• The Drama of Infancy

    The attitude towards the smallest members of the society - thoracic and especially newborn children - is perhaps one of the most significant dramas in the history of the development of human concepts of life and a person's awareness of his essence. The consequences of this drama are too serious not to pay attention to them.

    What was the relationship to the newborn and infants before the appearance of medicine in its modern form?

    Cultural traditions have their own characteristics in all nations, but it is possible to distinguish something in common. The processes of pregnancy, childbirth and the period of infancy passed in the context of the life of society along with many other events of life. They were integrated into the life process and therefore could not help but be sources of certain views and traditions. And since the birth of new members of society is a significant event, these traditions form a whole cultural stratum, which can be called perinatal culture. In view of the integrated perinatal period in everyday life, the naturalness of its course( the "inclusion" of a pregnant woman in ordinary social processes, the birth of children at home, again the natural interaction of parents with the infant according to tradition), it resulted from the fact that each person in one or anotherdegree was the carrier of this perinatal culture.

    Obviously, the periods of pregnancy, childbirth and infancy could not be ignored as ordinary and natural, although having their own characteristics. The child also could not be considered otherwise as a potential adult member of society with his own duties and rights. It is not surprising that completely different cultural traditions have a rather detailed scheme for socialization of the child, beginning literally from the first day of life, and sometimes in a ritualized form even before its birth.

    The inclusion of the perinatal period in the general context of life naturally was a source of empirical knowledge about the importance of this period in the formation of the future adult. This is indicated by the wealth of rituals and rituals, which sometimes go back to the very process of conception.

    Turning to the sources of ancient writing, we see that the child was not treated as being essentially unconscious, primitive compared to an adult person. On the contrary, there is a very respectful attitude towards the baby. In the Vedas, for example, a figurative mythological form describes the path traveled by a child from conception to birth;it is stressed that this way is a huge experience;it is asserted that a newborn infant is not at all different from adults in its ability to realize everything that is happening, only he realizes it in another way, his body is not developed and the situation for him is quite unusual.

    Many rituals and rites are associated with young children. The Catholics had a cult of worshiping the baby. On the icons the child is often depicted surrounded by a golden aureole, symbolizing the spotlessness of his sinful deeds in comparison with the surrounding adults. The rite of the baptism of children in Christianity and its counterparts in other religions can not be considered merely a symbolic attachment to a particular faith. Baptism at an early age presupposes a certain attitude of adults to the baby, namely, the attitude as an equal to God.

    Without going into a detailed study of these issues, we can at least conclude that the infant was considered a highly developed being, for which not only the normal physiological conditions of existence are important, but also the spiritual processes in the life of society. This, in turn, could not but give rise to a corresponding attitude towards the actions performed with the infant.

    The further development of this drama is characterized by the extinction of religious traditions and the victorious development of science. The most characteristic is our time associated with the advent of modern medicine, i.e. the last 6-7 decades. During this period, significant changes occurred that determined the current attitude towards infants.

    A feature of science based on the principles of positivism and using analysis as the main method of cognition was the dismemberment of the whole in the process of cognition and a narrow specialization. In the knowledge of man, the soul and body were separated and studied separately.

    It is not surprising that the study of pregnancy, childbirth and newborn infants has been reduced to the study of physiological processes corresponding to these periods. Almost exclusively, they eventually began to be considered. Despite sometimes positive ideas, due to the lack of relevant scientific data and general positions, psychology could not make any corrections."... The study of the child's soul has won a place in general psychology with even greater difficulty than the evolutionary idea in biology."

    Psychological science of the last decades, generally based on Freud, although recognizing the importance of the first years of life in the formation of a person's personality, nevertheless, following Freud, considered the consciousness of a newborn child as a blank piece of paper, to which, with the onset of extrauterine life,.

    The reduction of the characteristics of the perinatal period to physiology eventually led to the fact that it was completely monopolized by medicine, for which the psychoemotional aspect of pregnancy, childbirth and interaction with the newborn adults is not important and therefore ignored.

    Pregnancy was declared a process that is on the verge of pathology, and began under strict medical supervision. This gave the pregnant woman a special status that does not allow her to feel "like everyone else" and leads to her peculiar social and psychological isolation.

    The birth of a child moved from the family circle to the hospital. The opportunity to participate and attend this process was lost not only by relatives and relatives of the mother, but also by the father of the child. Thus, the process of the birth of the child was detached from his social environment.

    The very process of labor has been reduced to a mechanical process using a large number of auxiliary tools."... A woman is seen and treated as a reproductive machine, to which other machines can be adapted."

    Moreover, because of fear of infection, the infant began to be separated from his mother on the first days after birth. The rest of the days spent in the hospital, the mother is forced to follow strict instructions and rules. All this ultimately led to the fact that both the mother instincts, the mother's "instinct" were weakened, and the psychoemotional relationship of the father and other relatives with the child was disrupted.

