This is an essay submitted for the Pre and Perinatal Educator certification course at the Association of Pre and Perinatal Health. We are calling for a paradigm shift in human consciousness…join the mission in redefining our lives and the world our children will inherit.
Module 1: PPNE Foundations
Poem Collections and Essay by Christianna Deichmann
As the world evolves and the human race approaches new heights of scientific discovery and technology, our minds are opening to the realm of possibilities existing outside of our present states of consciousness. I want to be a part of this renaissance in order to truly know myself and in turn heal myself from trans-generational baggage that has shaped my life. I was attracted to APPPAH and the PPNE program because it teaches people how human beings develop, why they adapt specific behavior/attachment patterns and ultimately how disease is linked to patterns established in the earliest stages of development. The body of knowledge collected by APPPAH provides resources for people to become more conscious of how they regulate themselves and ultimately how they can heal from past trauma. My present goal is to nurture resilience in myself, rewire my mind, and become connected to the inner-workings of my body. In turn, I can link these truths so that I may become a well-regulated body-mind-spirit trinity. With this goal set in motion, I will take this knowledge and teach it to my children, other families, and be a part of the paradigm shift to make this world a more peaceful, healthier, loving planet.
Today, scientific studies span the frontiers of quantum physics to epigenetics, and usher forth the truth of how interconnected every form of life and even inorganic matter is from here to the far distances of the galaxy. Kate White and Jean Rhodes outlined in their article, “Summary of Trends and Influences in Pre and Perinatal Psychology,” how therapies over the past hundred years have progressed from behavioral and psychological study to somatic therapy, and ultimately integrated neuroscience, epigenetics and somatic experiencing (White and Rhodes, 2014). All of these paradigms link how our brains and bodies are wired to communicate. The field of neuroscience reveals how neural pathways manifest into our thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, attachments and diseases. APPPAH has taken on the monumental task of assembling a multitude of scientific disciplines into a field explaining how babies experience the world and how these experiences determine who they become as adults. APPPAH speaks for those who do not have a voice, and acts as the bridge over which adults can cross from the realm of disconnected turmoil to the side of connection, love, joy, coherence and spirituality (Morningstar, Voices of the Children).
My experiences as a mother and past trauma led me on a journey of self-discovery and healing, and eventually to APPPAH and the PPNE course. The principles this organization wishes to voice to the world, I have witnessed first hand. I constructed three poems after completion of Module One in hopes to document the embodied experiences I felt birthing my own children and to attest to the truths of the core principles laid out by APPPAH and the literature included in Module 1 of the PPNE course.
The first poem, Conception, echoes APPPAH’s mission statement described by Sandy Morningstar in Voices of the Children. I experienced both of my children’s moments of conception—two unforgettable experiences that imprinted themselves on my mind and body. Both of my children communicated with me on many levels, subconscious and conscious. APPPAH proclaims that babies are sentient beings and it is our responsibility as humans to make a collective effort to understand how they are communicating with us in order to provide healthier people for the world (Morningstar, Voices of the Children). I felt connection with both of my children when I carried them. I also remember both moments of conception and how joyous and replete I felt.
You emerged as a thought—a thin vapor—
An essence from the Land of Nought,
One moment a shimmer, the next forgot.
As time passed, thoughts coalesced;
Implanting roots, like a seed.
Followed by shoots bursting forth,
Shining light into deep conscious;
Dissolving the veil between inner and out.
During my slumbers at night,
You weaved your story in patches,
Bits and pieces taking flight;
Forging a majestic tapestry of truth and delight.
Fleeting smiles of love and rapture,
Connected and conscious.
Gone in an instant at first morning light.
The moment of conception, swift and sure,
Came on the eve of a full moon, September 14th.
A wave of ecstasy, powerful and pure,
Converged into a crescendo, perfect and secure.
Your spirit called me and I looked up.
I felt your celestial orb drift down on the soft moonlight.
To pen these words now, tears swell up,
For that moment imprinted such awe to feel
Love, joy and life collide and unfold henceforth.
No words can express that moment on that night.
At long last, you swelled inside my heart.
A being, alive, and manifest,
Buried deep in my womb,
full of love, light and everything best.
