by Alice Givens, Ph.D.
Alice Givens calls our attention to the importance of prenatal experiences from past lives. Although many therapists explore the prenatal experience of the present life, Givens finds that a trauma endured as a fetus in a past life, especially a prenatal death, may have equally powerful consequences. She discusses her findings and presents several cases in illustration.
I first learned about the soul that kept returning to the same mother while working with Malcomb. He came to see me because his business and family were falling apart. He said he worked all the time but nothing was effective. He fought with his business partners and his wife and nothing was going right. Everything he had worked for — his business and his family — were crumbling beneath him.
Malcomb believed that he had had a good childhood amid many relatives and with much happy activity. His mother had been married several times; he believed that his stepfathers had been good to him. But when we began returning to his childhood, we found that the reality was the opposite of his beliefs. His mother, grandmother, grandfather, uncles and aunts were drunk almost every day. There was a continuous battle in the household, and Malcomb spent most of his childhood hiding. He was severely and continuously abused by his mother, stepfathers, and other relatives. This was Malcomb’s “happy” childhood: Filled with terror, rage, and hopelessness. There was no one ever to protect him and love him. When we did a regression into his prenatal time it felt like another scene out of his childhood. His mother was drunk, talking to his father:
“You son of a bitch, drunk bastard, playboy. I hate you. It’s all your fault I’m going through this. Do you think I want this kid? I don’t care about anything. Just give me a drink.”
The flavor of this prenatal time was the same as the family fights of Malcomb’s childhood. It was a continuous battle. I had to concentrate to be certain of where he was; in childhood, the prenatal time, or in a past life.
When we began to regress into his past lives, we found that the battles became wars. He fought on battlefields in war after war for several thousand years. The first war we examined was in relatively modern times because there was bombing going on. In this life, Malcomb was an officer. He hated the war, the blood, the death everywhere. “We’re living in death. I really feel sad. Why do I have to do this?” he said. He was wounded and in a hospital. Told by a doctor that he was going home, Malcomb thought “It doesn’t matter because I don’t have anything left in me. There’s no reason for all this death. It’s senseless and disgusting. If I had a gun now I’d blow all of you away. It doesn’t matter. I’m going home and not looking back.”
The next battle we examined was in the Civil War: “I’m scraping and crawling — trying to survive — clawing and scraping — my legs won’t move. I have to scramble — I’m pulling myself along — I’m crippled — useless, humiliated — I’m just half a person — moaning and groaning — I’ve failed— I don’t wanta live — I wanta shoot myself — I can’t do anything but sit here — .”
These words are the epitome of depression, hopelessness, and uselessness. His life today felt the same as those wars: There was nothing left in him. It was all useless and disgusting. I did two weeks of intensive therapy with Malcomb: forty hours during those two weeks. During that time, he went through many wars where he was hopeless and depressed by the constant death. At intervals, we went back into the prenatal period. His mother was usually drunk, angry, and/or depressed. It often felt like one of the wars or his childhood with all the sadness and hopelessness we found throughout his existence.
The prenatal period was his mother’s time of battle. She fought with everyone around her: Her man, her parents, her relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses. Malcomb returned to what seemed to be the same scene many times in the prenatal period. His mother was drunk and cursing: “I’m not gonna have this baby you son of a bitch. All you do is whore around. Gimme a drink. I hate you. I’ll get even. I’m leaving here.” She seemed to be going out of the door yelling. Malcomb felt her rage and confusion. Suddenly, his mother was crying and falling down the cement stairs. “I’ll kill you,” she was crying. “My hip hurts. Let me up. Leave me alone. I don’t care if I lose this kid. Bastard.”
Malcomb felt what was happening; all of his mother’s feelings and thoughts were recorded in his unconscious. An ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital; she was still drunk and cursed the doctors and nurses. Eventually, she calmed down and they kept her in the hospital for a few days. Then she returned home, to continue her perpetual drinking and fighting with everyone around her. During Malcomb’s birth, his mother was enraged again at everyone in the delivery room.
