Photography & Text by Jules Hovee Steffen
Discovery is the moment in time when there is confirmation of pregnancy, a highly critical time for a prenate. For some, it’s a wonderful time of celebration, but for others, it’s a difficult journey. There may likely be intense feelings on the part of the pregnant mother as she absorbs and integrates this new development into her existing life, and the level of support she may or may not have from her parents, the prenate’s father, his parents, and the surrounding significant others. Often alone when discovering that she is pregnant, a mother may likely be flooded with the many consequences of being pregnant and Dr. William Emerson’s long-standing research and regressive material from countless individuals, reflects some of the feelings, experiences, musings, and fantasies, that mothers have, and could be felt by the embryo: anxiety, terror, despair, shame, guilt, rejection, abortion ideation, abortion attempts, death, suppression, manipulation, narcissistic wounding, and conditionality shock. (Prenatal Stage Manual: Part 1, Emerson) In order for us to heal the woundings that we may carry, delving into this critical time of our prenatal development, may likely be of paramount importance. An earlier blogpost entitled The Boundaried Branch, offers an initial perspective of this specific stage called Discovery. It may feel like we are uncovering our experience, just as this young girl is attempting to do in this photo, lifting the fallen leaves to expose the brown rich earth beneath.
The following is from Dr. Emerson’s research and may bring forward essential pieces that speak to the woundings that we may carry specific to our prenatal existence and presence: The embryology and biology are clear when we consider the building blocks for all of the critical systems and developing structures that are set within the three week time frame following conception: Epidermis, Nervous System, Linings of Digestive and Respiratory Tracts, Muscle, Connective Tissues, Notochordal Process which initiates the development of the mouth and anus, Vertebral Column, Ribs, Sternum and Skull, Brain and Spinal Cord, Cartilage, Bone, Blood Vessels, Urinary Bladder, Cardiovascular System. The following italicized material are excerpts from Dr. Emerson’s research and regressive information: Trauma and shock during this time of development can have far reaching impacts on the strength, health and vitality of the developing systems and the integrity of the structures within the body. Common feelings and subsequent life attitudes resulting from trauma and shock during the time of Discovery include:
- Anxiety = feeling ambivalence at what predicament pregnancy creates.
- Rage = feel rage of parents at being placed in such a dilemma
- Depression = being unwanted, rejected
- Conditional love = being accepted for certain roles, qualities
- Unconditional love = being accepted for just being, no conditions
- Gender bias = being loved for hated for gender…adult sexual preferences
- Longing = acceptance for doing nothing (late adolescent complexes)
- Confusion = not knowing what to do (live or die)
- Self disorders = common in children who are not wanted
Based on the spectrum of physical structures that are developing at the time of Discovery, resolution of those developmental agendas requires unconditional love. That is not to say that if unconditional love is not present that those structures will not develop, rather that development of those structures can be impeded, truncated, weakened, incorrectly directed, and sometimes even missed and/or incomplete. In the realm of the psyche, the impact of what is thought and felt about the confirmed pregnancy has tremendous consequences. Until Discovery, no one could have known, for certain, that you existed. Any thoughts and/or feelings about your existence would have been merely speculation, and although those thoughts may be damaging, they do not compare to the depth of wounding that occurs once your presence is verified. (Prenatal Stage Manual: Part 1, Emerson)
We may read the above information and not fully understand its meaning, and yet, there may be parts of us that resonate with the material in some way. We may feel a physical or emotional charge of some sort or make a concerted effort to push back and be numb from any response, any of which may mean that there may be some meaning for us in this material. It may be that for most or all of our life, we have experienced some of which is described above, and now some pieces may be falling into place, yet there may be a nebulous wonderment about how this might be happening. And so it is with the healing path that we may be on for ourselves, the walk that may be guiding us to the next step, what may feel like a random piece of information that may hold meaning that may bring up the feelings that have long been lodged deep within us, or the ones that remain numb and seemingly locked away.
This time of Discovery may be a time in our historical existence when we experienced a level of wounding that profoundly impacted the ways in which we live, love, and have our being. If we are not wanted in some way, we may hide inutero and hide in life, finding ways to not show up because of our perception that it’s not safe to be present. This knowing may be an important key that begins to open a door such that we may have compassion for what our prenate self may have experienced. We may begin to claim, embrace, and offer caring support for the parts of ourselves that longed for this so long ago. It’s not about blame – it’s all about taking responsibility for our lives and owning our truth. If we respond negatively toward ourselves with this knowing, we continue to wound ourselves in the same way that we were previously wounded prenatally. Finding ways now to welcome and embrace ourselves – the ways in which we as a prenate longed for – is now an essential journey for our healing. As we find our footing and the unwavering steadiness that comes to us when we have compassion for the wounds that we may carry, we may realize we are already making strong strides in our steps on the Middle Ground: Where Sages Dwell. As a result, we may experience a sense of belonging that is accompanied with rest and relaxation. May it be so.
You are invited to take a look at what’s available in our store for purchase: Reaching Beyond into Relaxation, an audio download for rest: