Friday, September 4, 2009

Infancy First Weeks

As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth, She writhes and cries out in her labor pains, Thus were we before You, O LORD. (Isaiah 26:17 NAS)

Infancy By the time a woman realizes she is pregnant, she is probably already one to two months into pregnancy, and by the time she sees a doctor, the baby is usually two or three months along. According to Glade Curtis and Judith Schuler, authors of the childcare advisory book, Your Pregnancy Week by Week (2004), many important things can happen before a mother realizes she is pregnant or before she sees her doctor. Getting in shape for pregnancy therefore means physical and mental preparations. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy is the most important period because this is when the baby forms its major organ systems.

Preparing for the coming of a newborn is important, and as parents, we must first understand what goes on during the period when life is being formed within the mother's womb at infancy. Infancy, from the perspective of medical science, begins from the point when a newborn baby passes from the watery dark environment of the womb to an existence outside the mother's body, cut off from the former dependency on the blood supply of the mother. According to Michael Meyerhoof, Ed.D, executive director of The Education for Parenthood Information Center in Illinois who wrote on 'Understanding Cognitive and Social Development in a Newborn' at HowStuffWorks.com, the first days of the infant are spent on recovering from the mother's labor by first stabilizing the breathing, digestion, circulation, elimination, body temperature regulation and hormonal secretion before the baby’s new independent life can begin. While these adjustments are taking place, the infant is at the mercy of its own reflexes.

As the days and weeks progress, the baby will gradually begin to differentiate shapes, see colors, and distinguish taste and smell. The next stages in the baby’s development is dependent on the child’s environment, which as parents, we must play our part in controlling and composing the aspects of nature or nurture to build trust and bond by spending time with the newborn. The child during this period will acquire knowledge which will include everything from the baby recognizing the mother to learning to sing the alphabet song.

Many of us, as parents, have experienced the joy of welcoming our newborn into this world. Before this overwhelming joy can come to realization, however, every mother must first go through the pain and labor. The Bible, in describing the events preceding childbirth, said of the pregnant woman that when the time to give birth approaches, the mother writhes and cries out in labor pains (Isaiah 26:17). What goes on in the mother’s womb for the months before the delivery of the child and what goes on after the child is born into the world, however, are not all about the mother and child’s relationship alone, but also about the mercies of God and His sustenance. As the baby adjusts to the new environment to develop an independent life, it is during this period that the infant will be at the mercy of its own reflexes. This is the time when what is not mentioned in science is mentioned in the Bible about how the baby’s life is sustained from birth by God who took the infant from the mother’s womb (Psalm 71:6).

As Christian parents, therefore, we must always be thankful to God in praising Him for His sustenance on our children’s lives, for without God, we as parents can only play our roles in fulfilling the natural. It is God who does the supernatural to take care of our children’s breathing, digestion, circulation, adaptation, body temperature regulation and hormonal secretion in stabilizing the infancy of a fresh new life. The days, weeks and months after that in the development of our children’s first years are in our hands to create the environment necessary to lead our children in the right path to balance nature and nurture in cultivating our children’s independence, yet depending on God for sustenance.

Our responsibilities as parents will certainly not be easy, because every child born of a mother is conceived in iniquity and sin from birth (Psalm 51:5). We must, therefore, do our part and play our roles in living godly lives for our children to exemplify us as we build greater trust and bonding by spending time with them so that they may acquire the right knowledge and direction toward knowing God (Proverbs 22:6).

Help us therefore dear God, as parents, to know when to allow nature takes its own course and when to nurture. Thank you, God, for giving us our children and for sustaining them in the early years of their infancy. Grant us wisdom LORD to lead our children in the right path. Lead us and teach us O God to live exemplary lives that our children may grow in Your loving grace to desire more of You each day.

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