That Was Then

The human child requires a period of a year after birth to attain a degree of maturity. The Self or core-being of the infant is not yet separate from that of the mother but psychologically contained within her.

The nature of their relationship is fluid, mother/child/world transcending time and space.  The mother provides a container for the child’s developing ego, just as her womb previously provided a container for the child’s developing physical body.

It is a dual unity – the mother not only acts as the child’s Self, but actually is that Self. An uninterrupted continuum of being within the matrix of the mother is necessary in order for the infant to experience a rightness or wholeness of self from which to begin it’s separation or individuation process.

The continuity and quality of this primal relationship is crucial, and it may set the tone for all subsequent relationships.

~ from The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier

When my daughter was born in 1973, we were kept separated except for brief reunions in my room.  She was in a nursery the rest of the time and fed a bottle, which damaged the effort to nurse her.

By the time my sons were born in 2001 and 2004, they were in the room with me – the first son almost all of the time and the second son in the nursery briefly each night so I could sleep but it was interesting that we would wake at the same time.

Being returned to the natural mother is better than being handed over to someone else. Any interruption in the continuum of the primal relationship with the mother can result in a lack of trust in the continuity of the goodness and rightness of the child’s environment and of their own self.