That unmistakeable newborn baby cry.
From 3 lanes away!
The mama was checking out, a toddler-aged child in the cart, along with an infant carrier containing the wailing baby.
It's been a while since I've had a newborn in the house, but the sound of that cry is unmistakeable. It is very different than the cry of a 2 year old or even a 6 month old. You hear the cry of a very young baby and you cannot ignore it. Literally the pitch, tone, whatever of that sound tells every fiber of your being to respond. DO SOMETHING!
And it was an interesting scene to watch unfold that day in the grocery store since I'm a mama who keenly remembers being in that position of checking out with a crying baby. A baby that has maybe made it through the entire grocery store trip peacefully asleep but has awakened just 5 minutes too soon before the groceries can be paid for, and is hungry and must be fed RIGHT NOW! It was as if everyone in the store was tuned in to that baby. The mother got the baby out of the carrier and was trying to cuddle the baby against her chest while also sliding her credit card through the card reader. The sacker was wildly sacking the groceries in an attempt to allow the mom to leave the store as quick as possible. The checker was digging through her drawer trying to find a sticker for the baby's big brother to keep him happy so he didn't demand any more of his mom's attention than the newborn and paying for groceries were already occupying. A checker from another lane even ran over to provide the desired sticker!
Humans are wired to attend to that sound, the sounds of a newborn baby's cry.
God made us that way!
He made us that way for a reason. Because tiny babies are helpless and dependent on other humans to survive!
When a mama or a daddy respond to a baby's cries by picking it up or feeding it or changing it's diaper or speaking softly to it or singing to it or rocking it, that baby learns that the world hears her voice and her voice can be used to convey her needs. She learns that she is important. And that the world is good, people are good, because they attend to her needs.
( My 2nd child at only hours old.)
So, of course, God was so smart to wire into every baby this very unique cry so that other humans hear it and respond.
The only ways that a baby's cries are not going to be tended to are if the baby is in an overcrowded orphanage (in which case the babies stop crying after about 2 months because they learn their cries do not work) or the baby's caregiver is incapacitated by drugs, alcohol, or mental illness.
And what then?
If the baby survives, how does that neglect as an infant play out in their behaviors later in life?
And how do adoptive or foster mothers attempt to make up for all that was lost in infancy to heal that child?
Those are big questions I am not going to attempt to answer today, more on that later. But, the beginning of finding those answers is realizing just how much a child has lost when they did not have an attentive caregiver as a baby. The losses run deep!
I sometimes joke that at least I missed out on potty-training, getting our 4th child as a 3 year old through international adoption after having 3 biological children I did have to potty-train. But, the truth is I'd give just about anything to have been able to be there for my Little Girl from the time she was an infant. And there's not another adoptive mom I know that wouldn't say the same thing. Those early months are so important!