Explain This

Since the day my son was born, I have been biologically tuned into him.  This manifests, to this day, as me waking up 3-6 minutes before him.  Almost every time. Even though there is no regularity to his wakings.  Nap time.  Night time.  It doesn’t matter.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said she thought it made sense.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  It makes sense for S, who is literally biologically connected to him, to experience this.  For me, it seems a little crazy.

Anyone else (who did not gestate or birth your child) ever experience this sort of connection?  Just curious.

-Betsy

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9 responses to “Explain This

  1. I have a friend who adopted a little girl. She had a name picked out before adopting her. When she met the birth-mother, she found out that they had picked the same first and middle name for her daughter!!! How amazing is that for being “connected”. What are the chances??
    For me, NOT being biologically connected to my kids, yet having so much in common with them, is so much more amazing and miraculous than any biological connection. For me, those things are just proof that something greater than me has connected me with my kids and has made us a family. I think it is incredible that my son (age 7 from Ethiopia) loves 80s rock music and loves to play guitar, just like me. I didn’t turn him onto this music and never even encouraged him to play the guitar, but it’s what he lives for. If he had lived his life in Ethiopia, he would have never even laid his eyes on a guitar or heard this type of music. His grandfather has 9 other grandchildren and I promise that Tad has more in common with him than ALL his other grandchildren. How does that happen? And then there is my daughter, age 16 months. I wasn’t sure about having a girl ( I really didn’t want a girl). I was sort of scared to meet her. But the first time I saw her, I swear that I heard the Angels sing. When our eyes met, I felt like I finally knew what heaven must be like. AND that happens every time we make eye contact.
    So, being biologically connected to my kids means absolutely nothing to me. We have a much deeper connection than biology can ever explain. That is exactly what you have with Milo and it is proof that you were meant to be family and there is something greater at work in your life that some people might not ever experience.

  2. If there is no regularity in his sleeping/waking patterns, how could such a connection between parent and child be biological? It seems more reasonable that if this kind of thing happens once in a while, it may be related to perceiving with your senses (although unconsciously) that he’s about to wake up. Perhaps the breathing rhythm changes, for example. Or perhaps he starts moving around more.

    • Perhaps, but he sleeps in another room, not with us. Also, I often sleep with ear plugs in. I think it is something much deeper.
      -Betsy

  3. Becky Langerman

    Happens to me all the time! I’m the primary caregiver for our 5 month old. It’s like I can sense when he’s about to wake up. In the night, I’ll find myself lying there wide awake and realizing that I’ve woken up because he’s about to! Same with naps. I’ll feel jolted from what I’m doing to tune into him and there he is, babbling away! Wasn’t it Oprah who said, “Biology doesn’t make a mother.”?

  4. The caregivers of a child DO form a biological connection with the child – through hormonal changes that are triggered by the care-taking and possibly through pheromonal cues. Men in a nurturing role with their children produce more estrogen and prolactin than men who aren’t. Adoptive parents also produce these “caregiving” hormones in response to caring for their infant/child. Some of the “bonding” hormones that gestational mothers produce in abundance are the result of breastfeeding (if they breastfeed), which stimulates prolactin. If they don’t breastfeed, they don’t necessarily have more of these hormones than the nongestational parent. “Biological” bonding is a process, not an event!

    Feedbacks between role, activity, relationship and experience and neurotransmitters and hormones are common. People in competitive roles – both men and women – produce more testosterone than those not in them. People who produce more testosterone may be more attracted to those roles to begin with, but the role itself stimulates production of testosterone. Rewards trigger the production of dopamine. Women who live and/or work together tend to have synchronized menstrual cycles.

    A creepier, but interesting example – primates, including humans, who live in close proximity to an infant-to-young child seem to develop a lifelong aversion to incest with that individual – regardless of whether they are biologically related. Biology doesn’t want incest to happen for genetic reasons, but the aversion signal isn’t triggered by sharing the genes – it’s triggered by caring for/living with the infant. The theory is that there’s some kind of pheromonal signal that is given out by the infant/small child (or “juvenile” if talking non-human primates) that is absorbed and “remembered” by the parent/caregiver.

    So that’s my nerdy response.

  5. Helen, thanks for your nerdy response! I hadn’t thought about the pheromones involved in our everyday lives with those around us. That makes perfect sense. My partner and I have never wanted to experience pregnancy, so adoption was always our first choice. I always love meeting adoptees. In my previous response, I should have said that being biologically “related” to my child means nothing to me. I definitely do feel biologically “connected” with both of them. THanks for your reply!

  6. Well, I have to say that it is all about love. Pheromones and such may be the particulars, but when you live and love with someone, you start truly being in sync with them. It’s inevitable and so, so lovely! That’s what LOVE IS!

  7. I agree about love – I answered on a biological level because in the original post, Betsy wondered how she could be so tuned into her son’s sleep cycles without a biological connection. Just wanted to say, there is a biological connection between parents and the young children they nurture, even it it’s less obvious, even if they’re not genetically related and/or didn’t “carry” their child.

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