Module 3 Epigenetics Art Submission and Essay
By Christianna Deichmann
My son and I made this piece of art together while I told him the story of when I first acknowledged his being on the night of September 14, 2016. I had felt his presence building in the weeks prior to his conception. On the evening of his conception, I felt a moment of pure rapture, ecstatic energy rising up from the depth of my loins. I will never be able to convey in words the genuine state of grace and joy I experienced. I simply felt entirely “connected” to true love. Shortly after these moments, I stepped outside onto my deck under a canopy of stars, and I saw a waxing moon, a glowing orb of golden and yellow hues, just starting to rise over the tree line in our back paddock. I told my son, I felt his spirit stream down towards me, transcending from the invisible realm. As I told him the story of how I welcomed him into this world with joy and love, he scribbled away around the barn and carefully placed his diamond stickers in an order which I could only imagine mirrored his descending path towards my physical body, until he finally converged with egg and sperm, resting as a zygote in dynamic stillness.
My son and I’s journey together through conception, pregnancy and birth provides an anecdotal account to support the latest research in epigenetics and pre and perinatal psychology proving babies are aware, sentient, expressive and connected with their mothers and affected by their interactions with people as summarized by Chamberlain (1999). During my first trimester, I was under a great deal of marital and job-related stress. My husband did not want to confront another pregnancy or the financial burdens children bring. As outlined by Dr. John Upledger in A Brain is Born, crucial stages of development take place within the embryo between 4-7 weeks that entail the folding of the neural tube, induction of the spinal cord, construction of the four-chambered heart, and development of the neural crest that lays the foundation of the palate shape and the fascia structures (p. 51-68). My son was born with a number of midline defects that I instinctively know were associated with the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional stress I was experiencing during those first eight weeks of his development, coupled with the fact that I have the MTHFR gene mutation that inhibits my body from processing folic acid and converting it to folate at an efficient level (Eske, 2019). I would go as far to say that this gene “mutation” is most likely a “silenced” gene brought on by a troubled childhood and trans-generational trauma from which my parents and grandparents suffered. The medical staff in the labor and delivery unit documented upon his birth a sacral dimple (a harmless early phenotype of spina bifida), a heart murmur, a posterior tongue-tie, and hypospadias. Odent’s article on “Womb Ecology” (2006) documents:
The increasing rates of male genital tract disorders are also related to intrauterine pollutions, giving way to increased incidents of cryptorchidism, hypospadias, cancers of the testicles, and reduced average sperm counts. The most plausible interpretation is that many synthetic chemicals accumulated over the years in adipose tissues are hormonal disrupters (more precisely “estrogen mimickers”); they interfere with the development of the testis at the very beginning of intrauterine life.
My first trimester presented challenges, but I did everything I could to connect with my child throughout my entire term. Once my husband made the conscious decision to accept the news and welcome our child into the family, I sensed a dramatic shift. When I rested in the evening after a long day of work and I writhed about on the couch, uncomfortable in any position with itchy legs, my child would roll around, kicking and squirming. My husband could put his hand on my belly and both my son and me would settle. After this shift, my son would in turn gently poke back at his father’s hand. Those moments of connection were truly wonderful, and a sense of peace would fill the room and love between my husband and I amplified. The space would widen. Chamberlain outlines in “The Fetal Senses” how reactive listening has been recorded to take place as soon as 16 weeks of gestation, and the entire repertoire of fetal motions are online by 14 weeks (p. 1-2). I definitely experienced my children listening to me in the womb with both pregnancies.
I wish my dream of vaginal birth and connection to my child in those few precious moments following birth were a reality for me, but they were not. My obstetrician was very much a part of the 19th century view of babies. He insisted I have a C-section because a VBAC was too risky. He disregarded the importance of handling a baby gently, or the crucial moments after birth when a child should go to breast. I do not hold him to blame, though, rather the systems in place and how universities educate our doctors and nurses. My son was only shown to me for a brief second before he was rushed off to the NICU, where he was poked and prodded, inserted with tubes and isolated to an incubator crib where he lay under bright lights with only a diaper. With the shock and trauma of the C-section his muscular physiology was twisted, torqued and wrought with trigger points. He couldn’t latch at the breast or effectively breast feed without wearing himself out and causing severe pain for me. He slept long hours and seemed to disassociate easily from the world. My family surrounded him with love, though, and knowing what I knew from my daughter’s C-section and how her behaviors of anxiety and food allergies progressed, I was determined to not let his story unfold in the same way.
Bruce Lipton described how “maternal behaviors and emotions profoundly impact the child’s physical development, behavioral characteristics and even its level of intelligence” (1998). I knew from my own pain journey that healing takes place in the present time and the science around neuroplasticity supports the fact that the body can recover from trauma and our physiology can change. We can grow our brain and stimulate our children’s brains with set intentions. Science is now showing that DNA can be altered and “corrected” in the presence of love, because love simulates an environment that activates specific biochemical pathways in our bodies that promote growth versus protection mechanisms. The old school of thought around genetic determinism has been usurped by living biodynamic systems that are capable of reprogramming gene behaviors (Lipton, 1998). So, I sought out craniosacral therapy for my son shortly after his birth and I worked diligently to get him to breast. I slept with him. I refused to believe in the cry it out method. I was present for his every need. When he was sick, I treated him with botanicals and natural remedies. I would shower with him in the middle of the night to get steam in his lungs when he suffered from horrible colds. He slept swaddled and on his stomach, he loved it. I massaged him multiple times a day, used acupressure points, sang to him, told him stories about his birth in his sleep.
I truly believe Lipton’s comments on the role of “nurture,” and how it plays an essential role in shaping the characteristics of living organisms (1998). Love is our most powerful tool to changing this world and bringing light into darkness. Babies are leading us to the dawn of a new age, a time for a new paradigm, for a world that sees babies for what they are: super sentient, intelligent beings that are consciously connected to the primary source of life. If we could only become more like children, present and conscious of this creative force permeating all quantum fields and dimensions, this world and all the problems humanity faces would shift. My artwork created shows my son’s consciousness streaming into the tangible kingdom in which we inhabit, but yet we are surrounded by invisible worlds. The key to this invisible world is heart to heart connection. Let it start with our babies who are the bridges between the worlds.
Chamberlain, D. (1999). Babies are not what we thought: Call for a new paradigm. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health 14(½) 127-144.
Chamberlain, D. The fetal senses. From http://www.birthpsychology.com.
Eske, J. (2019, August 29). “What is an MTHFR mutation?.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326181.php.
Lipton, B. (1998). Nature, nurture and the power of love. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health 13 (1), 3-11.
Odent, M. (2006). Womb ecology: New reasons and new ways to prepare the prenatal environment. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health 20(3), 281-289.