Matters of the Heart During Pregnancy

Author // Wendy Anne McCarty, Ph.D.

Finding Home Together in an Evolving World

We live in an exciting yet uncharted time. The 20th century Newtonian worldview that considered our core nature to be physical has expanded exponentially into a 21st century multidimensional, consciousness-based paradigm that brings new possibilities for understanding what it means to be human. Collectively, we are in the midst of a grand evolution of human consciousness as we awaken and realize more of our true nature as a vastly complex, interconnected, and multidimensional consciousness. Within this collective awakening, our understanding of who babies are, what they are capable of, what they need, and what is happening during their time in the womb, birth, and newborn periods is undergoing an important change as well.

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I believe we are at an evolutionary pinnacle in human potential and what happens at the very beginning of life holds the secret to cultivating this extraordinary awakening of our multidimensional human consciousness in our next generation.

Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

Prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN) has been studying our earliest human development from the baby’s point of view for over 30 years. The PPN field coalesced in the 1980s when the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) was formed. Therapists who came together to discuss their clients’ current issues discovered that they were anchored in their experiences in the womb, during birth, and in the newborn period. Their stories portrayed babies as much more aware and conscious during their prenatal and birth experiences than they had previously considered possible.

Over the years, PPN-oriented therapies were developed to identify and treat not only adults with early-origin issues, but also to work directly with babies and children to access and heal early trauma, unmet needs, and attachment issues, based on the PPN understandings of babies’ capacities and needs. From understanding and healing babies’ early difficulties and life-diminishing patterns, a new positive psychology supporting greater human potential and optimal relationships during our earliest development has emerged.

I discovered APPPAH in 1989, and for the past 30 years I’ve had the privilege of being a PPN-oriented educator, researcher, author, and clinical practitioner supporting families and professionals from this expanded consciousness perspective. My journey with families as they conceive, carry, birth, and raise their children has taken me into the heart of this quantum change of worldview regarding our core nature and our evolving spiritual human potential. It has revolutionized how I support babies, children, and families to heal and thrive.

In 1989, I began my PPN-oriented psychotherapy practice helping families with young children who were having difficulties. Nearly all of the children’s challenges were anchored in their prenatal, birth, or newborn experiences. Most often these early difficulties were directly related to our limited assumptions about babies’ consciousness, and a lack of awareness about how they were affected by their earliest experiences. When we addressed those experiences together, and honored their feelings and unrecognized needs, their current limiting patterns would naturally transform into more life-enhancing ones without a need for more behavioral approaches.

During the therapeutic play, enacted stories, and conversations, these young children revealed an accurate knowledge of events, emotions, thoughts, intentions, and interactions all the way back to conception, and even before they were conceived. Their recall was from a perspective both inside and outside of the womb. They were often recalling a complex sequence of events and verbatim conversations, or even unspoken feelings the parents had experienced. Their sensitive reactions to these experiences, and questions about the meaning of their perceptions, had remained unacknowledged and unresolved, leaving them unable to complete troubling experiences. Revisiting these experiences with children in therapy, and listening to their experience and emotions, led to healing and completion. During this process, parents dropped into a deeper realization that some part of their child was present, feeling, making meaning of, and affected by what had happened during their prenatal, birth, and newborn experiences. It was a life-changing experience for them.

In 1993, I began working with young babies and their parents in baby-centered family therapeutic sessions. As with older children, most of the babies’ challenges had anchors in their prenatal, birth, or newborn experiences. What was striking was the elegance of healing these early patterns when we helped them as infants rather than waiting until they were older. Helping babies as early as possible can be more effective than waiting until patterns become more established and a history of living life with them has become imprinted along with the original imprint.

My current practice is now devoted to supporting pregnant mothers, babies in the womb, and fathers by directly relating to and including the baby in our sessions, and teaching the family how to do that in their daily lives. I have come to realize that if we can enter the multidimensional world of babies and learn how to be in relationship with them and meet their fuller range of needs and capacities before birth, it changes how their birth, bonding, and lives unfold.

