EFT for Prenatal Memories and Trauma

pregnancy and prenatal traumaQuestion:

In summary, the questioner asks how we can use EFT for a suspected core issue involving prenatal trauma.  She refers to physical abuse her mother suffered when pregnant with herself (she has been told about this) and her own vague sense that this threatened her in utero.  She asks how she can “get specific” about this issue when she has only vague body memories.


Some Effects of Prenatal Trauma on Human Development

There is a wealth of research regarding the affects of perinatal trauma on babies, children, teenagers, and, ultimately in adults. In cases of domestic violence, the mother-infant bond can can suffer, which in turn can lead to an array of issues involving trust, self-esteem, and developing relationships.

While I have never worked specifically with prenatal memories using EFT, I have worked successfully with infant memories that were experienced only as vague sensations.  I would therefore like to answer this question from several angles.

First, to address the vagueness. All pre-verbal memories, such as infant memories, are vague because they have not been stored in our memory banks using verbal markers (words, names, verbal definitions etc.).  The bio-computer of our mind/nervous system therefore cannot access these memories easily because they are not reachable in a verbally assisted “search.”  Did you ever have difficulty retrieving data on your computer because it wasn’t properly indexed?  Well, this is essentially the same problem.

Because pre-verbal memories are of necessity blurry since they have never been encoded verbally, all bets are off with regard to the need for “specificity” when treating them with EFT.   We must find a way to make them clearer, more reachable.  There are several possible ways to do this.

In your situation, I would suggest that you ask yourself to IMAGINE the little unborn “you” in the womb, and to envision your mother receiving the beating you describe, as though you were watching a video of this scene where the fetus could be viewed.  Be sure to stay “outside” of the fetus as you look at the imaginary “video” in your mind   Here you will be applying the “Tearless Trauma” technique.  Watch the fetus’s reactions as her mother is assaulted, these will be very specific.  Notice the unborn baby’s posture, facial expression, coloration, etc. 

When you do this you will have all the specificity you need to use such EFT Choices phrases as:

Even though I’m in great danger in this (video, vision, etc.) I choose to know that I survived and am safe now.


Even though my hands are up to protect my head in this (video, vision, etc.), I choose to know that I survived and am safe now.


Even though my mother is in pain and danger in this (video, vision, etc.), I choose to know that she survived and is safe now.” etc.

When you have tapped all the aspects that could cause trauma in this situation – to you and your mother- then (but not before) try stepping into the skin of the fetus and imagining how you feel NOW as this scene is reenacted.  Then tap down your responses, paying particular attention to specific bodily responses to the trauma.

Each of these responses is a different Aspect of the trauma.  Tap on such phrases as: “Even though I am so tense I can barely let oxygen through (from the placenta), I choose to know that I survived and am safe.” etc..  Go through all the imagined feelings and responses you can think of, as for example the terrible body tension as the fetus goes into survival mode because it feels in danger of annihilation.  These will be very productive.

Finally, when you are down to a zero or a one on ALL the aspects involved in this imagined scene, return to the present day “you”, and tap on any remaining tensions in your body, or any remaining sense of danger. 

You may want to put each of the phrases you used for tapping on 3″ by 5″ cards (each one on a separate card) and read them aloud to yourself at night before retiring, and again first thing in the morning.  If your Intensity level on any one of them is more than a “2”, immediately tap it down.

This should bring relief for many of the present day symptoms you describe, particularly for your hyper-arousal, hyper-reactivity, anxiety, and depression.

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