Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Children's Birth, Womb, Prelife, and Past-Life Memories: Results of an Internet-Based Survey

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Children's Birth, Womb, Prelife, and Past-Life Memories: Results of an Internet-Based Survey

Article excerpt

The significance of prenatal and perinatal memories of newborns is multi-dimensional (Chamberlain, 1988a). This paper focuses on the transpersonal dimension, and considers newborn memories within the wider context of memories unexplainable in general physical terms. Although neuroscientific evidence suggesting the existence of prenatal and perinatal memories is accumulating (White and Rhodes, 2014), such detailed memories as reported in Chamberlain (1988b) are not yet within its scope. In this paper, prenatal and perinatal memories (womb and birth memories, respectively, in the present terminology) are considered together with other two types of memories unexplainable in physical terms: live-between-life or prelife memories (memories before conception) and past-life memories.

A child having one type of these memories often possesses other types (Ohkado & Ikegawa, 2014). Analysis of these four types of memories simultaneously sheds new light on children's psychology. Moreover, as shown in this article, all these memories tend to have positive effect on parents so that they are of great potential importance for parent-child relationship and hence, child-rearing.

The ontological status of these memories, especially prelife and pastlife memories, is controversial and the present paper does not make any substantial claim about it, merely pointing out that there are numerous examples of all these memories that were verified by documentation and independent witnesses and appear to be genuine (Chamberlain, 1986; Cheek, 1986; Laibow, 1986; Ohkado andlkegawa, 2014; Stevenson, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1997, 2003; Tucker, 2005, 2013, among others).

Method

The present investigation used an online marketing research company Rakuten Research that had around 2.2 million panels at the time of the present research (July, 2014). 10,000 randomly selected women ages 20s to 50s answered a web-based questionnaire with the first two sets of screening questions listed in Table 1. The participants are all Japanese and the original questions were all in Japanese.

Then, questionees who answered positively to both the first and second halves of at least one of the four questions listed in (2) were given a second round of the survey and were asking the questions listed in Table 2. If a questionee had more than one child, she was asked to pick up any one of them.

Results

Table 3 shows the figures concerning the number of questionees who know or do not know that there are children having the four types of memories: (i) birth memories; (ii) womb memories; (iii) prelife memories; and (iv) past-life memories.

For birth and womb memories more than half of the participants knew the existence of children talking about such memories. This popularity in Japan is largely due to the work by Dr. Ikegawa Akira, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who published the results of his questionnaire-based survey of birth and womb memories (Ikegawa, 2005) and wrote many books about them for the general public in Japan.

Of these 10,000 participants, the figures concerning the number of those having a child aged three to twelve with one or more of the four types of memories are shown in Table 4.

In his questionnaire-based survey concerning birth and womb memories conducted at two nursery schools, Ikegawa (2005) reported that 20.7% and 33.0% of the 1620 responders said that their children talked about birth and womb memories, respectively. The figures in Table 4, namely, 16.2% and 28.1%, are not greatly different from the figures reported in Ikegawa (2005).

Of the questionees having a child aged three to twelve who has talked about at least one of the four types of memories, 984 gave sufficient information to the questions listed in Table 2, and the data analyzed below are limited to those provided by these 984 responders.

The number of questionees having a child aged three to twelve with each memory is given in Table 5. …

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