Book Review – A Child Is Born

[A Child Is Born, Lennart Nilsson and Lars Hamberger, September 2003, published by Bantam Dell, translated by Linda Schenk, ISBN: 978-0-385-33754-0]

 

I first stumbled across this gem in a library and later ordered a copy for myself. I value its scientific data, timelines, and pictures of various gestational developmental stages [and even hormones, seen below with the quote from page 85]. CAUTION-The first parts of A Child Is Born especially show TMI, in my opinion, yet the rest is well-worth (again in my opinion) overlooking those earlier images. Here are just a few of the many quotes I value from this book.

Page 86 “…the primitive brain begins to form…and the spinal cord starts to form. On approximately the fifteenth day in the life of the embryo, the first primitive nerve cells…are formed.” [The picture above reminds me of what was left of my son by the time I finally attempted to snap a photo of his degraded body.]

Page 97 “…the brain and the spinal cord will emit signals to all the muscles in the body. . .and information will be returned to the brain via the spinal cord. . .. This signaling system begins to operate fully when the embryo is six or seven weeks old. . .. Thus an entire nerve structure serving our senses is constructed very early in life indeed.”

Page 62 “The nuclei [from the male now inside the egg and from the female] are drawn inexorably toward each other, and when they meet, they fuse. At that moment a unique genetic code, a human embryo, is created.”

Page 65 “The new individual is a product of its parents, with some genetic material from the mother and some from the father. . .. Many people define this as the moment life begins.”

Page 85 “As early as about ten days after fertilization, the level of progesterone…in the blood rises dramatically. Many women feel this change distinctly. A woman’s breasts become tender, even more so than prior to menstruation, and some morning nausea is not unusual. Inside the womb the embryo has just been implanted in the uterine lining, entering into an intimate alliance with the mother…” [The picture above reminds me of what he allowed me to see through his eyes. Also, read Fetomaternal Cell Transference and Life Affirming Microchimerism.]

 
Continue reading...

Page 86 “On approximately the fifteenth day in the life of the embryo, the first primitive nerve cells, which in time will govern bodily functions and provide the spark of consciousness, are formed. Some consider this to be the point when life begins, since from these nerve cells the brain and consciousness will eventually be built. Without nerve cells there would be neither expression nor impression, and thus the emergence and death of the brain can be seen as the beginning and the end of life.”

Page 86 “At the beginning of week 5 of pregnancy, the embryo is just a few millimeters…long, and its curved body is soft and transparent. Along the length of its body runs a nerve tube, and the brain has just begun to form at the head end…”

Page 93 “The heart begins to develop when the embryo is still but a cluster of cells, and as early as its twenty-second day the newly formed heart muscle cells contract, and the heart beats for the very first time….At this stage the heart already has two chambers (ventricles) and is so large that it almost seems to be outside the rest of the body….The heartbeat of the embryo is very rapid, nearly twice that of the mother, and can easily be heard even with very simple listening devices. Heart rate is one of the most reliable ways of knowing how the fetus is faring.”

Page 96 “[At 28 days,] we see the whole vertebral column, running down from the neck to where the legs will be.” [The embryo measures 6 mm at this point.]

Page 97 “The vertebrae must not fuse—if they did, the backbone could not bend. Elastic tissue and muscles will hold the vertebrae together and gradually steady the backbone.”

Page 97 “Now we see the eyes, nose and mouth—a developing face…” [at 30 days, the embryo measures 7 mm].

Page 100 “When the embryo is about six weeks old, its appearance begins to change…it now begins to look like a miniature human being…” [at 39 days, the embryo measures 12 mm].

Page 101 [Caption header reads “Jumping for joy.”] “Even this early in pregnancy, the embryo is extremely lively, in constant motion, sleeping for only brief periods…” (Read Personhood Stories and Isaac’s Personhood Story.)

Page 101 “The embryo has…begun to move: the first “visible” motion is the rapid, steady beating of the heart, but soon small bodily movements show that nerve impulses coming from the brain are instructing muscles to contract. These begin as global motions, affecting the whole body, but gradually specific little movements take place…. This constant motion is important, stimulating normal growth and development of the muscles and joints.”

Page 103 “[As] early as seven to eight weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period, [5-6 weeks conception] the placenta produces all the necessary hormones; the ovaries are no longer needed for that purpose. Hormone production by the placenta is essential for the normal continuation of pregnancy and for the fetus to develop ‘according to plan.’”

Page 108 “When the tenth week of pregnancy begins (fifty-six days after fertilization), the embryonic stage is over. The heart has been beating for a month, and the muscles of the torso, arms, and legs have begun to exercise. All the organs are in place, although they are still small and immature and far from coordinated in their functions. The embryo, now referred to as the fetus, has passed its first test with flying colors and will go on developing until it is ready to be born.”

