Why do natural childbirth advocates have so much difficulty bonding to their own babies?


I’ve always loved this quote from Maureen Hawkins:

Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were an hour, I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.

It beautifully describes how fiercely I bonded to each of my four children, even before they were born.

I had no control over it. It happened without my doing a single thing. So I feel somewhat sorry for natural childbirth advocates who apparently have so much trouble bonding to their own babies and getting their babies to bond to them.

The quote above does not mention vaginal delivery, yet natural childbirth advocates, unlike most women in the world, appear to have trouble bonding with babies who haven’t transited their vagina.

The quote doesn’t mention pain or pain relief in labor, yet natural childbirth advocates, unlike most women in the world, appear to have trouble bonding with babies if they received pain relief in labor, especially if they had planned to refuse it.

The quote does not mention feeding method, yet natural childbirth advocates appear to have trouble bonding to babies unless they breastfeed them, and apparently, it takes them extra long to bond with their own babies since they insist that they must breastfeed them for extended lengths of time to strengthen the tenuous bond.

Indeed, their ability to bond with their own babies is so fragile that unless they immediately hold their babies skin to skin, they have trouble completing that natural bond.

That’s not to say that every woman bonds to every baby immediately. It can take days or weeks or more, but nearly every woman manages to bond fiercely to her child and nearly every child bonds to his or her mother.

So natural childbirth advocates apparently have great difficulty bonding to their own babies. That’s the message that I take away from their endless bleating about how epidurals, C-sections and bottlefeeding undermine the mother-infant bond. Why do they have so much trouble doing what every other woman does naturally? What accounts for the irony that the women most committed to “natural” birth can’t manage natural bonding when faced with even the least little disappointment or difficultly?

I would guess that it has to do with viewing the baby as merely a prop in their little pieces of performance art. Like bridezillas who become enraged by a wedding cake that is the wrong flavor and think the wedding is ruined, natural childbirth advocates appear to become distraught at not having an unmedicated vaginal delivery and bear resentment of the baby for “ruining” their experience. Natural childbirth advocates, and lactivists, too, see babies as bit players in the narrative of their mothering superiority (hence the endless blather that producing breastmilk is a superpower or that vaginas have superpowers). Simply put, natural childbirth advocates seems to have trouble appreciating, bonding to, and loving their babies for who they are, instead of what they can do for them.

Perhaps natural childbirth advocates can explain it to the rest of us: For most women, NOTHING can interfere with the fierce bond that they form to their babies. Why do NCB advocates and lactivists form only fragile bonds that can be destroyed by a C-section or a bottle of formula?

216 Responses to “Why do natural childbirth advocates have so much difficulty bonding to their own babies?”

  1. Samantha Anderson
    November 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    Why is it that, in mocking women for choosing a way to give birth, or a way to PLAN to give birth, even if it doesn’t work out, Dr. Amy is so obsessed with absolutes?

    “Why do they have so much trouble doing what every other woman does naturally?”

    Every other woman? Do you know every other woman in the world?
    Why does Dr. Amy insist on irrefutable evidence to back up any opposing claims to hers, but she feels it’s appropriate to consistently use vague absolutes to justify her positions? It’s amazing to me that anyone can agree with these extremely obvious double standards.


  2. Peggy Thatcher
    November 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    According to the field of child development, parents “bond” and children “attach.” Parents usually bond around the time of birth, but children don’t display attachment behaviors until 6-8 months of age. That is when they appear to be able to understand the concept that people are different…are individuals. That is when they hide behind mom/dad when an unfamiliar person enters the house. Up until that age, attentive care and stimulation are needed for normal development, but it doesn’t matter much who does it.

  3. emkay
    November 14, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Baby-mother bonds are HARD not to form. Even abused children bond to their mothers and can be very damaged by separation from their parents by protective services etc ๐Ÿ™

    These people are fucking crazy if they think not ‘performing’ their birth in a certain way will stop them loving their children and ViceVersa.

    • Samantha Anderson
      November 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Birth experience plays a solid role in bonding, regardless of which “camp” you’re in. To say that a woman who was physically traumatized, or a woman who had a quick, routine birth, don’t take emotions from those experiences and carry them into their mothering experiences is ignorant.

      • rh1985
        November 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

        And yet none of that group seems to care about the woman who has a bad experience because she was denied an epidural, or pressured by nurses to breastfeed, or couldn’t properly recover because she was forced to room in 24/7 after a particularly difficult birth.

        • Samantha Anderson
          November 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

          None? Do you know everyone who believes this?

  4. violinwidow
    November 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    I love that quote too. I bonded differently with each of my babies. With my firstborn, I was afraid to hold him. I had pneumonia and was exhausted and thought I would drop him. I really didn’t interact with him until I slept for 10 straight hours. I will never forget how amazing it was to just look at him in the bassinet, his back was so little and his butt was impossibly tiny. Falling in love with him was like a wave coming over me, and it happened without me touching him at all. It was the most profoundly beautiful moment I’ve ever experienced. With my youngest, it happened the minute my OB thrust him into my hands, I remember vividly what the shape of his little round head felt like in the palm of my hand, and his head still feels like that three years later. Now with my older boys, who are my stepsons, obviously I never nursed, wore them, or even saw them as infants but still managed to bond to them just as fiercely. I wish I could reassure mothers that the circumstances of birth don’t mean a damn thing when it comes to loving. NCBers do new moms a real disservice when they force them into some required to do list of bonding with their kids.

  5. MichelleJo
    November 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Another meen article from Dr Amy. She takes every claim of ours (the wonderful kind NCBers) and makes fun of them, tells everyone they’re not true or necessary. How would she know anyway? Doctor’s don’t know any evidence based information.

    • wahwahwah
      November 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      “Doctor’s” what?

      • violinwidow
        November 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

        Do you think she was being sarcastic? I’m afraid to ask her.

        • MichelleJo
          November 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

          I was being sarcastic, sorry if that wasn’t clear.

          • araikwao
            November 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

            I thought it was..

          • violinwidow
            November 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

            Ok, thank goodness!

          • wahwahwah
            November 15, 2013 at 1:29 am #

            Oh, sorry, it did go right over my head. I thought it sounded sarcastic but without body language tagging along for the ride, it’s hard to tell!

  6. Elle
    November 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Thanks so much for this piece! You’ve said it so well… the bonding must be pretty fragile if it has been reduced to a checklist of things that must be accomplished “just so” and at certain times in order to work.

    I heard so many stories about mothers getting this overwhelming “in love” feeling after giving birth to their babies, and I really hoped that a natural birth would accomplish that for me. When it didn’t, I felt like I must have done something wrong. But you know what? I DID bond with my son eventually… and so strongly too. And I also realized that it’s a shame to confuse bonding with love. No matter how numb I was after the birth, and sleep deprived, and anxious… I still loved him with all I had. The fact that the “bond” part took a while had no effect on the truth that I loved him very very much and always will.

    • moto_librarian
      November 11, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Elle, I would say that my “natural” birth actually impeded bonding with my son. I was so exhausted and demoralized by the pain that when one of the nurses asked if I was excited to meet my baby, I replied “yes,” but inside, I didn’t care. I just wanted it to be over with. When they finally put him on my chest, I didn’t really feel anything. Then the complications started, and everything for the next 12 hours was a blur. My recovery was long, I was unable to get breastfeeding to work due to virtually no supply, and I felt like a failure. It was only once I gave up trying to nurse and began to recover physically that I truly felt that bond to my child begin to develop. I adore him and would do anything for him, but it took a little while to feel that overwhelming attachment that is a “bond.”

      • Elle
        November 11, 2013 at 10:51 am #

        Yes… that is exactly how I felt too… numb, exhausted, and just wanting it to be over. When the type of birthed is hyped up so much as the “accomplishment,” to the detriment of everything else, it is much more demoralizing than empowering. It is nice to hear others’ stories and realize we aren’t the only ones. When I give birth again, I may not *do* a lot differently, but I will absolutely have a different mental approach.

        • moto_librarian
          November 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

          I will add that, for me, the epidural made my second birth a totally different experience. I felt absolutely NO pain when my second son was being delivered, not even the “ring of fire.” I felt total elation after that delivery, partly because I didn’t have any complications, but also because I felt mentally present during the birth. I felt like we bonded instantly.

  7. Clarissa Darling
    November 8, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    I didn’t think I would fall in love with my Son right away. I’ve never been one on those who just ohhhs and ahhs over newborns. Despite the fact that I had more drugs than a pharmacy during pregnancy and labor, am not breastfeeding and had the nurses take him to get him cleaned up and hatted before I saw him, I was just in love with him from the very first cry. So far he seems to think I’m pretty cool too–hopefully that lasts at least until he is in high school.

  8. ol
    November 8, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    “their ability to bond with their own babies is so fragile” – I think that’s the point, they can be fragile, they may be anxious (about this particular issue or in whole), they can be not so self-confident, they need more social support- and they get it a lot in NCB communities. “You are a good mother becuase you did this or that (unmedicated vaginal birth, HB, BF and so on)” May be they don’y hear it enough in real life or they they just need more support to obtain confidence or they got used to this form of support.

    • Samantha Anderson
      November 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      This is interesting since it seems to be mostly women who choose elective cesareans or refuse to breastfeed who need the coddling.
      “I FED MY BABY FORMULA AND HE’S FINE.” Ok, ok, we get it, you’re a wonderful mommy. *applause*

      • rh1985
        November 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

        The women who don’t want to breastfeed or who wanted to but found it too difficult are not the ones telling other parents how to feed or care for their children.

        • Samantha Anderson
          November 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

          Well of course not, because they know that they made a sub-optimal decision.

          • rh1985
            November 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

            You do not know the reasons why they didn’t breastfeed, you aren’t them, so it may be the better choice in their situation. But in general, it’s because people who aren’t obsessed with this issue simply think it’s not their business how another parent feeds their child.

          • Samantha Anderson
            November 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

            In decisions that affect the greater good of the health of a society, health decisions ARE others’ business.
            This is where you “we support everyone! no one should judge!” idiots are embarrassingly backward.
            You are all pro-vaccine, right? (me too!) Why is that? Because that decision affects many people.
            Our obesity crisis right now is pretty hot, right? Why is that? Because it affects health care, costs, debt, etc. That makes the fact that Bob the 400-pound man is shoving 2 Big Macs in his mouth at once MY business.

          • rh1985
            November 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

            The difference is a person not vaccinated when they medically could have been, puts directly at risk those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. A formula fed child is not going to pass “formula cooties” on to anyone else. It’s none of your damn business. If Bob knows Big Macs are unhealthy and Bob still wants to eat tons of them, he’s an adult and can make his own decisions.

          • Samantha Anderson
            November 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

            Your child that you haven’t physically bonded with, that you’re feeding powdered processed milk, gets a cold for the seventh time this year and you go to the doctor and they charge the public insurance provider (because you love to talk about income disparity being a barrier in breastfeeding, right?), and taxes pay for that, right? Yep, I’d say that’s bigger than formula cooties.

            So when Bob goes to the ER for his third heart attack and doesn’t pay the bill and your insurance rates go up to cover his ass, you’re happy to pay for that? You’re a better man or woman than I.

          • rh1985
            November 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

            I bonded with my child plenty already through pregnancy. The decision to formula feed was made so that I will be as healthy as possible to care for her because the alternatives were a mother that could not function or breast milk that would be reduced in supply by needed medication and that would have several prescription medications at once in it.

