A few days after Arjun was born I was ecstatic to see a gorgeous broad priceless cute smile (albeit) in his sleep. I thought, this is simply perfect, a happy baby that smiles while he sleeps, he must sure enjoy sleeping!!! a great win-win situation for me!
BUT I soon learnt that babies first smiles are slightly deceiving. They are smiles for sure but not associated with any form of emotion or external stimulus. They are merely one of their set of unique involuntary reflexes.
My ecstatisim had turned to a curiosity. I began to wonder whether Arjun has dreams, any of his own thoughts, or has any memories of his nine months in my womb. I wondered whether the reflex to smile was that of a social one? or was it really simply down to the primitive survival instincts newborns display in predictive set environments? All the same, our precious ones are far from being defenceless little beings, they use these reflexes to protect themselves. and patently with the help of their mothers.
If we think about it, Arjun (and I guess I speak for other babies too) only just began to habituate himself to an aquatic warm cosy environment. More like a 9 month spa gateway, where he didn’t have to worry about breathing, dirty nappies, day and night routine, and with a constant supply of food to keep him nourished. They were definitely well nested in our bellies.
AND All of a sudden, in frantic hours of commotion, enduring through a lot of physical stressful changes, their natural spa is suddenly unplugged, rapid movements, pushes and pulls, possibly yelling and screaming, poking and prodding, they are forced out of this cosy environment and thrown out into a clinical environment with alien-like creatures in white and green suits and stethoscopes around their neck. Soon after, they are placed on a tired exhausted mother, who begins to embrace and cuddle, shares funny gestures and speaks in (what would be) a foreign language that baby has never heard.
Yanked out and thrown out into the elements to survive!
During the early hours and days to come, babies immediately have to learn how to take their first breath, adjust and maintain their body temperatures, assimilate to periodic feeding, learn their own cry and in turn a mothers response to their cry. Their brand new, unused digestive system is put to the test of life, begin to subsist their first experience of excreting their own waste and the list of natures brilliance can go on and on. Its no wonder that our little angels are nothing short of superheroes with superpowers!!! Yes, I probably have over exaggerated …… but its probably why they are in built with some survival impulse actions.
we really don’t know how babies truly feel, they smile, grasp, startle as reflex actions, but I find it hard to believe they completely lack emotion in the early week especially given that it is only in these early days a very strong, life long bond is formed between mother and baby. Maybe, not physically displayed emotions but there is definitely a metaphysical supernal emotion that is between baby and mother. And in my view, this is the purest form of the emotion of love. Science cannot explain reflexes or other interesting things babies do and science for sure cannot explain how my heart beats outside my body now that I have Arjun.