Page 109 “The placenta, which has spread across specific sections of the uterine lining, has taken over production of all the hormones needed to keep the fetus comfortable and developing properly. The progesterone-producing function of the ovaries is now concluded.”

 

Article Review – We Treat Babies Before They’re Born, so Why Aren’t They Protected Persons?

We treat babies before they’re born, so why aren’t they protected persons?, William Lile, January 24, 2019, as viewed at https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/ob-gyn-doctor-we-treat-babies-before-theyre-born-so-why-arent-they-protecte

This article gave me a doctor’s perspective on gestational surgeries and procedures. I was surprised at the variety of procedures that can be done on fetuses and at how young these patients are when they are receiving treatment. I hope these quotes will inspire you to read the full article.

“Using ultrasound guidance, a long, thin needle is guided through the abdominal wall of the mother, through the wall of the womb, and directly into the vein of the umbilical cord.. . . We have performed this procedure as early as 19 weeks gestation at our hospital.”

“Fetal surgery in the womb is now becoming common in centers in Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston and Cleveland. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) performs over 150 fetal procedures each year. Heart surgeries on babies in the womb are being performed as early as 21 weeks gestation. Heart valve surgery and atrial septal interventions are being performed on fetal hearts the size of a large grape. Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is now performing laparoscopic corrective spina bifida surgery before 23 weeks gestation.”

“This is a key concept: the baby in the womb is a patient.”
 
Continue reading...

“. . . If we are performing heart surgery, spine surgery and giving blood transfusions to the pre-born while still in the womb, they are patients. And if they are patients, they have a ‘moral right to bodily integrity.’ Abortion deprives a patient of their ‘moral right to bodily integrity.’” [Read Involuntary Organ and Tissue Donors.]

“The babies in the womb are clearly patients. If they are patients, they are persons, and if they are persons, they deserve our protection.” Read The Importance of Validation and Book Review_Miscarriage Women Sharing From The Heart.]

“I like to say that ‘a patient is a person, no matter how small.’”

“In the Roe vs Wade majority opinion written by Justice Harry Blackmun, he stated that if ‘personhood is established, the case for a constitutional right to abortion collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the (Fourteenth) Amendment.’ The Pre-Born are clearly patients, and if they are patients they are persons, and if they are persons, we have a moral and Constitutional duty to protect them.”

 

Article Review – Answering the Pain Deniers

[http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/answering-the-pain-deniers/]

Answering the Pain Deniers is an online article which includes several endnotes of research documenting the answers provided to debunk three claims made by those who do not want to recognize a fetus’ ability to feel pain any earlier than they can elude. The responses are good summaries of the research, yet I found reading the quotes from the research to be better than the summaries. Here are some of my favorite quotes [with additional notes from me in brackets] from the article (but without their additional references included in that article), which I recommend you read for yourself, even though I still hold the experiential truth that babies can feel the pain of their deaths at less than eight weeks after being conceived. [Read Isaac’s Personhood Story and My Baby is in Heaven.]

Response to Claim 1 “. . .there is substantial medical evidence that in the brain it is the thalamus, rather than the cerebral cortex, that is principally responsible for pain perception. . .”

Response to Claim 2 “. . .fetal surgeons have found it necessary to sedate the unborn child with anesthesia to prevent the unborn child from thrashing about in reaction to invasive surgery. . .” [Read Article Review_The First Ache.]

Response to Claim 3 “. . .the claim of such consensus [that the unborn child does not experience pain until the third trimester] is based on publications by abortion practitioners and advocates, not independent and objective scientific sources, while it ignores substantial medical evidence to the contrary. . .. these sources were produced by strong abortion advocates – indeed, by abortion practictioners.”

Endnote 2 “’Movement of the fetus in response to external stimuli occurs as early as 8 weeks gestation [6 weeks post-conception] . . .’” [Read Book Review_A Child Is Born.]

Endnote 2 “’The earliest reactions to painful stimuli motor reflexes can be detected at 7.5 weeks of gestation [5.5 weeks post-conception] (Table 2).’”
 
Continue reading...

 

Endnote 3 “’Invasive fetal procedures clearly elicit a stress response…’”

Endnote 3 “’Fetal stress in response to painful stimuli is shown by increased cortisol and β-endorphin concentrations, and vigorous movements and breathing efforts.. . . There is no correlation between maternal and fetal norepinephrine levels, suggesting a lack of placental transfer of norepinephrine…’”

Endnote 4 “’Although we do not know exactly when the fetus can experience pain, noxious stimulation during fetal life causes a stress response, which could have both short- and long-term adverse effects on the developing central nervous system.’”

Endnote 4 “’This nociceptive stimulation of the fetus also has the potential for longer-term effects, so there is a need for fetal analgesic treatment.’”

Endnote 4 “’It is becoming increasingly clear that experiences of pain will be ‘remembered’ by the developing nervous system, perhaps for the entire life of the individual.. . . These findings should focus the attention of clinicians on the long-term impact of early painful experiences, and highlight the urgent need for developing therapeutic strategies for the management of neonatal and fetal pain.’”

