The newborn stage. One that is seen very differently from country to country, and from people to people. I think liking or not this chapter will be very much related to your beliefs about birth.
Although I still feel her words are strong (but not quite as much as with the first chapter!), I can see through her words most of the concepts that I believe in concerning birthing and the newborn stage.
Childbirth and newborns is a topic that I am passionate about. We are a homebirthing, Ec’ed, breastfeed, family, so that gives you the idea of my position about this chapter.
I personally do believe that birth is one of the most shocking event a human being will go through, and I also do believe that the first few weeks of life are of prime importance in regards of the adaptation of the child. He needs to rest, to adapt to life,to eating, to breathing, to feeling, and this, I feel, is often not protected by parents enough. I cringe when I see a tiny little newborn in malls or in other public places. We have always kept our children home (inside or out with all the necessary protections) for the first 6 weeks of life. We were mindful of the intensity of the light that they were exposed to, of the temperature of the room they were in, and we respected their need for sleep. I have been questioned a lot of time by well intentioned family members how this was going to help my child adapt the life and the real world at first. But these questions have stopped after seeing how it was not a cause for concern.
So for me, there is nothing new here.
I was not so sure about the part where the child should be left undressed and left to be warned by the air of the room itself. While E was not dressed for many days after his birth (for many reasons really, nothing medical though), I do believe in the importance of warmth, and I am not sure air alone would really be enough for a young newborn in the type of weather I live in. But I like how she talks of moving the child with “uttermost gentleness” and administring “knowledgeble care”
But I know that the view regarding childbirth are so different in our time that some people might feel completely differently about this. I don’t know how I would have feel if I had read this in the 1950’s where children were taken right away from the moms to be “dealt”with by the doctor, and this was the norm ( and it seemed to be this way back then too). I think society has evolve since then, and many doctors (including Michel Odent) have spoken up about the needs of the newborn child and the protection of natural birthing. But I think there is still a road ahead of us in that regard. Just think about the crazy rate of C-sections that are performed…but this is not a topic I want to get into.
I have to admit that I see a kind of a ressemblance to Waldorf here. If you have ever read “You are your child’s first teacher” I bet you’ll find many similar trend in there too.
I think my favorite bit remains this one:
” The fact is that the child is not understood very well anywhere. THis ignorance is a consequence of the subconscious apprehension and annoyance we manifest towards him from the very first moments of his life, and instinctive defensiveness about our possessions, even if they are worth nothing. Our attitude develops logically from these beginnings and we are obssessed with fears that the child will destroy the daily order of our lives or disfigure and dirty our homes…”
She hits it right on the nail, and this is still true, how many years laters?
I am curious to know what you think about this bit? As a society, I truly believe that we are sometimes protecting more our possessions then we are protecting our children. If she breaks the glass, we see the consequences now. But we do not the consequences of our reactions in her before a long time. I think it is a just a pernicious problem. We are a visual society and in an instantaneous society. But patience and most of all clairvoyance are virtues that should be promoted and worked on for the benefit of our children and society in general.
What did you think about this chapter? Did you liked it, hated it? Do you think she is spot on, or right off the track?