The Association of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) is a wonderful educational organisation which originated in the mind of Thomas R.Verny, who wrote this groundbreaking book in 1981 (the year I was born in!) titled “The Secret life of the unborn child”. APPAH is a public-benefit educational and scientific organization offering information, inspiration, and support to medical professionals, expecting parents, and all persons interested in expanding horizons of birth psychology.
Our wombs are not fortresses
Our wombs are not fortresses. The prenate in the womb is still vulnerable to various sources of physical, chemical, mental and emotional pollution. The antibacterial soaps, household cleaners, pollutants in the air you smell, and the parents’ sense of mental and emotional wellbeing and their reactions to the growing prenate all play a part in her overall wellbeing. With the majority of births being facilitated in hospitals and being subjected to more medical tests and procedures, it is easy to get an overall picture of how much stress a baby and their parents are being subjected to even during the pregnancy stage.
Can you see that we are so in need of restoring gentleness to ourselves even when we are in our mothers’ wombs? We are already seeing a new movement of restoring a sense of safety and gentleness to pregnancy and birth with a rise in out-of-hospital births (out-of-hospital births rose from less than 1% to 1.5% of U.S. births, home births rose from 57 in 2006 to 107 in 2013 in Singapore) as many more mothers choose to give birth naturally and gently with the help of doulas.
Take a few moments to feel what you feel from reading all of the above.
Do you agree that collectively we are experiencing a deficit on gentleness? Do you want to restore gentleness back to yourself and to your world?
If your answers are a firm YES, I invite you to try out the following short exercises on gentleness:
The World as a Global Womb
Imagine that our world is a global womb, where all of us are simultaneously ‘unborn children” and parents receiving and offering gentle nurturing.
- Allow yourself to be gentler on yourself. You can take yourself back in time to the time you were conceived and growing in your mother’s womb, and just notice what sort of stresses are present? Allow those stresses to be gently released as you feel your feelings lightly.
- If you are a parent, bring yourself back to the times when each of your children was growing in yours / your wife’s womb. How did you react to each confirmed pregnancy, and how did you communicate / not communicate with your unborn child(ren)? How were the birth experiences like? Did you take your time to slowly integrate those life-changing birth experiences or did you let life pass you by as you got tied up in looking after your newborn / work / life? Schedule some quiet time to tune into those memories and feel the feelings you still feel from these memories. The emotional release will help you form a much stronger bond with your child(ren) and spouse.
- Allow yourself to acknowledge the consciousness that is growing inside pregnant mothers you see in public and in your circle of friends and family.
- Allow yourself to be gentler on the parents and their unborn children. Can you extend more acts of kindness to them in their daily lives? Even just a simple silent prayer of wishing them well will send ripples of kindness and gentleness into the collective world that is like a global womb.
I hope this inspires you to help restore gentleness to our global womb. Do post a comment if you have more suggestions / feedback / experiences to share!