Learning to be affected: Maternal connection, intuition and “elimination communication”

  • Kelly Dombroski
  • Emotion Space and Society, September 2017, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.emospa.2017.09.004

Can non-mothers develop a kind of maternal intuition? A case study of infant-toileting

What is it about?

Mothers and others can learn to be affected by babies' preverbal communications by deliberately cultivating embodied proximate connection. While this is deeply embodied and comes to be experienced as intuition, is not necessarily limited to mothers, or women, alone. Deliberate cultivation of periods of learning to be affected offers hope for changing gender roles around intuitive care.

Why is it important?

Thinking about how intuition develops is important because it offers us a way of cultivating it in others. This is important for changing unequal gendered roles of parenting while still preserving infant wellbeing.


Dr Kelly F Dombroski
University of Canterbury

This paper was a long time in the making, and was the culmination of many years of thinking and enacting these ideas. I drew a lot of inspiration in the initial stages from watching the father of my children developing intuition that, 11 years later, now far exceeds mine.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Kelly F Dombroski