          • Samantha Anderson
            November 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

            Why could you not function? What’s wrong with you that you can’t care for something you created?
            Most medications are fine to take while nursing.

          • rh1985
            November 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

            I could not function without my medications (I even had to go back on some category C in pregnancy because I couldn’t sleep, drive, function, do anything, I would have gotten into a car accident if I tried to drive). A couple reduce supply. The others, after talking with multiple doctors, I am more comfortable with formula than exposing my child to so many prescription medications at the same time, especially when it is so unlikely I would be able to avoid supplementing anyway.

          • Laelia
            November 21, 2013 at 11:16 am #

            rh1985– I don’t know you but based on the way that you handled the horrible things Samantha said I am sure you are an amazing mother. All the breastfeeding in the world can’t alter the fact that she is a rotten person for being so judgemental and implying that there is something inherently wrong with mothers who have different views from her own.

          • rh1985
            November 22, 2013 at 4:09 am #

            Well, hopefully I will be – baby girl is due in February. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Wearenotallthesame
    November 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    I had an unmediated vaginal delivery, skin to skin time after, immediate breast feeding, all that jazz and did not feel immediately bonded to my baby. I was just glad to not be pregnant or in labor anymore! My husband on the other hand immediately burst into tears. It took me more time to really wrap my head around being a mother and really feel it.
    It seem really bizarre to me that anyone would decide how to spend the first precious moments of his/her child’s life based on wanting to outdo someone else. I am sure they are out there but I bet the minority. For this girl, an epidural needle sounded scarier than labor pain; lying skin to skin with my newborn nursing him as soon as he was born sounded nice. So we did what felt right for our family and I would say it was a bonding experience, our bonding experience…no better and no worse than a family who bonded with their swaddled, formula fed newborn after an elective c-section. I am sure I am not the only mother who chose “ncb” as the her best option without believing that choice made her in any way superior to another mom of a different mind set.

    • Jen
      November 8, 2013 at 4:16 am #

      I had a similar experience with #2, drug free birth, straight into my arms and feeding in less than 20 minutes. Didn’t feel that immediate rush of love/bonding though. I was so glad he was here safely of course, I just took my time to fall in love with him.

      I chose to attempt the type of birth I had not because I thought it would ensure a bond or because I thought it was superior, I attempted it (and was lucky enough to have it go to plan, right down to the time of day and day of the week I hoped to give birth, I still can’t believe that!) because I thought it was best for me and my baby.

  10. CNM
    November 7, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    I had a vaginal ‘natural’ birth and it was so dang painful that by the time my daughter was born I was so traumatized it took me several days of ‘bonding’ to feel like she was worth all that pain! Of course I never could have admitted that to a NCBer for fear of being judged!

  11. Kumquatwriter
    November 7, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    My mother lost a son at about 24 weeks before I was born. When I was born, she wasn’t able to fully bond with me at first. She told me the story lots of times growing up (at my request) because the thrust of it was the moment I smiled at her for the first time and all of a sudden the world of Mommy Love opened up. I am extremely grateful for this, because as an adult I lost a son at the same gestational age, and felt terrible that I couldn’t fully bond with my second son while I was pregnant. It took a long time for me to really be able to feel that welling of Mommy Love with him – and it sure isn’t because of my C-section! It’s because the heartbreak of losing once scarred deep enough that I instinctively withheld, and it took some time before it was “safe” to feel the depth of my love for him.

    I hate, hate, HATE that the NCB movement has to push this bonding BS and shame mothers who didn’t feel it instantly – for ANY reason!

  12. KarenJJ
    November 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Don’t forget there are some of us out there that are unable to love our babies because the evil hospital nurse put a hat on them.

    • Zornorph
      November 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      And it was an ugly hat, too. I would have felt more bonded if it had been a cute hat.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
      November 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I explained this concept to a friend: “They think they won’t truly love their baby unless they sit there huffing their head for a while.”

      Granted, baby heads smell wonderful, but it’s cold out here. Babies can use hats.

      • Mel
        November 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

        My mom believes all babies should wear hats when not at home. Since we spent most of our infancy wearing hats, Mom must not love us very much.

        And yet, I’m sure my mom loves me very much. Obviously, I’ve been permanently warped through neonatal hat wearing.

        I look forward to warping my own children though the usage of hats.

        • Certified Hamster Midwife
          November 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

          No, the no-hat thing is only immediately after birth. After that, it’s okay to put hats on babies, but NCB people think hats interfere with smelling top of the baby’s head and bonding to it, or something.

          Granted, they do get in the way of forehead-smooching, and might not be necessary if you’re doing true skin-to-skin, but that doesn’t mean there’s no use for them.

    • Ainsley Nicholson
      November 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      The hats provided by the hospital I delivered my newborn in are hand-made by elderly volunteers. I think the love put into the hats would let the bonding-energy thru.

      • Guestll
        November 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

        So is the one my daughter wore (Catholic Women’s Hospital Auxilary). Evil, evil church ladies, sitting around in their demonic knitting circles, noshing lemon squares and ruining hapless newborns.

        • Awesomemom
          November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am #

          Oh no they would not be eating lemon squares, the powdered sugar would get all over the knitting.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

            Evil, GMO-laden chocolate chip cookies then!

    • Petanque
      November 8, 2013 at 7:00 am #

      I am so sorry that society has interfered with the natural bonding process by the overzealous use of hats. How can we campaign against this important issue?

      • araikwao
        November 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        I think you should start an Indiegogo campaign. It’s okay for criminal midwives and people fundraising to “treat” their cancer with expensive woo, so surely this cause is equally important ๐Ÿ˜›

        • Petanque
          November 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

          We can change the world, one hat at a time!

    • Felicitasz
      November 8, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      The comment of the day ๐Ÿ˜€

    • ngozi
      November 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      Maybe we should have a baby hat burning like the bra burning in the sixties?

    • auntbea
      November 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      My mother spared us this awful fate by taking the hat home for the dog to cuddle with.

  13. rh1985
    November 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    I may feel more attached after birth I suppose, but I feel I’ve already bonded with my baby, maybe because I’ve had so many ultrasounds or maybe that’s how I’d feel either way! This is my first baby but my niece used to just stare up at me and grab onto me with her little hands when I bottle fed her. You can definitely bond that way!

  14. Isilzha
    November 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Every time I read NCB nuttery I expect to see a slew of articles on the evils of adoption, being a single father, or suddenly having to raise a relative’s children. By promoting such a rigid idea of motherhood, elevating biological mothers above any other caretaker, they diminish all other types of parenting and essentially tell people it’s doomed to disaster. It often reads that if you make any small “mistake” or aren’t the woman who pushed that baby out of a vagina, then you may as well just toss the kid on the midden heap and start again. That’s the undertone of much of the NCB “philosophy” and mindset.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      They won’t admit it, but absolutely that is implied in their message. Fathers, adoptive parents, etc, cannot be as good as NCB mothers.

      Call them on it, they’ll deny it. But the message is clear.

      • Antigonos CNM
        November 8, 2013 at 1:11 am #

        Dr. Ann Dally, a British psychiatrist, has written an excellent book about why and when the concept that the ONLY suitable parenting figure should be a child’s biological mother, 24/7, until the age of three, came into being [IIRC, the title is “Inventing Motherhood”] It was born out of two phenomena: the return of soldiers after WWI, who found that women had taken their jobs, and the rise of psychoanalysis. The latter was used as a justification to force women out of factories and back into the home so the men could have their jobs. She points out, in her book, that, in the preceeding centuries, mothering was usually a multigenerational effort by the extended family, or, in upper and upper-middle class families, full-time nannies substituted for biological mothers, and also that, if a mother is depressed or neurotic, it can be argued that the worst possible environment for an infant is to be constantly cooped up, in a small apartment, with such an individual. I don’t know if the book is still in print; there is a wealth of other information there which is very interesting.

    • wookie130
      November 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Honestly, this is something that really does irk me beyond all measure. I’m a special education teacher, and I have a little boy from Ukraine with multiple physical and intellectual disabilities who was internationally adopted by a WONDERFUL family about a year and a half ago. He had been living in an orphanage there since he was 6 months of age…his mother was dead, and his father could not afford to raise him. This little boy had never been outside of a crib prior to his adoptive family finding him…and the only item he possessed in the crib with him was a shabby worn-thin blanket.

      I can honestly say that this child’s parents have bonded with him in a way that is just as natural and deep as a bond between a child and his/her biological parents. They adore him. And the little boy will respond to them and do things for them that he will not do for anyone else…he has learned to trust them, and they have taught him that they are his safety net in life. It’s really a beautiful thing…particularly in light of the fact that this boy was literally about 5 days away from having to live in a mental institution, which is statistically a death sentence for most people with disabilities within a year of being transferred to such a place in the Ukraine.

      So I start feeling a bit more salty toward the NCB “philosophy” when I think of how much ridiculous emphasis is placed on birthy smells, vaginas, bare heads, skin-to-skin contact, and what have you, for this child never knew nothing but a stark room, a crib, a ceiling, and a blanket, and has bonded every bit as much to his adoptive parents as any child I have ever known.

  15. jenny
    November 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    When I hear about what is required for “bonding,” I think of my own daughter, who like Lynnie’s friend’s son, never made it home. I didn’t hold her until she was three days old, she was never well enough to be fed anything other than glucose through an IV line, and there are so many things we never did with her. But we bonded with her. The human heart is tenacious.

  16. DiomedesV
    November 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Some people like to be unhappy. They like to complain. And some people derive particular satisfaction from doing their whining in public. I think that a lot of this bemoaning the “barriers” to perfect bonding is 1) an attempt to find someone else to blame for whatever is wrong (either real or imagined) with your mothering experience, and/or 2) simply an attention seeking device.

    Who could criticize a mother for wanting to have the closest possible relationship with her children? Who could criticize a mother for wanting to do her best? Ostensibly, no one. All of this focus on being the best mother against all odds provides a convenient framework for a certain type of whiny and/or self-aggradizing person to attract attention and praise from others. Because seriously, who can argue with that motive?

    • Kumquatwriter
      November 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      It makes them untouchable in a way, doesn’t it? Wrapping themselves up in this “best mama” thing, they can denigrate other mothers/fathers/parents and still be madonna-pure.

  17. Cold Steel
    November 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    While entirely, 100%, completely sympathetic to the ideology underlying Dr Tuteur’s blog and the crusade to provide accurate information about the dangers of homebirth and lactivism…. I find it hilarious that she professes to “feel sad” for NCB adherents.

    Because here: http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/05/another-sactimommy-suffering-from-sadness.html she attributes that unwanted, moralizing pitying-of-those-who-need-no-pity to sanctimommies:

    “Apparently the chief occupational hazard of being a santimommy is feeling very, very, very sad.”

    And then she did it again, feeling soooooooo sad for children raised in AP homes: http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/10/whats-going-to-happen-to-attachment-parents-when-their-children-grow-up.html

    “What happens to an attachment mother when her children no longer want tobe attached? I worry about those mothers and, even more, I worry about
    those children.”

    Please keep the information flowing– but avoid becoming The Enemy.

    • fiftyfifty1
      November 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Her “sadness” here is tongue in cheek. She is intentionally using the language of NCB here to prove a point.

