Pregnancy, childbirth and the mental health of your baby

Now it may seem a little odd that a grizzled 58 year old bloke is writing about pregnancy and childbirth.

As a Timeline© Therapist, I have met many clients who have issues with negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, anxiety and so on. As part of the Timeline process, we look into the origins of those emotions, the root cause or first event which installed those emotions in the client.

Now of course there are times when being angry or sad or fearful etc.. is perfectly fine. If we lose a loved one we are bound to feel sad, if we are confronted by a burglar our anger may save us. But a lot of the time these kinds of emotions dominate our lives when they are not needed. Which is why people end up coming to see therapists such as myself.

The Timeline process is a conscious process, but I rely on the answers coming from the unconscious mind. In other words ‘Say the first thing that comes into your head.’ Why? Because the unconscious mind remembers EVERYTHING even if your conscious mind doesn’t.

So when I ask the question of my clients when they first felt that negative emotion, they quite often surprise themselves by saying that they picked up the emotion either in the womb or during childbirth.

But on reflection, this is not a surprise. A baby in the womb will pick up on the mother’s emotions. The baby has a powerful physical and emotional link with the mother, so this is surely not surprising. One of my clients traced the origins of his Fear back to this time. His mother was 17 when she was pregnant and having constant fights with the father during her pregnancy. So it is no surprise that he learned Fear before he was born.

And to pick up a negative emotion DURING childbirth is not surprising. A baby goes from a warm, comfy symbiotic world, and is violently shoved into the cold light of day, needing to breathe, needing to feed, already needing to exist. Childbirth can be relatively pain free and wonderful for many, and absolutely awful for some.

The Lessons for me from all of this is that during pregnancy and childbirth, the mental state of the mother is vital, because it will affect the mental state of the child all through that child’s life. If you can, find a local hypno-birthing specialist, because they will look after your mental health through the whole process. Or do yoga, meditation, breathing and relaxation techniques. It’s not just what you eat and drink that will affect your child, it is how you think that will affect the child too.