Endnote 5 “’. . .the stress response to noxious stimulation is clear evidence that the fetal nervous system is reactive. Administration of fetal anesthesia has been the standard practice since the inception of fetal surgery more than 25 years ago, and it is practiced worldwide. The importance of fetal immobility, cardiovascular homeostasis, analgesia, and perhaps, amnesia have always been emphasized in fetal surgery practice.’”

Endnote 5 “’ The anaesthesiologist is required to provide both maternal and fetal anaesthesia and analgesia while ensuring both maternal and fetal haemodynamic stability…Since substantial evidence exists demonstrating the ability of the second trimester fetus to mount a neuroendrocrine response to noxious stimuli…fetal pain management must be considered in every case.’. . . ‘A substantial amount of. . .research demonstrated that the fetus is able to mount a substantial neuroendocrine response to noxious stimuli as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. Fetal neuroanatomical development further substantiates this research. Evidence also exists that suggests that these responses to noxious stimuli may, in fact, alter the response to subsequent noxious stimuli long after the initial insult. This is the rationale behind providing fetal anaesthesia and analgesia whenever surgical intervention is thought to potentially provide a noxious insult to the fetus.’”

Endnote 5 “’Despite ongoing debate regarding fetal capacity for pain perception, fetal anesthesia and analgesia are warranted for fetal surgical procedures.’”

Endnote 6 “’The evidence and functional arguments reviewed in this article are not easily reconciled with an exclusive identification of the cerebral cortex as the medium of conscious function… The tacit consensus concerning the cerebral cortex as the “organ of consciousness” would thus have been reached prematurely, and may in fact be seriously in error.’”

Endnote 7 “’Indeed, there is evidence that hydranencephanic children responds to painful and pleasurable stimuli in a coordinated manner similar to other children.11’”

Endnote 7 “’ My impression from this first-hand exposure to children with hydranencephaly confirms. . . .[T]hese children are not only awake and often alert, but show responsiveness to their surroundings in the form of emotions or orienting reactions to environmental events… They express pleasure by smiling and laughter, and aversion by “fussing,” arching of the back and crying (in many gradations), their faces being animated by these emotional states.’”

Endnote 8 “’ Penfield and Jasper note that cortical removal even as radical as hemispherectomy does not deprive a patient of consciousness, but rather of certain forms of information, discrimination capacities, or abilities, but not of consciousness itself… What impressed Penfield and Jasper was the extent to which the cerebral cortex could be subjected to acute insult without producing so much as an interruption in the continuity of consciousness. Their opinion in this regard bears some weight, in that their magnum opus of 1954 – Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain – summarizes and evaluates experience with 750 such operations.’”

Endnote 8 “It seems that consciousness can persist even when great quantities of the cortex are absent.’”

Endnote 9 “’Newborn infants show strong pain behaviour, but the study of the development of nociceptive pathways shows that their pain involves functional signaling pathways that are not found in the mature nervous system in healthy individuals.’”

Endnote 9 “’Clinical and animal research shows that the fetus or neonate is not a “little adult,” that the structures used for pain processing in early development are unique and different from those of adults, and that many of these fetal structures and mechanisms are not maintained beyond specific periods of early development. The immature pain system thus uses the neural elements available during each stage of development to carry out its signaling role.’”

Endnote 9 ‘”[P]ain perception during fetal and neonatal development does not necessarily involve the same structures involved in pain processing as those in adults, meaning that the lack of development of certain connections is not sufficient to support the argument that fetuses can not feel pain until late gestation.. . . Some say even that the structures used for pain processing in the fetus are completely different from those used by adults and that many of these structures are not maintained beyond specific periods of early development.. . .’”

 

Article Review – Womb Twin Survivors

 

  

 

 
 

Womb Twin Survivors https://www.wombtwin.com/stories/4578414101

I read this article after seeing the website referenced on the blurb for Untwinned: Perspectives on the Death of a Twin Before Birth by Althea Hayton. When I read the stories from the survivors, I knew I had to share this, as it testifies to our prenatal experiences. [Read Life Affirming Microchimerism and Fetomaternal Cell Transference.]

Though my experiences are from a different angle—and I do not directly relate to theirs—my heart reaches out to them, and I hope that they may find healing (and additional validation from our book and other material from Miscarriage Moms For Life). If some of my favorite quotes below piques your interest, I encourage you to read the full stories of the womb twin survivors, and, if this affects you, consider using our services to help memorialize your lost sibling.

“…I don’t really remember HOW I found out about my womb twin, but I know it was a young age. … I really have always felt like I was missing something. … My twin is a part of me …. I have a twin, a sister, her name would have been Allison….”

