Using Previewing to Stimulate Optimal Development
Several years ago, I had the occasion to interview the mother of an eightmonth-old infant who cried incessantly. The infant had been examined repeatedly by a pediatrician who discerned no organic abnormality that could be responsible for the episodes of crying. In fact, this physician had attempted to reassure the caregiver by telling her that the baby was “colicky”, a catch-all phrase used to describe infants who are irritable for a variety of reasons during the first few months of life. In most instances, this irritability gradually subsides by the second year of life. But the caregiver refused to accept these reassurances. Instead, she was convinced that the infant’s behavior was her fault, that she was lacking some key quality as a caregiver. Somehow her skills in soothing the infant were inadequate, and the fact that the infant wailed uncontrollably for four hours each day was attributable to some failure of nurturance on her part. “Sometimes I get so angry at him,” she said in frustration, “But then I realize he’s only a baby and it can’t be his fault.” This last comment was punctuated by cuddling the infant in her arms, as if to eradicate any ambivalence she may have felt toward her son. Then the mother sighed and said, “My neighbor tells me to use mother’s intuition when the baby gets upset, but I don’t know what she means. Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as ‘intuition’ when it comes to being a mother.”
KeywordsOptimal Development Postpartum Depression Depressed Mother Predictive Skill Vocal Communication
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