CHALLENGES OF EXISTENCE
By Dr. Kayode Obembe
From paradise in the womb into the harsh world –
a new-born baby challenges us all
LIFE is full of challenges, and anybody who resolves not to face challenges is as good as dead.
Such a person should take a cue from a special, very delectable fellow living being – not from a professor of Social Sciences, not from any of the Religious leaders this time, nor from any guru. He should take a lesson from a Zero-year old Baby.
The Starting Point of life, has been traced to an egg (ovum) and male zygote (sperm) coming together by a process of fertilization. The heart begins to beat at about five weeks of gestation i.e. seven weeks from the last menstrual period. The head, trunk and limb continue to differentiate until a whole embryo is formed – all inside the womb of the woman, the mother-to-be
All these activities taking place in the womb do not depend on the strength or any effort of the baby. And come to think of it, even the mother has little to do with what is going on. She has an infinitesimal part to play. It is all entirely beyond her reach and sight, literally speaking. (All she sees is the manifestation of the process, the progressive growth of her stomach). She is only aware of something growing inside of her; she feels the baby’s movements in due course; she feels some discomfort now and again. But as a general principle, all the mother-to-be has to contribute to the phenomenal process going on is to do her best to be in good health. It is a process and product of natural occurrence.
This baby inside, does not have to lift a finger or do anything before he can eat –he takes all his food from the blood of the mother flowing through him. He sleeps and breaths without any force. There is a fluid cushion surrounding him for maximum comfort. There is even no hard substance to touch his body; he is surrounded by fluid called liquor amini for maximum comfort, no matter the normal day-to-day movements and jolts of the mother. Everything is just perfect for the baby to continue to exist in this pleasurable Paradise-like environment. The baby’s environment could be likened to the Garden of Eden, the abode of our first parents Adam and Eve.
All along, everyone concerned is happy at the development. The pregnant woman is joyful that she is capable of being a complete woman; that she is going to be a mother. If she is spiritually aware enough, she knows that it is indeed a privilege. (She knows that there are many women who just could not be pregnant after many years!). Of course the father is not only happy, but proud. The entire extended family members are joyful and give the woman due respect, care and love. And oh, you can be sure that the baby cocooned in the paradise-womb is happy too! He is arguably and understandably the happiest of all!
But alas! The unexpected is set to happen! At nine months, signals initiated by the baby himself, indicate that the time has come to leave the womb-paradise and go to the Outside world! Can you imagine! The baby who has been basking in indescribable glory for nine months decides that the time has come to take a risk and plunge into the Outside world – the uncertainties, and dangers of the outside world notwithstanding. The time to leave the paradise atmosphere in the womb has come and so labour begins.
After severe pains and discomfort, for both mother and baby, the baby is finally born.
Now a new and higher level of JOY envelopes the mother, the proud father and all the family members. The mother has endured the greatest pains any man could ever be called upon to bear. She has been to the boundary between life and death. Even the doctor and midwives are happy and relieved for a job successfully concluded. Everyone is happy, except the baby! The baby cries out!
Medically, the first reaction of the baby – the cry is understood and adequately explained. From the Womb to the World is a drastic change of environment. Now, the baby has to begin to lift a finger (and raise his voice) to continue the process of life. The baby now has to cry to get air into his lungs, to suck before food and water can go into the stomach and kick around to draw attention to himself. He has indeed started facing the challenges of existence.
However, nothing can dampen the joy of the mother and relatives and the general air of rejoicing that another baby has been born to the world of challenges and inconsistencies.
As the life continues, if a Zero-year-old baby in a paradise-environment can, of his own freewill, decide and take the plunge to come into the harsh world, what excuse does any man, a full-grown adult with capabilities in his possession have in not taking the plunge when we are faced with challenges!
Therefore, for life to continue, I wish you plenty of challenges to surmount.
Dr. Kayode Obembe (FMCOG)
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Christus Specialist Hospital
Why is the baby not happy at birth? Or at least why does he not just display indifference– since he does not know what is in stock for him here in the world? Why cry out? The medical eggheads explained the baby’s outrage as being due to the change from comfort in the womb into a ‘harsh’ environment. But I have a feeling some thinkers believe it is more than that…
The baby comes in a pool of blood, stark naked and with nothing -absolutely nothing-in his hand…
What do our readers think?