Sunday, June 29, 2008
The Motion of the Ocean
One night before falling asleep in our stateroom on our cruise, I began to think about how sailors get used to the slow rolling motion of being on a large ship. With my eyes closed I concentrated on the slow, gentle rocking motion. It was strangely soothing and very easy to fall asleep to. I think that was the moment I thought about why babies like to be rocked – because it’s similar to their pre-birth amniotic environment.
I actually spent quite a while developing an entire post-birth hypothesis on why human babies like to be rocked and swaddled in blankets. I imagine that for a baby, being inside a mother feels a lot like being aboard a ship. It’s probably a nice, warm, rocking and gentle rolling experience. After nine months of that watery motion, is it any wonder that an infant finds life in our stationary world so startling? No wonder they cry so much. And what do we do to calm them? We bounce them and rock them – kind of imitating the environment they so recently left.
Now that I’ve been home from our cruise to the Bahamas, I’m finding out why newborn babies sleep so much – it’s probably part of their coping mechanism to help acclimate themselves to a non-watery world. We disembarked the Majesty of the Seas on Friday morning at 7:30 AM (EDT). Even though I’ve been off the ship for over 66 hours, I still have moments when I feel like I’m still aboard a boat. I’m finding, however, that I feel most normal when sleeping or right after waking up. Too bad I can’t be like a newborn and sleep the next few days away until I rediscover my land legs.
(More photos and a more detailed report of our cruise coming soon . . . )
at 10:17 PM