      • Cold Steel
        November 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

        It really doesn’t read that way.

        • Gagarin
          November 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

          Yes it does.

        • fiftyfifty1
          November 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

          No really it does.

        • wookie130
          November 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

          Then read it again. I think the majority of readers get the gist of what she’s doing here.

        • KarenJJ
          November 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

          I feel really sad for you that you missed that.

          • Zornorph
            November 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

            If she had the proper support, she would have been able to get it.

          • Lisa Cybergirl
            November 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

            Perhaps she was wearing a hat while reading?

          • Susan
            November 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

            Karen wins the internet tonight.

        • AlisonCummins
          November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

          It reads that way if you reject the premise that NCB activists actually do have that much trouble loving their children.

          I didnโ€™t think that Amy Tuteur, MD really believed that NCB activists have any more trouble loving their children than anyone else does, so I read the whole piece as irony and it made sense to me that way.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        November 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

        Exactly! It was deliberate.

    • Isilzha
      November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      Oh, look…a tone troll.

      • Felicitasz
        November 8, 2013 at 9:14 am #

        I don’t think she is. Not everyone reacts to totally innocent-looking, eye-rolling irony the same way.
        When I got to know this blog (2007/2008-ish), I first stumbled upon posts that were written on the more scientific pattern and I was then quite confused when reading the first something written in a conversation manner, heavy with irony. It takes time to get used to the material in here, sometimes I still find the style somewhat square. However, I regularly work (co-write, for example) with doctors, mostly OBs, and they seem to share this rough-around-the-edges approach, accompanied by a very understandable impatience towards certain lay requests and demands. (Such as wanting detailed explanation of the same matter the thousendth time – they are TIRED of it, and that is how they started using me to write it down for them ONCE, they read it through, once, edit and correct it when necessary, and it goes up on my blog, and let us hope for the best :))
        I discovered that OBs _are_ “the enemy”, not because of their square style but because of because of some unresolvable differences in (professional) approach, priorities, fact lists, problem solving choreographies. The very same thing comes from a midwife as good humour and from an OB, tasteless annoyance. Or it comes across from a midwife as a good-natured warning advice, and from an OB, scare tactics and fearmongering.

  18. The Bofa on the Sofa
    November 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I am late checking in today, so forgive me if someone has already said it, but not only does that quote not mention the things you point out, it doesn’t even say anything about it being the MOTHER.

    Everything it says applies equally to me.

    See also Lynnie’s heartwrenching story below. Another example.

    • fiftyfifty1
      November 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      I appreciate that you keep bringing this up, Bofa. Probably by now you are sick of pointing out that dads have emotions too! But I’m glad you do because we women are never going to get the help around the house that we need if society keeps believing that men are “less-than” in the parenting department.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        November 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

        I agree – we need, as a society, to set much higher expectations for fathers. It is silly to celebrate the “involved father.” Why should that be considered an achievement? It should be expected.

        But my comment isn’t just about fathers, it’s about all those who have kids without pushing them out their vagina. There is nothing in that quote by Dr Amy that says anything about the birth mother. Fathers, adoptive parents, etc all can feel this way.

        • Guestll
          November 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

          Chris Rock used to riff on this. Why reward men for doing what they’re supposed to be doing?
          My Dad passed away long before my daughter was born. In the interim, my mother married a wonderful man who treats her like gold. He already has two grown daughters, and four grandchildren. Yet he’s captivated by my little one. I can clearly recall him holding her when she was a few hours old. “Hello, Poppet!”
          He would give her a kidney if she needed one and I have to stop him (not unkindly) from buying out Target when they go out on their “adventures.”
          He isn’t related to her by blood and he owes her nothing. Yet he’s her Grandpa, he’s bonded to her like glue. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

            Why reward men for doing what they’re supposed to be doing?

            Take a look at “Parents” magazine, and look at the pictures of the guys. Far and away, when you see a picture of a man in that magazine, it is with the mom in some way, either with or without kids. You never see pictures of dads with kids by themselves (except for the Huggies ad where the dad is chasing the baby at the park because he can’t keep up).

            The message is clear, that Dad’s job is to support mom.

            So much for “Parents”

          • Guestll
            November 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

            I hear you. I’m interested in your perspective, though, as an equal parent — what’s the solution?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

            Expect nothing less from them than you would expect from yourself as a parent. No, they can’t breastfeed, but they can do everything else, and they should be expected to.

            However, it also means accepting their contributions. Remember, everyone has different views on parenting. Just as your mother will refuse to watch the kids if you are critical of everything she does, dad will shut down if you don’t respect his methods. He is doing what works for HIM, and it may not be for you, but that doesn’t matter.

            :Lastly, remember that team parenting doesn’t mean you think alike, but you think together. Talk to him about parenting and what you and he are doing. Don’t let him pass it off onto you, and insist that he think of solutions. It’s not just you value his opinion, but that you NEED his opinion. I’m not saying you do that to make him feel good, but do that because you really do need his opinion. If you act like you are SuperMommy, and have all the answers, he’ll let you do it. No one likes being told they are parenting wrong. Telling him he is not parenting enough, however, is a different story.

            Put fathers on the spot, and insist that they step up.

            Everyone needs to do that, including other dads. Fight the stereotype – don’t let others lower the standards that we set for ourselves. I realize it’s hard – it’s real easy to accept the accolades for doing what should be minimally expected, but don’t fall into that trap. Always expect more.

          • Kumquatwriter
            November 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

            Well said, Bofa!

            I find that I have to drag my husband’s opinions about parenting out of him, because he defaults to the “Mom knows best.” Yet he is an extremely involved, loving, committed father. It’s amazing in particular because, in general, you cannot STOP my husband from expressing his opinion. On anything. And EVERYTHING. But parenting? The world says I know better.

            I don’t!

            I badly need my parenting partner, and I appreciate you reminding me and everyone else how important his half is! How sad that it’s such a rare opinion to see.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 8, 2013 at 9:54 am #

            Well, it’s certainly easier to just not bother. Easier for dad to let mom do it, and easier than constantly harping on it, Face it, parenting has to be done. And if Dad is shirking his duty, then what’s the option? You can’t leave the baby unfed or uncared for. So what’s the option? Someone has to do it, and since dad isn’t, mom does.

            It’s a terrible cycle.

          • Maria
            November 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

            Love this! I think my husband would be in complete agreement with you and I think one of the advantages of being older parents is that we are both able to set aside ego (most of the time) and just accept that we do things differently sometimes. I know some women who struggle with letting go of control and then wonder why they end up doing the bulk of the parenting. I do wish I saw more input from fathers in the parenting blog-o-sphere and in our discussions of public policy for parents and families.

          • Josephine
            November 7, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

            Wow, I love this story. My father, too, passed away several years before my son was born. My mother’s new husband (of a little over a year now) was excited from the moment his then-girlfriend announced that her daughter was having a baby. After my son came, even before they were married (and despite him having LOADS of grandchildren already), he was my son’s grandfather through and through, no doubt about it. He begs my mom to call me and make my little guy get on Skype multiple times a week. He looks at him with all the adoration possible and waxes rhapsodic about my son being old enough to shoot his first elk and ride his first horse at grandpa’s house.

            (And don’t get me started on my husband’s best friend’s lesbian moms, who are so smitten with my boy that they practically kiss his feet every time they see him…multiple times a week. They are his grannies and there’s just no two ways about it.)
            The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, eh?

          • Antigonos CNM
            November 8, 2013 at 1:14 am #

            Oh dear me, yes. My husband is the World Champion Jewish Mother whenever my granddaughter is around. He can’t stop feeding her, and becomes very upset when she shouts “Dai!” [Enough!] at him.

  19. Lynnie
    November 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I don’t know why I thought of this when I read this but it does illustrate the mother/child bond that occurs even in adoption. A few years ago, a friend of mine adopted a newborn. Well, that baby never made it out of the hospital. He had contracted a virus that totally ravaged his tiny little body and he spent all his very short life in the NICU. What struck me then and now as I read this article is the amount of love she had for this baby that she didn’t carry in her womb for 9 months and didn’t have all that supposed “necessary” things “required” for bonding. This little baby was HER baby, and she fought hard for him. There was a strong bond on her part.
    I don’t know why my mind went to such a sad memory when I read about the mother/child bond, but it does show that the strong bond can occur for the mother under any circumstances.

    (Now I’m all teary eyed.)

    • Susan
      November 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Adoptions are the biggest touching tear jerker for me too. I am not sure I have ever been able to remain dry eyed the first time an adoptive parent hold a baby. They have been through so much to get there.

      • R T
        November 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        I have the opposite reaction to adoptions! I think about the baby being torn away from his mother and the mother left behind with wounds that never really heal. Adoption like birth should never be about the adoptive parents and what they have been through. Reducing it to the experience of the adoptive parents is as bad as natural birth advocates making the birth experience more important than the life of the child. I think every single possible option for keeping a child and mother together should be completely exhausted before adoption is considered. If I won the lottery I would love to open centers across the country assisting women in keeping their children. Adoption should be solely for finding homes for children who do not have parents or have parents who abuse or neglect them. I considered adoption when my husband and I were struggling with fertility issues. Then I spoke with a friend who had placed a child for adoption when she was 17 and completed regretted. She had recently connected with her now 13 year old son and found out he was completely heartbroken and struggled with self esteem issues. He couldn’t understand how she could give him away even though he had a wonderful family and life. She turned me on to a few blogs including “Birth Mother, First Mother” and “Exiled Mothers” and a book called “The Primal Wound”. She implored me to read and research before I chose adoption. Afterwards there is no way I could ever consider adoption! I too cry when I see adoptions on reality TV or depicted in movies but it’s from sadness for the baby and his mother. I don’t think badly of people who do adopt because I thought it was a wonderful thing before I learned more about, but now that I know I can’t go back!

        • Guestll
          November 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

          “baby being torn away from his mother and the mother left behind with wounds that never really heal” — How about, baby being given a parent/set of parents who wants him, and a mother who has made her own choice, difficult as it may be?

          You know there are some people who either can’t or won’t take care of their children, right? Some people who can’t or won’t be good parents. Equally, there are adopted children who don’t feel heartbroken or suffer with self-esteem issues.

          The right to choose isn’t just about choices that dovetail with your worldview. If we reframe it for a second — “Abortion should only be a last resort. How about all of those babies being torn away from their mothers, and the mothers left behind with wounds that never really heal?”
          How about winning the lottery, and setting up clinics devoted to convincing women that abortion is not the answer? Keep your child at all costs?
          Also, you now have a child, yes? It’s REALLY distasteful to me, as a fellow former infertility sufferer, that you cast aspersions on those who may take a different road to build their families. Easy for you to say, isn’t it? Now that you have what you want?

