Life Before Birth

Hands holding crying infant
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Where were you - your soul, your spirit - before you were born? If the soul is immortal, did it have a "life" before your birth?

Much has been written, and many anecdotes recorded, of the near-death experience (NDE). People who have been declared dead and then revived sometimes report an experience of being on another plane of existence, often meeting deceased relatives and beings of light.

Rarer, but no less intriguing, are stories from people who recall an existence shortly before their births into this world - the pre-birth experience (PBE).

These recollections differ from a past-life recall in that past-life recall are memories of previous lives on earth as humans, sometimes recently and sometimes of hundreds or even thousands of years ago. The pre-birth experience seems to "remember" an existence in the same or similar plane of existence described by NDErs.

Those who say they have had this amazing experience recall being in a spirit world, are aware of life on earth, and can sometimes choose their next life or communicate with their future parents. Some people even get a glimpse or a sense of the pre-birth realm during an NDE.

"Our research indicates that there is a continuity of self, that the 'same you' progresses through each of the three life stages - life before life, earth life, and life after death," according to Royal Child - The Prebirth Experience. "In a typical pre-birth experience, a spirit not yet born into mortality crosses over from the pre-earth life or heavenly realm and appears to or communicates with someone on earth.

The preborn soul often announces that he or she is ready to advance from the premortal existence by being born into earth life. After nearly 20 years of collecting and studying PBE accounts and comparing data with other researchers of spiritual phenomena, we have identified typical traits, characteristics, and types of PBEs; also when, to whom, and where they occur."

Of the people Prebirth.com has surveyed, 53% felt they remembered a time before conception, and 47% after conception, but before birth.

Pre-Birth Memories and Experiences

Most memories of a recent pre-birth existence come from children who reveal their recollections spontaneously and without prompting. One such case, from a woman identified only as Lisa P., is told in the book, Coming from the Light by Sarah Hinze:

I was putting three-year-old Johnny to bed when he asked for a bedtime story. For the past few weeks, I had been telling him of the adventures of his great-great-grandfather: a colonizer, a soldier, a community leader. As I started another story, Johnny stopped me and said, "No, tell me of Grandpa Robert." I was surprised. This was my grandpa. I had not told stories of him, and I could not imagine where he had heard his name. He had died before I had even married. "How do you know about Grandpa Robert?" I asked. "Well, Momma," he said with reverence, "he's the one who brought me to earth."

Some experiencers claim to have been given a preview of their coming lives, as in this story at Prebirth.com from Gen:

I remember someone talking to me, not with a voice, but more to my own mind, that it was not good for me to choose who was my parents, that it would not work out. And I was insistent on coming into my family, and it would not work out between my mother and father. I remember being shown various things and places that have happened in my life, even down to the house I live in now.

And here's an excerpt from Michael Maguire's experience at Thoughtful Living:

I can remember standing in a dark space, but unlike being in a darkened room, I could see everything around me and the blackness had dimension. There was another person standing to my right, and like me, he was waiting to be born into the physical world. There was an older person with us who could possibly be a guide, since he stayed with us until we left and answered my questions. In front of us and approximately 30 degrees below us, we could see the Earth with the facial images of two couples. I asked who those people were whose images appeared on the Earth and he replied that they were going to be our parents. The older man conveyed to us that it was time to go. The other person standing next to me walked forward and disappeared from my sight. I was told that it was my turn and I walked forward. Suddenly I found myself lying in a hospital nursery with other babies around me.

Communication From the Pre-Born

More common than actual pre-birth recollection is communication from the unborn or "preborn." And this communication can take several forms, according to Prebirth.com: very vivid dreams, lucid visions, auditory messages, telepathic communication and sensory experiences. Here are some examples.

Vivid Dreams

In this case, a parent has a dream about his or her unborn child. The dream is often unusually vivid and memorable. In her article, "The Mystery of Pre-Birth Communication," Elizabeth Hallett reports on one mother's dream:

My son was born five months ago and the first contact that I remember happened three years ago when my husband and I first met and fell in love. It was during our first month together that I entered into my journal a dream where I saw our son Austin playing with his dad. The dream was very vivid and the image of him as clear as a photograph. I wrote a physical description of him and knew what a beautifully special little soul he is. I fell so in love with this child that for two years all I could think about was getting pregnant and being able to hold him in my arms. After two years and finally a commitment to be married I became pregnant. Throughout my pregnancy I dreamed of him and he always looked the same. Same golden red hair and beautiful blue eyes. Now that he's here I get physical tangible evidence of what I felt about him all along.