Prime-time Parenting Before Birth

Traditionally, when we thought that consciousness was solely a product of our physical body and brain, we thought that parenting started after a baby was born. Now, through the findings of PPN clinical work, we have evidence that babies are sentient beings as they come into life and are seeking connection and inclusion from the very beginning! We also appreciate how deeply they are influenced and impacted by their multidimensional experiences in the womb, and how to help them during this time to feel safe and loved, and to imprint life-enhancing patterns.

After working with babies and families from this perspective for 30 years, I have come to understand that the time before birth is the most important and influential time to support and optimize babies’ core positive human infrastructures, which can help them align and embody their true nature before they are born.

Babies have been teaching us about how we can mindfully and intentionally carry, parent, and care for them beyond what we’ve previously understood. How we live, our state of being, our health and happiness during pregnancy, and our capacity to enter our baby’s multidimensional world and develop a meaningful relationship during this most important year of parenting can all have a lifelong positive influence.

I have seen how beautiful it is when parents drop into that deep, intuitive connection with their baby during pregnancy and live from a place of reverence and caring for their omni-wise, yet very sensitive and responsive, conscious baby. Even when things were not ideal during the pregnancy—when life happens, or when the birth was not as the parents wished it could have been—when they were able to establish this conscious relationship and bond with their baby in the womb, it sustained and buffered the baby by an awareness of going through the human challenges of life together.

Babies’ Transcendent and Human Perspectives

At the core of what we have learned from babies is the revelation of their expanded capacities. In the research during 2003 for my early development book, Welcoming Consciousness, I reviewed what babies had been showing us in decades of PPN-oriented clinical practices. It was clear that PPN findings resonated with the nearly universal holistic wisdom that we are consciousness coming into human life with purpose and design. Our fundamental nature is as non-physical consciousness.

Our human self is seen as a manifest expression of our more fundamental primary consciousness. The babies’ point of view revealed hidden treasures about the journey from spirit to human life and how their prenatal and perinatal experiences affected their embodiment process and life path. We learned that babies have two distinct levels of perception and capacity—a non-local, transcendental level and a human level. The discovery of this transcendent perspective transformed the whole landscape of early development.

In the Newtonian era, the transcendental perspective eluded recognition because it wasn’t considered possible within the biology-first assumptions of the time. As a PPN-oriented practitioner, suspending those assumptions allowed me to have babies and children teach me directly about what was possible and to develop a new model from those direct experiences.

Babies’ transcendental perspective is present prior to conception forward. From the transcendental perspective, the incarnating consciousness already has a sense of personhood and a drive to seek connection with us. At this transcendental level, they clearly have a sense of Self: “I know I am a person. I know you are a person. And I am seeking connection. I am seeking relationship.” They know who their parents and siblings are. It’s personal.

Babies’ transcendent vantage point is from outside the body. There is a mature sense of the larger picture— a lucid, non-local perception and comprehension of events; of people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions; and accurate descriptions of situations and dynamics. There is a nonlocal gestalt, an intuitive knowing about things of the past, present, and future. The transcendent Self seeks relationship and has the capacity for communication, telepathy, and meaningful interaction. There is access to and experience with both the spiritual and physical realms from this perspective.

With conception, the transcendental Self views the baby’s developing body as a house, a vehicle they will inhabit for the life they are embarking upon. The human self’s vantage point, in contrast, is from within the body, with awareness arising from biology-based perceptions and senses. It is within time-space. The developing human self is instinctive, sensitive, responsive, adaptive, emotional, and at its core, relational.

Although I talk about these perspectives separately, the beauty of our fuller understanding of babies and their prenatal and perinatal experience is held in the inseparable and synergistic relationship between their transcendent Self and their human self.

