Often when I walk into a room, Becky smiles up and says, “Hey! Good to see you!” while I say, “Hey! good to see you!” Our voices are sincere but marked by humor, because we’ve been practicing doing this, recapitulating the positive reunions securely attached mothers and infants have after being separated. Those deep emotional connections resonate nicely when lit up by affectionate welcome. Do you light up when your husband comes home, stop what you’re doing and greet him with a happy smile? Do you look in your wife’s eyes, kiss her, and wish her a wonderful day when you go off to work or play? Do you feel and express the pleasure of seeing her when you get home? Maybe give her a real hug, feeling her body and yours relax into one another? If you do, you’re activating some of the most powerful attachment programming humans are blessed with–neurocircuits that support bonding and intimacy. Almost all of us start out as infants with these circuits intact and firing away enthusiastically when we see Mom or Dad. Babies are born craving loving relationship with caregivers. Baby reaches out, Mom holds, loves, feeds, and cares, and baby increasingly wakes up to life and smiles, laughs, cries, and relates. Certain principles appear to be universal with parents and infants:
- If Mom or Dad is present–available when baby wants company or care–baby feels more relaxed and secure.
- If Mom or Dad is contingent–attunes to themselves and baby in a way that helps baby feel known, accepted, and protected–baby feels more relaxed and secure.
- If Mom or Dad is marked–slight amplifications of facial expression, tone, touch, and gesture indicating understanding–baby feels more relaxed and secure.