    Reducing the birth and neonatal period to a purely biological phenomenon by medication has led to a relation to the newborn as a being with only physiological needs. In addition, due to the specificity of medicine, whose task is to identify and eliminate pathological processes, the approach that can be characterized as an orientation toward pathology became predominant in relation to the infant.

    Here is how, for example, the notion of the period of newborns and the first year of life is presented in one of the popular books for parents: "The child's organism in each of the. .. age periods has a number of structural and functional features that require a different mode of care, nutritionand education The most important are the first two periods that occupy the entire first year of life of the child

    During the newborn period, children develop developmental defects, injuries of various organs that were obtained during childbirth( cerebral infarctionbreasts up to intracranial hemorrhages, bone fractures, muscle damage, peripheral nerves, etc. In children of the first year of life, sepsis( blood poisoning), acute gastrointestinal diseases, pneumonia, skin diseases, rickets, etc., easily occur.. ".

    Read, parents, it's about your child! And tremble. Can you manage it yourself? No, without medicine you will not make a step.

    The birth of a man has turned into the birth of a patient. The patient is always in some way incomplete, imperfect. He is sick. The patient needs care. For the newborn especially."However, due to the immaturity of organs and tissues, from the fact that everything is new for the first time, everything is fragile, easy to adapt, adaptation to the new conditions of existence occurs in a state of unstable balance of the activity of the most important systems. Therefore, a small change in feeding turns into regurgitation, diarrhea,and the umbilical wound leads to the appearance of diaper rash, pustular diseases and even sepsis. Newborn is not only helpless, can not exist without a mother, but also defenseless against many infections,so that it must be protected. "

    So be afraid, tremble. What creative approach? Not a step away from medical advice! Your task is to have your child survive.

    Another consequence of this approach was the established practice of dealing with newborn children( as well as the corresponding attitude to pregnancy and childbirth), which is not based on the real needs of the baby and the mother( not to mention the family as a whole), but on the convenience of implementing the medicine taken overfunctions. This finally turns the pregnant woman, the mother in childbirth, the child into passive objects of medical intervention.

    The trend towards a pathology was well illustrated by studies conducted in 1985 in the countries of the European Region specifically created by the Perinatal Research Group at the WHO European Office.

    According to this study, the number of screening tests used to control pregnancy is increasing. Combined with insufficient knowledge about the physiology of pregnancy and the developmental processes of the fetus, this leads to the fact that more and more women are characterized as having a high risk. This leads to the use of medications and medical procedures that are not safe for the health of the mother and child. The increasing use of modern diagnostic equipment at birth leads to a similar result - an increase in the number of technological interventions and excessive use of medications that adversely affect the health of the mother and child. In this case, a significant number of errors in the tests conducted and extremely low efficiency of treatment procedures are noted. There is also almost complete ignoring of socio-psychological factors in such multifaceted and complex processes as pregnancy, the birth of a baby and contact with parents and other adults. This approach was characterized by researchers as "mechanistic and reductionist".This leaves an imprint on the recommendations for caring for the child, the specific consequences of which we will say below.

    Today, however, we can observe processes that can be characterized as preparation for the next act of this drama. These processes reflect the crisis experienced by modern medicine, and are observed in almost all developed countries. In many countries of Western Europe and in the United States, the movement for the humanization of childbirth and the treatment of newborns has developed and is gaining momentum. Refusals by pregnant women to attend doctors, an increase in the number of home births, illegally working midwives, the association of parents in organizations opposing official medicine - such facts are also documented in the above WHO study. In the United States, the public has achieved annual publication of medical statistics, and then monitoring by public representatives of the health authorities.

    All this coincides with the increase of interest in the development of the human personality, in the mysteries of life and death, in the knowledge of the meaning of our being. A number of scientific studies conducted in recent years, allows us to take a fresh look at the newborn and infants.

    The period of newborns is a continuation of fetal life. To understand the period of the newborn, a lot of research was given to the fetus in the womb. People were shocked by the pictures taken by the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson with the help of a microscopic camera fitted on the tip of the cytoscope. Thousands of photographs taken by him recorded the unusually "saturated" life that the intrauterine infant leads. He grimaces, sucks his thumb, opens his eyes, makes various movements, even smiles. Observations showed that many of the child's reactions are related to the mother's condition. The child makes a grimace of discontent when toxic substances come into it from the mother's blood. He makes movements similar to convulsions, when the mother is very worried. He reacts to the noises that penetrate him, including the mother's voice, his intonation, the light, etc. "In the 28-week-old fetus, the corresponding reactions of facial expressions were observed for different taste sensations: negative grimaces of salt and bitter, expressionspleasure in the sweet, as well as expressions of mourning, screaming, anger, "writes the well-known researcher AI Brusilovsky. And further: "Strict scientific research has shown the importance of higher nervous activity in the development of the embryo. .. All his movements in the womb are conditioned by the activity of the organs of the nervous system. It does not only the movements of the limbs but also swallowing and grasping." The grasping reflex, so well developedin newborns, first appears at the age of 11.5 weeks. Seal - at 13 weeks. Fruit frowns eyes in 17 weeks, makes respiratory movements in 20 weeks.

