Recap for Blog 32: Oh, Now I see!: Zani and Jake learn about the withdrawal reflex and how a woman who is happy to be pregnant spontaneously touches her tummy, which makes Baby move toward Mom’s hand.
Silence. He is reading. Here we go again …
“Did she say anything …”
“Did who say anything?”
“That woman on the radio. The developmental specialist. Did she say anything about what happens if a baby grows up never having been given the ‘welcome speech’?”
“Yip, she did actually. Give me a minute, let me think. Yes, she said such a baby can become what they call ‘tactile defensive’, which means he doesn’t like to be touched, doesn’t bond with Mom, doesn’t like to be held, has difficulty feeding and may even grow up without knowing how to make friends. Because of all that, the little thing may also end up with all sorts of learning problems.”
“What? What’s that supposed to mean? ‘Ping!’”
“The penny just dropped. It’s uncanny. But I think that’s what may have happened with Mom and me.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember, she wanted a boy …”
“That may be so, Zani, but you’re definitely not tactile defensive, not with the amount of cuddling you want.”
“Yes, but don’t you see? That’s only because I feel safe with you. I don’t remember ever feeling that way with my mother.”
“That’s very interesting. Really, it is. But I have to say I’m not very comfortable discussing your mother in our bed. Let’s leave that for the daylight hours, shall we?
Besides, it’s nearly midnight – and I have those new clients coming in at 8am.”
And with a kiss and a grunt, my wonderful man turns off the light and rolls over.
He is gone in three minutes. My mind, however, is not going to switch off quite so readily. Lots of little loose ends from my childhood start to tie up: the distance between Mom and me; my aversion to being touched and all kinds of contact sport; my low self-esteem; battling to make friends; never feeling as though I belonged…
I thank my lucky stars for Jake, and how he – without even knowing it – has managed to rescue me from that hell. And I silently vow to continue to connect with my baby, to make sure it knows how much it is loved – every single day.