And sometimes the child even conveys a message that can be of importance to the parent:

Don and Terri met a little later in life, but agreed that they didn't want to wait before having children. Terri became pregnant on their wedding night. An ultrasound taken several months later showed that without a doubt she was carrying twins. The pregnancy was making Terri very ill, and Don was worried about her health. He feared that she might lose the babies, but he was also more frightened that he might lose her as well. One night, he woke up and looked toward the bedroom door. A light was shining in the hall, but he remembered that he and Terri had shut everything off before coming to bed. The light grew in brilliance as it came down the hall, then turned into their bedroom. Within the light was a young man wearing a white robe. He came and hovered next to the bed and looked at Don. "Dad," he said. "My sister and I have talked it over, and decided that she will come first. It'll be better for Mom this way. I'll come in about two years." Don turned to wake up Terri, but when he turned back, the figure and the light were gone. The next day, Terri miscarried one of the babies she was carrying. The other twin suffered no trauma and was born at full term, healthy, red-haired - and a girl. Twenty-one months later, Terri gave birth to a boy with red hair exactly like his older sister's.

Visions

"The PBEr sees distinctly male or female form, various ages, variously attired, while awake," says Prebirth.com. "Sometimes form is accompanied by glow or light, sometimes not; sometimes appears and/or disappears suddenly." One such experience was related by Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss to Barbara Walters on the show "20/20":

The conversation went back to Dreyfuss' meteoric rise to stardom with such memorable films as The Goodbye Girl, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jaws. History has proven that such rapid success is often difficult to handle. Dreyfuss was no exception. Now 50, he responded to Barbara's pointed questions with the hard-earned yet peaceful candor of one who has succumbed to addiction and overcome it. The interview revealed that Dreyfuss' first marriage had fallen casualty to his troubled years, as had some great film roles. Over 20 years of addiction recycling had come and gone. The turning point occurred miraculously in a dark hour. Dreyfuss was hospitalized in an effort to detox him yet again from the grasp of drugs and alcohol. Hours passed. As he sobered all alone in the hospital room, there entered a three-year-old girl in a pink dress and shiny black patent leather shoes. She told him, "Daddy, I can't come to you until you come to me. Please straighten out your life so I can come." And she was gone. But the pleading message of her haunting eyes was seared into Dreyfuss' memory, a constant inspiration to reorder his life so that his daughter might come. With this sacred incentive he maintained sobriety, remarried and prayed. Within three years a daughter was born to Dreyfuss and his wife - the same girl who had come to his hospital room.

Auditory Messages

In some cases, the unborn may not be seen but can be heard. Experiencers claim that what they hear is distinct and quite different from an inner thought. A woman named Shawna tells this story at Light Hearts:

My husband and I had always wanted five children. After we reached number five we began to use birth control. One night, after love, I lay in bed and had a wondrous experience. I heard a voice of little boy asking me if I would be his mother. I felt this was a soul reaching out to me. I said quietly, "I'd love to," and that's when my little boy Caden and I first met. He has been a blessing for the whole family, gentle and loving - even his birth was amazing. Thinking I might be in labor and not being able to sleep, I went downstairs and began to make a cake. All of a sudden I felt my body pushing. I made it just into the living room. Caden was born into his father's hands.

Telepathy

Some people attest to a kind of telepathic communication from the preborn. Joy relates these remarkable experiences at Light Hearts:

I am a nurse-midwife. For about 10 years, occasionally an unborn baby of one of my patients "talks" to me telepathically. Most often this happens during labor to suggest some position change to make descent easier, or to tell me of a change in maternal blood pressure, maternal fever, etc. This information always proves true and often shortens labor. Occasionally the "talking" happens during prenatal office visits to tell me of something affecting the mother at home that I wouldn't know otherwise, such as drug abuse, domestic violence or extreme stress. I use the information to bring up the subject nonchalantly with the mother and we talk about options from there. These communications do not happen with every baby, seem to be for specific purposes and end abruptly with the delivery of the baby's head, almost as if it has passed through some veil and communication is not possible for me now.

Sensory Experiences

Sometimes the spirit of the preborn is an overwhelming sensory presence. Andi tells this story at Light Hearts:

About four years ago, I and my boyfriend (now my husband) were in college. I had this feeling that I was pregnant, and looking back I can see I could feel the presence of a spirit before that. We went and got a test and we were devastated when we found out the test was positive. I did want a family, but not right then, and my boyfriend felt the same way. Although I wasn't ready, a huge part of me wanted to keep the baby and just struggle along, but another part knew that in reality I wasn't ready and neither was my boyfriend. We decided to abort, which went against everything I felt was right. I followed through with the procedure. I woke up crying, with a nice nurse telling me understanding words. Fast forward a year and a half... I was ready... I could feel a child standing by me. I knew it would happen soon. I was having dreams about the first child as a girl, and I lost her... then I would hear a cry and there on a pillow was a little baby boy. I picked him up and shielded him from the world. I knew this was going to be my baby. About two months after the first dream I became pregnant. I knew right away it was a boy. When I was 20 weeks pregnant my suspicions were confirmed.