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A book for those preparing for parenthood by
Carista Luminare, Ph.D.:

Parenting Begins Before Conception:

A Guide for Preparing Body, Mind, and Spirit —
For You and Your Future Child

by Carista Luminare, Ph.D.

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An inspiring and groundbreaking text, Parenting Begins Before Conception: A Guide for Preparing Body, Mind and Spirit For You and Your Future Child, shows prospective parents how they can lay the foundations for a healthy and happy family life even before a child is conceived and born. New research contends that prenatal life and the birth experience are often profound determinants of human personality and aptitude. Hundreds of university and hospital studies conclude that unborn children see, hear, and feel in the womb.

Dr. Carista Luminare Rosen explores the universal forces underlying conception and shows parents how they can optimize their child's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health by considering a host of important issues well in advance. Weaving together modern preconception and prenatal health knowledge with ancient wisdom, the author guides parents through a unique holistic program designed to prepare them for the myriad changes, adjustments, and joys that accompany the major transition to parenthood. Dr. Luminare helps readers consider their readiness for parenthood- physically, psychologically, spiritually - so that when the child of their dreams arrives, they are fully prepared to welcome this new being - body, mind and soul.

Carista-Luminare Rosen, Ph.D., is a counselor in private practice who specializes in holistic approaches to preconception and prenatal health care. She lives in California with her husband and daughter where she co-directs The Center for Creative Parenting, an educational center offering classes on preconception, prenatal, and childbirth preparation and early parenting.

Book Endorsements for

Parenting Begins Before Conception:

A Guide for Preparing Body, Mind and Spirit
— For You and Your Future Child

by Carista Luminare, Ph.D.

"Parenting Begins Before Conception offers a wealth of positive parenting ideas. Dr Luminare encourages prospective parents to optimize their own health so that their child will be nurtured and supported in body, mind and spirit during the earliest stages of growth."
— John Gray, Ph.D., author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Children are from Heaven."

"First-time or experienced parents will breathe with new ease as they dive into this loving, holistic guide. Dr. Luminare's beautifully written stories and research support the deepest fulfillment in the adventure of parenting."
— Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D. and Gay Hendricks, Ph.D.
Authors of "Conscious Loving and The Conscious Heart."

"Parenting Begins Before Conception is a guide that every potential parent will want to read. Nothing is more empowering than working consciously with your baby's soul- even before that child is conceived. I highly recommend Dr. Luminare's work."
— Christiane Northrup, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., Author of" Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom."

"This is a beautiful and brilliant psychospiritual guide that should be read by every person preparing for parenthood. Dr. Carista Luminare's book is a practical and powerful integration of the best of modern psychology, the wisdom traditions and holistic health. Dr. Carista is truly a luminary for future generations of consciously conceived beings."
— Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., Psychiatrist and Best-selling Author of "Making Peace With Your Past and Making Peace with your Parents."

"Any parent — past, present or future —would benefit from reading Parenting Begins Before Conception. Regardless of background or religious orientation, anyone with an open heart and mind will find Dr. Luminare's book filled with good practical information laced with inspirational wisdom of perennial philosophy. A monumental task, the author has successfully brought together the East and West, the Spirit and the body, in a readable, fascinating and useful journey into the mystery and miracle of conception, pregnancy and birth."
—Barbara Findeisen, M.F.T., President of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH)

"Congratulations to Dr. Carista Luminare, for turning a powerful searchlight on the critical importance of conscious parenting: which begins before conception and continues in-utero and thereafter. Her book, "Parenting Begins Before Conception," highlights how profoundly we are affected by conscious and unconscious experiences and memories during our womb life. Prospective parents are inspired to consider the influence of the mother and father's physical and emotional state on the physiological and psychological development of the baby in the womb. Working with the wonderful exercises outlined in "Parenting Begins Before Conception," a woman and man discover their own prebirth and childhood experiences -- which can become their greatest ally in preparing for parenthood and bonding with their unborn child."
—Niravi Payne, author of "The Whole Person Fertility Program."