The second poem I scribed, Numb, recounts the birth of my second child, who was a C-section baby. He turned out to be transverse in the womb and stuck in one side of my uterus. The doctor discovered I had a bicornuate uterus, or heart-shaped uterus. He was unable to pull my son out without using additional surgical means. He performed a T-incision and ended up administering drugs to stop my uterus from contracting. Ultimately, he ripped my son out by his left arm. The pediatrician thought my son’s arm was broken, and had to resuscitate him immediately following delivery. His APGAR score was a 2. Shortly after resuscitation, the pediatrician found that he had a sacral dimple and hypospadias. The entire experience was incredibly traumatic for both my son and me. He was unable to breastfeed for two months, but he also had many midline defects that I believe happened at key times in development when I was extremely stressed. My son’s conception was not welcomed news by my husband, and we fought intensely between weeks 3-7 of my first trimester, when the spinal cord is being enclosed, as well as crucial formation of the pharyngeal arches that give rise to key organs and palate structures (Upledger, 1996). My son was born with a sacral dimple, meaning he had a chance of being born with spinal bifida; however, he was lucky that the tissue was sealed enough to encapsulate the spinal cord. Weinstein (2016) documents how maternal perceptions impact the prenatal environment, in addition to the role of epigenetics and how the prenatal environment impacts how genes are expressed (Weinstein, Chapter 3 and Chapter 8). I cannot help to wonder how my past experiences as a child, the experiences of my mother’s childhood, and my stress levels during pregnancy contributed to the birth defects in my son. Even the shape of my own uterus is a congenital abnormality. My grandmother struggled to give birth to her third child. She was separated at birth from him and hospitalized for two months while her newborn babe was sent to another family’s home to be care for and her other young children (including my mom who was 4) were sent off to another state to live with cousins.
When considering my mother’s traumatic experiences in childhood, I do not find it coincidence that I have an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score of 4, and I struggled immensely as a child trying to adapt to my mother’s temperament and behaviors as an adult. I often try to pick her memory of the Primary Period she experienced with me. She hardly remembers her pregnancies. Ann Weinstein (2016) lays out the twelve guiding principles of prenatal and perinatal psychology in Chapter 2. I know my core blueprint, continuum of development, and innate needs were all compromised. During my lifetime, I have struggled to communicate with my mother or even bond with her. Our relationship is tarnished with anger, resentment, guilt, shame, frustration, criticism, and deep sadness. The primal period with my mother was followed by her divorce from my father. Underlying patterns were already entrenched in my brain development. I now recognize through Leading Edge training with Kate White, and studying attachment behaviors, I exhibit an attachment style of anxious and disorganized (Thompson, 2012). Despite all of the compromises, I truly believe in principle 10, Resolving and Healing, and principle 4, Capacities and Capabilities. By seeking professional support and pursuing my own line of study to discover who I am, what underlying patterns govern my behaviors and lurk in my subconscious, I am resolving past traumas and even breaking the curse of past traumas that afflicted my ancestors. As Ann Weinstein (2016) quoted from Natural Family Living—Right from the Start (2008), I know by resolving and healing my own unresolved issues from my child’s pregnancy and birth, my children will benefit at any age.
Poem 2: Numb
Lights overhead, sterile and cold,
My body lay prostrate, vulnerable and numb.
My husband to my left, the doc on the right,
The anesthesiologist hovered just behind me,
Blocking the outside light.
Fear welled up inside me,
I clutched my husband’s hand,
Squeezing out all life.
I braced myself, for choice and
All control was long gone from sight.
I could feel my upper body sway and rock,
Somewhere below, I could sense tugs and pulls,
Nothing felt right.
My husband kept whispering,
You’re going to be alright.
But my throat was dry and tight,
Nothing felt right.
I felt cold and dumb, no control, no choice—
Just pushed out thought with all my might.
An eternity passed,
As if time had slowed and space opened up.
Nothing was right.
I gripped my husband’s hand in a death vice.
I began to rock back and forth, pushed and tugged.
I lay limp and numb.
Suddenly, my heart throbbed,
Pounding my chest and rising up,
Into my throat, thick and tight, as if it was
Pushing back, giving its own fight.
The doc said to administer some drug,
I didn’t know what.
The anesthesiologist questioned his call,
Was this just? I don’t know,
I was numb and dumb, cold and scared,
Fighting for my life.
Seconds later, from what I could tell,
My heart pounded harder and harder,
Until I had no breath.
I opened my mouth, I heard my own voice,
“I can’t breathe!” Pause.
I had no effect.
I heard it again, with more urgent force,
“I can’t breathe!”
It didn’t matter, I got no response,
As I lay prostrate, rocking back and forth.
Panic and calm, dueling in my blood.
I heard in the distance,
Commands and orders barked,
Nurses rushing, calling out, everything harsh.
Somehow I knew my boy, Tom,
He was out. But I heard nothing.
No cry, no yell, no scream.
Again I felt silence so harsh.
Only a moment ago, time felt slow and expanded.
No longer, everything sped up, like a blur.
I couldn’t grasp onto any thoughts.
There I lay, splayed out, helpless and numb.
No baby, no baby, where had he gone?
My husband. He was there.
