23. Infants, New Parents, and Trusting Instinctual Knowledge

Debby’s niece, Courtney, brought a baby into the world last week.  She is at Providence in Everett, which brings hairs up on my hackles, judgment shooting straight out of ’em. 

Adeline K. b. 26 April 2020

Providence has shown evidence of infant incompetence in every child born there, as I have experienced it anyway.  It isn’t medical incompetence (although the botched circumcision likely was).  There have been a series of five, so maybe it is pure odds, and I have been very “lucky” to see the five of 100 situations that have twists and turns.  Benefit of the doubt?  

There are all sorts of ways to give birth.  Some are surprised and drop the baby in a car. Some have very dynamic birth plans, that most certainly are unfollowed in the unraveling of momentary needs of a circumstance.  There are home water births, babies that come into the world surrounded by 25 of the closest friends and family in a hospital room, and others that come to a calming, well thought out birthing center.  There is NO right and NO wrong, and no one should apologize for their own choices, or the way the baby chooses to announce itself.

But our culture does not understand or work well with infant neurology, so it is difficult to realize where there are true choices.  And we are not taught well by traditional medical knowledge, and we do not have the information passed down for generations.  What was right for the time of my birth (Dad was not in the room) was already wrong the next year when Mic was born.  We all need to step back and really look at the nature of things.

How the baby pops out is going to have an impact.  I chose to have epidurals during back labor.  I wouldn’t change that choice.  But I would look into what effects that might have on the child, so that I could help my newborns compensate.

Let’s think like a baby body, a baby soul.  Both are there… eventually anyway.  

So this baby has been held tightly by the uterus.  The space has been radically warm, usually 98.6.  It is dark.  Food comes in naturally, and exits without effort.  Sound is muffled, and there is the constant echo of the Mother’s heart beat.

Often a newborn comes in to light, bright, loud, cold, loose and new!  People can alter that, in small ways or in major efforts, depending on the place of birth.  Babies have unique interpretations of their births too.  Some, with souls in place, are excited to open their eyes and experience the visual planet.  Some are tired of being tightly squeezed, and are against the concept of swaddling (the last two are Nyasha all the way).  It’s a pretty safe bet that whatever we can do to provide a smoother and more consistent transition would be the most widely accepted way of arrival for these little ones, if they were allowed to choose.

What would I do differently?  I would think like a baby.  The kid wants to be 98.6.  It wants to hear the parents’ heart beats.  It might be shocked by harsh sound and light.  Wrapped up against a body, maybe in a sling or body wrap, is going to be the most natural feeling for transition.

I tried to do it all.  I was hell bent to prove that a baby wouldn’t change me.  I’d let that go before the birth.  I like Christine’s “fourth trimester” concept.  Let yourself heal.  Let the baby have a quiet time to transition.  And do it in a way that keeps the family in balance, eating well, exercising, sleeping a ton, healing, emerging as a new entity from the cocoon of pregnancy.

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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