“I always…knew I was a twin. …I told people I had an unborn brother. …He was real. …my mom said he was “lost” after 9 weeks of pregnancy …. I keep dreaming about him….”

Click to continue reading more affirming stories...

“…I always felt I should have had a twin brother. …when I was born, the midwife said that there had been two babies conceived but that only one had survived. … deep down I feel a loss which I have never been able to fulfil. … I know this feeling of loss is the absence of my twin. …”

“My twin Bruce died at birth and I was always searching for something as a small child. …I probably was looking for him.…I’ve always missed him, especially on our birthday. Losing a twin is like losing a part of me…”

“…I was a twin, but the twin had died a week before I was born. …My mom also told me that when I was a kid I always use to beg for a twin and or a brother (my twin was a brother and I was 2 seconds older.) …”

“My favorite childhood fantasy was finding out I had a twin. …My mother thought she had miscarried me at around 12 weeks when she experienced cramping and bleeding. …I feel the loss of her every day. How that is possible when I was only a tiny embryo at the time I don’t know. I just know the feeling of loss and endless curiosity is real.”

“My brother was stillborn at 2 lbs and I was 2.5 lbs, born at the same time 2 months premature.…I would like to name my brother and to find out what I have missed. …Thanks for giving me this opportunity to find out I am not weird.”

“I had an identical twin sister in the womb, but…she died approximately 3 months before we were due to be born. … throughout my childhood I had an imaginary friend whom I pretended was my “twin sister…. she has no name, though my mother once told me I could give her a name if I wanted. …”

“I found out my twin was stillborn. …I always felt my twin was a girl …. I felt my mother had given me two names hyphenated because my twin was a girl…”

“When I was younger, I always wanted a brother and it was something I would beg my parents for….my mum told me I was a twin but he died before being born. …Sometimes when I was younger I used to dream that there was a boy with a cloud like thing around him and he would comfort me. … He would have been called Niall or Connor….”

“I…have always felt incomplete. …I…asked my mother about the time around my birth. She confessed she been forced to abort and realised she was pregnant soon after. I asked her…if there was any chance I may have been a twin. She turned pale and asked me, “Why do you say that?” She had thought this too, but had given up on the notion. I wonder if in fact I had a womb twin that was killed and I survived somehow….”

“My identical twin sister was stillborn. I have always known I am a twin….”

And, from another page [Families] on their site:“The science of pre-birth psychology is now well-established and we can be sure that our time in the womb does much to shape our personality in born life. Womb twin survivors are a particularly interesting case in point.”

Our Seminar and our book, When Unborn Babies Speak, may bring you some additional comfort.

 

Article Review – The First Ache

The First Ache by Annie Murphy Paul on 2/10/2008, Discussed here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/magazine/10Fetal-t.html

This article was shared with me on Facebook by a poster who had researched more into the topic of fetal pain. It is one thing to experience something for oneself and declare it to be true in spite of the naysayers. It is another thing to begin to realize that there are others out there who are beginning to discover these truths scientifically. The First Ache is not totally one-sided, but it is (somewhat) reassuring to begin receiving scientific validation for what we experience. In the hopes of encouraging you to read the article for yourself, here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Merker included his observations of these children in an article, published last year in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, proposing that the brain stem is capable of supporting a preliminary kind of awareness on its own. ‘The tacit consensus concerning the cerebral cortex as the “organ of consciousness,”’ Merker wrote, may ‘have been reached prematurely, and may in fact be seriously in error.’”

“The possibility of consciousness without a cortex may also influence our opinion of what a fetus can feel. Like the subplate zone, the brain stem is active in the fetus far earlier than the cerebral cortex is, and if it can support consciousness, it can support the experience of pain. … Anand praises Merker’s work as a “missing link” that could complete the case for fetal pain.” [Read Book Review_A Child Is Born.]

Preterm infants in NICU returning from operations “came back in terrible shape: their skin was gray, their breathing shallow, their pulses weak. Anand spent hours stabilizing their vital signs, increasing their oxygen supply and administering insulin to balance their blood sugar. . .. ‘That’s when I discovered that the babies were not getting anesthesia,’ he recalled recently. Infants undergoing major surgery were receiving only a paralytic to keep them still. . .. Doctors were convinced that newborns’ nervous systems were too immature to sense pain, and that the dangers of anesthesia exceeded any potential benefits.”

Continue reading...

“In a series of clinical trials, he demonstrated that operations performed under minimal or no anesthesia produced a “massive stress response” in newborn babies, releasing a flood of fight-or-flight hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Potent anesthesia, he found, could significantly reduce this reaction. Babies who were put under during an operation had lower stress-hormone levels, more stable breathing and blood-sugar readings and fewer postoperative complications. Anesthesia even made them more likely to survive. Anand showed that when pain relief was provided during and after heart operations on newborns, the mortality rate dropped from around 25 percent to less than 10 percent. These were extraordinary results, and they helped change the way medicine is practiced. Today, adequate pain relief for even the youngest infants is the standard of care. . .”