          • R T
            November 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

            As I said in my first post “Adoption should be solely for finding homes for children who do not have parents or have parents who abuse or neglect them.” I’m not sure why you are saying “You know there are some people who either can’t or won’t take care of their children…” Since I already acknowledged this. Comparing abortion and adoption is very flawed for obvious reasons. I’m extremely appreciative my friend opened my eyes to another side of the adoption industry. I think it’s important for people to know and I hope as more people become aware the adoption industry will be reformed. As far as the emotional and mental health of adoptees, sure many are happy, my adult cousin seems well adjusted and happy. However, several different studies have been done through the years and adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non adopted teenagers. The majority don’t attempt suicide, but the fact remains they do have a higher rate. They also face much higher rates of child abuse than their non adopted peers. You are not guaranting your child a better life by giving them up for adoption, only a different life than they would have had with you. I think it’s important for expectant mothers to understand all angles. As far as now having a child, my husband and I had decided before we knew if IVF with ICSI and PGD would work, we would absolutely not adopt an infant through an agency. We are too uncomfortable with the industry tactics as they stand. Theres just too much class discrimination involved very reminiscent of The Handmaiden’s Tail. We may have considered adopting an older child who had absolutely no chance of being safely reunited with his or her family. Finally, I’m not attacking other couples who have adopted as you claim. I too was completely ignorant of the dark side of the adoption industry until I was enlightened by my friend. I would probably have never thought about it other wise.

          • DiomedesV
            November 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

            “However, several different studies have been done through the years and adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non adopted teenagers.”

            Adopted teenagers are the children of people who are probably more likely to have their own mental health problems than the general population. Comparing them to non adopted teenagers and finding that they also suffer from these problems at higher rates in no way demonstrates that adoption is the cause.

            Not only that, but plenty of biological children grow up unhappy and disaffected with their biological parents. There’s nothing about being related that guarantees a happy family, childhood or a deep bond with your parents. The difference is that the unhappy adopted have a convenient scapegoat that children raised in their biological family don’t have.

          • R T
            November 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

            I don’t disagree with some of your points. However, I really spent a great deal of time talking to adoptees and their mothers and trying to decide how I felt after being blown away by my friends admissions. There really is some deeply troubling issues with adoption in its current form. It really is a very profitable business for many people and still often a sort of unspoken punishment for young, poor women. It’s especially bad for single womem of Mormon and evangelical Christian communities. In addition the rights of fathers are completely undermined in the pursuit of procuring babies for infertility well to do couples. Is upsetting when you really start to look in to it. Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say adoptees who have issues are just using adoption as a scapegoat, it’s not that simple.

          • T.
            November 9, 2013 at 4:02 am #

            Love has never filled a belly, or there would be a tad less of hungry people in the World.
            I am in a differtent country with different law, so my concept of adoption is different from yours. Still, According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children.
            Another interesting bit of study: poverty is worse for children than a mother on crack:
            None less than Torey Hayden, in her Book Children of the Silence convinces one of her “special need children” (the one shose special need was being pregnant at 12) that she should adopt the baby out, because otherwise both their lives would be ruined.

            4 times more likely to suicide against that sounds like a good exchange.
            I add another fact: not all bio-mother wants to see or have anything to do with their “children”. For every tear-jacking story of happiness in reuniting family there is one that end in bitterness.
            Your reasoning sounds more “pro-biomother” than “pro-child”. What a lot of those stories focus is on how unhappy THE MOTHER is, then throw in some data about the child (4 time more likely to commit suicide, against everytinhing else that being a single mother is).

            Also, my impression is that this is really, really cultura-dipendent. To explain: the US -anc Eudopean, though less- culture emphatize Mama Above Everything. This is something we see in this very blog. So for a child whio had been refused by his/her mother, that is twice has hard to swallow. Cultures that have a different view of mother roles don’t have the same problems.

            I read the anti-adoption material. It was my stepping stone to becoming pro-choice and deciding on abortion above adoption, also.

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:16 am #

            If the problem here is that poverty is an issue, why not fix that, instead of ripping babies from their homes?

          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

            So your answer to poverty is to take children from their mothers? That’s cold! Why not teach women skills to obtain jobs to make money to preserve their families. Taking poor children and selling them to rich infertile couples doesn’t stop poverty. In fact, it just keeps a fresh supply of babies coming to sell.

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:14 am #

            Thank you again for caring RT.
            I am just now dealing with the mess from adoption, and it really sucks. I was adopted as a baby, and now know my bio family and have to say, it really sucks. In a way most people just cannot understand.

            Adoptees often have problems BECAUSE they are adopted. How is this so hard for people to understand?

          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

            You’re welcome Stacey. It hard for people to understand because it destroys everything they thought about adoption being pure and good and beautiful! It’s like telling a child Santa doesn’t exist. We’ve all been fed the sappy, hollywood movie adoption BS for so long it’s hard to pull back the curtain and see the truth. I had no idea some of the unscrupulous tactics used to obtain babies for adoption. I had no idea how common it was for adoptees to have serious issues relating to their adoption. Now that I do I find it impossible not to try to share the truth in hopes someday there will be federal regulations to stop the sleaziest of practices! I’m so sorry this hits so close to home for you!

          • DiomedesV
            November 10, 2013 at 12:50 am #

            Well, as an experimentalist I would say that your first problem is that it is difficult to tease this stuff apart. My understanding is that several studies have failed to demonstrate that adoptive parents substantially improve the outcome of the children they adopt when compared to the outcomes of similarly paired children who are kept by their biological parents, or when compared to biological children reared by parents who resemble the adoptive parents. Is that because the parents aren’t doing as good a job as biological parents would or because the adoptees resemble their biological parents more, who tend to have less impulse control, more mental illness, a greater tendency to violence, etc?

            A lot of the rhetoric here treats biological mothers who give up children as incapable of weighing options and making their own decisions in a way that is really reminiscent of the anti-abortion lobby. Maybe some of them are pressured. But some of them probably really want to give these children up. I agree that international adoption appears to be a major shit-storm all around.

            I never thought adoption was sacred and pure but I never thought motherhood of any form was either.

          • Guestll
            November 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

            Please explain how your perception of class discrimination as it relates to adoption is reminiscent of (sic) The Handmaiden’s Tail. Please be specific.

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:22 am #

            I had a long, well composed answer and then my phone died! I will answer this later I promise!

          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

            Young, healthy poor woman, older, infertile well to do couple. Young woman is often gifts by said couple, she is put up fancy facility complete with a pool and spa during her pregnancy, she is given cash, perhaps a even a car, promises of paying for her education in return for her baby. If she chooses to parent her child she must pay the adoption agency back for the money spent on her. She is essentially a baby incubator for a couple who probably waited too long to try to have children and found fertility treatments would not work. As long as she obeys and gives them the child, she’s an “angel”. Should she chose to instead keep her child she’s a “bitch”, “white trash”, “manipulative”. Also, if the baby turns out to have any defect at all the adoptive couple will drop her and the baby like a hot potato.

            Any time people with no power have something people with power covet there is exploitation. You are not going to find a large group of women extremely excited to give their babies away. They have to be coerced, pressured, manipulated, emotionally blackmailed and shamed into becoming an incubator for a well do to couple! It’s complete classism to convince a mother because she may have to use government assistance for a temporary time she doesn’t deserve to be a mother or try to convince her she will never finish school and be poor forever if she keeps her baby. It’s also very much like The Handmaiden’s Tale to take these pregnant women and put them up in glamourous lifestyles while they are pregnant to have complete control over them. Should they waver in their resolve to give up their baby there is someone there every second to change their minds. A particular case I find especially disgusting is Supreme Court Justice John Roberts adoption of two Irish babies born a couple months apart. It is illegal to adopt Irish children outside of Ireland. However, he and his wife wanted Irish children so badly they found two young, pregnant Irish women and flew them to South America to finish out their pregnancies and give birth. Then the babies were listed as being adopted from South America and not Ireland. Can you imagine those poor women deciding to keep their babies? I doubt they would have even been given the money to get a plane ticket back home. Disgusting way to make a family!


          • Allie P
            November 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

            In my experience, it’s the young 14 year old girl, usually alone and with no support, who is being pressured into KEEPING her baby, who is being told that if she was a big enough slut to get pregnant, she should be forced to raise the child. That’s what she deserves. I’ve seen girls who get kicked out of their house when they tell their parents they are giving the baby up. Not for getting pregnant, for “letting a family member go.” There is a STRONG movement, especially thanks to abstinence only education in this country, that says that women who get pregnant DESERVE the “punishment” of raising a baby, on their own.

          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

            What exactly is your experience? I find it a little hard to believe since a 14 year old is obviously not going to be raising a child by herself. I haven’t seen a big movement of parents forcing a 14 year old to give birth, move out, get a job and raise a child alone as punishment. I don’t even think it would be legal. If you mean grandparents are chosing to raise their grandchildren instead of see them adopted away then I don’t see the problem with that. Maybe what you mean are 14 year olds being denied abortions and forced to have a child? I think denying a 14 year old a wanted abortion is upsetting, but biological grandparents choosing to raise a grandchild is a positive social development! I know several 14 or 15 year olds who had babies and their parents pretty much raised the child since their child was still a child. I don’t know any 14 year olds who were forced to raise a child all alone.

          • DiomedesV
            November 10, 2013 at 12:53 am #

            “Any time people with no power have something people with power covet there is exploitation.”

            Only up to a point. It’s actually quite demeaning of poor people to say that they are incapable of weighing their options and making a rational self-interested choice (which you may or may not agree with), when one of those options includes a major financial benefit.

          • November 10, 2013 at 3:23 am #

            It isn’t demeaning to say that no one should feel compelled to give up a baby due to poverty. It isn’t demeaning to say that people faced with starvation are coerced into choices they’d rather not make. It isn’t demeaning to note the correlation between poverty and coercive adoption practices (in the US, we have Crisis Pregnancy Centers whose sole purpose is to talk women out of abortions and then into adoption through shame and emotional manipulation).

          • R T
            November 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

            Thank you! Now I don’t have to say all that!

          • R T
            November 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

            I just about spit my coffee out on the computer when I read your comment this morning. You can’t possibly really be promoting the current sketchy, but legal practices of some adoption agencies exchanging human babies for things like cars. It’s illegal to outright sell an infant, on craigslist for example, for a reason and adoption agencies shouldn’t be allowed to do it either. Ploying a desperate woman with expensive gifts in exchange for her child is still exploitation of her and more importantly her baby! Babies should not be treated as commodities to be sold and traded. I think most people with a conscious and heart would agree.

          • DiomedesV
            November 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

            That isn’t how I meant it to come out. You’re right, there are major ethical issues involved.

            When one person is desperate and another person has plenty of money, coercion is inevitable. At what point does the degree of disparity not matter anymore? Desperate = coercion. Not quite comfortable = less coercion. Enough to live on but not interested in raising a child = ?

            But you’re right, the stuff is shady. I’m not sure how you plan to regulate it, though.

          • November 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

            Well, there is a reason we ban organ selling. For everyone. No matter their prior financial status.

            And no, I’m not advocating banning adoption from poor women to wealthy ones, but I’d just like to point out that the risks of coercion from organ selling are considered so high that it is banned entirely, rather than strictly regulated. Adoption is basically unregulated, which is a truly terrifying reality when you consider that pregnancy is even more dangerous than living organ donation and there is a whole third party’s life involved.

          • Susan
            November 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

            When I saw your comment I looked for the link I posted to GoogleBaby to see if any of you were going to comment on it. I found it very disturbing and I think quite pertinent to this conversation.


          • November 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

            It is quite disturbing, but I’m not sure relevant to this specific conversation except insofar as surrogacy might be an alternative to adoption.

          • Susan
            November 11, 2013 at 2:39 am #

            I saw a response re GoogleBaby from someone and I can’t find it. I think perhaps the poster was being facetious but they said they didn’t see how this is similar to the adoption debate. I think it’s very similar because the debate is about how women who are infertile but wealthy can be pitted against a woman who is poor and fertile. Forgive me if you were being sarcastic Thanks!

