Letter from Elisabeth d’Ornano
A person’s development before birth
The process of bringing a child into the world begins before conception, with our thoughts towards that new being, and from then on a trio is formed by the father, the mother and the child, filled with great potential. We are conditioned by our thoughts, creating our own future and influencing our children via our thoughts. The creative force is what makes everything around us alive and we find this reflected in Nature. It is the same force that helps a plant to grow and bloom, this force is reflected all over and it binds us to everything as a whole. Without life, minerals and plants, animals and humans would all be deprived of the essential.
When male and female energy strike a balance within each one of us, for instance a balance between doing and feeling, or between wisdom and love, the relationship between a couple blossoms spontaneously and naturally. The children of this union will have originated from a balance since their conception. At the beginning of our life we need the security provided to us by our parents, to be able to return to a place within ourselves where we can touch base, the base allowing us to return to the point where everything is all right, the place created by our parents in the effort to welcome us from the time of conception. This attachment will be transformed as a person develops, with the final goal of attaining internal equilibrium and achieving a sense of security on one’s own.
We women who become mothers have been given the very special role of providing the physical medium to carry within us a being who, in nine months, will go from a single cell to become the miracle known as a baby, in my opinion the greatest possible expression of the force of life. But this journey will require the support of one’s partner, arousing understanding, compassion and unconditional love and, via these feelings, also respect and the responsibility of bringing a child into the world. A future mother especially needs to be respected and protected by her partner and by all those who love her. It is likely that the developing child perceives what is happening to his mother and family when he is inside the uterus. Stress, anger, sorrow or frustration felt by the mother may be absorbed by the developing child. It is important for future mothers to be at ease and to realise that their child is already learning a lot from them, especially from their love. Since the true power of a person lies in their ability to love, we shall better perceive the importance of the presence of love from the first moment of a child’s existence. Through breast feeding, a mother may also convey feelings of calm, love and motivation, which will make a baby stronger and give him the security he needs.
I would like to spare a special thought for grandmothers, because they have the experience and wisdom of knowing what it is to be a mother—physically, mentally and spiritually. By passing on the torch of their ancestral wisdom to their daughters they will help them feel capable of fulfilling their role. Their presence, their assessment of the importance of a new life and their adherence to the family’s efforts will strengthen the intergenerational bonds.
A child in its mother’s womb tries to communicate and needs to express his feelings. One might think that such a small being cannot suffer and, if he does suffer, that it will be forgotten when he grows up by deleting that suffering from his memories. But research shows that this is not the case: babies really do suffer and they will always harbour those memories even though it may not be consciously. The sufferings of the soul hurt just as much as physical pain and they cannot wait to be understood or tended to either. Perhaps they may feel the need to communicate the loss of a twin sibling, or the pain of having felt their mother being mistreated, or even their fear of being born, and all this may complicate their birth. They may want to express the loneliness they feel having to spend the first days of their life in an incubator, and the fact that they want to be with their parents as soon as possible. They might wish to express their sorrow due to their mother’s depression or their grief because they are not being fed properly, and to this end they need someone to heed them, care for them and love them. I think that in the era of communication that we are living it is about time we gave the floor to babies, while their mothers try to perceive their needs: the food they need, what it is most appropriate for them to do during pregnancy, possibly even an attraction to sounds, colours and shapes, which may assist in the baby’s awareness and development.
Children’s understanding goes well beyond their age. A baby brings along his own essence, his soul has already travelled a great distance. A baby comes with enthusiasm and interest to accompany his parents in this wonderful experience, so that the exchange is shared and that the family members may evolve alongside each other. Babies feel, dream, communicate, laugh and show preference, they weave hopes and emotions and need to be guided towards the new life that is welcoming them, with their own identity, without the need for another identity being created for them—an identity that might not be their own. This will help them, allowing them to fulfil their purpose to try and be truly happy. Children are our future.
And children whose lives were short experienced many feelings filled with the love that they shared with their mother, some of them evolving from conception until becoming a baby. This journey is of a huge value and may be sufficient in these cases. Being thankful for the time that was shared, acknowledging the existence of that relationship as a part of oneself and that it fulfilled a mission within the family, rather than rejecting it, will help you become liberated and will liberate your child.
The renowned French psychoanalyst, Françoise Dolto, assured that babies hear, understand and perceive what they are told very well, and she says that she sees this every day in practice. According to her, communication may help a baby to understand situations and break through difficulties. What a baby grasps is the emotion that accompanies their mother’s words. Of course they do not understand the words as such; it is their capacity of feeling that allows them to understand rather than their intellect. Without emotion the message just doesn’t come across. The emotion of his mother singing a lullaby is what the baby perceives and what calms him, balancing his rhythm and metabolism and making him feel accompanied. In general terms, emotion is the vehicle for words to be understood with their genuine meaning.
Your emotional state is very powerful. What did you feel when at last you had your baby with you after it was born and you looked at each other for the first time? What emotion did your baby convey with that look when starting out in life? Do you remember it? I remember it as a moment when time stood still, a moment of complete joy that I wish to share and remember with you today, although I am aware that for many women it may not have been the same and that each child and each circumstance are different.
Frederick Leboyer, an admirer of women in their role as mothers, developed a childbirth method that is highly respectful of babies and of the beginning of life. According to him, coming into the world is finding oneself submerged in a great river, in the midst of a powerful flow, like going through a storm. A child is fragile; he painfully strives to find the passage, risking shipwreck at every moment. The moment of birth is a very important passage that should be decided by the child when he feels ready. A great deal of inconditional love is required in order for the child to accept his birth, and the more we can accompany the child, communicating with him and letting him know we are there and that he is arriving in a world that will welcome him, the more protected and safe the child will feel. Babies, according to Leboyer, require a great deal of respect, they should be born with dim lighting and have a bath and massage so that the water provides them with references of well-known sensations, respecting the magical moment their parents are living.
Encourage your child so that he is eager to arrive to this wonderful journey of life. Relive your own childhood through your son or daughter in this magical process of parenthood. Hopefully our thoughts will enable us to build a better world, inhabited by creative human beings, a world in which these children who are going to be born may contribute to enhance their environment, their family and society in general, developing their talents to lay them at the service of humankind and achieve a more humane world, a world filled with happiness.