Tag Archive for Dr. Daniel Seigel

Personality is Developed in the Womb

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

The personality of a child begins in utero.  We know this to be true by looking at our children and the difficult circumstances many of them faced before even being born.   Its no longer, just the genetic make-up or early trauma, its the first 9 months; the mothers mental health, stress level, and environment.  New research and more media attention is being given to the risk children face from the womb, finally…This isn’t to say that Dr. Daniel Seigel and other attachment gurus have not made huge strides in this area, but now we are this more widely accepted.  Its not just if a mother was using drugs, or alcohol, or malnourished, its the emotional health that has become more widely accepted by those in medicine, and this is something us on the psychological end have been waiting for.

Dr. Ellen Weber Libby, psychologist and family systems expert discusses that “A pregnant women’s mental state can shape her offspring’s psyche.These observations and those of others investigating fetal origins, the study of how the nine months of gestation influences physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional functioning, mirror empirical observations long noted by mental health providers.”  To read her post Personality Begins Before Birth click Here

A recent New York Times article titled At-Risk From the Womb  by Nicholas D. Kristof discusses numerous studies that have proven moms emotional state weighs heavily on the development of the child’s personality.” The result is children who start life at a disadvantage — for kids facing stresses before birth appear to have lower educational attainment, lower incomes and worse health throughout their lives. If that’s true, then even early childhood education may be a bit late as a way to break the cycles of poverty.” Click Here to read more.

What this does for parents trying to conceive is give them a better understanding of just how important it is to have a healthy, happy, pregnancy.  What does for those of us who are parenting children from stressful wombs?  Allows us to better understand that this is how they were shaped, this is how their brain chemistry was developed, it is not that they cant control themselves, be happier or calmer, its that their early environment hindered this. Looking at it from this perspective its not that they cant do____ (focus, control themselves, hold it together), its that their brains haven’t allowed them to do so, yet.  This can be fixed, it will be fixed, we as parents and those helping parents, need to keep this valuable research in mind.

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