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

            “who probably waited too long to try to have children”

            It’s not always that simple. We don’t all get married when we’re 25.

          • DiomedesV
            November 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

            That’s also a way of saying that their pursuit of self-fulfillment past their “prime” is the reason they’re in this mess… in other words, they deserve it.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

            Or choosing to pursue a career.

          • DiomedesV
            November 11, 2013 at 1:23 am #

            Oh, those are the same thing. Didn’t you know?

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

            > The Handmaiden’s Tail

            Now THAT would have been an interesting book.

          • R T
            November 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

            Indeed, lol!

          • Kumquatwriter
            November 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

            I’ve never heard the term “adoption industry,” and I am curious to know more about what you’re talking about. I have not personally looked into adoption at all, and all of the families I personally know (well enough to hear about the process) who adopted did so from foreign countries (specifically Russia and Korea). Thus far, your posts don’t have enough information to tell me anything other than your opinion of them. I’d like to know more…

          • guestest
            November 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

            Here’s an article that talks about the anti-adoption movement:

            I don’t agree with everything RT has posted, but I do think it’s good to openly discuss the negative aspects of adoption.

          • Kumquatwriter
            November 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

            In general, it’s good to discuss the negative aspects of most things. Isn’t that why we’re all reading Dr. Amy? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the link.

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:24 am #

            I think so! I’m not 100% opposed to adoption! I’m just pro making sure its done ethically and morally and with the child as the center focus, not how long the adopters having been trying to get a baby!

          • Kumquatwriter
            November 8, 2013 at 12:44 am #

            I think I’m following your line of reasoning. I don’t fully agree with you, but I don’t think you’re coming out of nowhere. If I understand, you mean that adoptions shouldn’t be about how long/hard/etc the parents worked, but be about the baby and what’s best for it. The same way birth shouldn’t be about superficial experience over baby’s safety.

            I am sure there is a lot of sketchy stuff. I remember being deeply affected by the case of Lisa Launders – the little girl who’s “adoptive father” beat her to death. I read the book I Wish You Didn’t Know My Name by her birth mother, Michelle Launders. It is a harrowing read – but it didn’t make me opposed to adoption as much as to make me angry at the psychopath who stole and then killed that specific child.

            My opinion about adoption in general remains unchanged – I’m a strong supporter – but I will be reading up more on the way it is being carried out, because clearly there are some major flaws.

          • Susan
            November 8, 2013 at 1:26 am #

            I see so very few adoptions of newborns anyway. It’s really extremely rare. Surrogacy is far more common in my experience and I don’t tend to “cry” about that because… well, talk about a power disparity and an industry ; anyone seen Google baby??. My sister adopted and I am not unfamiliar with the concept that an adoptive family is born of loss. The adoptive parents have often dealt with pregnancy loss and infertility, and yes, I agree, that the baby loses a connection to his biological heritage, and the birthmother can face a life of pain. It’s all true. But, reality for me is very few birthmothers choose adoption, and if there is pressure, in my area, it seems to be more often to keep the baby. I do see a fair number of babies going to foster care. So yes, watching an adoptive mom hold her baby the first time IS a tearjerker for me. But usually, my patient isn’t the baby it’s the birthmother, and it’s all about supporting her in what she wants. Really, the few adoptions I see it isn’t a Lifetime Movie thing. It’s more sad sad situations and often the adoptive parents are taking a baby that is drug exposed or special needs in some way. I don’t see it as an industry at all, though I do see, as I said, surrogacy looking like that as well as IVF, as much as those parents can touch my heart too, they often have been through a lot too.


          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

            What I’m talking about is the shady adoption facilitators who make huge profits from placing healthy newborns. There are no federal regulations so they run around state laws that do exist. Here’s a few articles about situation where babies were adopted out to drug abusers or people with a history of mental illness



          • KarenJJ
            November 8, 2013 at 2:41 am #

            I think I get where you are coming from. Adoption is Australia has a chequered history. Forced adoption of mixed race aboriginal Australians and also of children of mothers deemed ‘unfit’ (ie unmarried) has been getting a bit of attention over the past decade or so.

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:32 am #

            I don’t think it’s so much an “anti-adoption” movement as its a movement to make sure the adoption movement is ethical and pro-child. At one point in time closed adoptions were normal and acceptable even preferred by adopters and adoption agencies. Now we know its not what is best for the children involved. It’s very close to completely socially unacceptable to have a closed adoption now. It’s come a long way, but there are still some changes to be made.

          • Antigonos CNM
            November 8, 2013 at 1:25 am #

            It may not be PC to say it, but not all children are wanted. Some, for a variety of reasons, are hated from the moment of conception. In my career, I think I’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve taken care of women who attempted to get abortions, which failed, and I’ve seen children who were brutalized from the moment they were born because they reminded the mother [and sometimes the father] of events rather forgotten. I once had a 13 year old girl in labor, accompanied by her mother, who told me the child was her husband’s, the girl’s father. Mothers literally threw babies off the trains taking them to Auschwitz in the hope that some peasant would rear them; we all know the stories about the conditions in Romanian orphanages when Caucescu [sp?] was deposed.

            So I don’t think any hard and fast opinions can be held about adoption. Sometimes a child’s life is saved; sometimes a woman just can’t cope — or doesn’t want to. Not for us to judge, but to salvage the situation as best as can be.

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:11 am #

            NO ONE has said anything about forced keeping kids that are unwanted. This is a straw man.

            Anti adoption people in general are against the pressure for adoption to be used in situations that are temporary, like when mom wants to keep the baby but cannot for a reason thats limited (like no job, etc). We would rather see families be supported so that all wanted babies CAN be kept.

            We are also against the coercion and pressure used by agencies, even today, the LIES about the type of adoption (they say open, even when thats not legal), the stealing of babies (hundreds of thousands over the years) from single moms to give them to religious families, and all the abuse in overseas adoptions (to numerous to count).

            I don’t know anyone thats anti adoption that thinks a kids thats totally unwanted, or abused, ought to stay with the biological parents due to biology alone. It is more a push back on the ugly practices that occur, and a desire to limit adoption in favor of family support *when desired*.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife
            November 8, 2013 at 12:08 am #

            If you don’t like something that other people find well-meaning and want people to know how much scorn you have for it, just call it an industry. Some I’ve seen online, off the top of my head…

            – The adoption industry
            – The domestic violence industry
            – The abortion industry

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:21 am #

            Well, the profit making enterprise of adoption is just so long to write out!

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:04 am #

            Whats wrong with an industry?
            You could call the adoption mill anything you want, its still UGLY, with a history of STEALING kids.

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:16 am #

            Oh, it’s all so more complex than I have the ability to summarize. You might start by googling “adoption industry” and going to the blogs I mentioned in my original post. There has been quite a bit of news in the mainstream media about international adoptees and their unique struggles. You can search for adoptees against adoption there are a few organizations out there. I know several adoptees have discovered there were actually stolen from their mothers in other countries and then adopted out as orphans. It’s a whole other topic. My personal opinions in my orginal post were concerning the current domestic adoption situation. It’s very interesting to look into so encourage you to! I remember being utterly taken aback when I first started. I had always seen adoption as this beautiful sacrifice and gift from one person to another, but I do not see it that way anymore.

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:03 am #

            The adoption industry is huge, and so very ugly. I will have to get you some links, tomorrow when I have time.

          • Lisa Cybergirl
            November 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

            “Adoption should be solely for finding homes for children who do not have parents or have parents who abuse or neglect them.”

            Shouldn’t women who don’t abuse or neglect their babies, but simply DO NOT WANT TO BE MOTHERS, and/or KNOW THEY WOULD NOT BE GOOD MOTHERS, have the option to give them up for adoption to women who desperately want them?

          • R T
            November 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

            I think those women would fit into the category of parents who would neglect their children. However, the vast majority of women who choose adoption aren’t doing it because they simply don’t want to be a parent. They are doing it because they have been convinced they don’t deserve to be a parent, that they won’t be able to give their child a good life with out enough money, that they won’t be able to finish school, that they won’t be able to be with their child in the after life if they keep it (mormans) etc. All of this is untrue of course! They aren’t given the support to know it!

          • Young CC Prof
            November 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

            You’re right that the decision to keep an unwanted pregnancy is complicated and sometimes people who should be helping women come to the best decisions unfairly influence them in favor of giving up their babies. However, the situation has gotten better. A generation or so ago, almost all teen mothers gave up their babies for adoption, they had no real choice in the matter. (See “The Girls Who Went Away.”) Now there are now far more programs in place to keep mothers and children together.

            Definitely, we need MORE help for poor mothers. Food, housing, education, etc. No one should ever have to surrender a child she loves just to give it a decent shot at life.

            Definitely, there are issues with the international adoption process. Families often don’t really know whether the child is orphaned, abandoned or stolen. Sometimes they were told the child was healthy and find serious medical and developmental problems after arrival. And there is a serious lack of both monitoring and support after the adoption.

            However, we HAVE to keep it a valid choice, to surrender a child for adoption. Some women really don’t want to be mothers, not at all, and if “forced” to do so, they are very likely to commit abuse or infanticide.

          • Lisa Cybergirl
            November 11, 2013 at 1:32 am #

            I understand that some women who would prefer to keep their babies are lied to and manipulated to give them up for adoption. To be honest, I’d never given it much thought before – thanks for educating me. It sounds a lot like the kind of thing they do at “crisis pregnancy centers” to trick women out of having abortions. NEITHER is right, and NEITHER should be allowed to lie to or manipulate women, obviously.

            But I’m not talking about women who think they can’t afford to care for a baby, or who are lied to or pressured by adoption agencies. What about women – sane, reasonable, adult, informed women – who genuinely don’t want children? What do you think they should do if their birth control fails and they become pregnant? Abortion is an option, but should that be the ONLY option?

            That you assume women don’t want children would neglect children they were forced to keep is sort of insulting.

          • MichelleJo
            November 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

            You bring to light a very important aspect of adoption which is often overlooked by the attention given to the adoptive parents (not undeserved). I know that the social services where I live have a policy of doing absolutely everything there is to try before considering fostering or adopting. A child staying with his biological parents in better or even good conditions, is way better than being given another parent.

        • Zornorph
          November 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

          My cousin was adopted as a newborn. She was always curious about her birth parents and after several years of detective work and a few lucky breaks, she found them. She was glad to find them and they were happy to be ‘found’ but at the end of the day, she was happy she had been adopted out of the situation she would have lived in had they kept her. And there are many children in lousy family situations who probably would like to be adopted by people who would love and cherish them. Don’t take one, or even several cases and apply it to the whole idea.

        • JB
          November 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

          I find the notion that all adoptions can be lumped together extremely ridiculous. I was adopted at birth, it was an open adoption and I have always had contact with my birth parents. My birth parents greatly regret their choice, I do not. I love my mom and dad. My mom committed suicide when I was sixteen, this fact has not changed my feelings about my adoption. Adoption should always be available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their feelings later. I had a great upbringing and even though parts of it were horrible, I cannot blame that on being adopted, it is part of life. Adoptions don’t always work out, parents and children, regardless of the origin of their relationship, do not always get along. It is sad that your friend and her son are not pleased with the adoption, but that is not all adoptions.

