Two Hearts, One Beat

Paradisaea #5 // The Happy Slumber Collection
Triblend: 50 % superwash merino wool, 30 % cotton, 20 % linen
Pebble weave
4,5 meters, blunt ends
394 g/m2
Variegated hand dyed weft by Knitlob's Lair in 5 different colours
Tails have heavily pinstriped faux grad accents

Two hearts, one beat. 

For some reason these words echoed in my mind when I started weaving this wrap. I thought about the unexplainable connection that a mother and a baby share. I thought about how the baby grows under the mother's heart, how the mother's heartbeat becomes the ultimate soundtrack of his life. The sound of safety. I thought about two hearts beating in one body - one big, one small. I thought about the baby sleeping with his mother after birth, still resting in the same heartbeat.

Something in the words stirred my memory. Two hearts but only one beat? I consulted Google to see if my memory was right. Can two hearts actually have the exact same heartbeat?

It appears they can - and that the bond between a mother and a child can be stronger and more intuitive I have ever known. Mothers and babies might frequently share the same heartbeat without even knowing it.

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen studied mothers and their unborn children. They found that the heartbeats of a mother and her unborn foetus synchronise when the mother breathes rhythmically.

Pregnant mothers often report an awareness of a bond with their child. But until now there has been no hard evidence to suggest this bond is reflected in the interaction of their heartbeats. Our findings reveal that synchronisation between the heartbeat of a mother and foetus does actually occur.
— Dr. Marco Thiel, University of Aberdeen, via BBC

I thing this is flabbergasting. The baby senses the change of the atmosphere inside the womb and his heart adjusts to it. Amazing! However, while I searched further I came across another article that really blew my mind.

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel studied moms with their three month old babies. They were able to prove that when the mothers smiled to their children and spoke to them kindly, their heartbeats were again synchronised in less than a second - without touching each other.

Honestly. This is amazing.

It feels wonderful that the love of a mother - the kind words, gentle eyes and loving smiles - can effect the baby mentally and physiologically even when she cannot touch the child. 

Mothers and their 3-month old infants were observed during face-to-face interactions while cardiac output was collected from mother and child. Micro-analysis of the partners’ behavior marked episodes of gaze, affect, and vocal synchrony. Time-series analysis showed that mother and infant coordinate heart rhythms within lags of less than 1 s.
— Infant Behavior and Development via io9

There is a lot of poetry about the relationship between a mom and a child. It's amazing that even science is so poetic when it studies that same relationship. Hearts beating with one rhythm! How do they know which rhythm to pick? It somehow comforts me that there is something unexplainable here - unfathomable at least to me. This kind of a intuitive, subconscious connection gives me hope as a mother: We don't always need to know or understand everything or have the right answers. It might be enough that we just exist and carry our roles as mothers.

After discovering these studies I seem to think of my relationship with my kids in a new way. I have no idea when and if that intuitive bond changes - will my three year old still share my heartbeat if I smile to him? I don't need to know - I still want to smile.

Some people say that mothers have a strange intuition about their children as long as they live. Maybe the bond never actually breaks, at least on the mother's side. Children will grow up and fly on their own wind, and that's just right, but once a mother is always a mother. There will be different roles to play, different tasks to do, different identities to carry, but maybe a mother will find her heart synchronised with her children's hearts every now and then. At least in the figurative sense. Her heart might always sense strongly the joys and the pains of her children's lives.

Right here and now I enjoy the moments when my kids' hearts still beat against my chest - so close I sometimes am able to hear them or feel the gentle thump, thump, thump of their little lives. I understand that I need to live these moments fully; they are one of a kind, each one of them.

I wanted this wrap to carry all these thoughts and feelings, and went with the words I had in my mind when I started weaving: Two Hearts, One Beat. The wrap has faux grad tail accents with tens of pinstripe picks. Turquoise, terracotta, saffron and chocolate in a wild mix, blending together in wider and thinner stripes. I think of the accents now as the beating of two hearts: the small pinstripes as the beat of a tiny heart, the strong and rich background stripes as the gentle rhythm of the mothers' heart.