Not every morning, but many mornings he coughs. Sometimes in the evening before he goes to sleep. It doesn’t sound phlegmy and the doctor isn’t concerned …. but there is something strange about it.
I started digging around to figure out what’s going on and I’ve come up with this: the baby is grieving for his first mother. The lungs are attached to grief in Chinese medicine.
The lungs are more directly involved with this emotion. A normal and healthy expression of grief can be expressed as sobbing that originates in the depths of the lungs – deep breathes and the expulsion of air with the sob. However, grief that remains unresolved and becomes chronic can create disharmony in the lungs, weakening the lung qi (vital energy). This in turn can interfere with the lung’s function of circulating qi (vital energy) around the body.
I read a few books about babies grieving and was expecting to see some signs of it. It’s silly not to expect that a baby won’t miss their own mother. He lived with her for eight months and then one day … she was gone. Where did she go? What happened to her? He probably misses her heart beat …. misses her smell … misses her voice. I think that his coughing is his body expressing the grief that he can’t say.
A friend told me that when he coughs like that I should place my fingers near his collar bone and wipe my fingers down toward his armpits while saying something like, “You miss your mother. That must be hard”. I hope that when he feels that way as he gets older, because he will feel that way, he feels comfortable coming to us and perhaps asking for a hug or his favorite pillow. I want him to know that it’s okay to miss his mother and father. It’s okay to be upset that he doesn’t know that part of his family. It’s okay to feel sad or frustrated or angry. It’s okay to grieve.