          • R T
            November 8, 2013 at 12:10 am #

            I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ve seen other adoptees with stories and feelings like yours. My adopted cousin suffered the loss of his adoptive mother, my aunt, to cancer young, but had a very happy childhood. We love him dearly and he loves us. However, within months of his mothers death he began searching for his biological mother. He could never have done that with my aunt alive it made her too upset. He found his mother and she comes to family functions occasionally, but my cousins step mother dislikes it so she comes less now. He and his mother seem to genuinely love each other since finding each other again. I talked to her before I was in a position where I was questioning adoption and she was 14 when he was born. She was from a Catholic family like mine and her parents had her put him up for adoption through a closed Catholic adoption. She cried talking about it and thanked myself and my family for living him so much. She said she thought about him everyday. My cousin loved my aunt and uncle very much and he has been a part of our family since he was three days old. However, I do see something very special between him and his mother! I know not all adoptees end up having or wanting a connection with their bio parents but he truly did and does. I think the hardest part of his situation is his bio mom had never told her children about him. They were shocked and for some reason have wanted nothing to do with my cousin. They won’t even meet him and it makes him really sad as he’s an only child. However, like I said, I still think he’s well adjusted and very happy overall!

        • LibrarianSarah
          November 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

          I am with RT on this one guys (sort of). Adoption has been seen as kind of a sacred cow in this country which has led to people to turning a blind eye to it’s many flaws. There has been corruption from the very beginning. Georgia Tann, who was known as the the mother as modern adoption during her day, was a profoundly evil woman who basically kidnapped small children and infants from poor single mothers and sold them off to the highest bidders. She abused and neglected those inher care and is suspected of being responsible for the death of around 500 infants and children.

          The scandal that took place after her death led to adoption reform that took care of some of the problems in adoption but left many holes. First of which is international adoption, especially in non-Hague countries. There are counties and agencies that use the same tactics as Georgia Tann did (leading biological parents to think that they are leaving the kids at the orphanage temporarily, straight up kidnapping, etc). There are adoption agencies that engage in shaded and illeagal practices Reece’s Rainbow is the first that comes to mind.

          • LibrarianSarah
            November 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

            “Rehoming” or the Internet black market for disrupted children is another hole in the adoption reform net. Reuters wrote an excellent series on this called “The Child Exchange.” Basically what happens is that a parent that adopted (usually from oversees) and it is not working out well so they go on the internet and find some else to take their kids. They sign a waiver and had over power of attorney to these complete stangers and drive away. As far as I know, nobody has been criminally prosecuted for doing this and it not considered illeagal.

            The problem is that there are more parents looking to adopt than there are orphans or mother who want to give their children up for adoption. This problem is compounded by the fact that there is a segment of the evangelical christian community that sees adoption not as a way to start or grow a family but as a way of “spreading the faith” Mother jones wrote an excellent article on this topic entitle ” Orphan fever: the Evangelical movements adoption obsession.”

          • Guesteleh
            November 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

            Reuters ran a horrifying series in September on American families who give away their foreign adopted children on Craigslist when they decide they don’t want to care for them anymore. As you might imagine, pedophiles love this.


          • DiomedesV
            November 8, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

            I am aware of the darker side of adoption. I have no doubt that many children are exploited, and it does not surprise me at all that children who are adopted are more likely to be abused than biological children. Simply put, most people are not motivated to take very good care of children that are not related to them. This is an inevitable result of evolution.

            However, my problems with much of the “anti-adoption” movement are that 1) it lionizes biological connection to an extent that I consider inappropriate, and 2) it subtly holds adoptive parents to a higher standard than biological parents.

            As a mother, if I were to publicly and loudly state that I could never love a child that was not biologically mine, I would probably be chastised. Yet, if an adoptive child announces that they can only love their birth mother, or only their birth mother could love them, somehow that’s totally natural and understandable.

            Holding up adoptive parents to higher standards than biological parents strikes me as unfair. Nobody who is intelligent doubts that people make babies for selfish reasons. If I want to make my own baby, I don’t have to give people a litany of reasons for why I should or convince them that my motives are pure, altruistic, and unselfish. While the child’s interests should be paramount, it is not fair to disparage adoptive parents for having the same selfish motives of everyone who wants children. People adopt because they want children in their lives. A woman who gives birth to a baby has no more pure motives, a priori, than a woman who adopts one. A woman who gives up a baby also has no more pure motives, a priori, than the woman who adopts it.

            In the same vein, couples who struggle with infertility are no more responsible for caring for children without stable homes than couples who conceive without difficulty. Couples who wish to adopt should not be disparaged if they are not racing to adopt a child with special needs–do biological parents fall over themselves to announce to everyone that they hope their future child has a disability?

            Overall, I agree that leaving adoption sacrosanct is bad. But it would just be better if, instead of painting adoption as inevitably exploitative, we simply acknowledged that having children is a selfish endeavor no matter you go about it.

          • stacey
            November 9, 2013 at 4:01 am #

            Adoptive parents SHOPULD be held to a higher standard! They are more likely to KILL and ABUSE adoptees than their ow kids.

            Its easy to deny the importance of biology when you never had to deal with living without a biological family. I wouldn’t say the bond itself is different, but there are SO many other things that matter.

          • DiomedesV
            November 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

            Absolutely! They should be held to a higher standard when determining whether they can adopt. I’m saying that their motives for having children should not be held to a higher standard. Ie, we should not chastize them for adopting for the sake of their own happiness, when we don’t chastize biological parents for the same reason.

          • DiomedesV
            November 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

            I would never deny the importance of biology. That’s why I think that abortion is a much better solution to unwanted children than adoption. The children that were terribly exploited in the REUTERS story were already so far behind the 8-ball, so damaged by their biological parents, that I think expecting much better from their lives after adoption is foolish. It would take a saint to adopt those kids, and those are in rather short supply. Adoption is not a cure-all for the havoc wreaked by drug-addicted, alcoholic, abusive mothers in and outside the womb and the predations of fathers and mom’s boyfriend. These stories illustrate the dark side of adoption, but in my opinion they also make it clear that abortion should never be taken off the table (legally). Expecting the first adoptive parent to not break down under the circumstances of dealing with these children’s multitudinous problems is pretty unrealistic.

        • staceyjw
          November 9, 2013 at 3:58 am #

          AGREE RT! THANK YOU! I am disappointed by the down votes, but not surprised.

          As an adoptee, the whole worship of adoption kills me. Even in the very best of circumstances, its still takes a TRAGEDY to make it happen. My adoption was one of the best possible outcomes, and it has still left an ocean of hurt for all involved.

          You have to realize, adoption is born of tragedy. Once you know this, its easier to proceed with a clear head for the difficulties.

          A kid is torn from their biological mom/ family (sometimes even their country, culture), which, even if necessary, even if done as an infant, is traumatizing. The bio mom (if alive) may have went through hell to have the baby, may be a social pariah or kicked out of her home. She is generally devastated, and disliked and mistrusted, and the bio family (if they know, and exist) can be destroyed as well. The adoptive parents generally come to adoption after years of tragedy as well- many MCs, failed IVF, infertility. Even worse are the ones that are doing it to “save those kids” because even if it seems noble, the “savior complex” is a danger to kids.
          I know that it can be a necessary evil, but overall, its an industry with blood on its hands.

          Lastly, adoptive kids are THE MOST abused of ALL KIDS. Its a sick, sad little fact. And people who were adopted are a huge part of the number of people in therapy. It is a tough thing to live though.

  20. Leica
    November 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    And somehow I managed to bond just fine with both of mine despite 2 c-sections. The first took longer. I did feel an immediate surge of “give me my baby NOW,” and was thoroughly annoyed at the Navy hospital policy that dictated that all c-section babies went to the nursery while mom got stitched up and went through recovery (min 2 hrs). I was exhausted, and stressed, and a first-time parent, so the real bonding did take a while. Breast feeding was a struggle for the first few weeks. Now here’s the kicker – there was no well-baby nursery so you were required to room in.

    The second however (a planned c-section no less) – that was instant. I was asked if I wanted baby on my chest in the OR – oh hell yes. I snuggled him and felt this gush of absolute love. It was incredible. I didn’t put him down for hours. At the same time though, this hospital had a night nursery. The nurse offered to take him and bring him back when he was ready to eat, and I got nice long stretches of sleep.

  21. BeatlesFan
    November 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I’ve written about this before- the very first emotion I felt when my son was born was relief that it was finally over; immediately following that, I felt stark, wordless terror. All of a sudden, there was a tiny human lying on my chest who was entirely dependent on me for EVERYTHING. The feeling of responsibility and the realization that my life as I had known it was officially over was overwhelming and terrifying to me. The feeling didn’t last long, and there was joy along with it, but it was there, and it was strong. I had thought mother/baby bonding was supposed to be “love at first sight”, so the fact that my first emotion upon beholding my son WASN’T all-encompassing, heart-bursting love made me feel like a horrible mother for awhile. Finally, I read comments from many other mothers who said the same thing-that bonding took them time, and wasn’t immediate- and I no longer feel guilty that I was more scared than anything else at first.

    For some reason, I bonded more quickly with my daughter. All I can figure is that the feelings of joy were more in the forefront because I didn’t have the feelings of terror. I wonder if perhaps having a (much) shorter labor and pushing phase helped too, along with the fact I went into labor at 4:30 AM, so I had a night’s sleep beforehand. All of the things NCB tells us are so important for bonding- vaginal birth, skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, etc., were exactly the same with both kids. Same hospital, pain meds for both deliveries, both hatted (the horror!), both bathed by nurses with my blessing.

    If those things are so important, wouldn’t I have bonded with both kids exactly the same?

  22. BuffaloMom
    November 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I wonder what these women’s marriages/ relationships are like. Are they ruined when one thing goes wrong or when their significant other does not live up to their expectations? I love my husband deeply, but it was certainly not love at first sight. It is a bond that grows as we face challenges together.

  23. Ainsley Nicholson
    November 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Step-parents and their step-children can bond too. I’m very close to my stepmother, who raised me since I was five years old. My birth mother, who breastfed me and had (I think) a natural birth, chose to move to another country when I was five. We’ve had little contact since then. Needless to say, we are not close.

    • KarenJJ
      November 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      I had a relative with cancer and her stepdad got on stage with her and they both shaved their head for a cancer fundraiser (she was also about to lose her hair due to chemo). Her birth father – no where to be seen, her stepdad – up on stage with her and comforting her after.

  24. Zornorph
    November 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I’ll admit that I don’t get how some of these people freak out over things that they think will deny them the ‘perfect’ bond with their child. Oh, that evil nurse snatched the baby away to wipe the birthy smells off – how will you ever bond, now?
    What I find even funnier is this idea that you have to breast feed to bond. When I am holding my baby to feed him, he’s against my chest the same way as if he were BFing, but we can also look in each others eyes as he feeds. Now never having breastfed, I assume that if he were latched on to my teat, he’d wouldn’t be looking in my eyes. Not that I’m saying that I get a ‘better’ bond that way or anything.
    Oh, but you have to cosleep, baby wear, BF and everything else or else you won’t get that prefect bond.

    • fiftyfifty1
      November 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      No, actually they look into your eyes when you breast feed them too. Or at least one of their eyes looks into your eyes…

    • Kumquatwriter
      November 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Mine looked steadily at my armpit while nursing. For the first six months!

