepening our communications with

    babies once again.

    As birth doulas, you are in the central position of supporting mom,

    baby, and dad. Just as you would support mom with your presence, your

    encouragement, physical comforts, and by interfacing with staff to be

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    sensitive to the needs and rhythms of the mother, supporting babies

    consciously in similar ways is tremendously helpful. Babies love to know you

    know how hard they are working, what they are going through, and that they

    are not alone. When interventions are going to be made, orienting and talking

    them through it in a manner similar to how you would interact with the

    mothers is very therapeutic for babies. Many times, things dont go

    perfectly during the birth. I find babies are like all of usgoing through

    difficulties and potentially traumatic events IN RELATIONSHIP prevents

    traumatic imprinting. Just as the research demonstrates how beneficial the

    presence and support of the doula is to moms outcome. I also see the same

    potential for the positive impact of acting as a doula for the baby by

    supporting them in the birth process. Not only can you prevent potential

    traumatic imprinting, you are helping them build a foundational blueprint for

    future life challenges, e.g., a belief such as even when things get tough, I

    am never alone. That is a precious gift.

    Many ask if babies actually understand our verbal language. I believe

    they do (McCarty, 2002a). Because most of us were taught in our Western

    world that babies were not capable of understanding us, we often talk around

    babies, about babies, even make jokes about them or talk about our troubles

    with them, as if they dont understand. We now realize they not only are

    listening, but they are forming their blueprint for life based on these

    messages. Therefore, my guide in being with babies in and outside the womb

    is that I consider them fully present and taking in what I am saying, feeling,

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    thinking, and my intending. I include them in the conversation and I assume

    they are affected by what I am saying.

    I am reminded of Emilys words, They dont know I am a person. I

    know I am. My response is thank you for reminding us of who we are.

    My intention in my life is to remember ways of being with babies so

    babies feel welcomed, seen, heard, and they know WE KNOW what sentient

    beings they are from the beginning of life.

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    Communicating with Babies From the Beginning of Life

    Three Levels of Communication Communicating TO baby Receiving and perceiving communication FROM baby Mutual communication - the dance BETWEEN

    We communicate to baby through: Mind-to-mind inner conversation Our STATE OF BEING

    o Stress or relaxed/well-beingo Our physical state health, chemically, nutritionallyo Mental thoughts, focus of attentiono Emotions and mood

    Touch, voice, gestures, movement, eye contact Verbal language and sound Choices in environment/people around us Our actions

    Babies communicate with us through: Mind-to-mind communication Through our dreams, daydreams, meditations, prayers Inspiring us with ideas, thoughts, feelings, and actions Movement, activity level and rhythm of movements Vocalizations, body language, eye focus State of being and where placing attention Facial expressions and gestures

    The Mutual Dance A mutual conversation that can be a all these levels That sense of connection and rhythm of being in tune with each other

    Babies love to be a part of the dance, bothbeing included by being communicated to andbeing received and responded to. (Similar to us adults!)

    Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.

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    References

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1988). Babies remember birth: And other extraordinaryscientific discoveries about the mind and personality of your newborn. LosAngeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1999). Reliability of birth memory: observations frommother and child pairs in hypnosis, Journal of Prenatal and PerinatalPsychology and Health, 14(1-2), 19-30.

    Chamberlain, D. (2000). Looking back: Personal reflections on the history ofour association. Part I: Conception to birth. Journal of Prenatal and PerinatalPsychology and Health, 14(3) 237-242.

    McCarty, W. A. (1996). Being with babies: What babies are teaching us, anintroduction, vol. 1. Goleta, CA: Wondrous Beginnings. (Available throughwww.wondrousbeginnings.com)

    McCarty W. A. (1997). Being with babies: What babies are teaching us,supporting babies' innate wisdom, vol. 2. Goleta, CA: Wondrous Beginnings.(Available through www.wondrousbeginnings.com)

    McCarty, W. A., (2002a). The power of beliefs: What babies are teaching us.Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 16(4). 341-360.(Available through www.wondrousbeginnings.com)

    McCarty, W. A. (2002b). Keys to healing and preventing foundational trauma:What babies are teaching us. Bridges ISSSEEM Magazine, 13(4), 8-12.(Available through www.wondrousbeginnings.com)

    McCarty, W. A. (in press). Welcoming consciousness: Supporting babieswholeness from the beginning of lifeAn integrated model of earlydevelopment. Santa Barbara, CA: WB Publishing.

    Siegel, D. J. & Hartzell, M. (2003). Parenting from the inside out: How adeeper understanding can help you raise children who thrive. New York:Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putham.

    Selected Further Readings

    Carmen, E. M. & Carmen, N. J. (1999). Cosmic cradle: Souls waiting in thewings for birth. Fairfield, IO: Sunstar Publishing, Inc.

    Castellino, R.(2000). The stress matrix: Implications for prenatal and birththerapy. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 15(1), 31-62.

