New Spaces in our Psyches
"There seems to be a deep, unexplainable connection between parents and children; perhaps it is the by-product of physical and spiritual bonding. How is it that a mother knows when her baby needs her? Why does a woman's milk often let down precisely when her child becomes hungry or cries?... If anything will convince you that something in addition to the physical world exists, bonding will." -- Robin Lim: After the Baby's Birth... A Woman's Guide to Wellness
I've never really thought of myself as psychic or intuitive. In all my fifty years I've encountered only half a dozen moments of that mysterious "knowing." The first time I felt that sudden clear, calm certainty, I was eleven. The last time, I was a few days postpartum with my first baby.
Since we lived in a small town where I'd taught yoga for several years, I had a large circle of friends and acquaintances. That day, there was a knock at the door. As I prepared to open it, I "saw" in my mind's eye the person who was standing on the other side. It was almost as though the door had become transparent for a second! I was startled by the clear inner vision -- but though it was very different from my usual awareness, it seemed to flow naturally from the unusual awareness of postpartum time.
What was the secret of this state where extra-sensory perception felt so natural? Was it "just hormones"? Was it the way my attention was focused outside myself, on my new baby? The differences I felt seemed to be all about relaxing boundaries and being more present with the things and people around me, while my love for the baby seemed to expand, linking me in an empathic web with everything.
To carry and give birth to a baby, we make new spaces in our bodies -- why not in our psyches as well? Maybe the postpartum period is a natural time to discover the intuitive mind and the mystery of psychic awareness. Stories from mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents attest to this possibility.
Many women have had unusual experiences during labor. Some recall sensing the thoughts and emotions of people around them, or feeling invisible presences in the room. This psychic openness often carries over into the bonding time. In her book, "A Mother's Instincts," Cassandra Eason tells the story of a woman who felt her deceased relatives gathering around to celebrate the birth of her second child. In the mother's own words:
"Amanda's birth was a lovely, happy event, with no drugs. My daughter was born at one p.m., and that evening and throughout the night my room was a spiritual gathering place -- a celebration party for the birth of Amanda Patricia. They all seemed to have come to share our joy. My late father visited, and I sensed his loving, happy laughter and felt his happiness for my happiness. My deceased grandfather Jacob and grandmother Amanda came together to visit, too, as did my uncle and aunt and my deceased older brother Johnnie, who gave me his 'older brother proud smile.'"
For some parents, a sense of "presences" continues for a while, as if a door between the worlds has been left open! One couple described feeling the presence of angels daily for about three months after their child was born. "Sometimes it was so strong," says Deborah, "that we'd get up to see 'who' was in the house."
The Telepathic Link of Parent and Child
When we share stories of the bonding time, we often hear accounts of telepathy between parent and baby. Many mothers notice that they wake up just a few minutes before their baby is ready to nurse during the night. This might be explained on the basis of synchronized sleep cycles, or the mother's being in tune with her own milk-producing rhythm, but some stories do suggest there's something more going on here. For example, Cassandra Eason relates the story of a family in Germany.
The mother had a rough time at delivery and so, says the father, "since she was too weak to hold our brand-new daughter, the honor fell to me. Jenny spent the first two hours of her life in my arms, and she and I spent much of that time just looking at each other. I had a strong sense that a bond was forming between us, even then. Once home it was my duty to change Jenny's nappies and bring her to our bed for nursing at night. I was immediately struck by a strange phenomenon. Whereas I used to sleep like a log I would now awaken at night and within a minute or so hear Jenny begin to cry. This happened virtually every night for several months. I might add that Jenny slept not in our room but in the room next door."
This family's second childbirth was easier, so the next baby did not spend his first hours bonding just with his father. Curiously enough, although the father once again was in charge of bringing the baby in for night nursings, this time he would wake up only after the baby had begun to cry. Maybe we mothers should make sure our babies spend lots of their early bonding time in their father's arms -- for the good of everyone concerned!
The telepathic link can develop in adoptive families too. A mother writes: "Our son arrived at age three months. Three days later I went out on some errands -- the first time away from him since his arrival. Twice while I was out I heard a baby crying, but upon looking around for the baby, saw none. The next day I had a hairdresser's appointment. I heard a baby come in, crying, while the hairdresser was cutting. I mentioned to her about the baby and she informed me that no baby had just arrived. But I heard it so distinctly! I began to catch on. I asked her what time it was. Upon arriving home I discovered that exactly at that time our son had awakened and begun to cry."
The psychic bond works both ways -- parents tell of occasions when a baby seems to respond to their unspoken thoughts. Sometimes this can be quite inconvenient! See Rainbow Letters for a good example sent in by a mother in Australia ("A Very Close Bond Psychically").
When our babies are old enough to begin talking, we sometimes get confirmation of the telepathy that may have been operating all along. Jan Hunt noticed several incidents with her son between the ages of one and four. She recalls, "At about one or one and a half, Jason was asleep, and I was awake next to him (we have a family bed). I was thinking, 'He hasn't been enjoying bagels for a while, maybe I should put some jelly on it.' Still asleep, Jason said, 'Jelly on it, jelly on it, jelly on it.'" It would be interesting to know whether family bed sleeping increases the psychic connection. Though on one level telepathy seems to be "nonlocal" -- independent of space and time -- could the physical closeness help us tune in to each other? Feedback is welcome!
