Newborn Nursery

I love rounding in the newborn nursery.

It was dark as I drove to the hospital. The birds were beginning to sing and traces of shade hidden snow reflected in my headlights. In the nursery a nurse wheeled in a bassinet with a newborn for me to examine. She looked up at me with an engulfing gaze filled with wonder and amazement. I wondered what future sights those eyes would behold and who she would choose to become.  Her breathing was soft, measured and smooth. Her arms held close to her chest with her fingers delicately resting on a soft receiving blanket. As I raised her in my hands her lips seemed to move slightly as if trying to speak. I held her softly and felt her warmth as she settled on my shoulder. Time stood still as she joined a parade of other infants I had held over so many years.  Infants are our greatest gifts.

After finishing my exam I talked to several new parents. Tired and excited, each was radiant with a mixture of joy and fearful expectations of what was to come.  We talked about infants and how parent self-care is the most neglected part of newborn care. We talked about car seats, hand washing, infant carriers, sleep patterns and feeding options but mostly we talked about nurturing, intuition and trust. We discussed how perfect parenting practices are a mirage since every child is born ready to engage life.

Our society is increasingly portrayed as a violent culture devoid of trust and founded on selfish individual desires. We are bombarded with media reports telling us what we as parents must do if our child is to grow up healthy, smart, strong and protected. This fear is based on lack not plenty. By instilling helplessness and anxiety in parents such fear hides endless opportunity that is within each of us.  I believe such actions steal life from every child no matter what challenges their physical life might demand. Our love, affection, attention and encouragement provide the foundation for freedom, respect and the power of choice that lives within every child. We are temporary guardians who hold and protect each child waiting for the real fun to begin.

When was the last time you looked into the eyes of a newborn?