Our Journey begins long before we are born. Like a seed buried deep within the ground we carry potential in the womb. At the same time, our mother’s thoughts and experiences are chemically passed to us and these experiences affect the development of our body, mind, and potential.
Did she feel loved and supported or did she feel unloved, frightened, or overwhelmed by life? Did she feel capable of creating what she wants and needs or did she feel held back or inadequate? Was her relationship with her child’s father filled with love, hope, and potential? Or was it filled with, judgment, unresolved anger, and bitterness?
Research shows that the emotional state of the pregnant mother can have both immediate and long-term effects on her offspring. Maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy has been linked to infant outcomes such as increased fussiness problems, attention regulation, emotional reactivity, and lower scores on measures of mental development. It has also been associated with hyperactivity, inattention, emotional and conduct problems later in life.
Since there are no direct neural pathways between the mother and fetus, scientists have looked for more indirect pathways to understand how a mother’s level of stress and anxiety may impact her baby. One avenue that has been explored is that of stress hormones. When we are stressed, a series of chemical changes is set off in our bodies and brains, such as the release of cortisol and adrenaline. Normally, these chemicals help prepare us for danger and are important for our survival; however, if we are chronically stressed and anxious, these stress-related hormones can remain high for too long and wreak havoc on our bodies.
When a pregnant woman is chronically stressed or experiences extreme stress, the baby may be exposed to unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which can impact the baby’s brain development. Chronic or extreme maternal stress may also cause changes in the blood flow to the baby, making it difficult to carry oxygen and other important nutrients to the baby’s developing organs.
So how can we counteract this problem during pregnancy and/or how can we resolve the damage much later in life? The simple answer is finding ways to reduce stress and be proactive about getting what you need during that critical time of life.
Don’t know where to start?
If you are a health practitioner, I suggest you look at and use some of the free services on the I Create What I Believe! ICWIB website, which can help you or your patient learn how to move from stress and reactivity to a calmer and more stress-free approach to life. If you are a pregnant mother, this will also provide you with the ability to create a life that is more authentic and supportive for yourself and your new baby. If you are reading this and are personally aware of the long-term effects of your own gestation, then I would also suggest you begin to explore the ICWIB program.
The ICWIB program is the outgrowth of my own personal healing. As a child dealing with prenatal drug exposure, abuse, and related brain dysfunction, it would have been very difficult for me to succeed without these tools. Nonetheless, for many years, I didn’t understand the significance of what I had intuitively uncovered until I began writing Passage of Change, A fable based on the research of Bruce Lipton, PhD. Being submerged in Bruce’s research brought about a deeper awareness of how early childhood trauma had impacted my health—and my whole life. When I asked him if he thought the activities I created could help others, he explained what happens in the brain when a young child experiences trauma and why my activities could help others restore balance and heal.
After further extensive development and refinement, I began teaching these activities with great success to parents, teachers, therapists, children, and individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD.
Five years ago I began teaching the program to Head Start and preschool teachers. Here is a link to some videos of Head Start teachers talking about how the activities impacted them, their students, and their classrooms. http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/head-start-videos/
So how did the ICWIB program and activities help me heal? The ICWIB activities helped me learn to recognize the physiological signs of stress in my body, move away from reactivity, and find simple ways to resolve or respond to the imbalance that was causing the stress. In the process, I gained a new awareness of myself, learned what I needed for my mind to work in an optimum way at all times, and subsequently learned to move through life in a very different way.
If you would like to more fully explore the I Create What I Believe! Program, the following ICWIB activities are currently available on the website for free (just click the link to access an activity).
If you find them helpful and are interested in more, then sign up for our FREE ICWIB newsletter: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/newsletter/
For more information about the I Create What I Believe! Global Classroom: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/global-classroom/