Adoption Can’t Give This

Dr Nelson, in his book – Healing the Split, suggests the ideal gestation, birth and infancy circumstances for healthy development in a child. This goes beyond the obvious and unavoidable trauma of separating an infant from their natural mother or any emotional distress that mother feels while pregnant and planning to surrender her baby to adoption.

Here is what he suggests – some of the best pregnancy, birth and infant care advice I have already encountered during my own last two pregnancies and baby care days, beginning in the early 2000s.

In pregnancy, this mother might be treated as special by her own loving selfobjects, so that she finds it easy to maintain a placid inner state. Her pregnancy would allow her extra time to meditate regularly and through this practice she establishes an unspoken communion with her unborn fetus with the subconscious residues of her own early life experiences resolved.

As the time of her child’s birth nears, the mother rehearses breathing and pelvic exercise to facilitate her natural delivery. As the child enters the world, he is welcomed into a softly lit room, the predominant feature of which is his mother’s warm skin and breast as she gently bathes and massages him.

The synapses that are rapidly proliferating within his still unfinished brain form a physical supporting grid for a psychic self that is primed to accept soothing, is ready to trust and can intuit a sense of belongingness.

As the newborn’s psyche begins to construct holographic patterns of the consensual world, his empathic parents instinctively anticipate his needs, neither overstimulating him nor leaving him wanting. Wordless harmonies resonate between him and his caretakers and condition his own fundamental vibrational patterns. These harmonies are periodically broken by inevitable frustrations and deprivations but timely reunions with empathic parents quickly restore synchronous patterns within his psychic field.

As the child grows into a toddler, empathic mirroring enlivens his tentative explorations of a world apart from mother, followed by just a little extra soothing that directs his psychic energies along navigable neural pathways. This compensates for his inborn exaggerated stress reaction and enables him to incorporate his mother’s self within his own without fear of engulfment. His self-secure mother joyfully encourages his wary independence and offers a fresh measure of support during what is a particularly lengthy rapprochement period. This insures that his slowly forming self-boundaries can withstand the social challenges that this unusual child will later endure.

As the child learns to communicate, his parents take pains to be consistent in their rewards and punishments. When he is excited and hyperaroused, they set firm limits on his behavior and they teach him to cope with this and similar altered states of consciousness by monitoring his breathing and concentrating on his inner awareness, especially his feelings. They teach him to ask for a massage and also to give one back. Both calm a turbulent arousal. Kindly, they teach him to laugh at them, and at himself.

Dr Nelson believes that as many as half of all permanently disabling psychotic altered states of consciousness could be prevented or diverted into a favorable life pathway if given the right start in life.

Not Really Brand New

Too often in our approach to the newborn we deal with him as if he is exactly that – “brand new”.  We neglect the fact that the neonate is really the culmination of an amazing experience that has lasted forty weeks. . . . By looking at the neonate as if he had “sprung full blown from the brain of Zeus” we are missing the opportunities that the newborn’s history as a fetus can provide. ~ T B Brazelton

I remember when my husband and I were contemplating becoming parents about 20 years ago, and I didn’t know about all of the issues surrounding adoption at that time, we briefly considered adopting.  We were so uninformed that we didn’t even realize that one could adopt a newborn.  We didn’t want an unknown back history and decided to have our family in a more natural way, though we did need medical assistance.

What I have learned in only the last year or two is how much bonding takes place within the womb of the mother.  I did know that important developments were taking place and I remember my OB telling me that he believed the gestating mother turns on or off the genes that eventually express in the new person.  He also said that what I ate, flavored the amniotic fluid, and that was how new babies had already received the food preferences of the family, even before they began to eat solid foods.

So it turns out that adopting a newborn is really not the best outcome for any baby.  Their development is a continuum of physiological, psychological and spiritual events which began in utero but continue to further develop throughout the postnatal bonding period and that original mother is crucial to the best development of the infant.