FondsGoetheanum: Childhood

The Good Side of Childhood Illnesses

Childhood illness is something precious, it has a strong development potential, which is vital to the future health of soul and body.
Vaccinations in childhood have not made our children more resistant or given them better health. What makes the difference?
The development of a child depends partly on its heredity, but also on its individual personality. Hereditary characteristics are responsible for the physical development of the human being and are carried from generation to generation. However, the psychological characteristics are not related to heredity, but to the individual personality of the child. The two phenomena are not consistent from the outset and must fit each other. We can describe the difficulty of adaptation as a struggle that is expressed in such classic childhood diseases as measles, scarlet fever, rubella, chickenpox, whooping cough and infant roseola.
Typical childhood diseases are characterised by their infectious nature, together with high fever and they almost all take place in the form of a specific rash. Fever shows that the child's individuality is developing. Skin phenomena are a sign of this transformation, comparable to when snakes slough off their skin. We will mention here only briefly the significant link between childhood febrile diseases and cancers in adulthood. Uterine cancer risk is higher among women who did not have childhood diseases or against which they were vaccinated.
Childhood diseases can therefore make a great deal of sense if we consider them as necessary to development, stimulating the child’s physical, psychological and spiritual health. The way we treat them unquestionably requires a differentiated approach that takes into account the whole human being and its environment. This is only possible if the child can be surrounded day and night with attentive care during the illness.

Dr. Erdmut J. Schädel. Pediatrician


Prenatal Existence and Birth

"The expectation of a happy event": these words set the tone of the feelings experienced by mothers. They await the birth of their child, they hope it will be born healthy and have a happy life.

Before pregnancy, mothers often feel the being who wants to come to them. Some dream of the child who chose her to be its mother.


Often, the mother feels the being who wants to come to her

When an embryo in the womb, children experience original protection. Through their mother, they see life outside this envelope, the joys and worries of their mother. They hear human voices, primarily those of their future parents and siblings; they listen to the music that they listen to. Midwives recommend that mothers-to-be take time during their pregnancy, to feel and perceive what their child wants to say.
Mothers want what is best for their child. They ask questions about examinations during pregnancy, especially in relation to ultrasounds. Some refuse. Experienced midwives in maternity recommend ultrasound at 21 weeks of pregnancy to control the growth of organs and gather important information for the birth.

Discover the world of touch

For every mother the birth of a child is a unique and very special moment. If the mother and child are in good health, it is the child who should determine the time of birth, not the parents or the doctors. For delivery, it is important that midwives and doctors leave a lot of time for the mother and child. Ideally the mother can give birth to her child in a quiet room, away from any hustle and outside interference.
In the case of a spontaneous birth without medication, the mother, through contractions, produces hormones that pass through the child and increase pain tolerance. Contractions support the process of childbirth, protecting both mother and child from damage until birth. Endorphins ("happy hormones") and oxytocin (the "attachment hormone") are important for both mother and child. These hormones are also present in case of an emergency Caesarean section; less so when the Caesarean section is planned.
The passage along the birth canal for the child is also an intense tactile experience. For touch and contact allow children to take hold of their bodies better.
Children born by Caesarean need of a lot more loving attention and contact in their first months.

Take the time to welcome their newborn

The mother knows her greatest moment of happiness immediately after birth, when the child lies on her chest. Both now need quiet and time, keeping warm and soft lighting. This moment is precious, the mother and the child must not be disturbed. The child recognizes its mother, feels her scent, hears the familiar beat of her heart, notices the voices of its parents. Children are awake for the first two or three hours after birth and then they fall for five to six hours into an intense sleep. Mothers should have time to spend with their newborn. For two to three weeks after birth, they should be released from all obligations and any appointments. Someone else should take care of the home and any older children. The mother is carried in the first weeks after birth by her specific hormonal situation. Fathers are advised not to expect too much of their wives because they are not affected these hormones.
The presence of the mother, her love, her attention facilitate the arrival in the world of the newborn.

Summary of conversation with Ines Kolb, Midwife