Darcia Narvaez, PhD - Mothering as Manner, Content and Community
What is mothering? It is a gift of nurturing through manner and content. The manners of mothering include presence, attunement, spontaneous responsiveness to need, and growing relational knowing of the child. Mothering is always backed by the nurturing of mother by the community. The content of our species’ evolved nurturing includes provision by the community of the Evolved Nest: Calm and connected gestation; Soothing birth and immediate post birth; On-request breastfeeding; Welcoming social climate: Affectionate touch; Self-directed social play; Multiple alloparents; Responsive relationships; Nature immersion and connection; Healing practices. The mother is the first giver to a child and her gifts are stronger or more abundant under conditions of a gift community around her. But the child is also raised by the gifts of mothering offered from the community.
Mary Tarsha, MEd, MA - Mothering and the Neurobiology of the Child
As Gen Vaughan says, the child’s body “is the result of mothering and being mothered” (Vaughan 2015, p. 38). I discuss research on the effects of mothering manner (e.g., presence; attunement/responsiveness) and content (evolved nest) on young children’s neurobiology. Advances in developmental psychobiological research demonstrate that dynamic interactions between the child and the caregiving environment (mothering and the Evolved Nest) shape children’s biological processes. For example, the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve are critical neurobiological components of self-regulation, attention, emotion, communication, relational attachment and social behavior. The oxytocinergic system is also a critical component in developing and maintaining social bonds and may impact stress-coping and global health. Together, these systems serve as neurobiological building blocks of social and moral behavior.