"All anxiety is birth anxiety."
The Trauma of Birth, (1929)
Many, many years ago, even before I had begun regressions in self primal therapy, when my sufferings from psychosomatic stomach pains were at their height, I sought refuge in the fantasy of lying on the floor of a many windowed, elevated flying saucer shaped room.
Access to this "resting place" room was via elevator in its base. Both the elevator shaft's container, which was about 15 feet in height and the shape of the landed spaceship retreat had an "out of this world" appearance. The room's interior was bare. Plush wall to wall carpeting was its only accoutrement. While there, my only wish was lying on its floor, not moving my body from its fixed position and resting as much as possible.
After 30 plus years of primal therapy, after having long discontinued this fantasy, I finally received an insight as to what this room had earlier represented. It was my mother's womb. I had wished to return to the "room" - to the intrauterine environment from which I had been removed soon after I began my torturous and exhausting journey to be born.
None of my birth regressions referenced a return to this place of solace. However in the late seventies, I had read an article in Science News, by Joel Greenberg entitled, Close Encounters: All in the Mind? (02/1979) The article noted how UFO abduction reports had similar sequences whether they had been induced by drugs, hypnotism or a near-death experience.
I had felt that the birth experience could explain the similiarity of experiences recounted in Greenberg's article. The subsequent issue of Science News contained a letter to the editor from a person who had read the article and who felt that the birth/UFO abduction hypothesis adequately explained the similarities between the events. He concurred with the conclusions I had also reached in the article,
(Strange Encounters: Near Death Experience and Birth Memories.)
Many years later, the day after having experienced a deep primal of birth and near death, I had become insightful about why I had chosen, three decades earlier, the UFO room as a symbolic place of rest and recuperation when I was suffering from severe stomach pains. I realized that the UFO "room" represented the solace and protection I had enjoyed in the womb before birth. Incidentally, 5 months after having begun a spontaneous primal therapy, stomach pains left and never have returned.
While never consciously experiencing a need to return to the womb after birth, the spaceship fantasy choice obviously represented my mother's womb which had been experienced as blissful during intrauterine primal relivings.
Very often, however, one's actual birth regressions are uncomfortable and painful. One of the most painful and one which, over the years, took about fifteen plus repetitions to resolve was my near-death in the birth canal primal experience. Read the account below this article. The experience was also tied to a years later near drowning incident.
Accounts of the hope to return to the womb environment are recounted in physician Ron Haki's, The Love that Wasn't: a study of personal hurts. The author writes that this may occur when "a chronically painful condition gets to be too much or unbearable." It is an unrealizable option "to stop the ongoing suffering related to current hurts or unresolved past hurts." (p. 122) The sufferings of the fetus during its birth process would certainly qualify.
Some of Haki's "co-researchers perceived bad and scary vibrations prior to or during their birth and wished they didn't have to be born. Some who were born but were unhappy wished to 'go back in' the womb." He continues. "...(I)t seems that the death wish is related to wanting to stop feeling the pain and to go back to a comfortable place (womb)." (p. 122) Another wrote in reference to her birth that her immediate feelings were, "It's like I didn't want to be born. 'What's going on here" and 'Help.' I think I had a desire to go back to where I came from, I felt "this is much too dangerous."(p. 123)
Another author who wrote about the wish to return to the succor of the womb was the Hungarian psychoanalyst, Nandor Fodor, whose book is appropriately titled, The Search For the Beloved, 1949. (Read a compilation of my favorite quotations from his book)
Fodor writes, "The outstanding motive behind the desire to return into the womb is the attainment of happiness in the only perfect form we have known it." (p. 219)
Nay, rather it was the wish is to escape the compression pain of birth and other horrors associated with being born. As the uterus kneads the fetus, the anguish and fear of the fetus experienced becomes existential. Fodor writes that "all our escape fantasies from the trials and tribulations of life reveal the spell which pre-natal security and happiness castover our unconscious imagination." He begins to describe the correct degree of reality when he writes, "We begin life in pain and regret. Birth is a shock both physically and mentally; and it is also the beginning of dissociation."
