Sharon shoves the jeans back on the store shelving and rocks the stroller back and forth absentmindedly as she saunters toward the clearance rack. Muffled cries turn to frantic sobs as the red-faced infant in the stroller waves her arms and kicks. Uncomfortable, the baby lies in soiled diapers that are cold and chafing. After a few minutes of crying, baby drifts off into another spell of troubled sleep. Twenty minutes, later she awakes again to terrible pain in her tummy. Screaming, she tries to get someone’s attention, but by this time she is in her carseat in the car, embarked on the long drive home. Sweating and almost hysterical, the baby gasps for air. Sharon finally pulls the car over to the side of the road, irritated and fatigued. What does this child want from her? She was up most of the night and is starting to doubt that she has what it takes to do this “mother thing.”
I have devoted a lot of blogging space to the various childhood stages and issues of children ages 3 and up. I haven’t spent as much time talking about the challenges of infancy, the “earth” stage of development. A plethora of material exists regarding pregnancy and new baby. Unfortunately, much of the information out there is conflicting. Some books promote tending to your baby every time they cry, others advocate placing your baby on a schedule. There are books that encourage putting baby to sleep in a dark and quiet place, alone. There are books that promote the “family bed.” The choices are myriad.
At birth, an infant experiences the world through earth energy. Earth energy is solid in consistency and the foundation from which all the other energies spring. Emotions at this stage are quite raw and basic. Infants need to feel safe, held, dry and fed; to know that they can trust the world to support them in this, the most vulnerable and dependent time of their lives. When these energy needs are not met they become rock-hard (blocked) or muddy/watery in consistency, which could indicate too weak a foundation. Blockages usually lead to a “fear based” or stubborn relationship to the world. Blocks usually occur when needs are ignored or unmet. The work of this stage is to build trust, create attunement with the body and begin the business of relating to the world physically. If the work of this stage is accomplished successfully, an emotionally and physically stable beginning becomes a perfect foundation for the next stage.