5 Types of Children's Memories
Babies Are Cosmic, our third book, was inspired by new stories and mounting evidence. Parents submitted thousands of comments on our Facebook page about children’s memories that aren’t found in textbooks: birth, womb, conception, preconception, and past-life memories. These reports indicate that real-world babies, known by their mothers for their essence and character, are different from the textbook babies of academic psychology and medicine.
Children’s memories fall into 5 classifications:
Type 1: Children’s Preconception Memory
PRECONCEPTION MEMORY includes details of life before biological conception. Common elements include:
- Children recall an existence in a spiritual realm, such as heaven, “the sky,” “above the clouds.”
- Children describe choosing their parents and peering down at earth through a portal or window in heaven or through the clouds.
- And they describe encounters with otherworldly beings, like angels, celestial beings, dear ones on the Other Side, and other children waiting for birth, such as siblings.Here are examples of these memories.
- 1-year-old Samantha held her mother’s face in her hands, looked deep into her eyes, and said, “I picked you to be my mommy.”
- Hazel: I was sitting on the sofa with my 4-year-old son Neo when he said, “Mama, I was with Luna (his 1-year-old sister) before we were born and I was in your tummy. We were together and surrounded in green light. Sometimes we used to see angel Michael."
- In Children Who Communicate Before They Are Born, Dietrich Bauer, Max Hoffmeister, and Hartmut Görg relate the case of an unwed mother who gave up her child for adoption. The Child Welfare Office placed the child in a series of foster homes. They eventually found him a permanent home with a childless couple. The morning after the child’s very first night with his adoptive parents, he told his new mother while being dressed, “Mummy, I always wanted to come to you, but the little door was shut.”
- Sara: My husband and I could not have children, but we really wanted to have one. My husband is Chinese Canadian and we ended up adopting a girl from China. When Carol was 4 or 5, she always asked us to tell her funny or interesting stories about our lives when we were young. Carol loved these stories and we told them over and over again.
One time, she said, “Mom, I planned that! I wanted you two to be friends when I was in heaven!” Apparently she saw my husband and me as teenagers while she was in heaven and told God, “I want those people to be my parents.” She pestered God so much that he relented.
- In a 2015 British online article on children’s past-life memories, a mother shared her daughter’s “choosing” memory.
Our youngest daughter, aged 3, sat on the floor playing with her toys and suddenly said, “Do you remember before? When I was up in the sky and I chose you?”
“No, I don’t think I do. Can you tell me some more so that I can remember?”
“I saw you from up there (pointing towards the sky through the window), and I waved. Did you see me waving?”
“I don’t think so. Could you tell me any more to help me remember?”
“They said I could choose a mummy and daddy. I looked; then I chose you and I waved at you.”
“Did I wave back?”
She said, “No.”
So I told her, “I don’t think I saw you.”
- Japanese obstetrician Dr. Akira Ikegawa’s interview with Tomoya Sato and his mother is featured in a documentary on children’s memories. At the age of 3, Tomoya claimed that he chose his mother before he was born. Later on, he drew a picture of Kamisama, a Buddha-like being, holding a ball of light and seated cross-legged near a temple. Golden spheres of light circled around him.Tomoya said, “People are like balls of light before coming into human shape. Kamisama asks each one, ‘Which mother do you choose?’ Kamisama made me into a ball of blue light and sent me to my mother’s room.”
The idea that children retain memory of events before conception and during gestation and birth may sound farfetched. The challenge is that most of us have been brought up in social, educational, and religious systems that teach nothing about life before birth. Psychologist Gwen Dewar, PhD, refers to the belief that babies can’t remember as outlandish. In a 2012 article “‘Babies Can’t Remember’ Is Bunk” published in Psychology Today, she emphasizes:
When adults discount the abilities of babies to remember, they might find themselves treating babies more like objects and less like people. And that can’t be good for babies. The claim that babies don’t remember is unscientific—and potentially harmful.
Type 1 : Preconception Memory
Type 2: Conception
Children’s Conception Memory
“CONCEPTION MEMORY” (prenatal, prebirth) involves someone describing the circumstances of their parent’s
sexual act during conception, conscious awareness of the sperm journey, and references to in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Here are examples from children from the USA, France, and Japan, along with their drawings.
- Starting at 4, Lian (USA) began telling her mother Barbara about how she was hurtling and rushing to be the “Winner!” Barbara said, “I laughed and discounted it as a cute little story. Maybe I unconsciously felt that my daughter’s soul should be anchored or hovering around me before birth.
So I was shocked to learn that the ancient scriptures from India describe the sperm as holding the consciousness of the incoming soul. Lian has also always drawn lots of mandalas. (see picture below) I never asked what her drawings meant because I did not want her to think that she had to draw “something.” Now I can clearly see sperm and an egg.