    • Ainsley Nicholson
      November 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      I’m guessing that the woman’s body structure determines whether or not they are able to look into her eyes. My babies definitely did (and do).

  25. Carolina
    November 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    One of the more helpful pieces of advice I ever received was from a colleague who had just returned to work after her second baby. I was about a week from delivery, and she said: “Just don’t be surprised if you don’t feel an amazing bond and rush of love right of way. The first few weeks are really hard, but the love and devotion will come.” At the time, I thought she was horrible. – of course I would be passionately in love with my baby from the start. But during the first couple of months of struggle and PPD, her words that it was okay and normal not to be gaga for my baby made me feel better. She was a very wanted child and she is my life, but I didn’t bond immediately. It wasn’t the c-section or the induction. It was just me. And it was okay.
    TL/DR version: instant bonding isn’t necessarily natural.

    • Amy M
      November 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      My mom had instant bonding I guess, because when talks about the birth of my sister and I, she always talks about the post-birth euphoria she felt and how awesome it was. Right after my babies were born, I felt nothing but exhausted, and my mom couldn’t relate at all. Luckily, I was aware that not all women felt the instant rush of love thing, so I didn’t feel too bad. Also, I was too exhausted to care. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. November 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    I recently cam across Anne Lyerly – author of “A Good Birth” and much of what she has to say on the subject resonates with me. I have also spent a fair bit of time now paddling around the birth trauma pool – and I think there are some women who are traumatized by their births, and dealing with the trauma has a rather profound impact on those women. I think where we run into difficulty is that we have made “Good Births” into some kind of checklist, where checking off all of the boxes is seen as some kind of achievement – and that we really need to re-orient ourselves back to what really is important. I also think that we really need to focus on preventing and addressing birth trauma – and a lot of that is going to have to be a result of a culture shift with respect to birth and a willingness to accept a wide diversity of women with a wide range of circumstances. We need to get to a place where we can accept that a “good birth” is not one size fits all – and I think the NCB advocates have a really hard time with that concept. I also think that post-partum mental health is incredibly complex, and that maybe a lot of the “difficulty bonding” is masking a larger issue with post-partum depression or other mental health issues that are being inadequately addressed. It’s pretty easy to blame what you did or didn’t do – a lot harder to accept that the problem is how you think about it.

    • jenny
      November 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Spot on. And that sometimes the problem is that how you think about it is not entirely a matter of conscious choice, and therefore you may need extra help. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues that makes mothers reluctant to admit they may be having a problem.

      • AllieFoyle
        November 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

        And also very little extant literature on the circumstances surrounding peri-natal trauma and its treatment. The existing narrative that we all share seems to emphasize childbearing as an idealized, natural experience, and framing it that way misses that fact that, natural or not, it can be a mentally and emotionally trying or traumatic experience.

        • Antigonos CNM
          November 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

          For a great many women — most, I would venture to guess — having a baby is the first time they have been in hospital or in a situation which is fairly beyond their control in a way they’ve never experienced before. There doesn’t have to be any overt trauma, such as being in an accident, for it to be quite overwhelming. Personally, with all my experience, the first time I was “on the other side of the bed” was very difficult for me to cope with, and to this day certain actions raise certain unpleasant memories. Yet I know objectively that I was well cared for, and in the hands of people who were colleagues and professionals. There are definitely women who find the whole experience of labor and birth deeply traumatizing no matter how quick and easy and pain-free it actually is. While I know it is Gospel to discharge women early to recuperate in their own homes to minimize iatrogenic infection, I sometimes think we do women a disservice unless there is a home-visiting service, such as provided by community midwives in the UK, to follow up new mothers and let them, among other things, talk about their perceptions of birth after the fact.

    • araikwao
      November 8, 2013 at 5:39 am #

      Mrs W smashes it out of the park again ๐Ÿ™‚ I was a bit shaken for quite a while after the “experience” of vaginal birth, and wonder if it because no one talks about what it is *actually* like and how it might feel frightening and far out of your control.

  27. Guestll
    November 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    The immediate bonding bullshit is just that — bullshit. My husband and his twin were born in disastrous circumstances — their birth mother died — and they spent the first six months of their lives in four different foster homes.
    Their parents were in their early 40s, and had been waiting, praying, hoping for a child via adoption for a few years. Dad was a pediatrician, Mom was a peds nurse. Imagine their joy when they got the call — there are twin boys — are you interested? Dad and Mom gave up their big hospital careers and moved to a small farming town, where Dad worked as the local doctor and Mom raised her sons and helped run a small farm (and also kept Dad’s records).
    There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t mentally thank my husband’s late parents for the job they did in raising their boys. Bonded? You want bonded? That family was inseparable. Those two kind, loving people raised two kind, loving men, who took wonderful care of them when they were gravely ill, and ultimately passed too soon — Dad of lung cancer, Mom of pancreatic cancer. That Dad and that Mom made two awesome husbands and Dads. That Dad and that Mom were not the adoptive parents, just Dad and Mom.
    When we were first dating, I asked my husband if he felt truly loved by his parents. He said, immediately, “Of course! They CHOSE me.”
    As usual, NCB advocates manage to reduce something complex and intricate to a box that must be ticked off in order to not be Doing It Wrong. In the process, they do a huge disservice to adoptive families.

    • Dr Kitty
      November 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      I spent the weekend at a toddler’s birthday party with my daughter.
      One of the couples adopted their two children at 8 and 10 months old- and they and their kids were just so obviously a very happy family unit.

      I don’t like all of this “bonding” stuff. It doesn’t reflect reality.

    • November 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      That is so beautiful. The adoptive parents I know are so absolutely committed to their children – they take nothing for granted.

    • Wren
      November 11, 2013 at 6:26 am #

      I did have that instant bond with my son, so much so that I was surprised by the depth and strength of it. Today is his 8th birthday, and I can honestly say that the bond I felt instantly is still there, but has grown as I’ve gotten to know him, not just that he was my baby.
      I don’t think it’s bullshit, but I also don’t think it has to happen at birth to happen. My sister is pretty darned bonded to my kids, but rarely saw the elder as a baby or toddler and only sees them a few days at a time every couple of months now.

  28. S
    November 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Not sure this is entirely relevant (It is in my mind), but i’ll leave it here anyway. I clicked over to Sarah Buckley’s page from another comments section and noticed this bit of what-the-fuckery:


    “What influenced me the most was my feeling that I would lose something important as a mother if I allowed someone to test my baby. I knew that if a minor or uncertain problem showed up โ€“ and this is not uncommon โ€” that I would be obliged to return again and again, and that after a while, it would feel as if my baby belonged to the system, and not to me.”

    Well okay… pretty sure if i had issues of this nature, i wouldn’t want to advertise them alongside my professional qualifications. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being neurotic. It happens. But she needs to own that it’s HER weird personal issue instead of throwing it out there along with the other vague scaremongering, as though it bolsters her argument.

    • Awesomemom
      November 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      My niece was born with a gap in her esophagus. It was discovered early on through the 22 week anatomy scan. Because of that my SIL choose a different hospital to give birth at, she went to one where my niece could get the care she needed immediately. Even if that was the only instance when a baby was helped by ultrasound it was worth it. There have been millions of scans preformed and there is very clearly no issue of harm happening. That woman makes me want to facepalm hard. I hope that she does not influence too many women away from getting scans that could save their child’s life.

      • Young CC Prof
        November 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        My cousin has a story just like that. Her baby’s heart defect was diagnosed prenatally, and so she delivered in the best hospital around and got corrective surgery immediately. He MIGHT have survived birth in a neighborhood hospital, or he might not have.

        An ultrasound is not a blind oracle, telling prophesies that can’t be changed. So much of the information it delivers is stuff you can act on to improve your child’s life and odds of survival.

    • S
      November 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      I want to clarify, i don’t mean this comment as judgmental of her attitude — pregnancy is such a unique state, and women can feel all sorts of ways about their pregnancies — but the way she’s presenting it as some sort of indictment of ultrasound. Also, using that attitude to justify forgoing screening for your baby — I do judge that. Talk it out and get past it and take care of your kid.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        November 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

        Her attitude sounds similar to people I know who never want to go in for mammograms or pap smears, or for the men , prostate exams. They have this concept that if I don’t get the scan , I won’t get bad news and I won’t have cancer…”its magic”. If I don’t think about it, it won’t happen. And while that’s very human, its especially troubling in a health care professional..

        • Young CC Prof
          November 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

          Actually, there are valid reasons NOT to get screened for prostate cancer, like the absurdly high overdiagnosis rate, but that’s a really complicated unrelated topic.

    • Dr Kitty
      November 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      I knew I would loose something important if I DIDN’T allow my baby to be tested, namely any chance at a stress free pregnancy.

      With my own Spina Bifida and my sister’s fatal CDH, an early anatomy scan at 13 weeks that confirmed my daughter had an intact skull and spine and that her stomach was below an intact diaphragm was when I finally felt able to take a breath and be wholeheartedly happy to be pregnant.

      That’s MY neurosis- I wanted to know as early as possible if my baby was going to make it.

      • Mishimoo
        November 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

        So good to hear that I’m not the only one!
        My cousin had Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, plus I have other family members with Spina Bifida Occulta, so we were always really worried but somewhat detached until the first scan. (The detachment is due to losing our first at 10 weeks). I couldn’t quite see our kids are real until they’d arrived safely, and it took a few days for me to bond with them.

      • Young CC Prof
        November 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

        I had a dating scan at 8 weeks and anatomy scan at 20. (I’m going to have one more scan at 32 weeks.) In the year prior to me getting pregnant, almost every pregnant woman I knew had a major issue of some kind, from hypoplastic left heart syndrome baby to HELLP.

        When I heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks, I let myself believe it was real, and I laughed just like Sarah, for the child I’d always wanted. (With a heartbeat detected at 8 weeks or later, the probability of miscarriage drops to 3%.) And the best part of the anatomy scan was watching the baby’s heart work, smooth and rhythmic and perfectly shaped.

        • Amy M
          November 8, 2013 at 7:51 am #

          I had a dating scan at 7wks, only to learn we were having identical twins, and I cried tears of terror. After that however, every scan (and there were many) left me relieved to see they were alive and well…it was really cool to see them interacting (probably not consciously, but still, one would push the other and the first would respond and push back..pretty nifty).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 8, 2013 at 10:04 am #

            Back in the days of expectant parent boards, the standard approach for moms was to find some way to get themselves a personal doppler, although it was only supposed to be available by prescription, just so they could verify a heartbeat every day. Going in for a checkup once a month wasn’t near enough.

            If they could have had their personal US, they would have been doing that multiple times a day, just to be sure everything was still ok.

            I think that is a far more standard attitude. Expectant mothers, on the whole, are extremely nervous about their pregnancy, and absolutely don’t take it for granted. That’s been my experience, at least. This idea that safe pregnancy and childbirth can be taken for granted is very new to me. Everyone I know who is/was expecting is/was a nervous wreck about every bit of it.

          • Young CC Prof
            November 8, 2013 at 10:08 am #

            Some of the women on my birth month board bought dopplers, especially ones who are high risk or have experienced multiple losses. They seem to be using them less now that we’re at the point where the babies kick frequently and with great strength, though, as that’s a fine proof of life and health. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 8, 2013 at 10:21 am #

            To be fair, by the time that we got to the point where baby activity could be detected, I was usually kicked of the boards for creating “too much drama.” Imagine that.

