Pregnancy and Parenting Features

by Theresa M. Danna

This article about pre-birth communication won third prize in the 12th Alexander Imich Essay Contest sponsored by the Exceptional Human Experience Network.

The Exceptional Experience

On the night of September 2, 1994, something happened to me which unexpectedly changed my life.

I was falling asleep, and just when I was in that hypnagogic half-awake/half-asleep state of consciousness, there appeared before my closed eyelids a little boy's face. He was a toddler—and a shy one at that. At first he was looking down, and then he slowly lifted his eyes and looked directly at me. He smiled and said in his sweet voice, "Mommy, I'm coming."

He looked much as I did when I was that age. My attention magnetically drew to his light brown eyes. I looked so intently at them that I was able to see through and beyond them. And what I saw was breathtaking.

There was a brilliant white light. With that light came the feeling of pure, unconditional love pouring into me. I sensed that I was seeing eternity—the God force.

While in the midst of this beauty, the impact of this child's words struck me. I'm going to be a mother! So I asked him telepathically, "When are you coming?" The white light went away, as well as the boy's face, and I saw the number 97. I assumed that meant my son would come to me in 1997.

Then I awoke and cried tears of joy.

Circumstances Leading Up
to the Exceptional Human Experience

At the time that my son appeared to me, I was 36 years old, never married (recovering from a bad breakup with a boyfriend five months earlier), overly educated (in a Ph.D. program) and severely underemployed (working as a secretary in a dingy office for an unethical pay telephone owner), emotionally depressed, and physically in poor health.

None of my life's plans, which I had worked so hard for since high school, had manifested. By the age of 36 I had expected to be married with children, living in my own home, and earning a comfortable income as a book author and screenwriter. Since none of my dreams had come true, I lost all hope. In the previous few months I had considered suicide, but my pride stopped me from doing that. (Everything was so upside-down that an alleged "deadly sin" actually saved my life!) I decided instead to kill off whatever dreams might still be lingering in order to save myself from the pain of further disappointment. Thus I withdrew from post-graduate school, and I began considering having my fallopian tubes tied. With all of the negative statistics I had heard in the media about women over 35 having scant chances of marrying and decreased ability to conceive even if they do, I could not envision parenthood in my bleak future. Besides, I rationalized, I had been a failure at everything else. What kind of mother would I have been anyway?

Then with the passing of one exceptional minute on that September night, my life miraculously changed direction. I suddenly had purpose. Someone had chosen me to be his mother! And he loved me so much that he crossed the boundaries between spirit and matter—between heaven and earth—to breathe life into me so that I could give birth to him.

In my enthusiasm, I immediately started telling my friends and family about this remarkable experience. Unfortunately, they did not understand it and even dismissed it. "Oh, Theresa, it was just a dream," they said. Others claimed it was nothing but wishful thinking. Even the more enlightened ones wrote it off with Jungian analogy: "Dreaming of a baby just means new beginnings in your life."

I was hurt and frustrated by their reactions. I knew what a night dream felt like; I knew what a daydream and wishful thinking felt like; I had meditated and had been hypnotized; I recognized archetypal imagery when I saw it. In other words, I knew what it was like to have something come up from the subconscious, and I knew that what I had experienced with my son was unlike that. It was clearly another soul coming to me from somewhere outside of myself. It was the most spectacular epiphany of my life, yet I could share it with no one in my circle of loved ones.

I soon began to doubt my sanity. If only I could talk to another parent who had experienced what I had. Though in my heart I knew that what I saw and heard was real, my rational self craved validation. Ironically, that lack of faith in my exceptional experience is what prompted it to grow into an exceptional human experience.

Aftereffects: The Project of Transcendence

Over the following months I continued to see occasional flashes of my son as I was falling asleep. Usually I saw him as a baby in ordinary situations. For example, in one vision he was crawling on the floor, reaching for something or someone, and I was right there on the floor with him. In another I saw him sitting in a stroller. And once when I saw myself holding him as an infant against my shoulder, my hand cupped around his head, I again was flooded with love. I immediately awoke to discover physical warmth on my shoulder.

Other times he communicated with me by way of an inner voice, rather than through a vision or his own voice. On one particular evening I was feeling depressed about the declining morals in our society after watching a news report about the "date rape" drug, and I silently asked my son, "Why do you want to be born?" I did not expect an answer, but instantly one came by way of an inner voice: "To love." I then asked: "That's it?" His answer seemed so simple. Without hesitation came another reason: "And to play baseball." My mood switched from sad to giggly. As a loyal baseball fan since my own childhood years, it suddenly made sense why he picked me to be his mother! And who knows? Maybe I could even teach him something about love.

