Symbiotic Period: The First 8 weeks of Life
“The first weeks after birth have a special significance for the child’s development and are referred to as “symbiotic life”. The word symbiosis means “a life together” and it describes the special situation of two living beings who need each other because each of them gives and receives something absolutely necessary for the continuation and the quality of each of their lives.” – Understanding the Human Being ch. 3
The symbiotic period is a period of time which starts in conception and ends eight weeks after the child's birth. This paper will point out the importance of the prenatal life, and the care that the mother should have since she becomes aware of that pregnancy. She has to know that a lot has been going on by that developing human being, from the moment that egg was fertilized. It will also explain how the nervous system develops and starts creating memory from experiences from inside and outside womb environment. How the unicellular creature reaches the complexity of becoming a human being. It will also explain the different phases of evolution the human brain goes through, and how each of them contains special characteristics of the developing human personalities, and the interesting relationship between the child and the mother during pregnancy.
This paper will also point out the phase of birth, and the separation and attachment that both the mother and the child face. How the mother becomes a point of reference from the old environment, (the womb) and how she will be able to help the child adapt to its new environment, the world, which will be the child's home for the rest of his life. It will also explain the term used for external pregnancy, “exterogestation” which is considered to be during the nine months after birth.
And finally, the symbiotic life, the relationship between the mother and the child in their separated environment, who each of them help each other, the importance of maternal food, (breast milk) and how this “natural act” will lead the way for establishing a long life relationship with the mother and the environment the child is introduced in. how the newborn experiences two births, a biological and a psychological one. And the importance of the fathers presence in the life of the child.
“Conception and pregnancy constitute the first chapter of our personal history, a chapter that lasts around 280 days, in an environment totally different to that which we experience after birth.” (UHB. Pg.2)
Ever since the mother becomes aware of her pregnancy, a lot has been going on inside of her body, the developing fertilized egg has been traveling through the fallopian tube and into the uterus for about four days. (Dr. Salguero) Waiting to be implanted into the uterine walls, where the relationship with the mother will start, the egg will look for a special place inside the uterus and will let the mothers body know that its ready and will allow the placenta to start developing. This first phase of pregnancy is known as “zygotic period”. It will take eight to ten weeks for the zygote to become an embryo, and enter the “embryonic period”. And is until this period when all of the mental development starts. The child starts having “mental activity” which is described by Silvana Q. Montanaro as “any capacity to receive information, give answers, accumulate experiences and respond appropriately to them.” (UHB. pg3) And it is through this mental activity (information received) that the nervous system is developed. The nervous system is so important that develops fastest during pregnancy, which is why in ultrasounds the head is always as big or bigger as the rest of the body. Silvana explains the “Triune Brain Theory” by Paul Mclean, which demonstrate that all humans recapitulate the whole process of evolution in the brain. Humans first start with a reptilian brain, which provide the instinct of self preservation, a sense of individuality, the defense...
References: • Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro Understanding the Human Being: The importance of the First Three Years of Life, 6th edition (2007)
• Dr. Mario Salguero Obstetrics Class Notes. (2010)
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