Excerpted from Spiritual Turning Points: A Metaphysical Perspective of the Seven Life Transitions
by Victoria Marina-Tompkins
spring 2011 Release
Bonding: The First Moments after Birth
"....So let’s go back to that moment of first contact between mother and infant. If all goes well, the infant has now been placed into its mother’s arms and is in the early stages of bonding. Eye contact, nursing, feeling the love and warmth of the mother are all necessary components of the first monad or life transition, which began with the first breath and will end when the infant is breathing on its own following the delivery of the placenta and the cutting of the umbilical cord. A successful transition will result in a healthy baby, a “10” on the Apgar scale, who is dependent on his mother for survival but is breathing independently. The positive of this transition is vitality with the negative life which is the distinction between simply being alive as opposed to being filled with vigor.
Not all infants make the transition smoothly. Some need external help such as ventilators to aid in breathing or warming units to keep the temperature at a healthy level. Modern medicine has made great strides in the past fifty years, reducing the infant mortality rate from 152 in 1,000 births worldwide to 57 in 1,000 by the year 2000. More specifically the highest infant death rate is currently Angola with 182 out of 1,000 with Singapore, Sweden, and Bermuda averaging 2.5. Some contributing factors to infant mortality include congenital malformations, complications of pregnancy, and respiratory distress, all leading to an incomplete first transition. According to the Free Dictionary, “vitality” is defined as “the capacity to live, grow, and develop” and “the characteristic, principle, or force that distinguishes living from non-living things” Other descriptions include “good health” or “Chi,” the life energy that in Chinese medicine is the essential ingredient for life. Colloquialisms include “he was full of beans” or “such a live wire,” both apt metaphors for a child full of life. On the opposite spectrum, life is defined as “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects” and “a living being.” One might ask what is the difference between these positives and negatives? The key is in that vitality is vibrant and energetic while life describes more the bodily functions of breath, heartbeat, and muscle reactivity, all rote physical processes.
The Maoris of New Zealand sing traditional lullabies or Orioris not only during the birth itself, but post-birth as well. The mothers sing these soothing songs to the infant during pregnancy to offer comfort, and continue after the infant is born. Practices such as these aid in the overall process and help the newborn make the transition into the new body with less stress and discomfort than might otherwise be the case. Western labor and delivery has in many cases a far less gentle approach though there have been great advances made in recent years to a more mother/child-centered childbirth experience with fewer medical interventions. Still, the percentage of soon-to-be new moms choosing a birth environment with soft lights and no drugs is small in comparison to those who choose the “tried and true” method of physician-directed obstetrics.Whether or not the birth process goes smoothly does not determine whether this specific life transition is completed, or in the positive as an infant can be born under many different circumstances, both positive and negative, and still emerge healthy."
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