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Excerpts from

Parenting Begins Before Conception:

A Guide for Preparing Body, Mind and Spirit
— For You and Your Future Child

by Carista Luminare, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

- Parenting Began Before Conception: My Personal Journey
Chapter 1- Why Prepare For Parenthood?
click here to read excerpt
Chapter 2 - Your Child: A Multidimensional Being
click here to read excerpt
Chapter 3 - Preparing Your Body for Conception
click here to read excerpt
Chapter 4 - Preparing Your Mind for Conception
Chapter 5 - Preparing Your Spirit for Conception
Chapter 6 - The Time of Physical Conception
Chapter 7 - The Prenatal Journey
Chapter 8 - Birth and The Beginning of Your Baby’s Human Life
Chapter 9 - Holistic Parenting: Practical Next Steps
Appendix A -The PreSeeding Birth Program
Appendix B - Birth Wish List
Appendix C - Financial Investments before and after the Birth
Appendix D – From Soul to Cell: A Perspective on Reincarnation
Appendix E - The Implications of Abortion in a Prebirth Health Care Model
Appendix F - Resources

© 1999 by Carista Luminare, Ph.D.

Excerpt One:

Why Prepare for Parenthood?
The Benefits of a Psychologically Healthy Parent

It need not be said that preparing for parenthood is a major life initiation. It is a personal and provocative journey and involves much soul searching. When combining a holistic health perspective with preconception health care, your psychological wellness is as important as that of your body and spirit. Standing on the threshold of parenthood creates a powerful opportunity to explore the unresolved psychological themes of your own childhood, as well as a precious time to contemplate the future emotional and mental concerns of becoming a mom or dad.

This is an invaluable moment to explore your sense of yourself as a person, a partner, and a potential parent. It is important that both partners evaluate their psychological preparedness and the identity challenges of becoming a parent. All children greatly benefit when both parents respond to them as mature adults, rather than having to negotiate a psychological or emotional maze of one parent’s inappropriate behavior.

To optimize your future child’s whole health, it’s important that you consider the soundness of your own self-esteem and self-expression. In addition to consistently wholesome dietary habits, you should have equal regard for the psychological nutrients you expose your child to as soon as she is conceived, and throughout her life.

Excerpt Two:

Why Prepare for Parenthood?
Endless Phases: New Opportunities to Learn and Grow

The first weeks after my daughter, Kylea, was born, I was overwhelmed with the many changes and challenges of parenthood, as well as the many adjustments that my baby was experiencing. Then I received a note from my older brother, who had become a father three weeks earlier. “Try not to take parenting so seriously,” he wrote. “Everything is just a phase.” This simple yet enlightening remark is a good reminder to all new parents. You and your child will continue to go through changes, and there will always be something new to learn.
Indeed, life as a parent is filled with many different phases, from the moment a child is conceived through each adjustment during pregnancy, birth, infancy, and beyond. Some of these conditions are brief, others more long lasting. Just when you master one, a growth spurt in your child will require you to explore and expand your parenting wisdom once again.

Let’s look at some of the major phases that you can be aware of and prepare for as new parents.

Conception: Your conscious exploration of the optimal conditions and time to conceive your child can include a complete
review of your past relationship with your own parents, the strengths and weaknesses of your partnership, and the physical and psychological health of you and your partner. You may want to include the spiritual needs of your child as well.

Pregnancy: Physical changes in the mother, such as nausea, sporadic body aches, astonishing food cravings, and broken sleep cycles, will have a profound impact on you and your partner as you readjust sleep and workloads (both professionally and at home) and give all due consideration to mood swings from intense hormonal fluctuations.

• Giving Birth: While this generally lasts no more than a day,
the conscious preparation will take many weeks or even months. Discussing options—midwife, hospital, or a combination of both; breast-feeding; immunization; and circumcision—will present many learning opportunities. As you educate yourselves, you may find previously held philosophies challenged.

Coping with Fatigue: One of the least-considered changes, which has an impact on both partners, fatigue can begin during pregnancy and frequently lasts throughout your child’s infancy. Being aware of the likelihood of fatigue allows you to plan the sharing of necessary tasks accordingly.