Holographic principles suggest that our three-dimensional reality is a product of the interaction of non-local and local experience. Both perspectives are necessary to create our reality. The dynamic interaction of the two perspectives creates a synergistic whole that is more than the sum of the parts, and functions to organize the parts. The transcendent Self and human self form a synergistic whole. This ever-evolving relationship is an intimate dance, with each perspective informing and changing with experience of the other.

I believe our greater human potential lies in our ability to align our human experience with our primary, non-local, transcendental consciousness to create the most coherent, clear channel between them. The clearer and more coherent the connection and integration of these perspectives, the more the non-local self can be the “organizing principle,” or primary perspective, for the human experience. A greater octave of wholeness is then possible.

Babies’ Transcendent Perspective

The qualities expressed in near-death experiences are similar to the characteristics of babies’ transcendental self-perspectives and offer another window into these earliest states of consciousness in the womb. In her book Dying to be Me, Anita Moorjani shares with us her extraordinary near-death experience (NDE). Her descriptions of her transcendent experience, her revelations, and her metamorphosis into more of her true nature help us understand babies and ourselves. In her NDE in the nonlocal spiritual realm, she awakened to her transcendent perspective and had a profound direct experience of her true nature. She returned radically transformed and more whole—living in a higher octave of transcendent awareness, knowing, being, and connection to All-That-Is.

She shares that the core of the experience is knowing she is loved unconditionally, that we all are unconditionally loved, that we are love. Our true nature and the true nature of All-That-Is is the state of being pure unconditional love. She experienced the higher octave of the Divine and she recognized that we all are a part of this interconnected, unified consciousness. While she was “there,” she realized that, “If my inner self were aware of its greatness and connection with All-That-Is, my body would soon reflect that and heal [the end-stage cancer and multiple organ shutdown].”

To access this state of allowing [my cancer to heal], the only thing I had to do was be myself! I realized that all those years, all I ever had to do was be myself, without judgment or feeling that I was flawed. At the same time, I understood that at the core, our essence is made of pure love. We are pure love—every single one of us. How can we not be, if we come from the Whole and return to it? I knew that realizing this meant never being afraid of who we are. Therefore, being love and being our true self is one and the same thing!

As I experienced my biggest revelation, it felt like a bolt of lightning. I understood that merely by being the love I truly am, I would heal both myself and others. I’d never understood this before, yet it seemed so obvious. If we’re all One, all facets of the same Whole, which is unconditional love, then of course who we are is love! I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.

When she awoke from her coma and NDE, her tumors had shrunk 70 percent within the first week. A short time later, she was miraculously cancer-free. For the past 13 years since her NDE, Anita has been sharing more of her NDE experiences and how that metamorphosis changed the lens through which she experiences human life and herself. I believe she is living her human life through the integrated lens of her transcendent Self embodied. She underwent this awakening of her true nature and metamorphosis by dying and then returning more whole.

At this pinnacle in our evolution of human consciousness, babies have a greater opportunity than ever before to embody their true nature—their transcendent nature from the beginning of life. As we evolve our ways of supporting those coming to be our children, as we cultivate their multidimensional wholeness during their journey from spirit to conception and life in the womb, we can help them imprint and establish their core foundations. We can assist their physical and energetic physiology to support these higher frequencies. We can support their emotional and mental bodies to resonate with their true nature. And we can enhance their spiritual capacity to embrace the goodness, truth, beauty, and love that they are.

So where do we begin to evolve our ways to support our multidimensional babies?

Understanding Babies’ Multidimensional World

At all levels of our holographic being, we are wired with innate intelligence to perceive if something is in “right relationship”—if it promotes wholeness and holds coherence. In other words, we know innately if something connects with the more of who we are and helps us thrive or does not. Biologist Bruce Lipton speaks about the cell’s intelligence and ability to read its environment and determine whether to go into growth or survival mode depending upon its “rightness.” We have this discernment at every level of our anatomy, from the molecular to the higher dimensional aspects of the self. As human beings we often override it, or our systems get so incoherent that we lose our connection with that inner navigation. What I have learned from babies is that this inner navigation is an essential aspect of all levels of their being. Babies are energetically very sensitive and sense coherence, goodness, truth, and beauty, or the lack of it.

