Well, it’s important. To all of us. Those of us with children, and those who, well….once were children. It stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences.
This is a great article that discusses the history of the study, and how it was discovered that what happens to us in childhood matters far more than mainstream science knew.
I highly recommend you go read it now, it’s not that long and it will help with the rest of this post.
Go on…I’ll wait.
Ok….so it is the first time mainstream science has recognized early childhood trauma as a factor in the health – physical, mental as well as emotional – of adults. Long term.
I say mainstream because the field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology has been working with this for half a century. PPN Psych recognizes also that trauma happens to newborns during birth, early infancy, and even before birth. We in this field have studies and evidence from working with clients as well as anecdotal reports showing that infants are aware, cognizant of what is happening to and around them, and are busy learning, making decisions about themselves and their world, and their relationships. Very busy.
Adoption is an early trauma not recognized by the ACE’s study. Most people see adoption – especially at birth – as positive (and it IS!) but fail to understand that being relinquished at birth and being unwanted throughout pregnancy, is a very severe trauma. Evidence of this is seen in the high statistics of addiction, behavioral and academic problems, identity crises, mental health issues and social issues in adopted individuals once they reach the teenage years.
So that’s an example. But what happens to a little tiny being who is born with forceps? Or who was induced? Without awareness that the baby is having an experience that they will remember and make decisions about the world from, we remain focused on the birthing mother, and the ob/gyn’s needs. (And sometimes those take precedence, absolutely. I value the medical technology we have for emergencies.) But is anyone talking to the baby? Telling her what is happening and why? Making sure she doesn’t feel alone?
Recognizing that our newborns have memories of their birth, which may or may not reflect the experience of the birthing mother, will go a long way to understand and minimize the possibility of trauma patterns developing.
We don’t know all that can be happening in the minds of our little ones that are so new.
Let’s open up the possibility that we can discover this – from them! – and resolve issues before they become lifelong patterns of negative beliefs.
What was your birth like? Your child’s?
Let’s talk about it! Especially if you’re feeling uncomfortable with this information. PLEASE say something, and let me explain further.