Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The life of the unborn child in the womb, and imprinting at birth

An unborn child in the mother’s womb experiences life within that water filled capsule in the same way that the mother goes through her day. The noises of the mother’s world are the noises the baby hears, along with the sounds of the mother’s heart and digestive workings. The food that the mother eats is passed to the baby. When the mother laughs, the baby feels and hears laughter, both physically and physiologically, in the change of hormones and other substances in the mother’s blood. In the same way anxiety and fear are transmitted to the baby. The mother’s body produces antibodies to any potential germs in her world, and the baby has this immunity and protection already in place at birth.

An unborn baby knows only the mother who carried her (or him). The baby of a gentle timid woman is used to the gentle, quiet movements of that mother, just as the baby of a strong, deliberate woman with a loud voice knows her mother. The home terrain of the baby is her own mother – not someone else’s. The baby is used to receiving the foods that her mother ate during the pregnancy. The baby ‘knows’ the environment of the family into which she is born.

The baby who is born into her mother’s arms, and is able to adapt to life outside the womb in the way her body was designed, the natural process, experiences smells, sights, sounds, and feeling that are all consistent with the life inside the womb. The first voice is that of her mother, and her father’s voice is also known. The strong sense of smell and other wonderful instincts lead the baby to seek the breast, and its life-giving milk. Skin-to-skin contact with the mother enables quick transfer of the normal bacteria that live on the mother’s skin to populate the skin and digestive system of the baby, and provides some protection against disease-causing germs.

A mother who goes through severe physical or emotional stress during her pregnancy cannot keep the unborn baby free of that stress. The mother who smokes passes harmful substances to her child. The mother who eats too much sugar can harm her unborn child by that high level of sugar. Mothers in socially unsupported situations are more likely to have premature labours than mothers who are well supported. This is all ‘natural’.

Mothers who are addicted to narcotics give birth to babies who are also addicted, and who go into withdrawal as soon as the supply, via the umbilical cord, is cut. Mothers who receive narcotic drugs for pain relief in labour, through injection into their muscle or via epidural, also pass those drugs to their babies. The babies may take days to come out of the drug induced haze that impairs their neurological responses. The imprinting of the new world outside the womb on a baby born with a heavy dose of narcotics is a hazy and dysfunctional world. These ‘dangerous drugs’ can only be obtained on medical prescription because they are dangerous!

New parents will often go to great lengths and expense to make life just right for their new baby. Natural instinctive knowledge guides a new mother to be attentive to her new baby, to protect her from all potentially harmful forces, and to feed her well. Yet many mothers soon reach their limits of endurance; they feel exhausted within days of the birth, and are dealing with pain and discomfort after giving birth. It’s a terrible reality to find that this beautiful child has needs that the mother is unable to meet. Both are in tears. The ideal of a perfect world has been shattered, when even the person who loves the little one most is unable to achieve the standard she would like.

This reality is a lesson that mothers, babies, and other family members need to accept. In doing our best for our babies we are not always able to understand or meet all their needs; and even if we could, the baby would grow up in an unreal world. We are never going to be perfect, but we know we can give a baby a good, happy home, and teach that little one the way to live in an imperfect world.

There is no safer or better way for a baby to develop than in the womb of a mother who cares about her own health, who is in a socially supportive environment, and who has no unreasonable stress or anxiety. There is no better way for a baby to be born than within the natural process, without medication, and into the arms of her own mother. The natural process is usually the safest way for a baby.

In some individual situations the natural process is known not to be safe, and the potential disadvantage of medication or surgery may outweigh a known risk. The mother needs to make the best decision that she can in her particular situation, taking expert advice from her professional carers at the time.

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