© 1992 by Elisabeth Brutto Hallett
"I never knew such contact was possible"
From Part I, IN THE NEWBORN YEAR
Meeting our new baby can be an event that marks a far-reaching change in our lives. It can bring perceptions that dissolve old ways of thinking; like a seed crystal, it can impart a whole new order. For many parents, the feelings of closeness and connection with their newborn are both unexpected and transforming... Now and then, the meeting will open something deep inside that has been closed off.
"The birth of my third child changed my life and my feelings about family, pregnancy, childcare and numerous other things entirely," says Nancy. "I suddenly felt like a very different person after the birth, and in the days that followed I felt that I was truly a feeling person for the first time in my life!" She continues:
"The births of my first two children were typical hospital births and my feeling after having them was that I truly never wanted to become pregnant again. In my memory, childbirth was a shocking, frightful event that was only fit to be shoved into the farthest reaches of my mind and (hopefully) forgotten.
"Bonding was non-existent with my first child (I barely even held her during the four-day hospital stay) and I functioned very 'automatically' with her for years thereafter. I felt a very slight brush with the bonding experience with my second child when I finally held him the day after he was born. This 'feeling' really took my breath away -- it was such a wonder to me to have a sweep of feeling for a brand-new baby. . .
"We had our third baby in a birthing center run by three midwives. Brenden was overdue and had meconium in his waters. His breathing was shallow and the midwives worked over him for an hour, making sure he was okay, before I ever saw him fully or held him. Somehow I knew my baby was okay, but I basically felt pretty detached from the child as I lay on the bed waiting while the midwives did all they had to do.
"I was thoroughly enjoying a blissful, dreamy state of complete and contented happiness. I couldn't stop smiling! I had never felt inexplicable happiness like this. I was still marveling over this wonderful state of being (which began actually during the final stage of the birth), when Brenden was put into my arms.
"When I looked into his eyes for the first time, I saw directly into his soul. It was simultaneously a solemn and joyous moment. I saw Brenden's intelligence, which was very fresh and beautiful -- untouched -- and I saw his fear. I know now that his first hour of life had been fearful for him. I've wondered over what he may have seen when he looked so intently at me -- he certainly was looking for something. In that moment we made a deep, soul-to-soul contact which I've never before, or since, experienced. To be truthful, I never knew such contact between human beings was possible.
"So you see, this experience opened a door to possibilities I never before knew existed. I would go so far as to say that it was a sacred moment."
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