Almost every day during these intensive sessions, Malcomb kept going back into the same scene in which his mother was enraged and fell down the stairs. At first, I thought she must have fallen down the stairs many times, but then I realized that the words and setting were always the same. Malcomb was reliving the same experience again and again. Each day, he would relive another war in a past life, or another hopeless fighting day in childhood, then return to this prenatal scene.
In my experience, when a person continues to repeat the same experience, it is because there is some unresolved conflict or trauma which is still hidden. There had to be something about this prenatal experience that we had not discovered. I decided to keep Malcomb in that scene, reliving it minute by minute, until we knew all of it. The following scenario emerged.
Malcomb’s mother, pregnant, fell down the stairs in her drunken rage, and his father came out to try to help her; he called an ambulance. The attendants tried to calm her, and at the hospital a doctor examined her; she was having pain in her hip and back. The doctor told her to relax because she did not want to lose her baby at four-and-a-half months, but Malcomb’s mother did not care whether she lost the baby or not. In fact, she would as soon be rid of it. I kept Malcomb in this prenatal experience, and we learned that his mother’s pain increased during the night. It got so bad that she was taken into the delivery room, where her doctor told her he was sorry but that they could not save the baby. Malcomb was aware of his mother’s pain but he was also aware of his own pain as that little fetus. He was still alive as he emerged from his mother’s body.
Malcomb, reliving this on my couch, said “Oh, it hurts, it hurts, I’m cold — it’s freezing — I feel suffocated — let me out — let me out.” Then he felt as if he were floating above the table. I asked him what words he was hearing. He said, “‘No, he can’t survive, he’s too little and undeveloped. Poor baby.’“ Malcomb’s spirit was still above the table, floating over their heads. I asked Malcomb what he needed to say and he answered “I’m too afraid.”
Malcomb had just completed a past life in which he was conceived in his present mother’s body but lived only four-and-a-half months, not long enough to become a viable human being. It was yet to be discovered why he had come back to this same mother after this miscarriage. He was conceived again in the same woman’s body to develop, that time, into a full-term baby, Malcomb, who lived to endure an embattled childhood and to grow to a troubled adulthood. We never learned the time interval between the two pregnancies.
Malcomb’s mother was still living while he was in therapy. She confirmed the earlier pregnancy and miscarriage, but said that she could not remember the date. She told Malcomb that she had had several miscarriages, and I believe that Malcomb was more than two of her babies. We are certain that he returned to the same mother at least twice. We must ask why a soul would knowingly choose to be in a lifetime with a family like Malcomb’s. Some therapists believe that we plan and choose every lifetime, and that we choose our parents. I think that we choose some lifetimes, but not others.
The end of a life and the death can be so terrifying and violent that the spirit is still terrified and bewildered as it leaves the physical body. There are several outcomes of this kind of a death.
One can be that the spirit searches for the nearest chance of conception into a human fetus. An example would be if a soldier was killed on the battlefield and his spirit found another soldier who was raping a girl nearby. The spirit of the dead soldier may dart into the newly conceived embryo. Or it may join another, already living, person. But I am certain that some lost souls try to join another soul or another body as quickly as possible. With them there is no preparation or plans between lives.
Malcomb was one of these lost souls life after life. He wandered amongst death in every past life, never being in control. He watched people die and then died himself, depressed and hopeless. Then he entered this life, where his prenatal period, childhood, and adult life were another series of hopeless battles.
Malcomb died as a fetus because of his drunken mother’s fall down the stairs. His spirit stayed in the warmth of his mother’s energy field or in her body until she conceived again. He did not plan this; he simply did not know what else to do. To leave was more terrifying than to stay with this drunken, unstable woman. So Malcomb stayed until his mother got pregnant again, and perhaps that pregnancy miscarried again. But eventually, this mother carried him to term so that he was born into the terror that was his childhood.
