Just as the seedling, newly ejected from its pod, enters the world in the assurance that it will contain soil, so the infant, expelled from the womb, approaches life on the assumption that it will provide a mother; for the mother is to the child what 'mother earth' is to the seed: without her it would perish. As we have seen, the human infant at birth is one of the most helpless of creatures, as though 'from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd' a good nine months too soon. Much of the first year of human life may, therefore, be regarded as a 'post-uterine embryonic phase'. Such a degree of helplessness renders the mother absolutely indispensable: she is the baby's 'life-support system' in a dangerous, inhospitable world.