As one of the first steps of my quest to meet parents who had similar experiences as mine, in February of 1995, I contacted Fate, a monthly magazine which reports on paranormal experiences. To the section in the back of each issue called "Can You Help These Readers?" I wrote a letter briefly describing my situation and asked for any readers who had similar experiences to please write to me. I mailed the letter and waited.

In the meantime, I began watching every television show about paranormal experiences. Through the grace of synchronicity, an episode of "The Extraordinary" soon featured actress Linda Gray talking about how her grandson had appeared to her a few days before he was born. She said that later when he was about four years old, he looked exactly like the boy she had seen in her vision. Interestingly, she hadn't even been in an altered state of consciousness when he appeared to her. She was fully awake, driving her car to the hospital for his birth, when his image appeared in her windshield. Maybe I wasn't crazy after all…or maybe we were both crazy!

Soon after that show aired, "The Other Side" featured a panel of guests discussing the psychic link between mothers and their children. One woman reported seeing a vision of her son as an adult when she herself was only 12 years old. Her child was now that adult whom she had seen. Another guest, Cassandra Eason, had written several books on this subject: A Mother's Instincts, Psychic Power of Children and Psychic Families.

I excitedly called the production office of the show to find out how I could contact the guests who had appeared that day. Along with the address for Cassandra, I also received the address of a group called Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN). After writing to that organization, I learned that they offer support to people who have had intense spiritual or psychic experiences which either cannot be, or are sometimes inappropriately, labeled as psychological disorders. As part of their service, SEN offers people who act as "listeners" to people like me. I felt as if my prayers were being answered. If I could speak to even one other person who had experienced what I had, I would feel relieved to know that I was not alone—and that I was not delusional.

SEN gave me the name, address, and phone number of a mother of two who had had contact with both of her children before they were conceived. She told me that her contact with them was a combination of visions that appeared while she was in a relaxed state and dialog with an inner voice. She described precisely what I was experiencing! Furthermore, she confirmed that her children later did indeed look exactly like the children she had seen in her visions. She was also able to get an advance sense of what their personalities would be like, which came true as well. When I asked if her husband had any such communication with their children, she said that the name of their son, an unusual name, was somehow communicated to both her and her husband. That experience was enough to convince him that a spiritual connection was evident.

Soon after talking to her, Cassandra Eason (a mother of five) wrote me back confirming that, based on her research, these experiences have happened to many parents. She also described her own experience of pre-conception contact: After Cassandra had miscarried a baby boy, she started to see a little blond, curly-haired boy sitting on the stairs. He would appear a few weeks before each time she conceived. It took three children before he finally decided to become Cassandra's fifth child. She knew it was him that time because he has grown to look exactly like the boy she had seen sitting on the stairs.

At that point I was satisfied and convinced that I did communicate with the soul of my son-to-be, that he would look exactly like the child I had seen in my vision, and that he already loved me unconditionally. But the "validation" I had sought did not stop there!

In October of 1995, Fate magazine finally published my letter. Over the next few months I received letters from about 20 people living in various regions of the United States—mothers, fathers, and other relatives—explaining their own similar experiences.

I cried as I read each one.

With their words poured out love. One woman remarked: "This is the first time I've answered one of these letters. I just felt compelled." Another said: "Your letter has caused me to write this letter to you, which is something I have never done in the five years I have been subscribing to Fate." Revealed another: "I have never related this experience to anyone, not even my husband." One father sent me photographs of his children. And a 63-year-old woman who had seen a vision of her child when she was 20 years old wrote: "I always felt it only happened to me. Can you imagine, Theresa, my surprise in reading your quest? I just had to write you—you are not alone."

That is when I realized that I must continue researching and publicly discussing the subject of pre-birth communication. I have since lectured to rooms full of appreciative listeners and appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs. As soon as I got a computer which had the capabilities to go online, I began writing about my EHE on the Internet. Each time that I "came out" with my own experience, more people told me about either their own communication with an unborn child or the experiences of someone they know.

Stories such as the man who heard his son's voice say, "Go get pizza." When he followed the directive, he met at the pizzeria that night the woman who he eventually married and who became the mother of that child. Stories such as the woman who was awakened by a cool breeze and found herself face-to-face with a little boy who was neither of her two sons. Nonetheless, she said to him, "What are you doing up? Go back to bed!" The boy ran across the room and hid behind a chair. When she got up to look for him he was gone. That is, he was gone until she gave birth to him a year later. And there were even stories of adoptive mothers having their future child appear to them, demonstrating that this marvelous link of love goes beyond biology.
In addition to such stories, I received comments such as:

  • "Your work is much needed here on our 'little' planet."
  • "Thank you for a most unusual and spellbinding evening."
  • "My favorite part of your lecture was to know that I chose my life here on earth and to not be angry at my parents, and to release and heal my life. I enjoyed every part of this excellent lecture!"
  • "You are doing such beautiful and needed spiritual work. Thank you."
  • "Your whole lecture was new and enlightening."
  • "Your stories are richly encouraging for all prospective new parents."
Each comment felt like a blessing and confirmed my decision to share with the world my emerging lifeview.

