Whenever we set off with something new, it needs this warm welcome. We need the feeling that we get a place where we can feel safe and which can serve as a base for expanding into the new realm. We need encouragement and assertion that the new project is good and appropriate for us and that we are on the right path.
Even more so, this need is active at our earliest start, at the moment of conception. New life
s created, and as scientists have found out, the fertilized egg cell celebrates by releasing billions of zinc atoms to create radiant light. This is as if nature performs a firework to transmit the message of this terrific beginning to the whole world.
Yet not all future parents are excited about the new life that is coming into their lives, out of different reasons. So in these cases, a proper welcome is disturbed. As we know from prenatal therapy, the tiny beings feel how their closest environment reacts to their appearance – full of joy and excitement, or full of worries or even fright. Rejecting pregnancy, as much as it might be understandable from the actual circumstances of the parent’s lives, casts a lasting shadow over the young being, which he/she will carry on as a burden throughout life.
Especially in this fragile beginning, new life is reliant on safe and trustworthy surroundings for its survival. Yet this survival is in question, when there are doubts or fears in the parents concerning the existence of the child, equal in the mother, the father or both. Even rejection from the parents of the parents or other close persons can trigger fears of survival in the child. For it is totally dependent on goodwill and being wanted by its close environment. It does not have any power over its own fate, no capabilities of communicating its anguish and no means to cope with the fears of annihilation.
According to research in prenatal psychology, there are especially two moments in which such a traumatization can happen: Right at conception, when the fear of pregnancy is inherent in the sexuality of the parents, and a few weeks later, when the mother notices her pregnancy. Of course, subsequent attempts for abortion additionally inflict the growing life in a disastrous way.
A secure attachment to both mother and father is crucial for the wellbeing of the child. When the parents question the pregnancy, the parental attachment is severely compromised and the existence of the child is overshadowed from its very beginning creating feelings of unsettlement. This blueprint of unsecure attachment can exacerbate and complicate all future relationships. It can form a basic attitude towards life (not to belong to this world, having no place), connected with a strong longing for some magical place in fantasy, where happiness could eventually be found. Fears, doubts and longings are projected onto parents, partners in relationships and friends, who are declared as responsible for covering the enormous needs for security and safety, and usually they will be overstrained by these demands and will react accordingly. When little needs in daily life do not get fulfilled immediately, emotional dramas full of despair can be triggered.
Some parents tell their offspring how much they were wanted and welcomed. This can be good for the children and enhance their feelings of safety in life. Yet what does it mean when the children cannot accept or believe the message in the depth of their soul and still feel unsafe in their world? Every well-meaning parent also possesses subconscious motivations and impulses, usually without noticing. Children have a sense for these levels and the ambiguities resulting from them. Yet they cannot understand what is going on. It often happens that the fears of the parents are suppressed by their feelings of obligation. It also can happen that children are glutted by unconscious expectations of the parents. There are strong urges in the subconsciousness of the parents to use the new life for its purposes. Unresolved inner conflicts, unlived endeavors, unattained goals and ideals easily get delegated onto the child. This tiny being is a rather blank page offering itself for the projections coming from the subconsciousness of the parents.
It can also occur that parents who tell their children how much they were looking forward to their arrival, unconsciously want to compensate for their own unsecure prenatal attachment. By doing so, they want to reaffirm their own safety, of which they lacked in their early phases of life. Maybe they want to tell their children that they are trying to accept them in the way they would have needed to be accepted by their own parents. Maybe they want to be especially good parents as they could not experience these qualities in their childhood. There are lots of variations about how to incorporate children into one’s own unconscious life agenda and to thus exploit them for one’s own purposes.
From the start of their lives, children need unconditional love and acceptance from their parents for thriving well from a sound fundament: We welcome you as you are, and we wish that you can grow and develop in a way appropriate to your disposition and being, and we promise to support you as good as we can. This is the message, which grants trust and security, as a basis for further physical and emotional growth.
Free of ambitions, expectations, projections – this is how the welcome for new life should be ideally, and this is a high claim. For it means that parents have to relinquish their own egos as radically as possible. They should be aware of their claims. They should be attentive to all their unconscious tendencies to burden their child with their own plans, and they should give up these impulses. Thus a great beginning of life can be launched.
This attitude includes the further program for raising children – or for cooperating in the grow process of their offspring. This program consists in unconditional service, in giving without counterinsurance, in presence with and for the little ones. Children reciprocate anything they receive, but often not in the form expected by the parents. In the view of the whole, everything comes into balance, but only when the attitude of the parents they have to develop for themselves, is appropriate. The genuine remuneration for being a parent lies in the incomparable joy offered by the new unique being by its very existence, which is nothing but an immense ongoing present.
This is what Khalil Gibran shares with his famous poem:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.