Some of my clients have the experience of being aborted by their mothers one or more times before being conceived by the same woman and carried to term. While doing prenatal work, the therapist may find that part of the prenatal experience was an attempted abortion. The first time that I uncovered a previous successful abortion, in which the fetus died, I was amazed. Obviously, in these cases, the spirit, the soul of the aborted fetus, had returned to the same mother, sometimes after a second successful abortion. I thought about this for years, trying to understand why a soul would continue to return to such an unwelcoming mother. I believed that the soul kept choosing this mother. Now, after several years of working with spirit releasement, I understand.
The soul of an aborted fetus does not “return” to the new embryo in the mother’s body. It does not “return” because it has never left: It is still there. It has never left the mother. After the abortion, it was a lost soul that did not know what to do, or where to go, so it just stayed with its mother. Then when another ovum met a sperm, the soul found its home again. Many spirits that I release from my clients are there only because they do not know what else to do or where to go. Some of them have been wandering for decades, even centuries. So it is logical to assume that the soul of an aborted fetus sometimes stays with its mother until she conceives again.
Spontaneous Return to a Fetal Past Life
We can return to a fetal past life in ancient times just as easily as one with our current mother. The therapist needs to recognize that this is a possibility. In these ancient fetal past lives the mother’s thoughts and feelings are dominant, just as they are in any other prenatal period. If the therapist believes that all the words and feelings belong to the unborn infant, confusion reigns. The mother dominates the fetus and it is her life as well as the infant’s that is being revealed.
When the client unexpectedly returns to a fetal past life, both therapist and client may not know it. Since the client has not been explicitly directed to return to a prenatal period, he or she may be confused and not understand what is happening. When clients enter the fetal period, they are aware of their surroundings only through the mother’s awareness. The first time this happened with one of my clients, I was very slow in discovering what was happening. When I realized it was prenatal, the life was as easy to follow as any other past life.
An Ancient Prenatal Tragedy
When Jennifer first came to me, her primary complaint was pain in her head. There seemed no physical source for the pain, so she was referred to me for therapy. We regressed into several scenes in childhood and her past lives, and her head pain diminished but did not disappear. One day I directed her to the past again, to wherever the pain in her head originated. She said:
“I don’t know where I am, but someone is crying.”
“Just say any words that come with the crying,” I told her.
“You are a slut. You’re worthless.”
The crying went on and on, and Jennifer started saying, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid and I’m so hopeless.” Then she felt numb and did not know what was going on. I told her to feel her body and be aware of what she was doing. “Are you standing, sitting, walking?”
After a long silence, she said “I don’t know what position I’m in, or what’s going on.”
“Is it daylight or dark?” I asked her. When a person enters a past life and does not know what is happening, I ask a series of questions about the setting to try to ground them. Often if they feel their body and know the setting, the life begins to clarify. Jennifer, however, could not answer my questions. I had to proceed with only the information that she was able to give me.
“There are two people but I don’t know who I am.”
“Tell me any words that come to you.”
“You’re a disgrace to my son. He will be ashamed of you.” “I only feel like crying. I’m hopeless.”
“Could you be a child or a woman?”
“I don’t know. I think there’s a stone fireplace and someone is bending over a large pot.”
“Do you feel your own body bending over the fireplace?”
“I can’t tell. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
It was about that time that the idea came to me that she might be a fetus. “Do you think that you could be a fetus in your mother’s body?” I asked.
After some thought, she answered, “Yes, I could be.”
“If you are a fetus, who do you think is crying, or feeling like crying?”
“It’s my mother. She is trying to hold back her crying and continue to cook. She’s very sad all the time and some woman in the room just scolds and berates her.”
“Say any words that come to you that the woman is saying.”
“You know this baby isn’t his. You were pregnant when you married him. You might fool him but you can’t fool me.” “It’s not true. It’s his baby.”
Jennifer was crying with her mother’s tears now, the mother from several hundred years in the past. Through her mother’s awareness, she realized that they were in a stone house with a large stone fireplace.