“Recent research. . .. It shows that pain may leave a lasting, even lifelong, imprint on the developing nervous system. . .. Infants, and perhaps fetuses, may do something different with pain: some research suggests they take it into their bodies, making it part of their fast-branching neural networks, part of their flesh and blood.”

“In a study of 87 baby boys, Taddio found that those who had been circumcised soon after birth reacted more strongly and cried for longer than uncircumcised boys when they received a vaccination shot four to six months later. Among the circumcised boys, those who had received an analgesic cream at the time of the surgery cried less while getting the immunization than those circumcised without pain relief.”

“Early encounters with pain may alter the threshold at which pain is felt later on, making a child hypersensitive to pain — or, alternatively, dangerously indifferent to it. Lasting effects might also include emotional and behavioral problems like anxiety and depression, even learning disabilities (though these findings are far more tentative).”

“But research. . .showed that fetuses as young as 18 weeks react to an invasive procedure with a spike in stress hormones and a shunting of blood flow toward the brain — a strategy, also seen in infants and adults, to protect a vital organ from threat. . .. He selected 45 fetuses that required a potentially painful blood transfusion, giving one-third of them an injection of the potent painkiller fentanyl. As with Anand’s experiments, the results were striking: in fetuses that received the analgesic, the production of stress hormones was halved, and the pattern of blood flow remained normal.” [Read Article Review_We Treat Babies Before They’re Born.]

“When the surgeon lowered his scalpel to the 25-week-old fetus, Paschall saw the tiny figure recoil in what looked to him like pain. . .. ‘I don’t care how primitive the reaction is, it’s still a human reaction,’ Paschall says. ‘And I don’t believe it’s right. I don’t want them to feel pain.’” [Read Article Review_Answering the Pain Deniers.]

“The fetus’s undeveloped state, in other words, may not preclude it from feeling pain. In fact, its immature physiology may well make it more sensitive to pain, not less: the body’s mechanisms for inhibiting pain and making it more bearable do not become active until after birth.” [Read My Baby is in Heaven.]

“The capacity to feel pain has often been put forth as proof of a common humanity. Think of Shylock’s monologue in ‘The Merchant of Venice’: Are not Jews ‘hurt with the same weapons’ as Christians, he demands. ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’ Likewise, a presumed insensitivity to pain has been used to exclude some from humanity’s privileges and protections.”

It is also interesting to note that a reader’s comment to this article shared a personhood experience the mother, W. S., had with her child: “As a mother, I was disappointed to read that “the starts and kicks felt by a pregnant woman” are mere reflexes, according to David Mellor. Doesn’t he realize that babies in the womb sometimes play with their mothers? Mother pokes baby, baby kicks back. Mother pokes twice, baby kicks twice….” [Read more Personhood Stories.]

 
 

Book Review – Miscarriage Women Sharing From The Heart

[Miscarriage, Women Sharing From The Heart, Marie Allen, PhD and Shelly Marks, MS, 1993 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.]

Miscarriage Women Sharing From The Heart

While some parts of this book may be difficult to read, I feel it is a worthwhile purchase. Here are some quotes I found validating, and I encourage you to read them in context.

Page 13, “A woman. . .exists in a deep and intimate state of symbiosis with the baby in her womb. They are fused. Her baby is, quite literally, a part of her mentally, physically, and emotionally. This point is crucial toward understanding a woman who… [loses a child during pregnancy].”

Page 62, “’I was so aware of his presence, his soul. He was so there. When he died, it went away. I have searched and longed for that again. I miss him. It’s difficult to describe. . .. It’s a hopeless longing.’”

Page 67, “’One day I was pregnant; the next day I was not. I felt strange, sad, empty, and lonely. Nobody had forewarned me about the lonely, empty feeling. I had been pregnant. I had this life inside of me. I knew I had a baby. But the next day—there was no baby. My child had died. I knew I lost a whole child. . .. Well I didn’t care what stage she was in. I lost a whole entire child! It was as big a loss as if she had been born. But nobody acknowledged that. There was no validity to my pain.’” [Read The Importance of Validation.]

Page 70, “’ The baby was a gift from God that was just snatched away from me. It was knowing that I lost my baby. I had related to that child immediately. I was bonded with it.’”

Page 47, “’It is the death of a child. You have a more intimate closeness with a baby than you do with any other being. This was my child, and it died. I tell people now, “I lost my only child.” It is the death of hopes and dreams and of a collective future. It’s the same thing as losing a living child fully grown and developed. A lot of people look at miscarriage and say there was no personality there, no physical child that cooed and talked back and smiled and cried. But for you these things are very real.’” [Read Personhood Stories.]

