Hannah Dahlen, perhaps you can explain how a mother bonds with a dead baby

iStock_000063248435_Small

She’s back!

Midwife Hannah Dahlen is once again trying to set straight those of us who prefer to deliver live babies instead of dead ones.

You may remember Dr. Dahlen as the author of the heartless claim:

When health professionals, and in particular obstetricians, talk about safety in relation to homebirth, they usually are referring to perinatal mortality. While the birth of a live baby is of course a priority, perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety.

Why do natural childbirth advocates require specific conditions to bond with their babies, while the rest of us love them unconditionally merely because they are ours?

It’s not simply a priority. Protecting the life of both baby and mother is the sine qua non of competent childbirth care.

Dahlen is also a hypocrite, publicly wailing about toxic postnatal experiences while she and her colleagues promote the conditions that lead to toxic postnatal experiences.

Women have told us there is something worse than death – there is being alive but dead inside. There is being so traumatised by pressurised interventions in their birth plan that they can’t care for their newborn or have a relationship with their partner, and their own mental health is affected.

That’s like the fashion industry bemoaning negative body image. Pious concern for women’s feelings is difficult to take seriously when it comes from the very people who make women feel bad about themselves. In the case of the fashion industry, idealized representations of the female body lead to self hatred when women’s bodies don’t meet the fashion industry norm. In the case of the natural childbirth industry, idealized representations of birth lead to self hatred when women’s birth experiences don’t meet the natural childbirth industry norm.

For example, in a recent piece for The Conversation on vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), Dahlen made a claim that is both cruel and outrageous.

The advantages of a VBAC include … enhanced mother-infant bonding.

There is no scientific evidence for that claim; it is precisely the kind of gratuitously cruel remark that leads women to hate themselves when their birth experiences don’t meet the natural childbirth industry norm, something that Dahlen supposedly deplores.

Perhaps Dr. Dahlen can explain to us how a dead baby affects the mother-infant bond.

The primary reason for repeat C-section is to avoid the risk of uterine rupture and perinatal death. Women who choose repeat C-section often do so because they’d rather carry the risk of surgery rather than foisting the risk of uterine rupture and death on the baby. Yes, the absolute risk that the baby will die from an attempted VBAC is small, but it is real and it WILL happen to some babies. Faced with the small, but real risk of the baby’s death, many mothers will opt for abdominal surgery with the pain, potentially harder recovery and increased risk of infection or bleeding. In other words, women who choose repeat C-section want to protect their babies from any risk, no matter how small, at the cost of pain and potential suffering to themselves.

It seems to me that mothers who choose repeat C-section for that reason have already bonded with their baby in utero.

Midwives like Dr. Dahlen fail to grasp one of the most important things that any pregnant woman could tell her: women bond to their babies before birth and don’t need a specific birth experience to create that bond.

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.

The idea that a vaginal birth is required for a mother to bond to her baby, or enhances the bonding process, is an utter lie.

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 fiercly to his or her mother.

Perhaps Dr. Dahlen can explain this to us as well:

Why do natural childbirth advocates like Dr. Dahlen seem to require specific conditions in order to bond with their babies, while the rest of us love them unconditionally merely because they are ours?

  • sapphiremind

    I think you can ask any mother who is leaving the hospital to plan her child’s funeral – she would rather be “dead inside” than her child dead. I actually have yet to meet a mother who wouldn’t gladly die herself if it meant the baby would be able to survive.

  • Jessica Burke

    In my experience there is something worse than death and it is being the mother of a baby who has died.

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I agree – coping with the aftermath is one of the toughest things a mother has to face.

  • CourtneyMcG

    My little one is 6 weeks old tomorrow, I had a csection as he was breech. Ideally I would have preferred a vaginal birth to avoid surgery but that just wasn’t in the cards for us. He is my first and we would like two or three so the choice of vbac vs repeat cs is now something I must consider. For me the pro of a vbac is quicker recovery and more ease in caring for the baby. The pro of a csection is safety for the baby. I don’t understand the idea that bonding is easier without a csection because I honestly loved that those first few weeks with csection recovery the only expectation of me was holding my baby and healing. The csection made jumping up to change a diaper hard, but in no way hurt our bonding as I was less inclined to put him down to begin with because that meant getting up. Maybe it’s because I was head over heals with him before he was born and we just didn’t struggle with it; but I suspect it is more aligned with my own thought process and ability to accept the csection as necessary and as doing the best for him. I’m undecided if we will try for a vbac or schedule a csection next time and am thankful for this resource to offset the ncb hype as I make that decision.

