Live presentation by Anna Verwaal, RN, CLE
More than three decades of research in the field of pre and perinatal psychology and health shows that the most critical formative period, and the difference in ‘thriving or surviving’ throughout our life goes back even earlier than birth. Findings point to the time shortly before conception to after birth as the most sensitive and critical period in establishing patterns in all areas of our life; physical, mental, emotional, and relational.
Realizing on a personal level how these circumstances have affected us can help us to change our belief-system and greatly improve the quality of our life.
Understanding how the journey from womb to world shaped our life not only helps being able to free ourselves from the inherited patterns and beliefs we acquired while ‘marinating’ inside amniotic fluid, filled with the flavors of our mothers’ emotional life and state of mind. It will also inspire anyone who is thinking of becoming a parent and would like to know more about how to prevent their future baby from being born with an inheritance of their emotional pain, fears and unresolved issues.
Conception, the time we spend in the womb, and how we are born is truly meant to be the gift of a lifetime…for every child! Since we know now that it is so much easier to ‘build’ a healthy child than to ‘repair’ a broken adult, shouldn’t we do what we can to give babies an optimum start in life?
Anna Verwaal, RN, CLE, is a Maternal-Child Health Nurse, Birth Consultant, Midwifery &
Doula Instructor, Primal Period Educator and UCLA Certified Lactation Educator.
The Beginning of Life, a groundbreaking feature documentary that explores the impact of a child’s early environment on their cognitive, social and emotional development, was released worldwide on 1 June 2016. The film, supported by UNICEF, features supermodel Gisele Bündchen and Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner James Heckman. The Beginning of Life webpage.
The 90-minute feature documentary was created in response to advancements in neuroscience that uncover the crucial role that the early years of children’s lives play in determining their futures successes. Filmed across Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, Kenya and the United States, The Beginning of Life documents the early lives of children and their families; and features interviews with specialists from the early childhood development arena.
“Effective early childhood development takes place when children feel nurtured, cared for, protected and loved. When children receive all of these key elements in their formative years of life, they have the best possible chance of developing fully.”
UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development, Pia Britto
Music star Shakira urged world and business leaders at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum on Monday to support efforts to feed, educate and care for underprivileged children.
“Today’s babies will drive tomorrow’s business. Their capacity to contribute will shape tomorrow’s societies, will solve tomorrow’s problems,” the Colombian recording star, who is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador devoted to early childhood development, said in an impassioned speech.
IN UTERO is a cinematic rumination on what could emerge as the most provocative subject of the 21st Century – life in the womb and its lasting impact on human development, human behaviour, and the state of the world. IN UTERO brings together for the first time convincing data that explains why some of us face challenges from the start while others thrive. In Utero website.
Foetal origins experts, research scientists, psychologists, doctors and midwives – as well as examples from popular culture and mythology – collectively demonstrate how our experiences in utero shape our future. Prepare to be surprised, intrigued, but no longer baffled by what the future holds for yourself, your loved ones, and the human race.
Clip from the award-winning feature documentary, IN UTERO,
distributed by Filmbuff and now available on digital platforms.
Through enlightening and oftentimes poignant interviews with experts and pioneers, IN UTERO paints a complex tapestry of the human experience from conception to birth. Tapping into cultural myths, popular movies, and technological trends, the film demonstrates how our experiences in utero preoccupy us throughout our lives.
Life experiences leave a mark on our genes
Experts in the fast-growing field of epigenetics explain that we are not only our genes but a product of our environment as well, a proven fact that changes our perception of stress and exposures to the environment during pregnancy. The film looks at how these environmental effects are passed down through the generations through our genes, making it scientifically plausible that a traumatic event that affected your grandma could leave a mark on your genes.
The link between the state of the world and prenatal life
Now, experts in all fields have begun to see the link between the state of the world and prenatal life. Open up the news any day and you’ll see a new article about the prenatal period. In just the last few years, enormous strides have been made in understanding the biological, psychological and sociological impact of our time in the womb.
Scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Research discovered that disorders such as autism and schizophrenia begin before birth. In Michigan, researchers have developed MRI technology that is able to capture incredible images of a developing foetus’s brain, allowing them to study how areas of the brain begin to link up and coordinate activity. Meanwhile, other scientists and psychologists are finding that prolonged stress such as poverty, and traumatic events impact a developing fetus on a genetic level.
Setting children up for better lives in the generations to come
Others have found that depressed or stressed mothers have higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which negatively affects the fetus by constricting blood flow to the placenta. The list goes on. All of this research urges us to think about who we are and how the foundations of who we’ve become all began long before we were even born, and ultimately, how we can set our children up for better lives in the generations to come.
It’s clear that IN UTERO is an extremely timely and important film. Through interviews with midwives and prenatal psychologists, IN UTERO brings into focus a new field devoted to prenatal life.