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Friday, July 11, 2008

Remembering Birth Experiences

Otto Rank, a German psychiatrist and a follower of Freud, believed that the trauma of birth impacts our personalities for life in profound ways, which he described in his book The Trauma of Birth. Arthur Janov, a California psychologist and author of The Primal Scream, took Rank one step further, contending that his patients could regress back to birth and remember their birth experience, in the process relieving many of their neurotic symptoms. But Janov isn't the first to talk about remembering birth. About 0.5 percent of the population claim they have some memory of birth. For these individuals, every day is a birthday (because they can remember), and so they consider birthday invitations and parties rather superfluous. I myself can remember the experience of birth. Please comment and tell me whether you can remember any of your own birth experiences or whether you find this idea believable or unbelievable. (I realize that many people find it hard to believe that anyone could remember so far back.)


Anonymous said...

Marilyn: Would you share some of your birth memories with us?

Marilyn Christian said...

I can remember waiting and the pressure of the experience. Also I remember the first time I saw light. It is somewhat difficult to describe these experiences because the memory of them was laid down at a time when language was not available.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marilyn:
I also have been returning to traumatic birth memories for many years now, so agree that it is possible to return to those memories beginnings. One area devoted to this area on my website is:
The best,

Mother of two, my husband and my daughter said...

I remember just after my birth, under the lights. Vividly. but as all of you know who remember anything it's surreal, as there is no words and no experience from which to understand with. It's a memory of sights and of feeling, that is describable, but in the moment there were no words to think with. I remember the people around me, but I only know then as being people NOW. In my memory I was aware of movement. they kept puting the mask on me but I kept taking it off. But to me it wasn't like that. I couldn't see anything but this foggy bright light, and sort of had the incling of shadows moving around me, but I didn't understand the idea of shadow or what it meant. That's only the words I use know that I can identify. Yet I was aware that it was that sense that was the thing that kept making my light disappear.(put my mask on). The memory is much bigger but i don't have time or space to post anything that size. I have many memories from being a baby. The hardest thing to describe is the absence of pre-exisitng though and ideas, the absence of labels in my head for those memories. In the memories I do THINK for myself. but it isn't thinking like we do now. there was nothing pre-conceived to go on. That didn't mean I didn't understand what was happening. It just means words can't begin to describe what HAD no words. I knew that there was someting there out of my feild of vision. and I sensed that it was capable, if that makes any sense. I knew that it would take away my light when I sensed it get close. but I didn't know what a feild of vision was. I didn't know what light was, and I didn't even know what "taking away was". yet even without being able to know all that I understood it on some level. I didn't have a concept of ME or THEM, but that doesn't mean that I didn't know I felt calmer when the brightness was there, and that it was NOT something in MY control but rather in the control of something beyond me. (which of course was them). so hard to explain....