Jennifer’s mother’s thinking was recorded in the memory of the fetus in her body. What her mother-in-law was saying was true. She became pregnant two weeks before she married, when a man had attacked her in the dark outside her house; holding his hand over her mouth, he had dragged her through the trees and raped her, laughing when she swore her fiancé would kill him. “You’ll never tell because no one will ever marry you. Besides, you liked it.” But to Jennifer’s past-life mother, the experience was painful, dirty, and shameful.
Jennifer was deeply aware of her past-life mother’s feelings by now.
There in the house with her mother-in-law, she was sad and hopeless at the same time. Her husband was away on business. The young mother dreaded his return because she knew her mother-in-law would tell him of her suspicions. There seemed nothing she could do. How could she convince her husband that his mother was wrong? “I’m not strong enough to keep lying and lying. It will destroy me,” she thought. “I can’t go on while she is accusing me every day.”
When her husband returned, he was at first happy to be back with her, and she was hopeful again. Her hope was short-lived. She overheard his mother talking to him, and although she could not make out the words, her mother-in-law was shouting in righteous anger. When her husband did not speak to her that night, the young mother silently cleaned the dishes and swept the hearth. Jennifer, as the fetus in her body, felt all of her emotions as her own. Only three months longer: How could she live through it? What would he do? Would he abandon her? Disown her? What could she say? The young mother went to bed and lay there next to her silent husband. He did not touch her. All of the love and warmth were gone.
“How can I live?” she wondered. “It’s too painful. If he abandons me, what can I do? How can I have this baby? I don’t want to live. I want to die. Now. I want to die. There are no more days for me.” Waiting until she could hear the rhythmic breathing which told her that her husband was asleep, the young mother crept out of bed. It was the dead of night; silently she dressed, putting a wrap on because of the cold outdoors. Her mother-in-law was asleep; she could hear her regular breathing in the next room as she closed the door.
The narrow road was rough. She stumbled in the dark over the cart tracks as she walked toward the river. She could not wait to reach the bridge, terror was so great. “I can’t live. I can’t stand it. I want it to end. Please God, don’t make me suffer any longer.” The tiny baby felt — and remembered — all her thoughts, her suffering and her crying. The mother walked onto the bridge, feeling the low wall that was a barrier against falling into the deep water below. In the darkness, she could not see the water but she could hear it rushing under the bridge, and she knew it was terrifying and cold. “I’m afraid, but it’s worse to try and live.” The baby felt the impact and shock of the cold water at the same instant as her mother. They were deep under water, and both made instinctive movements with their bodies. The mother was still holding her breath, not breathing water into her lungs.
The tiny baby experienced two deaths, her mother’s and then her own. The mother felt panic as she started to breathe the water in and knew that she had no more control. The baby felt her mother’s panic and then the relief as her mother began to lose consciousness. But the body on which this advanced fetus depended for life was dying. The mother’s heart ceased pumping the life-giving blood and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
Suddenly, Jennifer, on my couch, felt severe pain in her head, the same pain that she suffered from when she first came to my office. “It hurts, it hurts,” she started saying. “Make it go away.”
“Tell me what’s happening.”
“I don’t know what’s happening. It just hurts.”
Jennifer was crying with the pain by then, and I was certain that the pain was caused by the trauma in the tiny baby’s body as she died. Soon the pain began to diminish, and I told her to be aware of her consciousness as it rose up out of her body and out of the water. “What words do you want to say?”
She was silent, then said, “I’m angry that I had to die.”
“Is that your mother’s anger or your anger?”
“I guess it’s both of us. She didn’t want to die but she couldn’t live in that house and there was no place else to go. We were trapped.”
She could not tell me exactly what was happening to cause her head pain, only that she was caught, trapped in her dead mother’s body, and the pain came with her death. The feeling of being trapped dominated that short life. She was trapped in her dying mother’s body, and her mother was trapped with her mother-in-law, who was determined to destroy her. The wonderful result of experiencing that past life as a fetus is that Jennifer’s head pain is gone. I saw her a few times over the next several months, and the head pain has not returned.