- At a very young age, Ayano (Japan) used words like seishi (sperm), ransou (ovary), shikyuu (uterus), and sandou (birth canal)—words that no one ever taught her. She even drew pictures of them. Here are a few notes from Ayano’s father Masamitsu Saito, who kept a diary of her memories.
In drawing #1, Ayano (1 year, 11 months old) depicts fertilization and embryonic development.
In drawing #5, Ayano (3 years, 4 months old) depicts sexual intercourse.
- Varenka Marc, PhD, and her husband Olivier Marc, PhD, (France) link anthropology and psychoanalysis in their observations of children’s drawings. They began to collect children’s drawings in the 1950s during their travels to 40 countries. As an example, 3-year-old Marie took great care in drawing a long, long body—like a stick—topped with a head, which is, in turn, topped with a hat. The Marcs comment,
- The drawing was executed with certainty and thoroughness. What is the significance of this head topped with a body of a staff? Is this not a sperm, with its cephalic hat (the acrosomal hat)? The sperm takes a human twist: a very long body with a head on one end and legs on the other. The phallic aspect cannot be doubted or ignored.
- One may argue that a little girl of 3 years can’t know what a sperm is. Besides, she’s a girl and sperm is a man’s domain! Does she not spring from it, too? Has she not proved that she remembers fertilization with this drawing? They are indeed very similar forms.
- A sperm doesn’t have a human figure. Certainly, they don’t have eyes or a mouth. But she has drawn a face. Why can’t she be identifying herself with the face? The bit of the drawing with the face may also be an ovum that she has put her face on, and it has a sperm going through it. Children draw faces on everything. Whatever they draw, they are always drawing themselves.
- Japanese obstetrician Dr. Akira Ikegawa interviewed Issui, a boy who began talking about memories of preconception, conception, womb, and birth at 3. Here is one of his drawings regarding conception.
We have been hampered in understanding memory by preoccupation with the physical parameters of the brain.
This approach has long delayed the discovery of the true capabilities of newborn and unborn babies.
—DR. DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
Type 2: Conception Memory
Type 3: Womb
Children’s Womb Memory
“WOMB MEMORY” (prenatal, fetal, gestational, prebirth) encompasses recall of events taking place inside and outside the womb. The prenatal mind can perceive:
- impressions from pressure or constriction inside mother’s womb
- auditory memories (voices, words, stories, and songs heard outside the womb)
- mother’s emotions
- visual images impossible to obtain before the fetus’ eyes are developed. For example, prenatal twins “know” that they have a partner with them and similarly sense if their twin leaves (miscarriage).
- Movements: twirling, swimming.
- Awareness: watching outside through their mother’s navel.
- Emotions: enjoyable, painful, fun.
- Temperature: warm, cold.
- Body language: positions in the womb and passage out at birth.
- Laura: My daughter Sarah was born at home, in the living room, by the fireplace. My labor contractions were entirely void of pain. One day when Sarah was almost 3 years old, she told me, “Mommy, I was born!”
- “How was it?
- “I was not afraid.”
- “How was it in Mummy’s tummy?”
- “It was night.”
- “What did you eat in there?”
- “I didn’t eat, but I could drink,” and she made a movement with her mouth, as if drinking water out of river while you are swimming.
We have been hampered in understanding memory by preoccupation with the physical parameters of the brain. This approach has long delayed the discovery of the true capabilities of newborn and unborn babies.
—DR. DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
Dr. Akira Ikegawa interviewed Issui, who at the age of 6, drew correct details of the sequential stages of his body developing from fertilization to birth. See below.
Type 3: Womb Memory
Type 4: Birth
Children’s Birth Memory
“BIRTH MEMORY” (perinatal, delivery) entails memory of :
- Sensations and emotions: painful, hard to breathe, wanting to come out quickly.
- Movements: turning around, spinning, coming out smoothly, popping out suddenly, straining to come out.
- delivery positions (C-section)
- instrument-assisted births
- umbilical cord issues
- medical surgeries (e.g., circumcision)
- participating in birth
- doctor’s appearance
- handling by doctors
- bright lights
- cold temperature
- experiences in the NICU
- people present at birth
- 4-year-old James: “I remember a man in white, cutting an oval in Mommy’s tummy.”
- Dr. Jeane Rhodes conducted interviews with twenty-nine children. One 3-year-old boy remembers his forceps delivery.
- Dr. Rhodes asked, “When you decided to come out, how did you get out?”
The boy replied, “There was a hole down there.”
“What was it like?”
“It was long and there was light.”
“Was it hard to get out?”
“Yes.” (Holding his head with both hands at the temples and nodding)
- Timothy described his memory of the doctor lifting him out of his mother’s womb and said, “Mom, I loved you so much that I held on to your bones inside. I did not want to let go.”
