Learning to be affected: Maternal connection, intuition and "elimination communication" (2018)
AuthorsDombroski KFshow all
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Even when heterosexual couples have relatively egalitarian relationships prior to children, once children are born, mothers tend to take on more and more of the care tasks associated with the home and family. Mothers themselves often report an unwillingness to leave their infants in the care of others, even co-parents, for fear that the caregiver may not be able to read or intuit the needs of their infant. The aim of this paper is to examine the sociomaterial and embodied process by which mothers deliberately come to develop intuition – in this case around their infant's elimination needs. Using the experiences of practitioners of both the early infant toileting practice “elimination communication” and the equivalent Chinese practice of ba niao, I argue intuition can be deliberately cultivated through parenting practices that promote embodied and responsive connection. I describe how mothers and (a few) others “learn to be affected” (Latour, 2004b) by their infants preverbal communication, and conclude that the practice offers a way for other committed caregivers to develop a form of “maternal” intuition.
CitationDombroski KF (2018). Learning to be affected: Maternal connection, intuition and "elimination communication". Emotion, Space and Society. 26. 72-79.
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KeywordsIntuition; Parenting; Mothering; Elimination communication; Care; Infant care; Gender
ANZSRC Fields of Research16 - Studies in Human Society::1604 - Human Geography::160403 - Social and Cultural Geography
17 - Psychology and Cognitive Sciences::1701 - Psychology::170112 - Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
20 - Language, Communication and Culture::2002 - Cultural Studies::200205 - Culture, Gender, Sexuality