Ancestral Patterns

When you think about your ancestors, what stories come to mind? Do you think of your warm and friendly grandfather or your grandmother’s lap? Do stories of addiction rise to the surface? What about war and how it impacted the family? Whether the stories are of strength and bravery or pain and loss, it’s important that we acknowledge the ancestors and their legacy as we begin to prepare for the conception, pregnancy or birth of our baby.

The stories are all there. We just need to stop and think about them, honoring the legacy of those who came before us. The stories are not only told as a way to make sense of them, to carry on family traditions, or to learn new patterns, but they’re also carried in our DNA, or the genetic code. And remember, our ancestors survived, so there are always strengths mixed in with the struggles.

As I reflect, I think about the stories of my boys’ great-grandfather who found a way to make money with bootlegged alcohol when he was stationed in WWII. When he came home, he started a business that provided for his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. His entrepreneurial spirit is legend in the family and many of his descendants have followed in his footsteps. Though it was never discussed, he was also a functional alcoholic.

Some things to consider when you’re pondering this aspect of ancestry…

  1. From where do your ancestors originate? What country? What region of the world? What foods did they typically eat? How long have your relatives lived where you are living? What is the story that caused them to move, if they did?
  2. What are the stories of strength that you’ve heard about your parents, grandparents, and your great-grandparents?
  3. What are the stories of challenges that you’ve heard about your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents?
  4. We tend to think in terms of only difficulties, but I want you to consider the healthy along with challenges when you consider the mental health of your relatives, traumas they might have experienced, losses, as well as deep love, connection, and strengths.
  5. There is a special connection between children and their grandparents. (That will be your child’s grandparents, whether they are alive or not.) I’ve seen many correlations between the generations, so do take a good look at your own parents with these same questions.
  6. For families where there was an adoption, or when the genetic parent is different from the parent who is raising the child, we have other people and their stories we need to at least be aware of, even if we don’t know the stories specifically. Know they’re there and be curious about them.

Ancestors can be a source of strength and support for a new soul coming in. Recognizing the strengths of our ancestors and their challenges, we can bring in intention to clear out old patterns that our incoming child doesn’t need to take on anymore. So much can be passed from one generation to the next and that can be the good or the less good things.

When these things are considered and intention is brought in prior to conception, we can clear the way a little bit for our incoming soul. If we don’t have any awareness, we are doomed to repeat the same patterns. Bringing awareness and consciousness is an important step in changing the patterns! And in embracing the gifts.

Couple’s Dialogue (To do with your partner or a listening partner)

Write, draw, paint, or free associate what comes to you when you think of your ancestors- starting with your own parents. What colors come to mind? What words? What stories? When you have taken some time for yourself (if you need it), share it with your partner. Ask them to reflect back what they heard you say. This will help you to really hear what you shared and will help your partner to really understand some of your family’s history. Is there a particular challenge you can hear? Do you see any gifts or strengths? Share those, too. And then trade roles.

Consider having a dialogue with ancestors who have crossed over and asking for their blessing and guidance for the new soul coming in. Some couples have a regular practice of including ancestors. If this doesn’t appeal to you and your partner, just having awareness of their impact is a good start.