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.

Prenatal to Postnatal Life

What the child is missing is the security and serenity of oneness with
the person who gave birth to him – that continuum of bonding from
prenatal to postnatal life. This profound connection is one that the
adoptee will forever yearn for.

That period immediately after birth, when the infant has made the
transition from the warm, fluid, dark security of the womb to the
cold, bright, alien world of postnatal life is a crucial period.

~ The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier

Both of my parents were adoptees but they did have that advantage – they each had months of that transition time with their natural mothers, before they were handed over to strangers.

With both of my sons, they were placed immediately to my breast.  This is how nature intended a fetus to become a separate person – incrementally.