One Well-Hidden Secret of Good Parenting
Article by David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.
David is a California licensed psychologist and author of The Mind of Your Newborn Baby (Berkeley: CA: North Atlantic Books) currently traveling the world in 14 translations. To contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
In an American culture that is in so many ways haphazard about reproduction and parenthood, parents who see these as a sacred journey or spiritual internship, have to go out of their way to read special magazines, find qualified coaches, or locate unusual books that throw a very different light on routine parenting practices that often end in parental disappointment and failure. In this brief article, I propose a single secret that can lead to an inspiring and life-long outcome of close bonding and spiritual fulfillment in parenting.
This single secret fights for attention in a materialistic world that treats “babies” as pre-human or subhuman creatures not yet equipped with brains enough to care about their interactions with any of us, including their parents! Sigmund Freud made things worse for parents in his generation by teaching that babies don’t have the capacity for real memories until they are at least two years old. This discredited and prejudiced view taunts us today in an innocent-sounding “brain-matter” theory that declares it is brain matter that defines when we become persons. This idea effectively disqualifies babies from being considered human beings any time between conception and birth, plus an indefinite number of days or months awaiting brain development after the big event.
In practical terms, this view has a suffocating effect on active communication during the earliest days of parenting including the period before and surrounding conception, the all-important period of life in the womb (the whole of pregnancy), the explosive event of birth from the womb, and the quickly-evolving drama of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin comfort that follows. Indeed, we have discovered in prenatal psychology that for babies and parents alike, mental and physical wellbeing seems to be founded on the earliest possible initiation of warm and loving communications! Likewise, it has become clear from decades of clinical work with bonding failures that it is the absence of communication before, during, or following birth that underlies parent-infant illness, alienation, and despair!
Hospital routines that separated newborns from their parents immediately after birth, the increasing use of anesthesia in labor, and the upsurge of surgical deliveries added blindly to the broad collapse of natural bonding in the American way of birth. Ironically, parents added their own blindness and passivity to the institutional rituals of birth so that what should have been the easiest miracle to accomplish (bonding) was lost in the national cascade of bonding failures.
Do not conclude that these regrettable historical facts support the theory that babies are brain-deficient and therefore unable to know and interact with us in pregnancy. The current evidence suggests quite the opposite–a prenate with at least a dozen senses, keen awareness of pain and danger, actively reaching out to communicate, and finding it difficult to cope with unloving events like neglect and silence. How can we understand this mixup?
I have just completed a new book, Windows to the Womb: Revealing the Conscious Baby from Conception to Birth (Berkeley,CA: North Atlantic Books, 2012) in which I assemble the evidence that we are best defined by our “consciousness” rather than by our brain matter. I have shown that while brain matter comes and goes, consciousness reflects an innate and permanent endowment of intelligent awareness that has a meaning similar to the word “soul.” Thus, consciousness (not brain matter) is our core identity rising above particular ages or stages of physical, emotional, and mental development.
In my book, I show that learning is taking place in the womb at all different times– having no relationship to the amount of brain available at that age. This includes the period of conception itself before there is any brain that can explain the intelligent thought and behavior that exists at this time. Examples in my book reveal how the soul involved in a forthcoming conception can cause an awakening, bring important news, and otherwise invoke the attention of the prospective mother or father. Additional crucial evidence for consciousness is available during an extended period before conception where, again, there is no brain to explain the consciousness exhibited in weeks and months of cooperative effort leading to an agreement permitting the conception itself.
It is these multiple demonstrations of consciousness that allow me to return to the “secret” of parenting promised in my opening paragraph. In shifting from brain matter to consciousness, real communication is always possible between parents and their past and future children. In fact, it is possible for either party to initiate the conversation. Obviously, formal language is not necessary because the endowment of consciousness allows for meta languages such as telepathy, use of psychic skills like clairvoyance, and for transcendent states such as out-of-body projections that are entirely feasible.
At this advanced level of direct and sensitive communication, honest dialog permits working through any past problems and misunderstandings that need clarification. The dialog of one soul to another is profound and deeply personal–and therefore deeply satisfying. It is not hit or miss; it is a direct hit, a direct connection. This rare quality of communication is what we all yearn for and quickly surmounts the routine confusion and frustration that typically plague our parenting efforts. Perhaps, best of all, there is no need for waiting and wondering about the mysteries of “bonding.” In fact, this open door to direct dialog at any time makes possible a new approach to bonding that I write about as “No-Wait Bonding”! This is the “secret” tool available to all parents–if they only realize it!