Written by David Chamberlain,
A Handbook for Expectant Parents
Review by Gunnel Minett
This book should definitely be made available for all expectant parents as well as the staffs of maternity hospitals – and studied very carefully. In a very accessible way Dr Chamberlain, who is vice president of the Prenatal and Perinatal Association of North America, gives a very thorough account of the development of babies from embryo onwards. In the first part of the book, Chamberlain presents a number of facts
about the development of the embryo through to birth. Here we learn how early the baby starts learning and remembering and how the baby develops his or her own personality and how well the baby communicates with us, if only we are sensitive enough to notice.
In the second part we find out how much and how often children remember and how they are influenced by what happens during their birth. Dr Chamberlain presents both data from his own research and from other studies comparing birth memories from parents and children. (Having worked with Rebirthing for a number of years I can personally verify that it is quite possible to remember our own birth and how great the impact of birth is on most of us, although most of us have no knowledge of this connection, and how making the connection can dramatically change our lives.)
In part three of the book the author presents a number of personal accounts from people who have re-connected with their birth memories.
The fact that the data in this book is mainly based on research carried out in the 30 years is quite a revelation in itself. And reading the new findings as to how quickly the embryo develops and how extremely advanced the baby is at a very early age should sound alarm bells in maternity hospitals worldwide.
From being regarded as even lacking the ability to experience physical pain during the first period of their newborn lives, we now know that babies are very advanced with fully developed senses and the ability to understand and remember, long before they are born. With this knowledge available there should be no further excuses for the mechanical and insensitive treatment of newborn babies that still is the norm in many maternity hospitals in most countries of the world. If only we can all become aware of how important the first part of life is for all of us and how early the unborn baby reacts to what people in the environment do and say, there is no limit to the changes we could make to the world we live in.
Needless to say that I also recommend anyone working with any form of psychotherapy to read this book – it will give any number of insights into the roots of many of our major personal problems.
North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 1998 ISBN 1-55643-263-X