    • Daleth

      Are you on Facebook? Check out the group VBAC and Birth After Cesarean Facts — Evidence Based Support. They offer solid information and support for both choices, to help you choose:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/birthaftercsectionfacts/

      • CourtneyMcG

        Thank you for the info!

  • Rae Rae Martinez

    You just seem to use analogies wrong. They are supposed to create clarity. They work better when you compare your subject to something your entire audience can understand and agree on. When you make MORE personal, and totally unrelated, social commentary in your comparison, it makes a really weak analogy.

  • Bombshellrisa

    Pudding is instant. Super glue is instant. A bond worth having takes time and commitment.

    • guest

      Ug, I refuse to have anything to do with instant pudding.

      • Ardea

        Such a treat on a ten-day backpacking trip in the mountains, though.

    • demodocus

      but a good cake is not!

      • Roadstergal

        It seems like there’s a lot in common between parenting and cake? It’s not instant, it takes a lot of time and effort, there are a million ways to do it right, and if you mess something up in the mix, you can always play with the ingredients and make it work.

        • Roadstergal

          …and dropping it in the toilet is a bad idea.

      • Bombshellrisa

        Exactly!

  • fiftyfifty1

    Whenever these bonding posts happen I always ask myself how we as women have arrived at a place where this Threat Of Not Bonding has the power to manipulate us. Does anyone try to manipulate fathers with this threat? No way. They would just laugh.

    This idea of Bonding is something that was invented within the last century. Literally not a soul in all of human history gave it a single thought before it was invented. And yet we women can now be made to fret endlessly about it apparently.

    I can’t believe we allow ourselves to be drawn into this. Some nutty NCB type makes the claim that CS mother don’t bond right, and we mothers immediately swallow the bait “Yes we can! We can too bond! I am absolutely bonded! I couldn’t BE more bonded if I tried!”

    WTF?

    • SporkParade

      It’s weirder than that. The entire idea of bonding is that children form attachments to the people who show them affection, even when those people are objectively terrible at taking care of them, with the result that social workers need to consider the damage caused by breaking that bond when considering removing children from a bad home. And somehow it’s turned into, “If you don’t do everything exactly according to script, you’re children will never love you.”

      • Ladyloki

        I can vouch for that. My girls were sysetmatically abused both physically and mentally. Their egg donor (that creature does not deserve the title of birthmother) even told the judge that she was glad to be rid of them…in front of the girls. That they were worthless and a burden. And the girls still were bonded, and still are to a certain extent. You see it all the time if you work in the system…these kids are raised by parents and family who treat them horribly but they are still bonded.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Even the girl locked in the closet for years with her own feces and barely fed still had a semblance of a bond with her parents. At least on her side. I don’t think formula feeding is worse than locking your child in a dark closet and barely feeding them.

        • SporkParade

          And yet, so many people would rather barely feed their babies than give up on exclusive breastfeeding. Let me rephrase that. The psycho nurses in the effing hospital would rather I barely fed my baby than give him one bottle of formula.

    • CanDoc

      Good point!

  • Blue Chocobo

    OT, but tangentially related through adoption, newborn bonding, happy families coming with all kinds of backstories, and the kid’s perspective in one family:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/adopted-teenage-boys-newborn-photo-shoot#.yl9l1QNBq

  • Ladyloki

    *sigh* Fathers can bond without giving birth, as can other family and friends. Adoptive parents can bond with children who are much older, even teens. No one questions that. What is it with birthmothers only being able to bond with unmedicated vaginal birth and breastfeeding? It continues to floor me that this tripe keeps getting spewed. All it does is hurt mothers and babies.

    • Tumbling

      And I have bonded with the kittens that I care for. These are not ‘fur babies’, I completely recognize that they are a different species and that they don’t have the same cognition and neural wiring that I have, but I’m pretty damn fond of them and yes, love them. These beings that I came into the care of after they were months old. They seem pretty bonded to me, too. So how could mother/child bonding be more fragile? This boggles me too.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        No kidding! My dog is bonded to me and all I did was bring her home from the shelter and feed her the first day I had her and she was velcroed to my side. Granted her breed is know for being “Velcro dogs” but she was a step beyond. I’m bonded to her back. Not like a child but woe be to anyone who hurts her again and if I ever find who dumped her in the desert in the first place there will be hell to pay.

        But a child that can express love in my language, both vocally and body language, is definitely going to be even easier to bond with than a dog or a cat. Children have a remarkable capacity for love and forgiveness that I’m admittedly jealous of at times. If you’ve chosen to bring a child into your life in any way and see how they love you just for being there it’s hard not to bond to them. Heck the two year olds in nursery bonded with my husband in less than two hours and wanted to know where he was when he started having to work Sundays.

