Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chapter 12: A womb twin remembered

This book depends absolutely on a single assumption: that at a very early stage in your development you were capable of some kind of awareness of being in the womb, and that awareness still remains in your mind as a vague impression of your pre-born life.  This chapter will describe some of the research in this area and the astonishing conclusions that have been reached.  Despite widespread ignorance on this topic, it is widely believed that we do not remember life in the womb. 
    Many decades of research has revealed that you were capable of awareness and learning from your earliest beginnings.  Exactly how early in life this awareness begins has been the subject of debate for a long time, but  research studies are revealing more and more about your extraordinary abilities, even in the first few weeks of your life. 

The perceptions of the unborn child
It would be a mistake to imagine the womb as a kind of flotation tank in absolute darkness and silence.  You lived in a small bubble of fluid where the everyday noises of the world were audible.  In sunlight it was not altogether dark and in the night or the daytime it was never silent.  Thomas Verney, in his book The Secret Life of the Unborn Child wrote, “The foetus can see, hear, experience, taste and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero.   Most importantly, he can feel - not with an adult’s sophistication, but feel nonetheless.”

You had been alive in the womb for only about 29 days when your first skin was formed, served by neurones that could detect temperature and texture.  Anything that came into contact with your skin would have stimulated you.  It is known that, if anything enters the womb and touches the skin of an unborn child enough to wound, this causes pain.  It was established in 1980 that an unborn child can feel the prick of a needle and would require anaesthesia for intra-uterine surgery.  Researchers found that unborn babies pricked with a needle show changes in heart rate and an increase in movement. Until then, it had been assumed that unborn children did not feel pain.

Taste and Smell
Your sense of taste and smell was developed very early on, at about four weeks.  Just because you lived in a bubble of amniotic fluid does not mean to say there was nothing to taste or smell.  Various organic compounds crossed the placenta into your bubble of amniotic fluid.  It is reasonable to suppose that you were aware of them.  It is well known that smells evoke emotional memories and it is also known that emotional memories are the most enduring.  It follows then that the smells we each find most agreeable may in some way be related to the tastes and smells of those long-ago days in the womb.

The womb was never silent.  The beating of your mother’s heart and the sound of her food and drink churning through her digestive system went on continuously.  Only a few membranes and muscle tissue lay between you and the outside world.  Sounds, voices and music could be heard without much distortion.  As you grew and your hearing developed you became aware of your mother’s voice.  It reverberated through her body. If there was a sudden loud sound, you literally leaped in the womb.  You were particularly sensitive to vibrations of various kinds.

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