Page 53, “’I had this life inside of me. It was the closest person in the world to me. It was a really warm feeling. Then all of a sudden, it was taken from me. I felt so empty and lonely. Nothing could take its place. . .. I deeply felt that baby’s absence. My body was all by itself again. I felt a great yearning. There was this great hole in my life. I was empty and gaping.’” [Read My Baby is in Heaven.]

Page 56, “’There is this person you knew, but no one else knew. To others, it didn’t exist. To you, it was very real.’”

 
Continue reading...

Page 57, “’I felt I had lost my child, and people couldn’t understand that because my child was not tangible [to them] . . .’”

Pages 115-116, “’…we found out that we had a new baby brother or sister on the way…. the new baby that Terese and Jordan had always wanted. We all loved our baby deeply and immediately. I had a dream which indicated the sex of our child. I knew he was a boy….’” [She miscarried at 10 weeks, and the following week, her son’s teacher told her that he started acting out at school.] “’That night I put him on my lap. I said, “Rose told me you’re having a very hard time at school.” He very genuinely shrugged his shoulders. I said gently, “I wonder if you’re feeling sad about our baby,” and he opened his mouth wide, and he wailed for an hour and a half. The first words he could utter were, “I didn’t even get a chance to change his diapers!”

Pages 81-82, “’I talked to my baby all the time. I told the baby often that I loved him. . .and that we would do our best to be good parents. I felt like I had a really good relationship with my baby. . .. On an emotional, intuitive level I think he was a boy. After the miscarriage we named him Michael. It seemed the right thing to do…. I have “felt” him, his shape, his touch, his feel.’”

Page 145, “’I knew it was a real baby! That baby had a name! That baby was a girl! . . .We had talked to her, and we called her by name. She was Rebecca.’”

Pages 193-194, “’. . .I awakened from a powerful dream which told me of the presence of a new baby son. In the dream, he looked fat, healthy, and about three months old, and he was naked and lying on his back with his feet in the air. I had had the same kind of dream (of a baby girl) when I was first pregnant. . .eight-and-a-half years before. These two dreams felt very different from my regular dreams, in that these felt utterly real….
‘When I am pregnant, I have an acute sense of a tiny, powerful presence in me. I feel deeply blessed. I feel like my baby and I are in a private little fort together, and no one knows we’re there but the two of us….
‘Because I was on birth control, this seemed to be a miraculous conception. God simply vetoed the birth control. Nobody could argue with “The Ultimate Authority” about whether or not this baby was supposed to be here. It was fate. And I was elated!…
‘I felt joy and great love in my heart at the thought of this little boy of mine…’”

Pages 73-74, “When women were asked to complete the sentence, ‘Having a miscarriage is like…,’ their responses were dramatic…. [responses below] ‘…losing a part of your soul, having it taken away from you and never being able to get it back….’
‘…having a very important promise broken without explanation, like a betrayal. It’s not the way we were told it would be….’
‘…having your body torn in two. It’s a pain you don’t think you’ll live through.’
‘…there is nothing else to compare it to. It’s losing a child….’
‘…losing a part of yourself. It’s losing something alive and made out of love that was growing inside of you.’
‘…nothing I’ve ever known before. It’s a very lonely feeling. It’s like giving death. When you give life, everyone is there to cheer you on. But when you give death, you do it alone.’”

Page 71, “The greatest difficulty described by many women was the lack of empathy from those around them and the loneliness that resulted from it:
‘I didn’t get any sympathy. I had no one to say, “I’m really sorry.” I didn’t matter to anyone. People didn’t care—not even my family. It was no big deal to them. It was nothing. It was like it was null and void, and life continued to go on. There was not enough pause. I started building that wall around me.’
‘I was not supported. It was all dealt with so matter-of-factly, like a surgery, not like I had really lost babies. It was treated more like an appendectomy. The most difficult aspect of it all was the loneliness. The real, real loneliness.’”

Page 87, “Because of the great discrepancy between what we experience when we miscarry and what society understands about what we experience, our social systems do not provide the compassion and support we need in order to work through our grief.”

Pages 88-89, “’He thinks I should be over it. He says, “Please don’t cry. Don’t fall apart.” I feel like an emotional basket case.’
‘Sometimes I cry during the night. One night he said, “Are you still rehashing this? Stop thinking about it and just go to sleep.”’
‘It was nice to learn that we could support each other. But then he decided I should get over it.’”

Page 110, “’After the second loss, my husband and I had a terrible, terrible exchange…. [He] said, “It’s just as well you lost the baby because you never would have loved it as much as you loved the first.” That statement did something terrible to my feelings. Something else died besides unborn children. It was the most devastating thing anybody ever said to me. He couldn’t get the idea that these babies weren’t interchangeable. I have a very strong sense of that. They were separate. They were different. Each was a soul. Something in me just got completely crushed.’”

Page 47, “The loss of a child is the loss of a child, regardless of the cause.”

Page 121, “’…You have to hide your feelings about pregnant women and their babies. It’s hard. Not that you don’t want them to have beautiful children; you just feel so empty.’”