His mother Sara birthed him via an emergency Cesarean. She said, “The doctor had to pull him a little bit. I felt I was being ripped apart. The removal of his huge energy was such a shock. I turned to my husband and said, ‘I think I am going to die!’ When he was taken out, a huge part of my consciousness was gone. Our souls had been merged.”
- Sarah and her 4-year-old son was asking his mother about his birth. He said, “Did they poke me in the feet?” Sarah said, “No.” but then she remembered they did a blood test, getting samples from the feet. Sarah is convinced he remembered something about his first hours out.
- Bev: When my son Taylor was 28 months old, he told me, “I remember all the lights and it was cold. I had to go to the bathroom and I peed all over the doctor. I remember her (the doctor’s) funny (shocked) face.”
This is exactly what happened. Taylor did a perfect stream of pee and hit the doctor in the chest, when she showed him to me.
- 3½ year-old Ella: “Mom, the doctor took me out of the cave early. I wasn’t ready to go. Then he checked me, but I wasn’t sick. I just wanted to give you and daddy hugs.”
- Tookie: My daughter remembers birth. It was a very long delivery. They had to put a needle in me through her head to monitor her breathing. When she was 18 months old, we were watching an episode of Martin where he helped deliver a baby. The baby didn't cry.
My daughter asked, “Why isn't the baby crying?”
I asked her, “Why did you cry when you were born?” She said, “Because it hurts coming out.”
That freaked me out. I talked to her doctor about it. Her doctor told me that it was possible to remember birth.
The testimony of babies, which is becoming available in birth memories, chastens scientific pride and awakens humanitarian concern.
If memories are only fantasies, they are brilliant fantasies indeed.
If memories are true revelations of human consciousness, then consciousness goes far beyond stimulus/response, beyond experience, beyond size, age, or any other status usually imposed on persons.
Birth memory may be the finest expression of the infant mind and the best evidence that human consciousness is something we all share.
—DR. DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
Type 4: Birth Memory
Type 5: Past-Life
Children’s Past-Life Memory
“PAST-LIFE MEMORY” (life before life) stretches back to a previous life where children recall parents, another home, or even a tragic death. In some cases, children recall enough details to identify themselves as the return of a deceased family member.
Susan’s four sons have either or both prebirth and past life memories. She shared,
- It has taken me a long time to come to grips with what is happening here. I came into this whole thing thinking, Reincarnation is hogwash. Those are fabricated stories coming from people seeking attention. As a result of the memories of my children, an incredible realization came over me.
- On the other hand, several days ago, my husband started to talk to me about reincarnation. He said, “I don’t think that you should talk about it with the children too much. Maybe it could even be evil.”
- As soon as he spoke these words, like a mysterious mystical force coincidence, the power went zzzzzt and the whole house went out for over an hour. I turned my phone flashlight on and my husband had a look of terror on his face. Then my two youngest sons came running into the room. I told them what had happened and what Daddy said right before the power went out. My 9-year-old son Andy proclaimed, “Mommy didn't even know what reincarnation was until we all told her. She learned it from us!”
- I really did learn all of this from the kids. They talk about it like freely
- It was like “whoa wow!” I totally knew it was the spiritual world that did that. My husband knew that too and he even apologized to me after that happened.
Here are a few examples of children’s past life memories.
- Becca: I never believed in past lives until I had my sixth child. The moment he was born, they put him on my chest and he looked me straight in the eyes and started babbling. He babbled to me for a good 10 minutes. He seriously seemed intent on telling me something.
- When he got older and started talking, he said the most odd things. From what we have gathered, he was an old man who lived by the water with animals, he completely adored his wife Debbie, and he liked to eat BBQ chicken. The funny thing is that we don’t own a BBQ, have never taken him to a BBQ, and he won’t eat meat. Yet, one day when we were driving past a neighbor’s home, he saw a BBQ sitting on the porch. He didn’t know what to call it, but he pointed and said, “We need to get one of those because when I was a man I liked to cook chicken on them.”
- Annamarie: My 4-year-old daughter Ryleigh said, “Mummy, do you know when you die that you can choose another body and come back to earth? You are my favorite mummy. Better than the one I had before.”
- Sandra: When Laurie was 4 or 5, she was sitting while I hastily brushed her hair wanted to finish quickly. She was squirming and finally had had enough. Whipping around, Laurie grabbed the brush out of my hand. “Don’t you pull my hair, Mommy, or when I get to be your mommy, I’m gonna pull your hair,” she declared.
- I went more slowly after that. I wasn’t going to take any chances.
