First, a little background. The obvious physical changes in the pregnant human body (including swelling breasts) occur in response to escalating levels of the hormones prolactin, lactogen, estrogen, progesterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and growth hormone. Placental birth serves as a sort of trigger event signaling to the mother’s body that it’s time to begin releasing milk. The baby’s physical suckling behavior—that is to say, lips tugging on teats—stimulates the first ejections, but eventually milk flow can start up by simply thinking about the baby, smelling it, or hearing it cry. “Involution,” the physiological process by which women’s breasts revert back to those dormant objects that give so much pleasure to adult human males, coincides with slowly weaning the growing infant away from breast milk and onto regular foods.
So what happens when, for whatever reason, mothers do not breastfeed their healthy infants? According to a new theory being proposed by University of Albany evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup and his colleagues, the decision to bottle-feed is tantamount, in the mother’s psyche, to mourning the loss of the child. At least, that’s how a woman’s body seems to respond to the absence of a suckling infant at its breasts in the wake of a successful childbirth. In a soon-to-be-published article in Medical Hypotheses, the authors argue that bottle-feeding simulates the unsettling ancestral condition of an infant’s death:
Opting not to breastfeed precludes and/or brings all of the processes involved in lactation to a halt. For most of human evolution the absence or early cessation of breastfeeding would have been occasioned by miscarriage, loss, or death of a child. We contend, therefore, that at the level of her basic biology a mother’s decision to bottle feed unknowingly simulates child loss
I had not heard of Gregorian masses before, but once I did this year, I had it on my heart to have them offered for my Grandpa. Just got the mass card today that his masses will be said in December by the Servants of Charity.
First, let me offer a few facts about the Gregorian Thirty, as they are called, for readers who may not be familiar with the practice. The Gregorian Masses is a practice founded by Pope Gregory the Great that became a tradition in the Benedictine Monasteries: If 30 Masses are offered on 30 consecutive days without interruption for a specific soul in Purgatory, it is believed that the soul will leave Purgatory and enter Heaven. These Masses may be offered only for the dead. It does not matter if they are low or high Masses.