We tend to think that babies are not very aware of their surroundings; however, baby first impressions matter a lot.
“My new born baby seems agitated. He startles easily and doesn’t seem to be able to relax”.
I hear that a lot.
I also hear versions of this story from many new borns I meet. They tell me with their eyes, they show me with their bodies, they whisper to me their stories. Here is a poem that embodies baby first impressions.
I was curled up into a tight ball for as long as I can remember.
My spine and neck compressed in my constantly shrinking apartment.
I knew my time in that world was limited.
I hadn’t seen it but I believed it, felt it
There is life beyond this water world.
And then I was ready
The time had come to begin the journey.
I problem solved for many hours
Turning my head this way and that
Kicking off the wall like a champion swimmer.
Knowing the way out must be within my reach.
I heard Her calling to me
The vibrations deep and all embracing.
And those gentle hugs
From my uterine walls.
And then there She was
Smiling at me.
Her smell so familiar
There are tears in Her eyes
She is more wildly magnificent then I could have imagined.
And I open my mouth to reassure Her
To let her know it is ok.
I have found her
I will never leave her.
But then there are other hands
Someone else is touching me roughly
Taking me from Her.
From my world.
And then the pain
Mind bending pain
Piercing through my spine
I am hanging
Every bones is in shock.
Forced to uncurl
So much pressure in my head.
My nervous system jumps into action.
I fight the predator with a vengeance
But I am tired
And It is hard to be coordinated through the blinding pain
And this predator is big
This must be the end
Is this all there is?
And then it is over
And I am back in the arms of the Mother
But everything has changed
I cannot relax
I am dizzy from the pain searing through my spine.
I decided I will need to stay on guard
For the next attack
This place is not safe.
(Image: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
We now know so much about the consciousness of the new born.
We know about the senses already developed in the womb.
We know they have the ability to feel pain.
We know they are not ‘blobs’
We still treat them with such disrespect. How shameful.
To further this discussion, here is a wonderful article highlighting the importance of the first three months for a newborn.