I have also learned from babies that every aspect of our moment-to-moment experience is recorded and retained in a vastly complex field of information that becomes part of who we are. Babies are exquisitely sensitive and responsive to these relational holographic fields of information from the very beginning of life. They develop, live, learn, adapt, imprint, and communicate within the interconnected holographic field of their family and personal environment, from prior to conception forward.

The Holographic Family Field

Babies live in a vastly rich informational sharing reality I call the holographic family field. This field of experience is multidimensional and goes far beyond what we could fathom in the Newtonian era. The holographic family field contains current experience as well as ancestral material, historical experiences from the past, unprocessed or unresolved issues of the parents or other family members, as well as gifts and talents. The family field resonates with and within the fields of the extended family and significant others, community, culture, and the unified whole.

Babies are immersed in this complex field of information as they build their core being in relationship to their world. With their innate intelligence of right relationship—what holds coherence, harmony, and goodness and what doesn’t—babies respond and adapt, choosing protection or growth responses accordingly. By the time they are newborns, babies’ core beliefs and patterns are already well set in motion.

In the womb, babies develop and learn to be “human” by being within their mother’s and family’s holographic field of human experience. Mothers and babies have nine months in which they are not only uniquely connected physically but also sharing conscious and unconscious holographic fields of information between them.

One of the most stunning things I realized about babies and wrote about in my article “The Power of Beliefs: What Babies Are Teaching Us,” published in the Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, is that by the time babies were just a month old, we could identify many core belief patterns that had already been set in motion from their life in the womb and their birth and newborn experience. They had imprinted, learned, experienced, and made meaning of those experiences, and were responding to their inner and outer lives according to that alreadyconstructed core infrastructure. Our therapies included addressing those beliefs, validating the circumstances in which they developed, and differentiating new possibilities in the present. We saw babies’ abilities to process this information and heal and transform these belief patterns even as young infants!

So, how do we help babies in the womb open into their own radiance, rather than shrink in protection? We strive to give them a womb environment that is in a state of wellness, as free from toxins and chemicals as possible. We set new priorities to slow down, lower stress, to resolve early traumas or ongoing problems, and to be happy. We strive to be mindful and intentional about our choices and priorities. We create a life during their nine months in utero that gives them the best of us and the best of our world. And we learn how to really connect with them and form a living, breathing relationship that is more accessible than we’d ever thought possible.

This is the new frontier of human consciousness. We have so much more to understand about babies’ multidimensional self as they come into human life. We each play a role, whether it is as a guardian, parent, extended family, or professionals caring for babies in our communities or workplaces. Parents need support, love, and resources to be able to de-stress, feel good, and have the freedom to explore creating lives that are true to their nature and callings, and in harmony with their life’s purpose. Parents who are happy, healthy, and able to slow down enough to really connect and attune to their families are the greatest contribution to helping babies imprint being happy, healthy, and attuned to their own inner path.

Matters of the Heart

When we distill life down to its essence, it is all about love. And that is so true for babies. Babies coming into this world are attracted to love. They are filled with Divine Love, like a rocket given fuel by a booster until it can reach orbit. They are making that love connection with their family. In the higher realms, love is the state of being and feeling unified with All-That-Is. Thus, as they come into this world, experiencing love and belonging helps babies feel that they are “coming home” to their human family rather than being exiled.

I’ve learned so much from babies and their perspective. Babies come in seeking love, seeking connection with their parents and siblings. They bring love, hope, and excitement for their upcoming adventure. They are also incredibly sensitive and empathic at multiple levels of their being. The more we can understand them, the more we can help them feel loved, safe, and cared for.

