In blog 69: Sky explains that a mother’s love flicks a switch in a baby’s brain that says: ‘I am not alone. My mom has my back. I can relax,’ a stance which even affects Baby’s feeding. A new mom needs to feel at ease, and how can she do so when she has just given birth in a hospital setting that made her feel like a specimen in a lab experiment?
“My dear Sky, I’m so sorry that very few people got Marais – and get you. I know it hurts. Remember we decided that we cannot change the world, much as we would like to, but that we can give our baby the best pregnancy and birth experience possible?”
She wipes her face, and continues in a quiet voice. “You might think I’ve rumbled off a truck load of problems and irrationally ascribe everything to the absence of birth pain, right? But the truth is, mother love is the prototype for all kinds of love. It is a mother’s love that flicks a switch in a baby’s brain that says: ‘I am not alone. My mom has my back. I can relax. My nervous system does not have to be in overdrive, my heartbeat can slow down, and my breathing rate can slow down too so I can feed without gulping in air and my tummy doesn’t fend off milk because it misreads nature’s perfect food as an invader!’
“The flip side of that is a baby born after the mother worked until the last minute in order to survive financially, she is stressed out of her mind and with that she needs to count every movement; she needs to have a degree in list making and project management to prepare for one of the most natural things in this world!” Sky looks over at me, compassion in her eyes. “Zani, you know I’m not saying this to hurt you, right? But please let me just talk for now? I need to say this because I need your rational mind to show me where my thinking is skewed, okay?” All I can manage is a nod.
“During labour a woman is scanned and poked and fingered and monitored and measured as if she’s a specimen in a lab experiment – no wonder she cannot dilate! No wonder she cannot let go and follow her instinct! For goodness sake, when even a mouse knows to find a dark and secluded place to give birth unobserved, how do we expect a woman to follow her instinct to give birth in a hospital – a place for the sick and the maimed under blaring lights with a flurry of activity and medical staff who want to control the whole process? It is not a process! It is a birth! The conclusion of the most miraculous experience on earth! It is sacred. It should be revered. Pregnancy and birth should be protected with everything we’ve got because it determines the future. It determines the future of humanity!”
A hushed silence settles over the table.
“I think what saddens me the most,” Sky continues, trying to maintain her composure, “is that the unborn child has no control over which switch will flip – the one that says, ‘I am okay, my mom has my back, everything in life does not have to be a battle, there is enough for everybody, let’s work together.’ Or the other switch that writes a life script that pretty much says, ‘I am alone, never relax, always on the lookout because someone is out to get you. Trust no one. You are alone. You will always be alone. If it is to be, it is up to me. Fight for it, for you are entitled to it. Life is one long, hard slog.’
“It shows when a baby battles to feed. Feeding should be nurturing and nourishing but when a baby is in distress, the little heart beats rapidly and the breathing is shallow and fast, and combine that with gulping in air and a tummy that fends off milk because it misreads milk as an enemy, those are the perfect conditions for colic and reflux. Yup, research has shown that colic and reflux are often symptoms of a baby in distress.”