Matrescence- The Bigger Picture

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash


In pregnancy many of us change our reactions to tastes and smells and we react more strongly to sights and sounds. We find ourselves drawn to some things and ready to avoid others. When our child arrives, these heightened senses help us to be more aware of our new baby and things around us. We might cry more readily to emotional scenes on the screen, we might be more acutely aware of the feel or temperature of our home. Have you ever had the feeling that your baby smells so yummy you could eat him?

Or is that just me!!

During pregnancy and becoming a mother, this increased awareness of the messages from each of our senses is vital. We need to be aware of what we sense in our surroundings in order to protect both ourselves and our young. Test this out in the light of your own experiences and those of mothers that you know.

Hearing – Many parents hear their children ‘before’ they wake and cry. Many mums know who is in the house and where they are at any given moment. Mums of toddlers tune in immediately to a silence in the next room. They still do this when their kids are teenagers, by then they are choosing which sounds and conversations they choose to comment on and which they choose to ‘ignore’.

Smell – some things smell more strongly, and Mums will smell a full nappy before anyone else. The smell of smoke, or food going off can provoke strong reactions and an immediate need to engage another sense to detect the source of the smell.

Sight – Mums are more aware of their environment and will scan a space and be immediately aware of potential dangers. Animals, (including creepy crawlies), sharp things, high things, unstable things and strange or unpredictable behaviour in others. – Mothers are said to have “eyes in the back of their heads”.

Touch – When you know the ‘feel’ of your baby, the way they move outside of you echoing the movements they have made inside of you. You would recognise your child in a moment through touch alone. The more touch between a parent and a child the more connection they have. Skin to skin starts with a naked baby but a stroke of an arm, a tickle of a back, a hug, or a stroke of the forehead keep that bond between parent and child for life.

Taste – like smell a heightened perception of good tastes and bad tastes comes about for new mothers. This is also a time for a review for all mums to decide for themselves and their children what is good taste and what is bad taste. Behaviours, language, and social interactions can change.

All of these sensory changes are necessary in an evolutionary sense to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. The information that comes in through our senses is the foundation for a mother’s intuition.

What is your experience of changes of perception in motherhood?


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