Early Memories

My first memory, which is quite clear and vivid, is of being in the womb, which may come as a surprise to people who know how spotty much of my recollection has been traditionally and how little of my early childhood I can picture. The reason that I remember it so well is that I dreamt about it when I was a baby, and that dream became recurring and I had it over and over and over until it was permanently etched. I recall both floating in a dark, warm, void, full of low rushing sounds and dull waves of colour, as well as the tactile and conscious-without-consciousness experience that’s harder to put into words. Today when I was talking to Nefarious as we drove home from the airport, I asked her what the oldest thing she could remember was, thinking that it would be a story from Mexico or something in that era. To my surprise, she began, “I remember floating in the purple water…” and went on to describe a very similar experience to what I remember it being like. I’ve never told her about my own memory (although I did after she told me this), so her answer was completely unprompted and I am fairly certain it’s genuine. I don’t think these memories are common, but maybe it runs in the family?



  1. Jenna Fox wrote:

    Yeah, science wise, most people’s memory system is not at all operating that early in life, usually only starting to function well after they get out of mum’s belly.

    Perhaps you have a little genetic oddity in your family that makes these things develop a little earlier than usual. The proposed reason why most people don’t have much self awareness or memory or anything really at birth in the human race is that our heads are so big, they need to remain soft for the birth, and during the birth, the brain is squished and squeezed and so nonessential functions are suspended for a while during and after that time, so the brain has time to heal before things start up. If you look to other animals, like horses for instance, with relatively smaller heads for their bodies, they are up and galloping within an hour, fully self aware and active children. These animals probably have a much easier time remembering the womb. :)

    Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
  2. Carol wrote:

    I often think that ideas about heaven (being one, and yet not one, being fully fed and satisfied, the music etc) is a memory of the womb.

    My youngest says he can remember flying around the room right before he was born. He remembers who was there (it was a home birth) and he started talking about it as soon as he could talk.

    Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
  3. That’s a beautiful image… Purple water.

    My earliest memory is from age 3-9 months – I remember the popcorn stucco ceiling of the stairwell I was carried down each day.

    Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 4:38 am | Permalink
  4. peteD3 wrote:

    awesome drawings!

    Monday, July 6, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  5. indigo wrote:

    I believe it’s entirely possible – babies do recall songs, voices, sounds etc. that they heard in the womb, well after birth. I do agree with the genetic quirk possibility. My son and I are both autistic; he’s very severe, I’m very high-functioning, and my other child is ‘normal’ with a few quirks. However, we all share, to different degrees, various enhanced senses, and rather astonishing memory capabilities that others cannot comprehend or believe until they witness it themselves. I couldn’t say what your genetic makeup is, that could be responsible, but I do know that in my case, it definitely qualifies as a “serious neurological anomaly” (I, and those who know me, prefer to think of it instead, as “just pretty effin’ cool”). My kids and I also “interacted” a lot before birth, and both appeared to show preferences for very specific things that they were exposed to in utero, over things that they had no exposure to. I think the human mind is sadly underestimated; in my opinion, newborns are utterly brilliant, but much of how that develops depends on genetic and environmental factors, the main one IMO being how babies are exposed, or not, to things that encourage this capacity for memory and learning, rather than assuming a baby is a little blob, and allowing the senses to basically stagnate for several valuable months. I hope I made some sense there – if not, let me know and I’ll gladly clarify :)

    Monday, July 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
  6. ed wrote:

    That’s old school writing. Possibly latin? And reversed?
    And the designs on there remind me of Vitruvian Man via Da Vinchi

    Good Luck with the book!! :)

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  7. MARK wrote:

    when my daughter was about 4 she told me that she remembered being in her mams belly, when i asked her what it was like she looked at me as if i was stupid and just said dark of course. i just thought it was really cute, don’t know if was a true memory. on a slightly differant memory subject, the son of a friend mine many years ago and aged about 3 was hit down by a car. he was in a coma for a couple of months before waking up and making a full recovery. a few weeks later he told his dad that while he was in hospital baby jesus and came to see him but would not let him go with and told him to go back to his mam and dad. shocked the hell out of me then and still gives me goosebumps when i think of it now, bet it has the same effect you!

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  8. Shannon wrote:

    (The drawing is by DaVinci)

    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
  9. suzanne wrote:

    My son also claims to have such memories. But no memories of being an infant.

    Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  10. angelica wrote:

    I recently saw Ray Bradbury at a panel, and he also said that his first memory was of being in the womb, though he described it as floating in red light. He also says he remembers his birth as well.

    Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] This blog entry by Shannon Larratt really got me thinking… what IS my earliest memory?  I dunno… I have a sea of pictures in my head but mostly what I feel is, well, feelings.  So I started searching those feelings and interwove those emotions with the pictures in my head & the facts of my past and it all sorta started making sense.  Actually, it started making a LOT of sense. […]

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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