Re-balancing Your Relationship: Commonly, once your baby is born, sexuality and relationship changes as well as possible career and financial challenges will comprise a new phase that may shift and require continual conscious adjustment for years. Just as you have learned what your child needs to support one phase of his development, this knowledge will become obsolete as he changes his eating, sleeping, and playing requirements constantly.

It’s important to remain flexible—that is, don’t become attached to what you learned in one phase, which may not carry well into the next. And as my brother pointed out, remember that everything is a phase, so try not to take your parenting too seriously. There will be creative solutions and life lessons for all family members each step of the way. Even the most challenging phase, whether it lasts a moment, a day, a month, or years, will present you with new opportunities to improve the physical and psychological well-being of both yourselves and your child. One phase that will never end—that only grows each day—is experiencing the wonders of giving and receiving love.

Excerpt 3:

Why Prepare for Parenthood?
Anticipate Lifestyle Changes Now

Once a child is born, changes are swift and may be overwhelming. Parenthood, partnership, career, and self-care become a balancing act. You’ll find yourself trying to be your true self while being a reliable source of love for your family, a beloved to your partner, a friend to your community, and an effective professional in your career.

Making Things Work

Some employers are very supportive in offering flextime, while others are resistant to considering their employees’ family responsibilities. Self-employed people have their own concerns; they commonly struggle to budget enough work time separate from their endless domestic responsibilities. Personal and professional routines often seem to blend into one large list of tasks whose priorities need to be continually assessed.

Keys to balancing your work with your new family will include:

Considering your willingness to sacrifice some of the activities and behaviors of your previous lifestyle.
Prioritizing goals and commitments: family, personal, and business.
Anticipating the ways in which you will have to reorganize your personal and professional time and space.
Rebudgeting your finances.
Revising your work-related and most cherished personal
Knowing that you will be continually considering the essential needs of your child, partner, self, and work, over and over again, as new requirements unfold.

Often a baby demands immediate and urgent attention at the most inconvenient moments of your already overcommitted day. Frustration is predictable on days that hold both deadlines and a needy child; on the other hand, you’ll feel fulfilled and strengthened on the days you gracefully complete your goals. The more flexible and objective you can be, the more likely it is that you will not only endure but also enjoy the radical changes in your daily routine that will begin the moment your child is born.

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Excerpt 4:

Your Child: A Multidimensional Being
Consider a Holistic Health Approach

Have you ever considered how a holistic approach to parenting can benefit you and your future child? Holistic health care takes into account the whole person. Most of us think of preconception and prenatal care as optimizing the physical health of the child and mother. We rarely consider the father’s health, the psychological health of the parents and their relationship, and the whole health—body, mind, and soul—of the unborn child. Your own prebirth holistic health care plan, however, can include all of these aspects in preparing to conceive your child.

Although the term holistic health has been defined in many ways, common among them is the concept that each of us is a multifaceted being with complex physical, psychological, and spiritual needs for achieving a state of whole health. Every individual has a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual body, and the well-being of each of these bodies is equally important. If one or more of these bodies is in dis-ease, the health of all of them is affected. When all of these aspects are in balance and integrated, we are in optimal holistic health. A holistic perspective also includes environmental influences that contribute to our health—social, economic, political, and educational.

Whereas traditional allopathic health programs tend to focus on the symptoms of a condition, holistic health care addresses the reasons why a symptom is appearing. Instead of medicating a condition to get rid of it, a holistic practitioner will assess what needs to be physically or psychologically altered within your lifestyle to naturally improve your life. When you practice holistic living, you may discover that many of your health challenges are resolved intuitively, as Sandra’s experience illustrates:

David and I had been trying to conceive a baby for almost three years. Our doctor recommended strong fertility drugs, and so we tried that for another year with no results. I was becoming more and more depressed and our relationship was suffering. I finally began to address the emotional fear about not being able to have a baby. I discovered I had a lot of sadness about my abortion six years earlier, and a tremendous amount of pain regarding my mother’s death following my birth. It suddenly dawned on me that I was stewing in a belief that I or my child would die if I became pregnant. I realized I was subconsciously giving my body the message that it was safer for me to stay infertile. Once I acknowledged and worked through the unresolved grief from my past, I realized that I could create a different outcome for my life. Two months later I became pregnant without the assistance of any drugs. The fertility drugs never worked because it was not a physical problem; it was a psychological one. Our doctor had never even asked me about my past, or my beliefs about becoming a mother. All of the answers to my fertility challenge were in my mind.

