“That Forever Empty” Feeling: What Is It? How Do We Anesthetize Ourselves? Or Wake Up?

Click on the cover to open the full guide.


Kindred is proud to announce a collaboration with In Utero filmmakers, Kathleen and Stephen Gyllenhaal, and the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, APPPAH, to create a powerful and practical In Utero Film Discussion and Resource Guide.

After a wildly successful year of international film festivals, awards and translation into ten languages, In Utero was released for on demand viewing in October 2016. Audiences quickly arranged home, university and clinic screenings, eager to discover and discuss the film’s cinematic and epic journey through the revelation that “womb ecology becomes world ecology.”

Through well-organized subsections, with titles like Breeding Hostility and Beyond the Blueprint, the film tackles the complex science of epigenetics, transgenerational trauma, and the human psyche’s attempts to resolve birth trauma through mythology, especially fairy tales and pop culture movies like Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix. A dozen international experts – including Gabor Maté, MD, Rachel Yehuda, PhD, and Thomas Verny, MD — weave a coherent tapestry of diverse scientific insights amid scenes of a fetus jolting at the sound of parents arguing, caged monkeys deprived of mothering attacking each other and aerial shots of industrial agriculture and other modern ecological hell holes.

Below you will find the discussion questions from the film guide for this particular section of the film entitled, That Forever Empty.

Click on the full guide, with resources and complete discussion questions, here.

Read the press release about the guide’s creation here.

Watch the film on demand here.


Discussion Questions from the In Utero Film Discussion and Resource Guide

That Forever Empty, at time mark 48:25


This section of the film reviews how we have issues with being alone, self-reflective, not distracted by interactions and distractions.  Gabor Maté, points out the many ways we distract ourselves—shopping, entertainment, smart phones, ipads, internet, social media, food, drugs, smoking, drinking—are all there because it painful to have self-reflection and introspection.

This pain is was Louis CK calls “the forever empty,” a place inside ourselves. Mate is famous for asking the question, Don’t ask why the addiction, ask why the pain?  He completes this section with the statement: “We really need to appreciate the importance of the prenatal environment in child development and to understand that when we see dysfunction in people, we’re actually seeing the imprint of that early experience.”

Discussion Ideas

How do you feel about Mate’s statement that when we see human dysfunction, we are really seeing an imprint from early experience?  If this statement is true, what other behaviors can you see as related to early experience?

How would it be if we could map out these behaviors as patterns related to overwhelming experiences for the baby in utero, during and after birth? If you could fill the “forever empty” with something, what could it be?
If that place was filled, how would our world be different?

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