The Lifeview

While I was publicly revealing a new paradigm for the nature of consciousness and the evolution of the human soul, I was privately undergoing an expansion of my life's view.

Since my EE, I have thought about concepts that never occurred to me before and have looked at familiar concepts with new insights. I have experienced feelings previously unknown to me. I have achieved clarity in my own life's purpose and have come to understand how I fit into the bigger picture, which includes past and future generations as well as experiences beyond earth. Because of my new beliefs about birth and spirituality, I have gained some new friends and lost some old friends.

The changes I have experienced have been on both the physical and philosophical levels. First, the physical.

Once I learned that I would become a mother, I began noticing—and appreciating—the differences between men and women. Previously, I had been lacking in femininity. Our society had conditioned me to be a producer, an active do-er. I was taught by business and career experts that to succeed in the corporate world I would have to dress, speak, and think like a man. In my motivation to be purposeful, and in my need to support myself financially, I gradually lost the essence of my gender, which is to be receptive and nurturing. In terms of the Chinese yin and yang philosophy, I was severely yin deficient.

To correct this imbalance, the Universe soon brought to me audio tapes by Dr. Pat Allen (on new traditionalism) and Dr. John Gray (the Venus and Mars series); book titles such as His Needs - Her Needs and Marriage, Parenthood and Enlightenment; and local seminars which teach women how to be feminine again. In time, I began dressing differently, adding some lace, pastels, and shorter skirts to my wardrobe. I also began to enjoy wearing more perfume, jewelry, and makeup.

I have learned that being feminine does not mean being weak. On the contrary, by revealing the natural softness under my man-made hard shell, I have been strengthened.

The philosophical changes I have experienced sprung from questions such as:

  • Do we choose our parents and life purpose?
  • Can we choose when to be born…and when to die?
  • Does a fetus have a soul?
  • Why do we have children?
  • When should we have children?
Although my EE, and the personal experiences of the other people who have shared their stories with me, do not offer scientific proof that everyone chooses her or his parents and life purpose before physical conception takes place, they do strongly suggest that at least some of us do indeed make such pre-birth choices. Once I discovered that I would give birth to a son around 1997 and that he was coming to earth so that he could "love...and play baseball," I wondered if I myself chose my parents and, if so, why?

In my attempt to answer these questions, I came to accept my parents just the way they were and to release any grudges about my upbringing. By taking responsibility for all of my choices, including the subconscious and pre-birth ones, I was able to move forward in the spirit of love and growth. Previously I had viewed myself as a victim of circumstances (that is, we do not choose our parents), and therefore felt I had no control over my life's current situation either. Now, I see myself as a co-creator (with my higher self) of circumstances, and thus can create change in my life if I so desire.

As my EHE matured, I personally decided that a fetus does indeed have a soul. This decision led me to wonder what happens in situations such as abortion and miscarriage. As a response to that wonderment, the Universe again provided me with some guidance. On a live call-in radio program that I appeared on, a woman who had had a miscarriage a few years ago told the audience that her toddler daughter said to her one day, "I was in your tummy before." When the mother asked for an explanation, the girl said, "The first time I was a boy, I changed my mind, and I got washed away."

Another caller, one who had had an abortion some years ago, related a story about her eight-year-old son who said to her one day—out of the blue—"God sent me to you twice." She asked what he meant. "The first time," he said, "I ended up in a jar."

These stories forced me to alter my opinion of miscarriage and abortion. I could no longer say that I was against abortion, because it had become obvious (to me personally) that the soul is eternal. In the case of either miscarriage or abortion, only the body dies. The soul can and does return when it senses another opportunity. One lecturer that I listened to after my EE, Sylvia Browne, proclaimed that her spirit guide told her we all have five "exit" points. That is, we choose before we are born five circumstances under which we can die during that life. This seemed to offer an explanation for so many near-death experiences and other close brushes with death. I then thought, "Well, maybe we have a number of 'entrance' points, too." My own soul chose to be born in 1958. If I had been born years sooner, I would not have been the youngest of my parents' six children. And if I hadn't been the youngest, and hadn't experienced the 1960s as my childhood, for instance, I am sure my life would have been different than it actually has been.