Antennae of Protection
Says one mother, "I think that if you allow it to happen, your mind and body become more sensitive during pregnancy and after -- your antennae are out, so to speak." In one very practical way, our "antennae" are out for the protection of our children. Caring for our babies, we have a stronger motivation for developing that sixth sense than we ever had before. Many stories of newborn time show this protective sense at work. It can be a very subtle awareness, as in Janette's experience.
When baby Angelica was two weeks old, Janette recalls, "She was asleep in the bedroom and I was working in the kitchen, when I realized that she was calling me. It was not that I heard her crying; it was a sense, an awareness that she needed to feel connected with me. I went to the bedroom immediately, where she lay totally motionless and not breathing (I know newborns do that -- long pauses between breaths). I touched her lightly and she breathed a heavy sigh and continued sleeping. I knew she needed to be reassured that I was there with her and that she felt better now that I had reconnected with her."
Sometimes the "calling" is more urgent. In "A Mother's Instincts," an Australian mother recounts her experience: "I was in the kitchen washing dishes and Alex, aged around eleven months, was running around in our lounge room. Our lounge is very much a childproofed room, so I was confident he could come to no harm. But while I was working I kept getting a fidgety odd feeling that wouldn't go away. It was a very strong feeling of 'Do something.' I kept trying to ignore it, but then it was like a light that filled a black room. 'Alex!' I dropped everything and ran into the other room. There he was, about to put a fistful of sewing needles into his mouth. How my sewing box got into the room I'll never know... But it was just lucky I got the message that he was in danger."
How can we tell the difference between our natural worries and a psychic warning sign? Cassandra Eason writes, "The call is very different from ordinary, run-of-the-mill maternal anxiety... It can be physically felt as an urgent stabbing in the gut, or heard as a voice saying, 'Go home now.' The key factor is that the mother does not wonder if the baby is OK. If she has time to reflect then probably there is not an emergency."
Love is a Telephone
A few months after her baby was born, Holly began to notice "coincidences" more and more often. "Many were very subtle," she writes. "Some examples would be thinking of calling someone and having them call (this happened a lot during this time, especially with two women who were close with me who were also mothering young babes). The same would happen with letters -- I have a lot of friends scattered about and sometimes I would get a strong feeling of one and sense different things (happy, sad and so forth) and usually it was in tune with something they were going through."
A more dramatic incident occurred one weekend when Holly went out of town. A friend was pregnant but not due for a couple more weeks. "One morning I started thinking of her very strongly," Holly recalls. "A couple hours later I was getting cramps that reminded me of early labor. When I went home two days later I learned that was the time she was having her baby."
Why would we become more intuitive and even more psychic in newborn time? Holly offers an insightful suggestion. "I had been cultivating my relationship with my baby in a totally nonverbal way (from her side), yet because I was tuned in, I knew her wants and needs. It must have been like an exercise, and it opened up that level of communion with me and others close to me."
Some other possibilities come to mind. As we care for a baby we slow down, becoming softer and quieter, and we feel subtle things that we might not notice otherwise. Midwife Diane Gregg speaks of "the altered state of consciousness that characterizes pregnancy and also the breastfeeding relationship." First we are the nest -- and then keepers of the nest. Diane believes that "this increased sensitivity to both internal and external environments can facilitate growth and increase psychic abilities."
Do the hormones of breastfeeding actually help us to be more intuitive? Certainly those nights of broken sleep and sleepy nursings can put us in a different state. We seem to be closer to the threshold of the subconscious, where I believe intuitions are born.
Or is it even simpler? Maybe love is naturally telepathic, and we're always in touch with what we care for. People speak of their hearts melting in love -- maybe love melts our boundaries and makes us wonderfully leaky, more receptive. I once read in one of Carlos Castaneda's books that Don Juan stated the auras of parents have holes in them. Childless then, I thought this sounded perfectly awful! But now it sounds natural and loving.
Whatever the explanation, our intuitive awareness surely helps us care for our babies. As we live with these marvelous beings who force us to be "here and now," we just don't have time to think everything out with the logical mind. Luckily, it seems that we don't have to!
This article owes a great deal to English writer Cassandra Eason's "A Mother's Instincts." It is an excellent book that is unfortunately hard to obtain in the States. However, Cassandra's new book, "The Mother Link" (titled "Mother Love" in the UK edition), is readily available in the States. It deals with all aspects of mother-child psychic bonds, and you can read a sample of it on this website by clicking here.
More information about psychic and intuitive awareness postpartum can also be found in "In The Newborn Year" by Elisabeth Hallett.
Postpartum Rainbow Introduction
Part 1 "Connectedness"
Part 2 "All My Senses Were Heightened"
Part 3 "Changing Mind"
Part 4 "The Sea of Emotion"