Abstract: The Slavic term “maternal fright” is carved from chronic wars and violence towards women and is a form of transgenerational trauma. The forgotten conflict, the Balkan War of 1991-95 in the former Yugoslav region, resulted in South Slavic female survivors in the aftermath of war utilizing extensive cultural practices including oral memory traditions to ameliorate their experiences of trauma with greater focus on eradicating maternal fright. This review of interdisciplinary fields from biosemiotics, epigenetics, perinatal psychology, oral memory theories, and neuroscience is used to frame the survivors’ trauma as intensified learning and a space and place for healing. The tacit female knowledge embedded in South Slavic oral memory traditions connects to complex biologically aligned practices. For example, the body clock, or circadian rhythms, are regulated with oral memory practices to maintain and heal trauma.

Keywords: maternal fright, oral memory traditions, healing practices

Published: Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health 30(3), Spring 2016