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Excerpt Five:

Preparing Your Body for Conception
The Mind-Body Connection to Your Fertility Wellness

The term mind-body suggests that the physical, emotional, and mental states of your being are interconnected and interdependent. The mind-body approach to preconception and prenatal health care addresses the effects of anxiety and stress on fertility outcomes. Your feelings and thoughts trigger physiological responses in the body that can affect the chemical, hormonal, and neurological balances in your reproductive system. For example, you may consciously feel ready to have a baby while subconsciously remaining ambivalent, perhaps because of unresolved memories from your past.

The biochemical effect of suppressed emotions can confuse the hormonal system. In her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom Christiane Northrup, M.D., explains that “the mind/body approach to fertility is based on the premise that knowledge is power and that a change in perception based on new information is powerful enough to effect subtle changes in your endocrine, immune and nervous systems.” While psychological well-being will be explored at greater length in the next chapter, you should be aware of how psychological stresses can affect your physical state, particularly your ability or inability to conceive.

Psychoneuroendocrinology is the study of the relationships among emotions, the nervous system, and the endocrine (hormone) system. Scientific evidence verifies that emotions do affect the body’s delicately balanced hormone functions. Depression, stress, and other forms of psychological trauma can set off chemical processes in the body that interfere with ovulation.

Many scientific findings suggest that psychological support can improve conception and positive birth outcomes. Dr. Northrup states that “you need to know that your ability to conceive is profoundly influenced by the complex interaction among psychosocial, psychological, and emotional factors, and that you can consciously work with this to enhance your ability to conceive.” Consciously addressing your feelings and thoughts is essential to optimizing your fertility health. Now is a great time to evaluate any potential psychological barriers to conception.

Holistic health modalities can relieve physical and psychological stress and empower you to open up to new possibilities. Anne remembers:

I was not able to conceive after a year of consistent effort. My childhood sexual abuse experiences were literally shutting out my chances of becoming a mother. The shame, the fear that I might re-stimulate these past memories, the suppressed anger, grief, and confusion that had been stored in my belly for three decades were literally telling my womb, “No way life can grow in me, and no way do I deserve to be a mother.” I was afraid that having a baby would bring back all the suppressed pain. After months of intensive counseling, I felt my self-respect restored and my body excited to have a baby, and I even had positive thoughts about my childhood. My body went from being run by a deep subconscious no to motherhood to a wonderful yes to life growing inside me. I will never again underestimate the power of the mind-body connection.

Repatterning lifelong beliefs about sexuality, conception, pregnancy, birth, children, parenthood, and family relationships will increase your ability to conceive and nurture a healthy pregnancy to fruition. You can change your personal and professional life so that your mind-body responds positively to the challenges of your life.

Which holistic modalities can best increase your chances of conception? Each person has unique needs. Some need to pay more attention to physical health considerations, while others need more psychological or spiritual support. Since the physiological, psychological, and spiritual factors related to reproduction are interconnected, it’s beneficial to work with a practitioner who addresses your whole health. A holistic prebirth evaluation session can clarify which areas of your inner and outer life need care. In addition, most natural approaches will increase the effectiveness of medical fertility interventions.

Some couples may benefit from counseling. For those with continual and unresolved feelings of anxiety, self-judgment, resentment, guilt, shame, anger, longing, depression, ambivalence, disappointment, or any unresolved emotions—or if you feel emotionally out of control, reactive, detached from life, or ambivalent about having a child—I strongly recommend including counseling as part of your pre-pregnancy program.

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