The first year of a child’s life is a struggle between trust and mistrust. Our experience with our mothers or mother substitute hinges on the formation of a critical bond, where the mother takes the responsibility for birthing and nurturing her child; the child, in turn, is totally dependent upon the mother for their survival.
In a human environment, the need for a mother to give prolonged care is eminent. The initial months of life are the most physically demanding, requiring a mother to be at hand nearly twenty four hours a day. This is grueling; ask any mother. She has little sleep and is required to give unconditionally to the baby. She learns to interpret the types of cries a child broadcasts: I’m hungry; I’m soiled; I’m sick; I’m just not happy! Eventually the child starts to communicate orally what his needs are, but not without demands and crying. Mothers witness the epitome of immaturity in their children, and must become their unrelenting guides, trying to lead them toward independence and maturity. It is a feverish, frustrating and rewarding process that lasts until the child is in early adulthood.