Birth and the Primal Period is the most significant time in a human being’s life. It includes all of the experiences that both the mother – and she is a mother from conception – and her baby have from conception to the baby’s 1st birthday. It also includes the weeks prior to conception, when the mother’s ovum (egg) is preparing for the outside world and receiving information as to whether it will be safe for the possible baby to grow fully or whether it needs to grow in a state of defense! That’s right. We are built for survival. The experiences of the mother-baby pair – and they are one biological system as well as 2 separate individuals – determine whether the baby’s brain is “hard-wired” for trust and love and full growth, or for defense and fear and aggression.
You are probably aware that we are a species known for aggression. However, we have the capacity to be a non-violent, healthy, happy species that naturally wants to cooperate with all of life. What makes the difference? How we are designed in the womb and in birth and the first year afterward, and how our brain is “hard-wired”. While changes can be made afterward, it’s so much better to have we humans start life in a state of trust and full growth.
The field of psychology called prenatal and perinatal psychology has developed around the issues of full brain development and what inhibits full development and thriving: too much stress for the growing organism (baby), too early (starting as the egg is getting ready to be released for possible conception), and too often results in trauma.
Trauma is anything that overwhelms an organism. Trauma, left unhealed, leaves traces and patterns in the developing baby’s brain. Trauma later in life is inevitable; but we ought to do everything possible to eliminate trauma at the start of life…or to heal it if it occurs.