A Short, Powerful Experience
Elaine could not give up her depression. Just getting up in the morning and dressing was difficult. She wanted to do nothing. Her prenatal period and childhood were literally depressing, as she was the fourth child born on an Oklahoma farm during the Great Depression. Furthermore, her mother had died when Elaine was a small child. The whole family lived in emotional and economic depression for all of her childhood.
We went through many sessions to relieve Elaine’s depression, which seemed caused by her mother’s death when Elaine was three. Elaine relived many sad experiences from her childhood, as well as in past lives and prenatal periods. One day, she came in unusually sad, and nothing we could do seemed to lift the sadness. I was thinking about what to do next when suddenly she said:
“They haven’t got a chance.”
“Where are you, Elaine,” I asked her.
“I don’t know. It just feels hopeless, hopeless.”
She continued with these statements, then said “There’s no chance for the baby; she’s gonna die; no hope.” These sounded like words said at a stillbirth. However, I told her to say the words that came next. “Neither one of them will make it. It’s been too long.” After a short silence, she said “I think that I’m in a birth, only I’m not being born. All movement has stopped and my mother is dying. It’s very sad.”
“Let the words being said in the room come to you. Your unconscious mind has recorded all of it.”
“We’re powerless. That baby is not going to make it. It’ll die like she is. There’s nothing we can do.”
The words being said in that long ago birth were the same as Elaine’s feelings of sadness and hopelessness. I asked her what she as that little baby would say:
“I’m trapped; it’s hopeless; I’m suffocating; I can’t move; I can’t get out. It’s very tight here; I’ll never get out; I’m trapped. Hopeless, hopeless.”
As in many deaths of the unborn, Elaine had to suffer through two deaths. First, her mother died and Elaine could feel her mother’s cessation of breathing and heartbeat. Then she started to feel the suffocation of her own death. Both deaths felt like her own.
“Tell me all the words that come to you as you are dying,” I told her. Words said during extreme trauma, and particularly during death, are very hypnotic. To let them out of the unconscious, to say them, helps release the energy from the trauma and releases the power of the words themselves.
“That baby’s gonna die. She never had a chance. Poor little one.”
Elaine was being born in a time before they did cesarean operations. When her mother could not give birth, she and her baby simply died. Elaine, as that unborn baby, finally died and her consciousness started to lift from her trapped little body. She said “Someone is saying, ‘Go on and leave, little one; you can be born again.’” With these hopeful words, her consciousness left that room and went up to the light. Elaine was able to release the sad, hopeless, trapped feelings that she had carried with her for years.
Hypnotic Words in the Past-Life Fetal Period
- D. Laing says in his Politics of the Family that we are hypnotized throughout our lives by the events, attitudes, and words of our families. I agree with him but believe also that this hypnotic power extends from past lives and prenatal periods in all our lives, from our births and from our childhoods. Probably the most hypnotic periods are those of births and deaths, the births and deaths of others in all eras of our pasts as well as our own. They are the most hypnotic because they are the most traumatic.
The best example of the power of hypnotic words was in a short, prenatal life that one of my clients, Beth, experienced. We had been working together for several months. She experienced several past lives and scenes from childhood. There was extreme sadness in her life, and at some time in nearly every session she would repeat the same words:
“There’s no hope for tomorrow.”
I did not believe that these words merely reflected her feelings. They had the flavor of a “quotation.” When talking with a person about their history, one needs to be aware of “quotations” that the person has accepted as true about him or herself. Often, when someone is talking about some issue, for example, punishment in childhood, a person will say “But I deserved it” or “I was a bad child.” These words were said to them in the past, often by the punisher, and they were and still are accepted by the person as facts.
I had this feeling about the words that my client Beth kept repeating, “There’s no hope for tomorrow.” They were said someplace, I was sure, and then accepted forever after by Beth. We found the source in a very unexpected scene. As she entered into this scene, it was very vague and foggy. She thought she was in an automobile but could not be certain. Something was vibrating, as if she was riding along a bumpy road.
