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The Bond that is made by the First Touches of Mother and Child- Part 1

There is a saying, "the parent who raises the child is closer to the child than the parent who gives birth...". As this saying indicates, just because a mother gives birth to a child does not always mean that a strong bond will be formed between mother and child.

How are the human relations between mother and child formed?

How is the bond tied between mother and child, where the mother loves the child and the child reciprocates that love? The most beautiful aspect of human relationships, the starting line and strong foundation of one's life is indeed the bond between mother and child. In observing this phenomenon, it is critical that we begin with focusing on socialization.

The unborn child begins his life by lighting the flame of life in the dark womb of the mother. Surrounding the crouched child is the warm amniotic fluid of the mother. The child has no worries and entrusts him-/herself totally to the mother while listening to the soothing sounds of the mother's heartbeat and growing bigger from day to day.

Towards the final months of the pregnancy, there may be many occasions where the fetus comes in close contact with the mother's inner surface of the uterus. The child is merely confirming his/her safe environment, protected by the warmth of the mother's uterus.

When the child becomes a member of the world...

Although childbirth is a biological process, the baby must pass through a very hard and tumultuous journey to come into this world and become a member of the society. This new world for the newborn is a world that is so completely different from that which s/he was used to in utero. Even the normal things that surround us daily and that we hardly notice as adults, such as lights, sounds and even air, are a new experience for the newborn.

The newborn knows little more that to cry and move his/her body to react to something startling. As a means of surviving, the only behavior the child knows is the rooting reflex (note 1) to take in the mother's milk.

Therefore, the mother's presence and being is the only stable and sure thing for the child. When the bond is not formed right away between the mother and the child, the development and existence of the baby is extremely fragile. This bond is called the mother-infant bond (note 2) and a large part of the formation of this bond can be attributed to innate natural forces.

Of course, the culture and the social background to which the mother belongs, the moral values and of the mother contributes to the process of the formulation of this special bond. Nonetheless, the special qualities of a newborn, its cuteness, helplessness, the soft skin, the special scent of a baby (caused by a special fatty acid (note 3), all contribute to drawing not only the mother's attention and love but also those of father.

However, we know that the mother-infant bond is not absolute. The horrifying events of child abuse in the newspapers and media confirm this sad reality.


(Note 1) the rooting reflex, sucking reflex
The reflex in which, when the cheek of the newborn is touched with a finger, the baby reacts to look toward the finger, and soon later by beginning a sucking action.

(Note 2) Mother-infant bond
This is the forming of a human relationship where the mother and child connect to each other through a psychological, physical and emotional communication which leads to a bonding to each other.

(Note 3) Fatty acid
A class of lipids consisting of various saturated or unsaturated organic acids and occurring naturally as glycerol esters in animal or vegetable fats and oils.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1981). "Hada kara hajimaru haha to ko no kizuna - 1"(written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved April 1, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.crn.or.jp/LIBRARY/KOBY/MIRAI/cbs0090.html
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