Intriguingly, he continues, "By returning into the womb, we would escape from this dissociation. However, such return, such a-sociation obviously have no integrating effect. Life progresses by complexity and diversity. Once we become dis-sociate by birth, we cannot--with impunity--become a-sociates of the womb." For some the association may become phobic. (For a possible explanation of the derived phobia, read my article, The Origins of the Fear of Female Genitalia ).
The peacefulness of the uterine heaven is forever finished and quiting the birthing process and returning to nirvana is impossible. The constricting womb has only one way out and in time the cervix will make way for one's passage. The memory of that journey will never be forgotten even though, for some, it may only remain active in their unconscious mind as a fear of death. Some may be bothered by claustrophobic feelings which arise when least expected, and others by more insistent and persistently bothersome residual effects of their long ago bout with near death in the birth canal. So strong was their imprint of birth that some may engage with others in their everyday interactions as "walking fetuses."
Stanislav Grof describes this phase of birth as one of "no exit." He writes: "Reliving this stage of birth is one of the worst experiences we can have" during our birth regressive experiences. We endure agonies which seem without end. We are helpless and hopeless as time becomes eternal. Three feelings predominate: "A sense of dying, going crazy, and never coming back. (S. Grof, Psychology of the Future, p. 42. ( Also see the first experience recounted in my article, Four Therapy Experiences at the 1999 International Primal Assn. Convention )
But "coming back" to my previous unborn existence, before my assignment into Hell had begun, was what I had wished. The spaceship was my mother's uterus, which had inexplicably turned from being paradise into becoming a Hell, a place of torture. In my mind, in fantasy, I did return there during times of severe stomach pain seeking the blissful time I had earlier known as a fetus.
There is interesting material available on the internet about the relationship between the birth experience and the UFO abduction experience. ( Especially, see Alvin H. Lawson's, Abductions and Birth Memories )
A NEAR-DROWNING INCIDENT IN A CHILDREN'S WADING POOL
The feeling involving this material had begun as had so many other
birth primals. I lay on my back or side on my living room floor and
had begun a birth re-living primal of choking, coughing, and spitting up of phlegm. (While the two sentence description above is nonpulsed, I have found that such an experience is very discomforting).
Within moments I felt myself to be about age six or thereabout, and standing up in a circular children's wading pool in the Opelousas, Louisiana City Park, near its deepest part, which was about two feet, and near its center. I had begun reliving a near-drowning experience. I could see the bottom of the pool in that area. It was slimy. Suddenly I lost my footing and fell backwards into the water. All of my sensory inputs recorded the memory of what had happened. I relived
the foul taste of the water, the feel of the water and the vision of what
I had seen through the pool's surface that summer day many years earlier.
But rather than being there, I was on my back on my living room
floor re-living a near drowning in my childhood. During the primal
scene, I could see the sun in the sky through the foot or so of water.
Because of the angle of the sun, I knew that the trauma had occured
relatively early in the afternoon. I re-experienced the discomfort as my lungs
filled up with the pool water and tasted the foul water.
very soon thereafter, I was back on my living room carpet, re-living my birth as I coughed, choked and began spitting up phlegm once again. It was obvious to me that
due to a similarity of the physical and emotional content of both traumas,
the two different re-livings had tapped into an unconscious, although linked, memory source.
During the near-drowning episode, I was very aware of my surroundings
at the pool. The incident took place near the center of the pool which
contained ornate iron statuary and a water fountain. During the primal the appearance
of this area, where the near-drowning incident took place, was unusually
clear. After an hour or so after the primal, I drove to the city park where
the incident had occurred since I had a strong need to compare the appearance
of the immediate area with what I had "seen'' during the regression.
The area, where the water fountain was located, was different from
its appearance in the regressive experience, being much less ornate.
The center area of the wading pool had been remodeled. That made sense as the near-drowning incident had occurred some fifty years earlier! (From Three Visual Primal Regressions - this website)