- Sharon: My 2-year-old daughter Marina and I were playing on the kitchen floor. She was sitting on my tummy while I lay on my back. I tickled her, and she laughed. Then she stopped and became serious. She leaned forward and cradled my face in her tiny hands and said, “Do you remember when you were the baby and I was the momma? I loved you so much.” To this day, it brings tears to my eyes to remember that moment.
- Nikki: My 4-year-old daughter Emily said, “I chose you as a mommy this time around, but I really enjoyed us being sisters the time before. I knew you would be a good mommy because you were a good sister.” Emily is 14 now and often says, “Mom, we are so like sisters” and she giggles because of her memories from before.
- Taja: My 5-year-old daughter Sklyar said, “Mom, remember when I was 13 and me and grandpa used to go fishing?”
- I told her, “You aren’t 13 yet.”
- “Of course, you don’t remember. You weren’t born yet.”
- Sam: I was riding in the car with my parents and my 3-year-old nephew Jim (1960). I was only 12 years old, yet I still remember it so well. Jim spotted a grassy field below, pointed out the window, and said, “Oh! Right over there is where the airplane crashed and killed me!" He pointed in the direction of the old Kansas City, Missouri downtown airport, (now called Charles B. Wheeler Airport). There was no way my 3-year-old nephew even knew the airport was there!
- Debbie: As my 5-year-old son and I were riding in the car past a hospital, he said, “Mommy, I died there and I was born there, too.” (We had been anywhere near that hospital since his birth.)
- “What do you mean?” I asked.
- He said, “I was robbed at my house and shot in the head and died at that hospital. Then I was born right away.”
- My son was born with hydrocephalis due to a brain bleed that no doctor could ever explain to me. He had four surgeries to put a shunt in. Now he is 26, has his master’s degree, and he’s doing great.
- Alyssa: I’ve never been totally sure about past lives. I grew up in church and they don’t teach us that. Whenever I tell friends about my daughter Emily’s birth, their eyes get big and they say, “Wow, that is odd.” It all started when my husband Rob and I lived with his parents for a few years after we got married. Then in 1987, my father-in-law Dick passed away. I received a message from a psychic, “Your father-in-law Dick wants to come back in the form of your child. Are you willing for him to be your child? I agreed because of my great love for my father-in-law.
- I also explained, “Ever since Dick’s passing, I hear whistling whenever I am doing laundry in the basement.” She said, “That is Dick’s spirit. Talk to him when you hear his whistling.” So I began to do that. I gave Dick permission to come back as my child.
- Five years later, Rob and I were ready to have our first child. Six weeks before my due date, I checked into the hospital on December 3rd. I was certain that labor had started, but the doctors said that I had a bladder infection and I was experiencing bladder spasms. After we got back home, I told Rob, “I’m going to go back to the hospital and have this baby tomorrow!”
- My water broke after midnight on December 4th. Emily was born on December 4, 1994 at 9:33 am. My father-in-law Dick died on December 4, 1987 at 9:33 am.
- My mother-in-law Glenna was thrilled to have a granddaughter. When Emily was a baby, she sat in her bouncy chair and stared straight at Glenna for a long time. Glenna wanted to say: “Dick, are you in there?”
- One night while my husband was cooking dinner, Emily shocked us when she asked, “Dad, do you remember when I used to teach you how to cook?” She was 4 or 5 at the time. When we questioned Emily, all she could say is, “I have no idea where that came from.” Emily did not know that Dick had been a good cook and taught us cooking. As a fireman, Dick also enjoyed cooking for the men at the fire station. Today, at 21, Emily is fond of cooking and plays around with spices just like Dick. She constantly watches the food network channel looking for new recipes.
- Emily dazed us when she was 10 and we were eating out at Pizza Hut. Rob and I were talking about my father-in-law. I commented, “I still can’t believe how much Dick charged on several credit cards and left us with so much debt.” Emily chimed in with, “Yes, I did charge on my cards too much.” She looked a bit stunned when those words popped out. She shook her head and said, “Where did that come from?”
- Another peculiarity is Dick could wiggle his ears and so can Emily. It may just be a family genetic trait—my husband can wiggle his ears, but our son can’t.
- I am pretty sure Emily is the reincarnation of Dick. Especially when you consider that Dick told his family, “When I die, I will come back to haunt you.” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Emily could be a real handful over the years and sometimes still can be. All of this is way too coincidental. So I do believe in it more now – especially after Emily turned 21. Dick was an alcoholic. Emily does not have a drinking problem, but like her grandfather, she holds her liquor well despite being a petite girl.
- Dick was only 50 when he passed away. I know how sad Glenna was when he died so young. But Emily brought some light back into Grandma’s eyes. We have always said, “Dick must have made a deal with God to send Emily to us on December 4th – the same day he had died. He did not want us to be so upset on that day anymore.”
Type 5: Past-Life Memory