Another aftereffect of my EE was a new perspective on parenthood. I soon felt a bond with all other mothers through the ages and across all cultures. I recalled Bible stories that told of women being visited by angels delivering the message of an upcoming pregnancy. I felt that I was now a part of the history of humanity. And when I received the letters from other parents who had been visited by the spirits of their children before birth, I felt a special bond with them separate from the common bond among all parents. It did not matter what social class, ethnic race, or religion these parents belonged to. The miles that separated us melted. We were not strangers, but rather intimates instantly bonded by a single common experience: a pre-birth link with our children. I felt honored to be included in a circle of such uniquely blessed individuals.

Yet in the beginning I still was unclear about the roles of parents and children. After much thought, I decided that a parent's job is to stand in for life experience until the child has accumulated her or his own life experiences. As substitutes for actual experience, parents teach children what they know about life, based on their own experiences and belief systems.

The child's job, in turn, is to grow up. Physical development and rites of passage measure the child's growth along the way. But when do we actually become an adult?

As a result of my EE and its aftereffects, I have come to believe we finally stop being children when we have accumulated enough life experience to test our parents' lessons against our own reality. If those lessons are out of sync with what we experience, then we must reject our parents' beliefs and adopt our own. When we start believing and behaving based on our own experience with life, then we are grown up.

Following this reasoning, to be a good parent, one must first grow up. Such passage from child to adult, as defined above, occurs at different ages for different people. Actor Burt Reynolds once said in a television interview that it took him 50 years to grow up. For some, the passage never happens.

I myself did not yet feel like I had completed the passage when I learned through my EE that I would become a parent. In some aspects of my life, my behavior was still based on my parents' life experiences and beliefs, not my own. It was difficult for me to reject the foundation that my parents had laid out for me and instead build a new basis for living.

I now feel that my son warned me of his coming three years prior to his arrival so I could spend that time preparing for my role as parent. In my case, it took a child's love—a love so strong that it crossed the boundaries of time and space—to make me realize it was time for me to stop being a child and start being an adult.

Why should I have a child? Because my son needs the most enlightened life stand-in as possible to fulfill his own life's mission. He has looked at all of the women on earth and chosen me as the person best qualified for that important task.

I gladly oblige.

The Experiential Paradigm

In the summer of 1997, I turned 39 years old and was still unmarried. Had something gone wrong with my EE? How could my son come to me during that year if I wasn't even dating anyone?

Again I was faced with the challenge to stretch my lifeview. After much examination, I accepted the fact that though my EE promised me a child, it never promised me a husband. By this time my love for my son-to-be was so strong that I committed myself to giving him the opportunity to come to earth in any way I'd have to, including unconventional or controversial means.

Thus I began exploring the prospect of single parenthood and the possibility of anonymous donor insemination. Out the window went my old notions about two-parent households being the best for children. Besides some encouraging reports that I had read about the children of mature, stable single mothers, I knew in my heart that I would be a good mother regardless of what circumstances surrounded my child's birth. In the process, I also came to accept and respect other unconventional parents, such as lesbians and interracial couples. Yet another spiritual bond had developed with people I hadn't even met because I let go of societal boundaries.

As an affirmation of the rightness of my single parenthood decision, synchronicity again stepped into the picture. The very first sperm donor that I considered turned out to be exactly the type of man I was looking for. I wanted someone who demonstrated a kind heart and an appreciation of baseball. (In retrospect, I now believe that the choice of this donor was actually made by my son's spirit—not by me—and that I was simply guided to him. My role was just to trust that guidance.)

Everything was going smoothly until I visited a medical doctor who ran me through a battery of fertility tests. He concluded from the lab results that I was menopausal, with "old eggs," and that I had only borderline chances of conceiving. After all that my son-to-be and I had journeyed through thus far, I absolutely refused to accept the doctor's prognosis.

For about six weeks I prepared my body, mind, and heart for conception. This preparation included doing acupressure, taking herbs and vitamins, wearing certain crystals, ridding my subconscious mind of any residual negative beliefs about parenthood, and inviting my son's spirit to enter my body.

The End/The Beginning

In October of 1997, I conceived on the first try. My son's expected "entrance point" is July 3, 1998. We're planning an unmedicated home birth in the same bed that I was lying on when he first appeared to me and proclaimed: "Mommy, I'm coming."

In the meantime, as a result of me continuing to openly discuss my EHE, the television show "Hard Copy" has shown a segment on pre-birth communication, and Intuition Magazine contacted me regarding a future article on the same subject.

My EHE has taught me that the love continuum—to which all life is connected—has no weak links.

# # #

Addendum to Original Essay
AJ was born by Cesarean section on June 18, 1998, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, after 18 hours of labor at home. To everyone's surprise, he was breech! The atmosphere in the operating room was fantastic--upbeat, humorous, celebratory.

Theresa M. Danna has a master's degree in professional writing from University of Southern California and is currently writing a book titled "Mommy, I'm Coming": A Journal of Mid-life Motherhood.

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