Babies have taught me that it is not about parents being perfect. Perfection entails control, self judgement, and blocking the flow of our being. Human life is messy! We have a full range of thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Some hold more of the light and coherence of our transcendental self and some less. Babies don’t expect perfection.

What babies need and want is for us to be authentic, aware, intentional, and congruent. They want us to be honest and willing to be with the uncomfortable truths with them. Some part of them already knows the truth, and when we are willing to consciously own our thoughts and emotions, and process them rather than manage or deny them, it is healing and cleansing.

Some part of us knows what has happened during our incarnation process and our experiences in the womb, birth, and newborn period. And sometimes, we need help to address things that happened to us. Babies need their stories. It is helpful and healing to know the authentic stories. One way we can support babies’ wholeness is to love and care enough to be willing to go into uncomfortable territory in order to be with them about what has happened (or is happening).

For example, so many pregnancies are unplanned, and some are unwanted. Babies coming in are conscious and taking in all our reactions and feelings, including those when we discover they are here—we’re pregnant! If there has been an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, it is never too early or too late to respectfully talk with your baby about it and your sincere caring about the impact this experience has had on them.

Here is one of my favorite father stories. A father, who was from Mexico, approached me at a metaphysical workshop and said he wanted to talk with me:

Luis said, “Do you remember years ago telling us a story of your therapy work with babies? You told us of a father who was just realizing that his baby really was conscious even while still inside his wife’s womb. The father had not wanted this baby when he heard his wife was pregnant. He had not truly welcomed this baby at birth.

“You told us you suggested that the father talk directly to his baby now in his arms. Looking him straight in the eyes, the father tells him gently what really happened. ‘I did not want you then,’ he says, ‘because I wasn’t ready for a baby then. There’s nothing wrong with you. I love you now.’ You recounted that when the father saw the sadness in his baby’s eyes, he felt the sorrow and spoke deep words of truth. ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you felt this. I didn’t know you were conscious of this. I am sorry. I love you so much now. You are a beautiful boy,’ the father spoke softly.”

Luis said, “When I got on the plane that night, I started thinking and feeling honestly how this story applied to what happened with my fourth child. We had had three children and they had grown up enough so that we could go skiing and take vacations. My wife got pregnant and I was silently angry and distant during the whole pregnancy. I was never close to this child, and our relationship had always been tense. I had no patience with her and, of course, we were far from being caring and tender with each other. At that moment on the plane, I decided I wanted to talk to her about this.

“One morning a few days later, I went into her bedroom and quietly sat on her bed. ‘I want to talk to you about when you arrived in your mother’s tummy.’ Paula, now 5 years old, listened. ‘When you arrived, I wasn’t happy about your coming. I sometimes resented you being here. I did not always treat you well, even until now. I’ve made a mistake. I am very sorry. Now I realized you felt my anger and resentment in some way. I’m sorry and I now realize what a magnificent being you are. I’m so grateful you chose this family and choose me to be your father. I love you from the bottom of my heart. I am so sorry I did not honor you in the way you needed from the beginning.’”

Luis’ eyes filled with soft tears as he continued, “She didn’t say much at the time.”

“Wendy, this conversation happened seven years ago. After that conversation, she changed; the tension between us that had been there from the beginning was replaced with a wonderful relationship.

Today she is 12, and my love and caring for my daughter flows with ease and joy. I realized it all had an enormous impact in my relationship with Paula, but it also had much to do with my understanding that each one of my children is a complete human being and needed to be addressed as such from the first day they came.”

Luis found his genuine way to approach his daughter with this part of her story. This beautiful yet simple gesture changed both of them. It was very moving. I have seen this hundreds of times. When parents and children have authentic discussions about things that happened at the beginning of their child’s life, a deep, spontaneous transformation unfolds.

In my work with pregnant moms, dads, and their babies in the womb, we bring that same principle and intention into our relationship with the baby. When we talk with the baby about things that have happened that aren’t ideal or are uncomfortable, and address these experiences with love and compassion, we help our babies find that sense of “right relationship” with us and themselves, and to reestablish that feeling of love and security.

