I want to introduce an article that brings important points to consider as we think about people, including our self.  I think that the fact my mother was not in her full-blown psychosis concerning me, and was probably not yet fully swallowed up by the severity of her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) mental illness while she carried me for the first nine months of my life, is probably THE most important resiliency factor that allowed me to survive the terrible abuse that happened to me once I was born.

Please consider taking a little time to read this article:

How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life

By Annie Murphy Paul, TIME Magazine, Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What makes us the way we are? Why are some people predisposed to be anxious, overweight or asthmatic? How is it that some of us are prone to heart attacks, diabetes or high blood pressure?

There’s a list of conventional answers to these questions. We are the way we are because it’s in our genes: the DNA we inherited at conception. We turn out the way we do because of our childhood experiences: how we were treated and what we took in, especially during those crucial first three years. Or our health and well-being stem from the lifestyle choices we make as adults: what kind of diet we consume, how much exercise we get.  (See 5 pregnancy myths debunked.)

But there’s another powerful source of influence you may not have considered: your life as a fetus. The kind and quantity of nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother’s health, stress level and state of mind while she was pregnant with you — all these factors shaped you as a baby and a child and continue to affect you to this day.”
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2021065,00.html#ixzz1nIoJdgHC

(If the text image for this article appears too small on your screen, be sure to hold down the ‘control’ key and hit the ‘+’ sign to make it larger.)


I was conceived around Thanksgiving 1950.  I was my parents’ 2nd child of the 6 they were to bring into this world.  I believe that Mother was as fine as she could be while she carried me.  I was a wanted child.  Both of my parents were physically healthy (with the exception of the seed of the terrible BPD disease Mother carried within her during the time she carried me) at this time in their lives.

I think about the womb conditions that might have existed for my mother during her first 9 months of life.  (Mother was born December 21, 1925.)  I have two interesting pieces of writing by my mother’s mother:

What seems possible is that, as Grandmother describes in part in her writings here, by the time my mother was conceived it was very clear that Grandfather did NOT want children.  Did Grandmother experience stress/distress about this fact as she carried my mother?  If she did, it IS entirely possible that Mother was negatively affected by the ‘state of the world’ she was being born into before she took her first breath.  It seems possible to me that Mother experienced trauma altered development that put her at risk before she was ever born.

I did not experience risk factors in Mother’s womb.  Mother’s fertility was celebrated, as was the fact that their ‘pretend fairy tale’ family was growing.

That Mother’s babies were to her nothing but living dolls is a part of the much larger picture of the story of her – mine – and my siblings’ lives.  That babies were by definition tied to Mother’s inadequate, traumatic, abusive childhood meant that all of us were forever trapped in Mother’s delusions as they prevented ANY ONE OF US from being real people in our own right.


But, for today’s point, I am forever grateful that my earliest beginnings were OK.  My body pre-birth was allowed to follow a trajectory toward strength and health without being altered by trauma.  The psychotic break Mother suffered bringing breech-birth me into the world was the end of anything like a trauma-free life for me.  Yet if there had not been the near-heaven of my first 9 months I don’t believe I would have had any chance at all of surviving what Mother did to me for the next 18 years.

I do not believe that my mother had this critical advantage that I did.  But of course nobody alive will ever know.


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