Updated: Sep 13, 2022
The human gestation period is early compared to other mammals. Many other mammals are birthed ready stand and locomote. Not humans. They are born so completely dependent on their mamas. They very much need to be held often to support their body and brain development. This is the marsupial phase of postpartum. They need lots of skin to skin time so they can regulate their nervous system to their caregivers. This deep dependance allows for gradual independence in natural timing. The gestation period is actually not nine months but eighteen months. Nine on the inside and nine on the outside.
I have felt this so true with Anaiya. Her desire, need and comfort in being held is gradually shifting into independent play and explorations. She doesn’t need me to hold her as much as she has, her developing capacity to explore on her own increasing more each day. She can participate in getting what she needs and wants, rather than just receiving. I feel us moving into the world in a new way. Feeling my own need for some independence and breaks from being a full-time mom.
It’s sweet to feel this transition of both of our needs shifting and moving into greater relational harmony. She wants more independence and so do I. It's a natural progression.
One place this shows up successfully is in the kitchen. As she stands on her learning tower eating or playing while I make dinner, she doesn’t need me engaging with her the entire time. It used to be that she wanted to be held while I cooked with one hand or had her in the carrier.
The start of this shared parallel experiencing of the world is once again in its natural pacing and perfect unfolding. It’s emerging out of some of my own discomfort of needing to feel “me” again, beyond just being a mom. And there’s been some agitation inside of the growth and transition we’re both feeling. It’s exactly that, a transitional period. We’re not through it yet but finding our way.
"The start of this shared parallel experiencing of the world is once again in its natural pacing and perfect unfolding. It’s emerging out of some of my own discomfort of needing to feel “me” again, beyond just being a mom."
If I was to keep holding her all the time I’d no longer be alive with where her development is and would actually be inhibiting what she needs. And if I’d pushed her out of my marsupial care too soon, she’d have been forced into premature independence, beyond what her system was naturally ready for. Becoming overly self-reliant during a developmental stage where she needed dependance on her primary caregiver, not self-soothing.
This is my continual process of mothering through presence. Staying alive and attuned with the arising. And noticing when there’s discomfort or agitation because it’s a sign that something is needing to shift.
I don’t have a manual on how to be a parent or what I’m supposed to do. But my greatest ally is in the continual listening and paying attention to what’s at hand for us both. Serving both of our needs, as best I can.
I recognize that there are times when certain developmental stages of growth are messy or our connection doesn’t feel as smooth. And in those moments can recognize it as a phase shift. Developmentally shifting into a new stage of connection. And as we settle into our new phase, harmony unfolds once again in this symbiotic relationship.