My journey has been a twisted curvy one. I graduated from Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado in 1982 with a B.A. in Dance Therapy. By the end of my senior year I realized I wanted to be a psychotherapist, not a dance therapist. The next year I moved to Boulder and began a Masters program at what was then called the Colorado Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, later called Boulder College. My Masters program was an extremely experiential one centered around personal growth. It included gestalt, dream work, psychodrama, group leadership, hypnotherapy, and Jungian studies. Process, process, process! During this time, I experienced a deep personal transformation including healing the asthma I had had since childhood. I received my Masters in Psychology and Counseling in 1987 and went into private psychotherapy practice for several years. I worked primarily with adults on healing the wounds of childhood; I also led women’s spirituality groups.
During this time, I attended a conference where I heard Barbara Findeisen speak. When she said that pregnant women can talk to their unborn babies and tell them, “You are so loved, so welcomed here,” I started crying. How I wish someone had said that to me! I went home and started reading everything I could find on prenatal psychology. I began dragging pregnant women into my office. “Just lie down on my sofa, I’m going to teach you how to talk to your unborn child, and it won’t cost you anything,” I told them.
This work came naturally to me having done so much hypnotherapy and guided meditation in the past. Expectant mothers loved the experience and felt they wer
receiving real messages back from their babies. I attended the PPANA (the early name for APPPAH) conference in Atlanta in 1991, learned from the experts, then developed and taught a series of self-designed prenatal parenting classes. I presented the benefits of prenatal bonding and showed the films, “Knowing the Unborn” and “A Gift for the Unborn Children.” I encouraged parents to form a strong love-bond by talking and singing to their unborn child and lovingly rubbing pregnant bellies. I provided positive messages for them to say and took them through guided visualizations to communicate with their unborn baby. In classes, I had expectant parents make a human tunnel (like London Bridge), each one taking a turn coming down the “birth canal.” Then we would all gather round and love the “baby.”
Parents began to see the importance of their baby’s experience in the womb and at birth.
Before I had ever read David Chamberlain’s Babies Remember Birth, I designed a research project using hypnotherapeutic age regression. I regressed over a hundred adults back to their in utero and birth experiences. Midway in the work, I also began taking research subjects back to their preconception experiences. All sessions were recorded, and the stories were so beautiful and poignant I wanted to share them. I decided to put the
information into a book. Transcribing the tapes and writing the book took years. The
work often had to take a back burner to my life: family, mothering, moving, teaching pre-
school, etc. I presented some of the regression work described in the book at a talk I gave
at an APPPAH conference in San Francisco in 2003. When the book was done, I couldn't
find a publisher so it sat on the shelf for many more years collecting dust. After the self publishing industry exploded, I had it edited again and finally self published Peaceful
Pregnancy Peaceful World in 2014.
After working with so many adults to help them heal from the wounds of childhood, I desperately want to help keep those wounds from happening in the first place. I believe that if parents fully understood the importance of the pre and perinatal imprint they would naturally and lovingly bring their babies into the world. This approach to birth could help create a global shift in human consciousness. I have continued promoting the work through the years. Once when I spoke to a group of people in Fort Collins, a tall elderly man came in and sat down in the front row. He looked like an old farmer. I honestly wondered why he would have any interest in what I was teaching. After I talked about the research and benefits of prenatal parenting, I led the audience through a guided visualization back to the womb. I played a heart rhythm CD to stimulate womb memories. Then, of course, I told them how loved and wanted they were, how very welcomed they are on this earth. When I brought them back to being present in the room, I saw that the old man had a river of tears streaming down his face. He reminded me of myself when I first heard about prenatal parenting from Barbara Findeisen. Yes, we all need love as we come into the earth plane.
My personal work on my own birth has been through regression work, Grof breath work, Rebirthing, and occasional birth workshops. In one birth workshop, I remembered the experience of the doctor holding me upside down by my feet after I was born. My hammer toes relaxed during that workshop and my feet “grew” a half of a shoe size! The memory I had about my conception was identifying with the egg and feeling resistance to the incoming sperm. During my prenatal period I felt unacknowledged and seriously wondered who these people (my parents) were. My birth was pretty normal for the time - which meant brutal. I was born in a hospital to an anxious mother who herself had never been really nurtured. My father, a contractor, was pouring a cement basement that day. He was running back and forth from work to hospital and was not present at my birth. When I first poked my head out, the doctor grabbed it and yanked it to the left. The pain was excruciating. I immediately decided that the world must be a cruel place indeed and changed my mind about coming here. I decided to just not breathe, but then the doctor slapped me on the back side and I gasped. Due to oxygen deprivation, I was a very red baby. I was given a diaper but no blanket and whisked off to the nursery. Once home, I was a colicky, crying infant disturbing my two year old brother who developed asthma
and had to be taken to the emergency room. My mother became ill. She mistakenly
thought she had polio. My father had no idea what to do with a screaming newborn. In
regression work, I remembered that one time he tried to force me to stop crying by
pressing his hand down on my chest. By the doctor’s orders, I was bottle fed and never
bonded with either parent. I felt alone, unloved and abandoned. Although I’ve certainly
made progress, I wouldn’t say that I have completely healed my birth imprint. But, as
they say: where your wounds are – there your gifts are also.
After completing the APPPAH certification course work, I now know so much more that I can share with expectant parents. I especially want to empower mothers-to-be to trust their inner wisdom as they bring forth children imprinted for peaceful and happy lives. I am excited about teaching prenatal parenting again.
Marcella J. Lively