“If you are in a vehicle, are you in the front seat or the back seat?” I asked. We needed to ground her in the experience and clarify what was happening.
“I don’t know where I am. They’re yelling and fighting.”
“Feel yourself there in your body. Are you one of the people arguing?”
“I don’t think so, but I’m angry and scared.”
“What does your anger and fear want to say?”
“I want out of here. You’re crazy. You’ll kill us. Stop, stop.”
“Tell me where you’re sitting.”
“I don’t know. I’m not the driver, and I’m not sitting on the other side.”
“Could you be in the middle?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Tell me, Beth. Could you possibly be a fetus in your mother’s body?”
“Yes, of course, that’s where I am. She’s the one that’s angry and afraid. It feels like me.”
“Let her fear speak.”
“You’re so crazy. You act like you want to kill us. Stop the car. I want to get out.”
Beth was crying now and feeling her mother’s terror. “Stop! Stop! A train is coming!” Beth was crying and screaming. “Oh no, no, no. Let me out.” Then Beth was suddenly quiet on my couch, almost as if she were unconscious. “I hurt, I hurt,” she began to say.
“Go on with the next words.”
“It hurts real bad. My mother can’t move. I couldn’t see it, but I know the train hit our car. It hurts all over.” Beth fell silent then, so I urged her to tell me what was happening.
“Somebody is here now, and they’re picking her up. Oh, no, it hurts too much. Let me alone; I’ll just die here.” Those were her mother’s words, but the little fetus, Beth, felt as if they were her own.
“We are in another car now, and they’re taking my mother to the hospital. ‘It’s too late; they’ll both die.’” Beth did not know where these last words came from, but they seemed to be in a hospital. Beth felt her mother struggling to breathe. The breath came very slowly, and it felt to the little fetus like her own breathing.
“I can’t breathe,” Beth was saying. “It hurts too much. They’re taking me out now. It’s cold and I hurt too much. Let me go. I hurt too much.” This was no longer her mother’s pain. It was the pain of the tiny baby. Beth was crying on my couch.
“We can’t save her,” someone was saying. “She’s too mangled.” Beth continued to hurt for a few minutes, then she began to feel that her consciousness was leaving her body. She ceased crying.
“Tell me any words that come to you as your soul begins to leave.”
“There’s no hope for tomorrow.” She said the same words as in many other scenes, but this time I thought that we had found the source of them.
“Is that a man’s or a woman’s voice saying those words?” I asked her.
“Which side of the room are the words coming from?” She pointed to the left.
“Say the words again,” I told her.
“There’s no hope for tomorrow.”
“And say the next words.”
“There isn’t any snow in the mountains.”
“And say the next words.”
“We won’t be able to ski.”
“Now say all the words together.”
“There’s no hope for tomorrow. There’s no snow in the mountains. We won’t be able to ski.”
“Beth, recognize that the words, ‘There’s no hope for tomorrow,’ were spoken by someone else in that room and had nothing to do with you. You can let them go because they are not yours. You were an innocent baby in that life. Your soul can rise up to the light now, and you can leave all the hopelessness, anger, and fear there and not take it with you.” A few minutes later, Beth was sitting up, smiling and feeling relaxed.
This is a good example of the hypnotic power of words said during a traumatic event, even words that have nothing to do with the person who remembered them for so long. They were not relevant to that little baby who died and who later returned as Beth, but she took them as if they had been branded onto her soul. Beth never repeated those hopeless words again. We had found the source and the energy surrounding the words was released.
When a person returns to the source of a problem, he or she may enter the life during the prenatal period as easily as any other age or period in the life. If the life lasted only a few months in the mother’s body, it can be just as important as a long life with death in old age. If this happens unexpectedly, a therapist may find it difficult to decipher where the client is or what is happening, and may assume that the memories of the life are too vague and unformed to work with. But the client may have reached a prenatal experience, and once the therapist establishes this, the experience becomes significant after all. And it may have a powerful healing effect.