by L. Janel Martin-Miranda, MA c2005
What every baby needs in the earliest BRAIN development - from conception throughout pregnancy, birth, and beyond - in order to live his or her highest potential is:
- To be wanted and welcomed at conception by two loving adults who are physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially prepared to be parents
- To have complete nutrition and a toxin-free womb in order to build a healthy, fully functioning brain and body
- To feel safe and protected by parents, and without stress throughout pregnancy and birth
- To be connected with and nurtured by parents throughout pregnancy, at birth, and beyond
- To have his or her own biologically programmed impulse and timing for birth while in continued relationship with the mother and safety of the father
- To complete the biologically programmed “self-attachment” sequence of coming to the breast in his or her own timing – resting in the arms of the mother and father, without interventions
It's the baby's birth. Birth is the baby's experience of coming into this world. It is not just the mother's. It is not the doctor's so why is malpractice and control of the process allowed in this society? Obstetric, pediatric, nursing, psychology, and midwifery training do not involve teaching the effects of the earliest experience of the human brain.
Clearly, a baby needs to be conceived, gestated, and born into a world that is welcoming, safe, nuturing, and loving - rather than being unwanted, violent, abandoned, and poorly nourished. This is not only logical but scientifically based. A baby needs a drug-free, peaceful birth in connection with his or her mother. Because it matters. In the brain. Pun intended.
The newborn baby's brain has more than a billion neurons and each one is experiencing the labor and birth experience and the new world. Everyone present during labor and birth, everything said and done by them is imprinted in each of these billion cells. It creates the first perception of the world. Imprinting of maternal experience has been happening in the developing baby's system since conception. Science tells us that the gestating baby's body and brain is fully formed by the end of the first trimester. From conception forward the baby, as every living organism, is developing and surviving in struggle between growth or protection. Of course, from conception forward, the baby is growing, developing, and learning. Science tells us that babies are highly sensory. For example, they hear and interact with the outside womb, especially in the last trimester.
Our medical, religious, psychological and educational systems need to acknowledge, teach, and address the primal development period – and the effects what we do and say on the needs in the fetus, birthing baby, growing infant and child, in the teenager or adult, and in their intimate relationships. We logically know we can affect another, such as a child, but we must begin to recognize how we can affect a gestating and laboring baby as well.
Our highest potential is unrecognized – 90% of people born in the United States were born under the influence of drugs and with violent experiences and touch (induced, forceps, rough handling during and after birth, separation from the mother, etc.) I am asking you expand your thinking to also consider how we treat conception, pregnancy, and what we are doing to babies during labor and birth and the first hours and days of life. No other period of time is so critical as the pre-conception through infancy period of life.