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    19

    Castellino, R. (1997). The caregivers role in birth and newborn and self-attachment needs. Santa Barbara, CA: BEBA. (Available from BEBA, (805)687-2897)

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1990). Expanding the boundaries of memory. Pre- andPeri-natal Psychology, 4(3), 171-189.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1992). Babies are not what we thought: Call for a newparadigm. The International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Studies, 4(3-4),161-178.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1994). The sentient prenate: What every parent shouldknow. Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal, 9(1), 9-34.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1997). Early and very early parenting: New territories.Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 12(2), 51-59.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1998). The mind of your newborn baby. Berkeley, CA:North Atlantic Books.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1999a). Babies dont feel pain: A century of denial inmedicine. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 14(1-2), 145-168.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1999b). Prenatal body language: A new perspective onourselves. The International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology andMedicine, 12(4), 541-556.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1999c). The significance of birth memories. Journal ofPrenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 14(1-2), 65-84.

    Chamberlain, D. B. (1999d). Transpersonal adventures in prenatal andperinatal hypnotherapy. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology andHealth, 14(1-2), 85-96.

    Eichhorn, D. & Verny, T. R. (1999). The biopsychosocial transactional modelof development: The beginning of the formation of an emergent sense of selfin the newborn. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 13(3-4),223-234.

    Emerson, W. R. (1998a). Birth trauma: The psychological effects ofobstetrical interventions. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health,13(1), 11-44.

    Emerson, W. R. (1998b). The vulnerable prenate. The International Journal ofPrenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, 10(1), 5-18.

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    Emerson, W. R. (2001). Treating cesarean birth trauma during infancy and childhood.Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology, 15(3), 177-192.

    Hallett, E. (2002). Stories of the unborn soul: The mystery and delight of pre-birthcommunication. San Jose: Writers Club Press.

    Linn, S., Emerson, W., Linn D., & Linn, M. (1999). Remembering our home:Healing hurts and receiving gifts from conception to birth. Mahwah, N.J.:Paulist Press.

    Verny, T. R. (Ed.) (1987). Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology: An introduction.New York: Human Sciences Press, Inc.

    Verny, T. R. (2002). Tomorrows baby: The art and science of parenting fromconception through infancy. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Wade, J. (1998). Physically transcendent awareness: A comparison of thephenomenology of consciousness before birth and after death. Journal ofNear-Death Studies. 16(4), 249-275.

    Wirth, F. (2001). Prenatal parenting: The complete psychological and spiritualguide to loving your unborn child. New York: HarperCollins.

    Dr. McCarty is a Prenatal and Perinatal Consultant and Educator. She is theFounding Chair and Faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Programat Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Dr. McCarty is a frequent presenter atconferences and is a continuing education provider in her specialty. In herprivate practice, she works with families throughout the prenatal, birth, andearly parenting years. She also works with professionals professionally andpersonally.

    She can be reached by email: [email protected]

    To order more copies of this and other publications, please come to:www.wondrousbeginnings.com

  • Keys to Healing and Preventing Foundational Trauma

    What Babies Are Teaching Us

    By

    Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.

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  • Keys to Healing and Preventing Foundational Trauma: What Babies Are Teaching UsWendy Anne McCarty Ph.D., R.N.

    Original article published in ISSSEEM Magazine Bridges, Vol13 (4) Winter 2002.Copyright 2002 by Wendy Anne McCarty . To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    2

    This article was originally published in the International Society for the Studies of

    Subtle Energies and Energy Medicines magazine, Bridges, Winter 2003, Vol 13, 4, 8-

    12. For more information about ISSSEEM, visit their website at www.issseem.org.

    When I recently read the aTLC Proclamation and Blueprint (atlc.org) I was

    deeply moved by the passage:

    Children never outgrow the need for the nurturing of being seen, heard,

    touched, and valued. When we honor the wholeness of our childrens spirit and

    treat them with more love and respect for their unique rhythm, character and

    ability, we can compensate for many of our childrens unmet needs. When we

    nurture our children in these ways, we also heal ourselves. ATLC

    This captures so much. If I were asked to make a global statement about how

    we can prevent our babies from having traumatic patterns in their foundational

    blueprint upon which they build their bodies, sense of self, relationships and the

    world, I would borrow from this passage and say:

    We are never too young for the need for the nurturing of being seen,

    heard, touched, and valued. When we honor the wholeness of our babys spirit

    as their body is conceived and as they are nurtured in the womb and birthed;

    when we treat them with love and respect and include them as whole, sentient

    beings that are learning intensely about life and communicating with us from

    the beginning; and, when we appreciate their conception, womb life and birth

    as their unique sacred journey into human life, we can compensate when

  • Keys to Healing and Preventing Foundational Trauma: What Babies Are Teaching UsWendy Anne McCarty Ph.D., R.N.

    Original article published in ISSSEEM Magazine Bridges, Vol13 (4) Winter 2002.Copyright 2002 by Wendy Anne McCarty . To order copies: www.wondrousbeginnings.com

    3

    everything doesnt go well, when life happens. When we nurture the

    wholeness, the goodness, truth and beauty of our babys spirit and human self,

    we also heal ourselves. Wendy Anne McCarty

    I began my work with families in the 1970s as an obstetrical nurse and

    childbirth educator. I was fascinated with babies and got my masters in child

    development. In the 1970s, I learned about the latest in infant cognitive, language,

    emotional-social development and went on to get a doctorate in counseling

    psychology, and then worked with families as a psychotherapist for many years.

    In 1988, I discovered the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and

    therapeuti