Have you ever wondered why you keep doing the same behaviors over and over even though you tell yourself you won't? Sometimes these behaviors are 'programmed' into our bodies and minds very, very early. As a result of the trauma resolution work I have been doing since 2005, I have become aware that the trauma my mother suffered impacted me, traumatized me, even before I was born.
My body for years always wanted to run away: from conflict, discomfort, unpleasantness of any kind. Many times I did find ways to 'run' and sometimes I just stayed present although I felt fuzzy and confused, frozen into a parasympathetic response. It was only when I began deep healing work using clinical hypnotherapy that I realized this 'consciously'. At that time I begin to heal the responses of my body and my mind: from running/freezing to staying present, feeling grounded and authentically aware and awake.
As a pre-nate my only survival tools were to curl my body away from the stress and chaos happening outside the womb, to 'run' to safety by being frozen and confused. Based on these body sensations and 'knowing', I decided I did not feel safe nor could I trust the vessel I was being carried in. Turning and running, freezing and knowing I was not safe, and that I could not trust the world I was being born into, were the survival tools I adopted in order to survive in the womb.
It might sound strange to think or imagine that a prenate can have the experiences I have recounted. And yet, countless numbers of people have experienced the same thing, even preconception memories found in the subconscious and the memories stored in the body. (See resources below)
However, the survival tools that I used to literally 'survive' a toxic womb experience - running, freezing, not believing the world was safe, that I was safe or that I could trust people, were debilitating over time. Broken relationships with beloved partners, constantly having one foot in and one foot out, ambivalence about life.
I have not had a bad life and yet, I wonder how my life would have been different had I known I was acting totally unconsciously, 'run' by old programs/tools that had kept me alive as a vulnerable prenate. When I was able to begin healing the wounds and trauma still held in my body, and create new conclusions about safety and trust, I began to change. To stand grounded instead of running; to listen with self-compassion so I do not miss the safety, care and love always on offer. I have had to learn to open my heart and be vulnerable.
The really good news is that although I began this deep journey into my healing in my mid-50's, it did not take 50+ years to experience huge changes, to experience life differently!
I encourage you to consider: how would your life be different if you were able to find new tools, more kind, soft and self-compassionate tools. Tools that are authentically your tools for today, not tools created in the past.
The Vulnerable Prenate by William Emerson
The article can be found at the Birth Psychology website:
Alin C. Cotiga, Intrauterine Trauma: An Experiential Group Therapy Approach, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30, (442), (2011).
Chantal E. H. Dirix, Jan G. Nijhuis, Henk W. Jongsma and Gerard Hornstra, Aspects of Fetal Learning and Memory, Child Development, 80, 4, (1251), (2009).