Page 117, “People who invited the women to talk or who simply listened without judgment, belittlement of the loss, or pointing to ‘the brighter side’ were helpful. When others acknowledged the women’s…losses and responded with compassion and acceptance, relationships felt healing and were remembered with deep appreciation… ‘One woman put her arms around me and said, “This is really hard for you. You’ve lost a child. When you want to talk, I’m here.” It helped when other people acknowledged that a child was lost, said they were sorry, could stand it if I cried, or listened…. People who were supportive then have always remained special to me.’”

 

 

Book Review – A Grief Observed

[A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis, 1961 by C.S. Lewis Pte Limited, published by HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 978-0-06-065238-8]

 

 

 

 

 

Though (mostly) not dealing specifically with child or pregnancy loss, there were some quotes that, after hearing them on audio, drove me to read the book, A Grief Observed, for myself. I encourage you to consider the same. Humor and pardon me as I personalized some of the quotes [with changes made in brackets].

Page 47, “It’s not true that I’m always thinking of [him]. Work and conversation make that impossible. But the times when I’m not are perhaps my worst. For then, though I have forgotten the reason, there is spread over everything a vague sense of wrongness, of something amiss…. the atmosphere, the taste of the whole thing is deadly…. What’s wrong with the world to make it so flat, shabby, worn-out looking? Then I remember.”

Pages 72-73, “…summoned me into a past kind of happiness, my pre-[pregnancy]. happiness. But the invitation seemed to me horrible. The happiness into which it invited me was insipid. I find that I don’t want to go back again and be happy in that way. It frightens me to think that a mere going back should even be possible. For this fate would seem to me the worst of all; to reach a state in which my . . . love . . . should appear in retrospect a charming episode—like a holiday—that had briefly interrupted my interminable life and returned me to normal, unchanged. And then it would come to seem unreal—something so foreign to the usual texture of my history that I could almost believe it had happened to someone else. Thus [he] would die to me a second time; a worse bereavement than the first. Anything but that.”

Page 28, “I have no photograph of… [him] that’s any good…. But…[his] voice is still vivid. The remembered voice—that can turn me at any moment to a whimpering child.” [Read Isaac’s Personhood Story]

 
Continue reading...

Pages 77-78, “It doesn’t matter that all the photographs of…[him] are bad. It doesn’t matter—not much—if my memory of. . .[him] is imperfect. Images, whether on paper or in the mind, are not important for themselves. Merely links….is it not in some ways an advantage—that it can’t pretend the least resemblance to that which it unites me?
I need Christ, not something [the bread and wine of communion] that resembles Him. I want…[him], not something that is like…[him]. A really good photograph might become in the end a snare, a horror, and an obstacle.
Images, I must suppose, have their use or they would not have been so popular. (It makes little difference whether they are pictures and statues outside the mind or imaginative constructions within it.) . . .
And this, not any image or memory, is what we are to love still, after. . .[he] is dead.”

Pages 38-39, “And poor C. quotes to me ‘Do not mourn like those that have no hope.’ It astonishes me, the way we are invited to apply to ourselves words so obviously addressed to our betters. What St. Paul says can comfort only those who love God better than the dead, and the dead better than themselves. If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to ‘glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bath him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.” [Read The Importance of Validation]

And, to personalize from A Grief Observed this last sentiment so eloquently expressed in grief over child loss: “[My] specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never…will [I] have [my] son on [my] knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see [my] grandchild.”

 

 

Article Review – 7 Ways to Bond With Preborn Baby

7 Ways to Bond With Preborn Baby on Ask Dr. Sears

Sometimes research takes us down interesting and unexpected paths. This article is just one of many of those paths, and, as you read some of my favorite quotes from it, I hope you will agree. Though I feel their development occurs much faster and much earlier than what is discussed in the article, I encourage you to read the entire article for yourself, as your time allows.

“New research supports what mothers have long believed, that babies in the womb hear what’s going on outside. Even more intriguing, there is evidence that babies may share in their mothers’ emotions.”

“In the past twenty-five years the new field of prenatal psychology has sprung up. Using new technology, prenatal psychologists have used various windows to the womb and have found.. . .[w]hen mother is happy, baby is happy; when mother is anxious, baby is too.”

“Babies seem agitated by rock music, kicking violently when they hear it and are calmed by classical music. . .. In one study, kicking babies calmed to the sounds of Vivaldi but became agitated in response to Beethoven.”

“Studies also show that a six-month-old fetus can move his body to the rhythm of his mother’s speech. Perhaps most astounding, you can bond with your unborn baby so closely that they can be taught when to kick.” [Read Article Review_The First Ache.]

“. . . a preborn baby. . . can perceive different tastes and sights. Add sweetener to the amniotic fluid and the fetal gourmet doubles his rate of swallowing; add a sour substance and baby slows his swallowing.”