Heart Fields and Heart Coherence

We know that when we are in higher octave states of love, joy, appreciation, freedom, and wellness, we are more aligned with our transcendental perspective. We access more of our wholeness, are in right relationship with our self, and are more coherent. When babies gestate in these energies and states of being, their human body/self develops more coherently and with greater integrity. This creates a greater capacity to embody their transcendent nature.

In my work with families, I share findings with them from the HeartMath Institute. The institute’s extensive research suggests that our heart’s electromagnetic rhythmic field acts as a global, synchronizing carrier wave for our whole body; that when our heart field is more coherent, our brain and our whole system becomes more coherent; and that our emotional states are correlated with the patterns of heart coherence.

When we experience expansive emotions of love, wellbeing, gratitude, and joy, we are more coherent. When we are in constricted emotional states, such as frustration or anger, we lose coherence. I teach parents to use energy tools, such as the ones from HeartMath and Emotional Freedom Techniques, to help shift their constricted emotional states to more coherent positive states as elegantly as possible to maximize their positive states of being.

When considered interpersonally, HeartMath research suggests that we share information from our heart’s electromagnetic field with others in our proximity. The more coherent we are, the more we can synchronize with others, becoming more empathic and sensitive to them and helping them synchronize with us. The research suggests that the more coherent the social (relational) field, the more influence it has in helping its members be coherent.

One of my primary goals is to empower pregnant mothers to be able to improve their emotional state. Mothers readily understand the connection between their emotional state and coherency. A mother can sense how her own coherent heart acts as a carrier wave of coherence for her baby, supporting optimal prenatal development. When mothers are in a heart-open, positive, coherent state, they also help stabilize their babies’ emotional states, regulation, and brain development, and promote optimal coherence for growth.

When mothers are more coherent and positive, babies feel a sense of “rightness” and security that enhances their relationship. I incorporate HeartMath wisdom with energy techniques in sessions in which pregnant mothers, their babies, and I consciously go through the EFT tapping process together. The baby learns and imprints how to move from challenges and difficult human experiences into more resolved and life-enhancing states of being. And they experience doing it together, with the mother consciously expressing how she cares about how it is affecting her baby. It processes their experiences and prepares them to go through birth together.

Fathers appreciate the importance of their own coherence and their vital role in helping their partner and baby create and sustain heart coherence and positive emotional states. EFT empowers fathers to shift their state of being more readily.

Finding Home Within

There is so much more to explore in this new, multidimensional understanding of babies and early life together. I want to share one more aspect about love that I’ve learned from babies. When we adults think about the importance of helping a baby feel loved and safe, we think of how important it is to love them. Babies do love when we fall in love with them, and they love loving us. They seek love. But we don’t often consider that the love we have for ourselves is primary. Babies thrive when we fall in love with ourselves, in the way that Anita Moorjani talks about in her transcendent discovery of being love and unconditionally loving herself. When we unconditionally love, care for, and have compassion for ourselves, we are compelled to create a life that truly reflects who we are. The more we live our true path, and express the truth and beauty that we are, the more we naturally create a womb world for babies in which they can cultivate their own sense of home on Earth within themselves.

Whether you have a baby in your life or not, I recommend reading Moorjani’s book. It holds so much wisdom in understanding babies and ourselves. Often people ask her if she would rather be in heaven, since she has experienced its glory. She replies:

Right now, I feel that I’m home. I have no desire to be anywhere else. It makes no difference to me now whether I’m here or in the other realm, it’s all just different parts of the experience of our greater, expanded, infinite, magnificent self. Our real home is within each of us and follows us wherever we go.

May we all cultivate our home within us, and may we all be devoted to helping babies enter human life feeling their home within and feeling our love.

Portions of this article are excerpted from previous publications by Dr. Wendy McCarty.

Pathways Issue 63 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #63.

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