Letter de Elisabeth d'Ornano

A few words from Elisabeth d´Ornano

February 2011

While last year most of our efforts were focused on ADHD as a developmental disorder, and on how to help those suffering from it , including the people surrounding the child, this year our intention is to focus more deeply on that development process, starting from the initial identity of an individual and its influence throughout a person’s lifetime.

Our goal is to disseminate information on the emotional development of children, even before they are born, as well as underscoring the crucial influence that the emotional environment in which a child is planned and conceived, his development inside the mother’s womb and how he is welcomed in the first few days of his life, will have on his future mental stability. The mother’s condition during pregnancy and many other variables, will clearly influence the early emotional development of the child, which if favourable could prevent possible pathologies, such as ADHD.

The Association is preparing an informative guide that may be helpful for the general public, and probably, in particular, for pregnant women, as it will help them to understand, among other things, how the bond that the mother establishes with the baby from the time of conception, and even before, may influence the emotional development of her baby. Our Second Conference Session, scheduled for June this year, will focus on this topic which, as I have just commented, will be dealt further in the guide we are preparing.

In this new course we will consider various viewpoints, looking into the difficulty of being a mother in present-day society or the complications linked to emotional problems arising around pregnancy, ranging from the difficulty of becoming pregnant to the pain of losing an embryo or a foetus in a miscarriage or even a newborn baby, to the anguish of having to accept that your baby has a malformation or syndrome , or the suffering that goes hand in hand with not being able to go ahead with your pregnancy for whatever reason.

All of these topics are of great concern to us, as we are aware of what a mother can suffer and how her emotional state during pregnancy may influence the development of her future baby, or even because all these complex experiences may have an impact on a subsequent pregnancy.

I consider that parents’ feelings towards pregnancy and the fact that, later on, the baby will feel wanted, loved and cared for, may contribute to the crystallisation of a balanced personality in the future, that will show in the way that individual faces the difficulties of life or in his capacity to continue loving others or even himself.

Life is not easy, it puts us up against many differing situations, conflicts and difficulties, bringing a child into the world in optimal conditions is a wonderful and ideal prospect that is worth considering. Couples need support for such an important task, and especially women, who bear the potential of motherhood that sets them apart from men. Every woman needs to be acknowledged in her needs, be respected and emotionally supported and, ideally, the first person in doing so should be her partner.

Our Association wishes to reinforce the value of being a woman, because symbolically it is the woman who with the man, gives life to another human being, becoming the main vehicle to transfer the love between a couple to the new being who will arrive, giving him a full welcome.

I would like to help you become fully aware that your child has an identity of his own, an individual path to tread and certain inclinations that we cannot and should not change. We know that it is essential to motivate a child so that he believes in himself, unconditionally supporting him in difficult situations so that he is capable of developing his skills and assuming his own identity. A child without self-esteem will feel the need to seek consistent recognition from people in his activities, running the risk of becoming an adult willing to forsake what he really is, his own inclinations and qualities, to become a fictitious person expecting to be loved but gripped by an internal conflict that may become a mental pathology. Let’s try to underscore how valuable our children are in order to teach them to love themselves. Let’s try to face and accept the difficulties of being parents with serenity, learning slowly to control our emotional world. Having a child with difficulties is a challenge that demands more from us in every sense: we have to shift our priorities, work on our defects and, in many cases, reflect on the pre-conceived ideas on the education we want for our children. A difficult child will test our patience, our capacity to tolerate frustration, our ability to give and receive love … but can there be a better challenge to lead us to work on our personal construction process? We will often go wrong, but with motivation we will little by little do things much better and, in the end, we will achieve inner peace required for our role as parents that nature has gifted those of us who can truly be parents. And precisely, because unfortunately not everyone can have children, those of us who can be parents must take advantage of it to become better persons.

Sometimes a child’s attitude may reflect a wound or problem that is present in ourselves, as sometimes it is no coincidence that we are parents of a child with certain characteristics . In these situations of conflict, the wise position of the observer may be very beneficial, comtemplating the conflicting situation from the outside, with a degree of emotional distance, reflecting before acting, and not allowing negative emotions to get in the way. Let’s look inwards to assess whether we repeat an exaggerated reaction when confronted with similar incidents, to identify it and then to reflect upon the emotion that repeats itself in order to try and have it under control. As soon as you are able to control the art of letting go, your reality will change.

Children help us develop our capacity to love. Loving is protecting, enriching, making one’s life and that of others more beautiful. Stressing this capacity will benefit our children and it will allow us to be happier. The basis of a balanced development is to make the child feel that, in spite of his difficulties, mischief and mistakes … his parent’s love will always be present. A way of becoming aware and acting lovingly with your child is to bear in mind that storms must always subside into calm. After quarrelling with his brother or sister, after calling his attention or punishing him, it is necessary to tell the child that we love him and that surely another day things will turn out better. Being an affectionate educator, that is, educating with love and respect, trying to understand the child, will make him feel loved at all times and as a result he will tbe more inclined to please his parents and not disappoint them.

For me the true power, which is so appealing to so many human beings in our society and which has conditioned our history, is inside each of us, in each person’s capacity to love, starting by loving oneself, generating mutual love that will prevent inner suffering. We build our future today with our behavior, with the causes we choose, with the desires we nurture and the battles we fight. Confronting ourselves to overcome difficulties which arise in life instead of turning our backs on them, will take us to feel coherence and harmony and allow us to transmit it to our children, creating quality for our future and creating the necessary tranquillity for our death.

True happiness comes from within, not from external factors. When the awareness of living that goes hand in hand with our capacity to love is awakened, life starts to make more sense, we become more sensitive towards nature and its cycles, we become receptive towards beauty, towards a friend in need, towards that which we can provide by merely willing it, towards the suffering of others, developing a profound respect towards everything that exists because there is a reason for the existence of every life as they complement each other. If we are at the top of creation on earth, it is not to dominate or exploit the earth, but to see to it that every living being has its place. Let’s try to educate our children so that they grow aware of their surroundings, so that they may find their place and be happy enjoying what life has to offer.

Elisabeth d´Ornano

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