Differing Holy Moments: An Inquiry of the Archetypal Numinous in Prenatal Attachment©
by Danielle Nicole Burns
This depth psychology research interprets the deep and vast territory of self-meanings in the woman’s connection with the fetus, known as the prenatal attachment experience. This process is unique to each woman and may gradually unfold or suddenly arise to protect a woman’s ego from turmoil during the natural course of development. Led by the researcher’s personal encounters, this study aims to explore how women’s prenatal attachment self-meanings relate to archetypal numinous experiences.
Archetypal numinous experiences are characterized as symbolic and instinctual, having the quality of arousing the spiritual figure Sophia as a mystical power in the woman’s awareness to provide context for her feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This research aims to elucidate how these experiences facilitate new modes of awareness in maternal consciousness and changes in the maternal role. Using heuristic and narrative inquiry methods, 6 mothers who self-identify as having experienced an archetypal numinous prenatal attachment phenomenon are interviewed. Based on analysis of the research data, 5 categories of the archetypal numinous prenatal attachment experience are named.
These findings suggest that archetypal numinous prenatal attachment images arising in women are projective identifications. Such images characterize any woman’s affiliative relationship with the fetus imaginatively. These experiences infuse women’s lives with meaning and purpose readily aligned with their chosen life paths. This study contributes to an understanding of Jung’s, Neumann’s, Bowlby’s, and Bion’s theories on this topic and provides insights into the role of prenatal attachment in women’s individuation.