I went to a wonderful High School in Connecticut – actually one of the ten best in the U.S., where a plethora of extra-curricular activities were available to the students. I grew up in a strictly religious home, and was not allowed to take part in the numerous activities and the sororities on campus. There were a couple of other girls in my class who attended the same church as I did, but they were allowed to attend the dances and other activities, so I didn’t even feel close to them. My best friend was a Jewish girl, whom I loved dearly, still do. I remember helping her get dressed to go to the prom, and tearfully watching her go off with her boyfriend in his convertible. I was a sniveling mess that night! I just knew there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t in the back seat with my boyfriend, on the way to a wonderful evening. And, oh yes, I had been invited, but my folks would not allow me to go.
Nurse’s training was a whole different ball park. I was away from home, but because I was at a Christian college and hospital, there were lotsa’ activities that I could enjoy, and I did feel included and a part of the gang of nursing students. I even had a boyfriend and dates were allowed. Life became easier for me, until a pastor whom I respected greatly, told me that no good Christian minister-to-be would want to marry me because of my ugly teeth. There was a small separation in the front. I was devastated, and once again I knew what it was like to not be accepted. Interesting, how words carelessly spoken, can devastate and orchestrate the feelings and then behaviors of others.
Rejection, believe it or not, is the most severe of the abuses. And . . . the other abuses such as emotional, physical and sexual, can and do cause feelings of rejection. There are many other experiences that can generate feelings of rejection. Those feeling, albeit unidentified with a word in infancy and early childhood, can begin in the womb. ”How?” You ask. “How in the world can a child in utero experience rejection? “
According to Thomas Verny, M.D., a famous expert in in-womb child development, and an inspired writer who penned well over 100 years ago, by the name of E.G. White, agree that the most important factor for healthy child development is the relationship during pregnancy, between the pregnant mother and the man who impregnated her. Wow, perhaps not thought of before, but that is an extremely important factor! Consider the woman who endured domestic violence during pregnancy, and that unfortunate situation has occurred for many years. Consider the young teen who was impregnated, maybe as a romp in the back seat of a car, and the young guy with whom she enjoyed Saturday night fun and acceptance, has already moved on to another girl by the time girl #1 discovers that she’s pregnant. She is alone, fearful of telling her parents, and seriously considering the abortion clinic a couple of towns away. Where does the money come from for that procedure, and what about the guilt accompanying that choice? The angst she is experiencing is passed along to the child she is carrying. Her stress hormones, accelerated during her fear, cause stress in her unborn.
A child who does not have a present father misses out on the virtues that a father is designed to possess in the relationship with his wife and children – Provider, Protector and Priest. Mother is designed to be a nurturer and care-giver, providing a warm and secure environment, where all the needs of the child are met. While many argue that a child doesn’t need a father, the truth is that a father was needed at conception and his responsibilities to the child that he and his partner have created begin with that encounter.
The birthing of the child has a profound effect also. Was the birth natural and easy? Was the use of forceps necessary? Did Mother have to be given anesthesia for the birth, so that she was not available for the very important task of holding her child immediately following delivery? Was the birth accomplished by cesarean? Did the baby go into fetal distress during labor? Was mother able to hold her baby during the first two hours of life? In the first four hours of life, the baby has perfect vision, with a focal length of 18 inches. What or whom did the little one see? Was it the nursery staff or was it her own Mother and Father, with whom she would spend the next 18 plus years of her life? Did she hear Mother’s familiar voice? Did she taste the colostrum at mother’s breast, which tasted familiar to the amniotic fluid she had been drinking in the womb? All of these are factors which impact the feelings of the child, early on and in later life.
Most people do not give these ingredients a second thought, or are in ignorance of them. Yet they are of prime importance to the happiness and the emotional and physical health of the child in later years. These factors are only the very beginning, the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so to speak, of the life experiences causing an individual to feel unaccepted – the feeling of not belonging, not being included.
In subsequent articles, we will delve into rejection in greater detail. This subject is of great importance, as a high percentage of those who do not do well in life are those who have experienced some form of rejection. You might be thinking that everyone gets rejected at least once in their life – maybe by a friend in school or perhaps by not being selected for a team. However the more profound experiences of rejection come from the interactions with parents, the primary caregivers.
Begin to think about your own beginnings, and ask yourself, or perhaps your parents if they are still available to you, what your birth process was like. Include the time you were in the womb as well as the ease or difficulty of your birth and the experience of your first four hours of life. This information may well begin to answer some of the questions you have asked about your own thoughts and feelings.
Until next time, think on these things, and we will add much more information in the next few articles.