    • KarenJJ
      November 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      “”What influenced me the most was my feeling that I would lose something important as a mother if I allowed someone to test my baby. I knew that if a minor or uncertain problem showed up โ€“ and this is not uncommon โ€” that I would be obliged to return again and again, and that after a while, it would feel as if my baby belonged to the system, and not to me.”

      WTF? You don’t lose anything when something is found wrong. I don’t love my daughter any less because she has a genetic syndrome. I haven’t lost her to the “system”. A less then perfect baby is still your baby. I don’t give my daughter away that easily!

      • rh1985
        November 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        I’ve had tons of ultrasounds, and personally I love seeing my baby girl more often – she feels even more mine! I can’t understand the logic at all.

        • S
          November 8, 2013 at 10:54 am #

          I had a handful with my son and felt the same way. Maybe i would’ve felt more apprehensive if my baby had had a higher chance of serious problems, but still, how do you justify not getting the scan? “I was scared of what might happen… so i decided to let my baby take her chances with an undetected congenital defect.”

    • Allie P
      November 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Magical thinking. Cover your eyes, plug up your ears, and go la la la la la and hope for the best. These people don’t realize how childish they sound.

  29. 2boyz
    November 7, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I have 2 so far (one very recent) and I don’t really bond until they start to show a little personality at around 3 months. I do breastfeed and continued with the first into toddlerhood and plan to do so again- it comes easily to me and i actually enjoy it. I had an epidural the first time, and yes, the NCB guilt-tripping made me wonder if that’s why it tool me awhile to bond. I went natural this second time (just over 2 months ago), and guess what? No difference- not in bonding, not in breastfeeding, not in any of the ways they claimed it would be better. It seems I’m just not into babies until they figure out how to intentionally interact with me. That’s not to say I don’t love and protect my babies before then, just that I don’t get that feeling of fiercity immediately.
    I really feel that NCB sold me a bill of goods- I went through horrible agony for no discernible advantage (thank God the labor was actually quite short- even if I had wanted an epidural, I got to the hospital too late for one). However, I have no regrets, because I had to learn this for myself, else I’d keep wondering if I was missing out. I definitively know now that, barring another precipitous birth, I want the epidural next time!

    • Amy M
      November 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      I had a similar experience with regard to bonding. I have twin boys, and though I felt fiercely protective of them the moment they were born, I didn’t feel that overwhelming love until they started smiling at me, around 2mos old. It just got better and better from there though, because I got to know them. They were very much wanted, and I would have died for them the minute they were born, but now that I know them as individuals in their own right, it can bring me to tears how much I love them.

      Oh, and I had an epidural, and formula fed them. And they went to daycare starting at 3mos old. They’ve formed bonds with LOTS of people including their father, aunts/uncles, grandparents, caregivers and more and none of those people breastfed them either!

      • Carolina
        November 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

        Yes! The love is so much stronger and more amazing now. I loved my daughter from the moment the stick turned blue, but the absolute adoration and devotion I feel now (she’s three) came later. And it just gets stronger every day ๐Ÿ™‚

        • 2boyz
          November 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

          I agree. My older one is 2 and a half, and I definitely feel closer to him than to his brother at the moment- I’ve had proportionally a lot more time to get to know him, his preferences, his personality etc. In time, it will come from the baby too- we’re getting there, he’s learning to smile.
          Oddly enough, my husband DOES bond right away. He doesn’t gestate, birth, or breastfeed, and yet, he bonds sooner than I do. A tad embarrassing for me, lol.

        • Antigonos CNM
          November 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

          The ability to determine sex via ultrasound was developed between my second and third pregnancies, and so I knew my third child would be a girl way before she was born. I had fantastic intrauterine conversations with Naomi for weeks prior to her birth, whereas her older sister was not “recognized” until her birth — not that in the end it didn’t matter all that much. They are both delightful adults now.

          • Guestll
            November 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

            I knew our girl was a girl at 13 weeks (CVS) but I didn’t feel bonded to her until she was almost here. I lost four babies before our daughter and I refused to get attached. At her 41+5 BPP, I saw her face in profile, this perfect reverse cameo, light against dark. Per the tech, she was trying out her breathing. Little fish lips. ๐Ÿ™‚
            The feeling was overwhelming in its intensity. Beautiful and scary. That’s our daughter. She is real. She is not going to die. She is alive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Allie P
    November 7, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    That quote doesn’t even talk about whether or not the baby came out of your body. I know parents whose babies weren’t “theirs” for days or even years after their births, and those parents wanted for them and waited for them and saved money and traversed great distances to get them and love and bonding all happens anyway. We are complex creatures almost always capable of deep emotion and bonding with those we spend our lives with.

    And there is no race to see who bonds first, either. You aren’t a bad mom if you didn’t love your baby before she was born or want her before she was conceived (most pregnancies are unplanned, anyway). I didn’t happen to bond with my newborn. It had nothing to do with the manner of her birth. I’m just not into babies. Didn’t keep me from caring for her all that time and wanting to protect her because you know, I’m a freaking human being. It doesn’t have to be love at first sight to be love. We’re super bonded now.

  31. DiomedesV
    November 7, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I agree that the rhetoric coming out of NCB is obnoxious and doesn’t reflect the reality of childbearing, nurturing, and parenting. But I don’t think it’s a “bridezilla” thing. I think bonding became important, as Antigone CNM says, during the sixties and was a reaction by some boomers to what they perceived as the cold, non-nurturing parenting of their parents

    • AllieFoyle
      November 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      I think you’re right that the emphasis on bonding probably initially came about as a reaction to the behaviorist school of psychology that emphasized a style of child-rearing that, well, was probably not ideal either in terms of emotional development. Love and touch and connection *are* important. It’s undeniable. But, as often seems to happen, a reasonable idea morphed into the weird restrictive idea that bonding needs to take place under specific circumstances and at specific times or it will be fatally flawed (right after a natural childbirth, exclusive, extended breastfeeding, attachment parenting, etc.)–and that so obviously is not the case. Humans need and thrive on loving connections with others, absolutely, but those connections needn’t be made in the rigid circumstances emphasized by natural childbirth canon.

      • Antigonos CNM
        November 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        There are moments when I wonder “Where are you when you are needed, Dr. Spock?” He was all about trusting your instincts and using common sense [in reaction to the very strict disciplinarian parenting theories of the 30s], although he was misunderstood to be in favor of “permissiveness”. It seems the pendulum swings back and forth. It is hard for me to think of a more doctrinaire form of parenting than AP, since the kid MUST do what Mama says ALL the time she’s carrying him, etc.

  32. Allie
    November 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I think bonding is a natural side-effect providing care, not of giving birth. Babies are capable of bonding with all their caregivers. My baby was exclusively breastfed for 6 months and she still breastfeeds, in addition to solids, at 10 months. But in addition to me, she has had no trouble bonding with her father and her grandparents, who also provide frequent and excellent care to her. I think people who complain about not being able to bond with their babies don’t really understand what bonding is.

    • onerose03
      November 7, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      That’s actually an excellent point. These ladies are terribly concerned about their own ability to bond but you never, ever hear about the fathers. If a mother can’t bond without very specific and painful conditions, where does that leave poor Dad? Entirely irrelevant, apparently!

      • Guestll
        November 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

        Dads are indeed irrelevant in the hardcore NCB narrative. Well, his paycheque is germane. Otherwise, he’s cast as the guy with no agency. His opinions are disparaged because he is but a dim bulb in the supernova of Gaia Mother.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          November 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

          Not voting you down, friend, just the sentiment. It’s too true, and too sad.

  33. Antigonos CNM
    November 7, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    “Bonding” was THE trendy thing of the 60s. I remember well when it became popular, and suddenly, if you didn’t hold your baby within the first half hour, you were doomed to never have a truly good relationship with your child. Somehow, all of us, whose mothers had never heard of it [or indeed any generation before that of the 60s] managed without that magic deadline of the first 30 minutes.

    Contrariwise, and this was indeed an advance, in prior generations it was thought better if parents didn’t see a stillborn [especially if grossly deformed]. About the same time “bonding” appeared, the Wise Men of Obstetrics [and psychology] declared it was IMPERATIVE that parents see their dead child, which upset a fair number of parents, I remember. However, to prevent all kinds of fantasization, this has been shown to be a good thing.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      November 7, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      IMHO, hanging out with the newborn in the first 30 minutes was fun, but it’s the 3 am feedings and diaper changes and teaching to talk and walking to school and playing games that provided 99.999% of the bonding, not the birth.

  34. Kumquatwriter
    November 7, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    There’s a great joke in all this about these Quacktivists thinking we all imprint like Ducks. I just can’t seem to word it today.

    • Isramommy
      November 7, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      This, exactly. I cannot get on board with a philosophy that seeks to reduce my emotional complexity and maturity to that of waterfowl.

    • S
      November 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      I’ve told this story before on this site, but… A goose imprinted on my grandfather. Followed him everywhere. It was killed when he accidentally backed over it with the combine.

      • BeatlesFan
        November 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

        Does it make me a horrible person that I just laughed when I read that? I feel bad for the goose, but it seriously reads like a punchline.

      • stacey
        November 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

        Damn thats sad.
        I’m a sucker for animals.

  35. The Computer Ate My Nym
    November 7, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Like bridezillas who become enraged by a wedding cake that is the wrong flavor and think the wedding is ruined

    I’m mildly dissatisfied with this analogy*. A bride (and groom and wedding planner) has the right to expect her bakery to be competent enough to provide a cake in the flavor she ordered. I’d be annoyed if that happened to me. And I agree that declaring the wedding ruined over it is silly. I’d propose that a better analogy might be the bride declaring the wedding ruined if the weather was cloudy. Like a c-section or degree of pain during labor, it’s something one has little to no control over and can dramatically change the experience in some situations, but at the same time, if it ruins the experience, you’re concentrating on the wrong thing.

    *And that totally RUINED the post for me. (/snark)

    • auntbea
      November 7, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      Right? I ordered chocolate. If I could not have had chocolate cake, I would not have had cake at all. I looked forward to my awesome chocolate cake for five months. If, after all that, I had received lemon, I would have been quite irritated.

      • C T
        November 8, 2013 at 10:44 am #

        Cake is a serious subject. I’m already looking forward to the carrot cake at the hospital when I deliver…in 7 months.

        • auntbea
          November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

          I am confused why you cannot have carrot cake now? How else are you going to celebrate being two months pregnant?

          • C T
            November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

            Really? You didn’t immediately make a connection to morning sickness? I guess it’s just on my mind ALL THE TIME right now. ๐Ÿ˜‰
            And I really like the carrot cake at the hospital (I’ve given birth there before).

          • auntbea
            November 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

            Oh no! ๐Ÿ™

            I was never sick when I was pregnant, just VERY HUNGRY FEED ME BEFORE I EAT YOUR FACE OFF.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            November 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

            Oof! I had the “instant morning sickness and 9 full months of nausea” experience during pregnancy. Loads of fun! If it helps, food will be WONDERFUL after you deliver. Plus, if you’re still in the 2nd month there’s a good chance that you’ll be one of the majority of people whose morning sickness does pass during the second trimester. Good luck with it and congratulations!

    • AmyP
      November 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      There are some pretty bad Cake Wrecks wedding cakes.

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