Maturity – Step #2 – Infantcy

Did you read what life is like for the Fetus in Step #1? It is necessary to understand what that must have been like before going on to this step.

Step #1 ends abruptly and dramatically. I can not speak to birth itself but its trauma is relatively brief and a one time event. It is what happens next that is relevant to this discussion.

All of a sudden the constant contact with the mother is gone as is the continuous nourishment. The umbilical cord is cut. Miraculously, vital organs that had never been necessary before go into action. This, of course requires no action or even knowledge by the infant. It just happens. Its the consequences of these actions that effect the baby and thus, his reactions. He (or she) becomes aware of hunger, a strange gnawing, a need unfulfilled. He cries out for it to be satisfied. He is fed and momentarily satisfied. But then the newly activated digestive system may cause discomfort, usually just air in the stomach, sucked down with milk. He doesn’t know what it is but he knows it is uncomfortable and he does the only thing he can. He cries.

His environment is no longer perfectly controlled and he responds only as he can to being hot, cold, or just uncomfortable. None of this is the result of conscious thought but it is an instinctive reaction. He soon learns that being wet or soiled is uncomfortable. That experience of constant closeness with mother was unconsciously reassuring and it is gone. That can be traumatic. That is why being swaddled in confining blankets is comforting to a newborn infant. The trauma is overcome at times by the need for sleep and with sleep comes peace for him and his parents. But imagine what it is like to be completely helpless and waking from a restful sleep. You are alone. Where is your human contact? Where is the one who provides for you needs? Terror invades and you cry out for help.  It is well to note that the infant who has developed the closest ties with its mother is the one most effected by the fear of she or any other source of comfort not being there. Anne, my wife, slept in a lawn chair next to our oldest son and held his hand so he would feel secure and be able to sleep. This continued for well over a month.

An infant, the product of his past experience in the womb, is self-centered, to the extreme. He only knows of his world and his existence. His mother, his parents, and anyone else is only there to attend to his needs. No one … nothing else … is of any concern. It is not a conscious decision on his part but an unconscious reaction to his environment. He is not being good or bad, he is being a natural baby. He has no choice in the matter. The infant is in a state of complete immaturity. We all start from there and go on to childhood.

About Grandpadonplefka

Retired & a great grandpa.
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