Every day I think about childhood neglect and the faulty wiring of little people’s nervous systems.
Most of my clients are seeking out what my colleagues and I do because somewhere along the line (or along their parents line, or their grandparents line, etc.), their needs were not met.
Abuse, adversity, lack of secure attachment and misattunement — all of it gets passed on when we aren’t actively working to shift our maladaptive lineages.
The paradox right now is that we need time (and resources, meaning money*) to shift these deeply ingrained nervous system pathways — it can’t happen overnight, it can’t happen in a few months, and for those with more severe early adversity and parental neglect, it can take years to fully rewire the bad into better.
(* And sadly right now, the therapies that can rewire this stuff are not covered by the medical system, and I don’t see it being covered anytime soon.)
The care that a newborn baby needs is exquisitely challenging for even well intentioned and healthy parents.
So you can very well imagine how difficult it is for a parent who didn’t have the right conditions when they were young — when their unhealed traumas (usually from their own childhood and infancy) get resurrected — have their own children, and then the cycle continues.
And, let’s face it, us humans are pretty new at this whole child rearing thing in an industrialized and domesticated world: we no longer have the supportive, tribal communities that our genetics were designed in.
Our systems are kind of confused at what’s going on and, for many, this confusion is causing chaos.
To make matters even worse, we’ve also encouraged the parent that’s usually more naturally built for love and connection (the mother) to go out and work and to “make something of herself” and in doing this, our little ones are very often left with strangers like nannies who, even if they are great, will usually eventually leave, creating another rupture, or grandparents who may not be robust enough for the job. Or our little ones may be thrown into big day care operations that can’t possibly meet their needs for consistent, attuned attention and care.
[Yes, I’m generalizing here – but hopefully you get the point.]
If you’re still reading this and are thinking, “are we all doomed for extinction?” — the answer could be yes if we don’t start to understand how important it is to:
1 – Get the education on board so we can understand what a newborn infant really needs in the first few years of life.
2 – Eat well and avoid harsh chemicals and drugs while pregnant, and also work on our own early attachment wounds and traumas (preferably before you decide to have kids).
3 – Actively seek out support when you do become a parent, so that you do the best you can to not pass along the wiring in your own nervous system that you know could be improved.
While this might seem depressing, and sometimes I will admit it is, we as humans who are alive right now have a global duty to change these patterns of traumatic transmission.
Because if we don’t, who will?
If you haven’t had a chance to check out my videos and articles, below are two vlogs where I dive into the whole “child rearing” concept, and what it means to take good care of our future adults.
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Lessons from a mama monkey (the silent epidemic that’s not being talked about)
How to create a healthy human being starts here (it’s not what you think)
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If you can take the time to watch BOTH of these vlogs, it’ll take you about 18 minutes (the length of a TED talk).
And then, if you know of a mom or dad to be, or new parents, or grandparents, or people who haven’t yet had kids but you know they want to — PLEASE, I beg you to share these links or this post with them.
The healthcare community, pediatricians and various organizations for creating healthy communities rarely, if at all, talk about this side of the story.
Often what is talked about and taught is nutrition, exercise, safe sex, avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco, asking for support and where to find it, and so much more – all of which is important to have, but here’s the thing: when we get this primary start to life off in a good ‘nervous system health’ way, a lot of this other stuff is inconsequential.
Because you see, when a person is well regulated in their nervous system (as a result of solid secure attachment, safety in your home environment and parents who are well regulated themselves) knowing how to take care and treat yourself is just built in from the start, and there’s little need to self-soothe via food, drugs and other habits that keep us from realizing our fullest potential.
It’s simple in theory, but right now complex in practice because of where we are on the spectrum of humanity. The change, and the healing, starts with each of us!