I looked to my left, he had been there all along,
Reassuring and so strong. I knew him and loved him,
But somehow he was so far, like I peered towards him
Through a long tunnel I had to cross,
An endless vortex, spiraling inward pulled me back,
Deep, deep, and dark, so very very wrong.
Nothing was right. Dead. Dumb. Numb.
I lay prostrate, no voice, no choice.
Nothing was right.
I looked him dead in the eye.
I pushed forth out from the cold,
I felt his hand, his grip, firm and strong.
Then I said, “Where is he Fred?
Where’s my boy Tom?” I knew before,
In that vortex, in those seconds,
I felt my son, his heart stopped.
I had plunged deep in something,
Endless and void.
I came to again, in that moment,
I felt a surge of life, bursting forth.
I pushed with sheer will and might.
This day I would birth
A light so bright into this world.
I knew of his strength.
I felt it every night, when I lay quiet,
Wondering who he might be,
One day in this life.
Before I knew it, Tom was there.
My husband said, “Here’s your son.”
I looked and our eyes locked.
I saw him. He saw me.
Magic. It was, pure and raw,
A connection that assured me,
Everything would be alright.
Only seconds we had, and he was gone.
Swept down the hall, his heart calling me.
Full of fear, full of tears, terror and strife.
They told my husband he should go,
Follow our son. He was off to the NICU,
As I lay numb and in shock.
I couldn’t sort the questions,
Jumbled and caught—suspended in ether
Somewhere in the artificial, sterile light.
I heard nurses telling me I would be alright.
Their voices, distant chimes,
Down that damn tunnel of darkness and fight.
Frustration surged, ramming against fear,
Somewhere the anger hid, scorched in my skin,
Permanent and hot.
What the hell just happened?
I knew not.
I lay dumb and numb,
Splayed prostrate and caught.
After surviving the birth of my son, I learned by the second day that he could not breastfeed due to a tongue-tie. All the same patterns I saw with my daughter were playing out in my son, only his were magnified. I refused to face the chronic ear infections, the tooth decay, the sleepless endless nights, the fierce anxiety my daughter fought constantly, the violent outbursts lasting for over an hour and cyclically occurring throughout the day, the constant stomach aches and abdominal pains. She suffers from brain imbalances and poor muscle tonality that I instinctively feel are linked with trans-generational trauma, my own stress, and the stress she experiences from the toxicity of our chemically manufactured foods. I knew I had to seek help beyond myself and question everything I had been taught. Like I said in my poem, Numb, I knew these patterns were not right. Kate White and Myrna Martin (2012) shared in “Pre and Perinatal Experiences for Health and Healing,” how parents can gain better understanding of their physical, emotional and spiritual inheritance by understanding environmental and health patterns in their ancestral lineage. I was convinced that my childhood and my relational patterns with my mother, and intimate partners were indicative of the lack of connection I felt in my youth, and the trauma I had experienced in my own home.
So, I began my journey to healing and became trained in craniosacral therapy and Kabbalah with the Modern Mystery School. I sought many avenues of professional help, ranging from somatic therapy, craniosacral therapy, and sauna detox. I researched attachment patterns and joined Kate White’s Leading Edge classes to understand how to control my actions when activated. I began to become conscious of my behavioral patterns. As I became aware of how I felt, what factors and situations triggered me, my behaviors began to shift, and my family has been recovering day by day. We are building towards health, happiness, connection and love. Healing is possible at any point in the present time, regardless of what difficulties have taken place (White and Martin, 2012). The universe is calling for me to heal. Every moment it presents the opportunities for healing to occur. So, I will sum up my paper with this last poem to dedicate this journey I am on with the PPNE program.
“Listen to me. Hear my call.
Hope is upon you, an elixir to cure all.
Breathe deep. Feel me—Your Heart—
Grow big and strong.”
I close my eyes, I feel your beat.
Da-dum, da-dum rising with heat
Swelling inside, your field so complete.
Your resource is constant, yet discrete,
Hiding beneath, beat after beat.
“Hear my voice.
Listen now. Feel my force.
I know what you need.
Healing will come, all in due course.
Just trust. Live and love.
Draw from my source.
Your heart, your true resource.”
Morningstar, Sandy. The Voices of the Children. APPPAH Mission Statement.
Thompson, R. (2012). Consciously Parenting: What It Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families. (5), 68.
Upledger, J. (1996). A Brain Is Born: Exploring the Birth and Development of the Central Nervous System, 33-75. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Weinstein, A. (2016). Prenatal Development and Parents’ Lived Experiences: How
Events Shape Our Psychophsyiology and Relationships. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company.
White, K., Martin, M. (2012, Winter). “Pre- and Perinatal Experiences for Health and Healing.” Pathways to Family Wellness, 36.