“Even as early as the fourth month baby frowns, squints and grimaces in response to experimentally produced outside stimuli.”

“At five months the fetus can startle in response to a light blinking at mother’s abdomen.”

“Can a fetus form attitudes about life even before birth? Prenatal psychologists claim yes.”

“Prenatal researchers believe that there is indeed some connection between what you think and how your baby feels. . .”

Continue reading...

“Studies relating maternal attitudes to the emotional development of the offspring do indeed reveal a tendency for anxious mothers to produce anxious babies. They also show that mothers who resented being pregnant and felt no attachment to their babies were more likely to have children who had emotional problems. Mothers with less anxious pregnancies, whose babies were wanted and loved, tended to have emotionally healthy children.” [Read Article Review_The Three Faces of Adoptees.]

“. . .major emotional disturbances and unresolved stresses throughout the pregnancy, make it harder to bond with your unborn baby and lead to an emotionally troubled child. Extreme maternal distress even poses a risk of hurting baby physically, as it has been linked with increased risk of prematurity and low birth weight.”

“Researchers believe that a stressed mother produces an abundance of stress hormones called catecholamines, which have been shown to, in turn, affect emotions. . .. Scientists theorize that these chemical stressors cross the placenta and “frighten” the developing nervous system. If it happens often enough, the fetus actually gets used to feeling chronically stressed. His system is prepared to overreact to stimuli. Babies who are born with an already overcharged and possibly disturbed nervous system show more emotional disturbances and gastrointestinal upsets, which will earn this baby the label ‘colicky.’” [Read Life Affirming Microchimerism and Fetomaternal Cell Transference.]

“Take reasonable measures to rid your life of tension, take time to rest and revel in positive emotions as you bond with your unborn baby. . .. Do whatever you can to bond with your unborn baby to be sure your baby gets the best emotional start. Remember that emotions, positive or negative, are more intense during pregnancy. Resolve stresses quickly, in a positive fashion; seek professional help if necessary. Talk to, sing to and share affectionate thoughts with your baby.”

“Dr. Chopra rhapsodizes about the start of the amazing journey that is the relationship between a parent and a child: “A single-cell embryo divides only fifty times to become one hundred trillion cells, which is more than all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.” Once your baby is born, all the cells in both of your bodies act in secret synchronicity to create those simple but incredible connections between the two of you. But despite all of the science involved, it’s the power of your love — pure and simple — that can protect your child . . . to her benefit.”

 

 

Article Review – The Three Faces of Adoptees

Seminar for 2013 AAC – Cleveland, http://nancyverrier.com/the-three-faces-of-adoptees/, By Nancy Verrier, MFT, Author of The Primal Wound

The book, The Primal Wound, by Nancy Verrier was listed as “required” reading by those involved in adoptions (adoptees, adopters, birth parents, etc.) While reading the book, I noticed the author’s uncanny way of pinpointing several issues I had been dealing with as an adoptee. Though I may not agree with everything in the book, I highly recommend those interested in this topic (personally or professionally) to buy her book.

Anyway, when I noticed she was a presenter at an American Adoption Congress conference, I couldn’t resist reading her article, The Three Faces of Adoptees. I encourage you to read the entire article for the context. Here are some of my favorite quotes from her seminar article:

Children who are separated from their mothers early in life have different issues to deal with than those who are kept and cared for by their mothers. The relationship with the mother is the cornerstone for all future relationships. We are. . .meant to be close to our mothers in our early years.

“All mammals know their own mothers through all their senses. Therefore when a baby is immediately taken from the bio mom and handed over to another mom, the baby is confused and disoriented. ‘Where is mom?’ The new mom doesn’t pass the ‘sensory test.’ She doesn’t sound right, or smell right, or feel right, or have the right resonance or energy. The infant becomes disregulated. This is no one’s fault except that we continue to ignore it and therefore don’t address it. What does the child do?” [Read Consciousness and Awareness]

The child goes immediately into coping mode. Something devastating happened…

Baby beliefs are imprinted into the neurological system and therefore, difficult to overcome. [Read Article Review_7 Ways to Bond With Preborn Baby]

Last but not least:
“In order to become more authentic, then, you might. . .have to take a few risks. Just baby ones at first. Order first at a restaurant. . .. Notice what kind of art work your friends and relatives have on their walls. Do you like it, dislike it, or are you neutral about it? You don’t have to tell them your opinion, but you have to tell yourself. Now I know that many of you can already do this. But I also believe that there are some areas of your life where you might not be so honest with yourself. Or you may not be honest with those you care about (the “people pleaser” syndrome). First of all, learn to be honest with yourself. Look within to find the answers to what you like, dislike, your opinions about politics or religion. And don’t just react to what you were taught. Maybe there are many things you actually do have in common with your adoptive family. Really ask yourself about these things and be HONEST in [y]our answer to yourself.”