    The recording of the electrical impulses of the fetal brain in the last months of intrauterine life has shown that it has the same rhythm change that is characteristic for the state of sleep, that is, two phases of sleep, replacing one another. .. "

    The fetus starts reacting to various(the nervous system is formed from the 4th week) In addition, since the endocrine system begins to form very early, the child at the hormonal level "experiences" all the emotional states of the mother. "Each wave of maternal hormones abruptlyt of the child from his usual state and gives him a heightened susceptibility. He begins to feel that something unusual has happened, and he is trying to "understand" what exactly. .. ", writes Professor Thomas Verney in his remarkable book" The Hidden Life of a Child Before Birth, "which contains a large number of factsuneasy reactions of the fetus to various stimuli on the basis of which T. Verni talks about primitive self-awareness and emotional perception of reality in the fetus. "In this regard, the observations of the well-known child psychiatrist A. Zakharov are very interesting, for example -". .. the majority of children who"did not wait," later fell ill with a neurosis of fear. .. "Or:" Children whose prenatal development was complicated by the threat of miscarriage were subsequently more likely to develop a fear neurosis. "

    Extensive research into the human unconscious carried out by Grof allowed him to discover in the unconsciousthe level that he calls perinatal. Each of the four most important initial periods of existence: intrauterine development, labor, passage through the birth canal and the first time of extrauterine existence imposes a speciala cytological imprint on the psyche, contributing to our entire life.

    Interesting research conducted. D. Chamberlain, who managed to resurrect the memory of birth events in hypnotherapy sessions.

    These and many other studies show that during his prenatal development a person passes a series of gradually more complicated psychological experiences, connected both directly with ontogeny, and with various factors that are independent of him( mother experiences, external influences, etc.)..The most significant event, leaving a deep trace in the psyche, is the birth event. Impressions in the intrauterine period and in the process of birth form a background on which a conscious attitude to the world is formed. The neonatal period also contributes to this background. And depending on what the content of these imprintings is, this background will color the further impressions in gray or pink tones, influencing the worldview.

    One way or another, we must admit that a newborn is a creature with some "baggage" in the psyche, and this can not be ignored. Its nervous system is already developed enough to perceive the attitude towards others, capture events and process incoming signals from outside, forming at its level some relation to the surrounding.

    Studies conducted with newborns show that the child selectively reacts to the surrounding people, he learns his mother. For example, a child performs muscle micromovements in time with the conversation of adults who are nearby, and these movements are most intense in the mother's voice. And he clearly distinguishes the intonation of the voice and this causes appropriate reactions in it. The child sensitively catches the condition of the person holding it in his arms and reacts to this condition.

    The tremendous sensitivity of newborns and infants to the psychological situation around them, with irresponsibility and misunderstanding of this by adults, leads to the fact that children become victims of this sensitivity. Conflicts between parents, between relatives, the nervous condition of parents and the inability to cope with it - all this leads to a delay in the development of children and their increased morbidity.

    Today's attitude towards newborns and infants can only be described as violent. The neglect of their subtle psychic manifestations, the reduction of their vital needs to almost purely physiological inevitability, this violence generates. Birth with the help of medication and other mandatory interventions, separation of the child from the mother after birth, treatment of the body, sweating, feeding according to the regime, content in the thermo-comfort temperature, etc. - that this is not violence, the permissibility of which follows logically from the attitude towards the childhow to the essence of the insensitive, unable to experience? But this is the case in modern medicine."... Until recently, there was a belief about the impossibility of fine neurology in newborns. ..", writes A.Yu. Ratner.

    "In the process of embryonic development," writes N.Dubinin, "the child obeys biological laws and is born as a specially organized animal with humanized biology, a set of prerequisites for the development of its social essence."

    So it is treated - as a "specially organized animal" with a "set of assumptions."

    Numerous scientific data prompts to seriously reconsider the attitude towards the period of infancy( and also to pregnancy and the process of birth).However, all this remains outside routine medical practice.

    Let's make some conclusions that will be important in our further presentation:

    the physical and mental state of the baby is the result of processes and events that have occurred over a considerable period of time, including during pregnancy and childbirth, and not just during the immediate lifethe extra-uterine state of the period;

    the mental "baggage" accumulated during intrauterine development and birth is significant enough to largely determine the psychological structure of the future personality and influence the entire subsequent life, including physical health;

    a newborn and a baby have a high sensitivity to the psychological atmosphere in which they are, and to the events taking place with them during this period. This has a profound effect on their physical and mental health;

    already newborn children selectively react to people;The greatest importance for them is the presence and emotional state of the mother.

    We see that the child is a very subtle being. Every event that happens to him leaves a trace in his psyche. And for all his subtlety, he is still a dependent. He is not able to decide for himself, make volitional efforts and defend himself. This shows how responsible it is to approach actions with respect to the child. We must always remember the close connection between the physiological and mental processes that the child manifests particularly strongly. We must constantly remember that our actions already during this period influence all of its future conscious attitude to the world, and make it so that the attitude is positive.