Over the years, I became a doula, parent-infant massage educator, and one of the directors of the Calm Birth program. As I compiled my own experience within the realm of life’s beginnings, I began to more deeply understand how prenatal factors influence human psychology. I didn’t know how to begin exploring this new interest of mine.
Fortunately, that same time, Sandra Bardsley, a good friend of Robert’s, entered my life. Before I knew it, I was her assistant, accompanying her to the APPPAH International Congress in 2013 where she was to be inducted as the president of the organization. The six-hour drive with her flew by as I listened to her stories, wisdom, and projections for the future. At last, I understood APPPAH's mission: to educate, research, and elevate the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology. I wanted to be as involved as possible!
The conference was a defining weekend of my life: I felt I had found my people. At dinner the first night, we went around the table and shared our birth experiences, and how they had affected us. Being able to connect with people on this level was an entirely new experience for me. I wanted to understand more of what these more senior members of APPPAH were talking about, and I started the PPNE course when I returned home.
So stimulated was I by the education I was receiving by the course, I quickly ended up re-enrolling in college with the intention of carrying forth my passion into graduate school. I am now at the onset of my senior year at Southern Oregon University, looking primarily into graduate programs in developmental psychology, with infant studies labs in which studies include the process of emotional development.
Not only has the PPNE course enlivened my passion for learning, but it has introduced me to a worldwide family. When I’ve needed advice on grad school programs, I’ve called people who have received their PhDs in areas I wish to study. When I performed a survey for a self-directed internship this summer, I reached out through APPPAH. And when I posted a paper I had written on Facebook, an APPPAH member read it and suggested I submit it for publication. My paper, “Prenatal Maternal Stress: Neurological and Physiological Impacts on Offspring” will appear in September’s issue of JOPPPAH.
After a year and a half in the PPNE program, I am a published, PhD-bound individual with a worldwide community at my back and a brighter future than I’d ever projected. This program has opened completely unexpected doors for me. I could not be more thankful. This field is fascinating, and essential for the evolution of humankind. Carrying it forth is an honor and a privilege.