        Not saying children will bond with whoever is present regardless but it’s also not like they’re ducks. You don’t have to be the first thing they see and experience for them to imprint for heaven’s sake!

  • Amy M

    That “pressurized intervention” phrase is niggling at me. It makes it sound like there are hydraulics involved. I mean, I guess if the vacuum is used, that’s based on air pressure…

    • Who?

      I think we can safely add poor written communications skills to Dr Dahlen’s cv.

    • KarenJJ

      Maybe pressurized intervention is used to prevent baby depressurization where there is a danger baby will come flying out like a deflating balloon and whizz around the room.

    • Inmara

      You know what “pressurized intervention” looks like in our biggest birthing hospital? Laboring woman has to sign a paper that she refuses intervention and takes all responsibility of the outcome to herself. As midwife in prenatal class said, most agree to interventions after such proposal.

    • Nick Sanders

      Reminds me of a Jeff Foxworthy line about his wife’s story of giving birth growing more dramatic with every telling:
      “Honey, I don’t remember the fireman bringing the jaws of life in.”

  • Anonymous

    “When health professionals, and in particular obstetricians, talk about
    safety in relation to homebirth, they usually are referring to perinatal
    mortality. While the birth of a live baby is of course a priority,
    perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety.”

    Good god. Here let me give you an analogy:

    “When aerospace professionals, and in particular pilots, talk about
    safety in relation to flight, they usually are referring to plane crashes. While the survival of a passenger is of course a priority, crashes are in fact a very limited view of safety.”

    She’s nuts.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Excellent analogy. In her world, the quality of the peanuts is as important as if the plane crashes.

    • Nick Sanders

      Not to detract, but now I’m wondering about the numbers of people who have heart attacks and other medical emergencies triggered by cabin pressure/altitude compares with how many people die in plane crashes, on an annual basis.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Not to mention DVTs from the limited movement and dehydration from limited access to liquids. I’m curious about the “no liquids over 100 ml” rule in particular: Has the risk of airplane induced DVT gone up since this rule has been in place, forcing people to rely on the limited access to fluids they can get in flight? How does this risk compare to the theoretical risk that someone might bring an explosive liquid on board? As far as I know, it’s an unanswerable question, but I do know that back when I worked in Newark we did a good business in well insured people coming directly from the airport to the hospital with swollen legs and breathing problems.

        • Dr Kitty

          It’s no liquids over 100ml through security.
          You can still buy bottles of water or juice from shops at the gate or on the convourse and take them on board.

          OR
          Bring and empty bottle or flask through security and fill it up from a tap or water fountain on the other side.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            That’s true and probably helpful. Not to mention profitable for the airport’s stores as many people forget to bring an empty bottle. But at one point the rule was no liquids on the plane. I’m glad they did away with that one at least.

          • Angharad

            Or travel with a baby. I flew with my daughter earlier this year and was shocked to find that in addition to the four bottles of formula, sippy cup of juice, and tubes of diaper ointment they also let my husband keep his water bottle (I told him to dump it out and the security agent said he could keep it for the baby). I appreciated it, but it did make me wonder if there’s any point to the liquid restriction if you can bring quarts of liquids along as long as there’s a baby with you.

          • Allie P

            This depends on your TSA agent. Mine wanted the baby to taste it before letting us through (me: It’s shelf stable closed, but I have to toss it after an hour if i open it) We got it resolved, but I swear, sometimes TSA people are so ignorant about their own rules.

          • Blue Chocobo

            The “baby pass” isn’t reliable. For every baby that gets through security with a quart of milk, there’s another that only gets to keep one bottle and the caregiver has to take a sip out of it to prove it’s actually food.

          • Eater of Worlds

            There’s also a medical pass. You can take any amount of fluid in if it’s for a medical reason. No, they can’t ask you what you have but they can ask if it’s for medical. This also isn’t reliable. I know someone who has a major lawsuit against the TSA for not allowing fluids (which screwed up his disability). Then they did a few other illegal things.

          • Allie P

            My airport they have these great water bottle filler stations so you don’t have to bend over drinking fountains. It’s genius, cold and everything.

        • guest

          Airlines still provide a lot of liquids to passengers even though you can’t bring them through security. I try to bring my own anyway, either buying after security, or bringing an empty bottle and filling up at a water fountain.

      • Anonymous

        Honestly I’ve never, ever seen this and I’ve been in medicine for nearly 20 years. Dad has never seen it and he’s been an MD since 1977. Seeing as how the cabins are pressurized I don’t think this is even an issue. I think you are referring to high altitude pulmonary edema which can be counteracted. More information here:

        http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/conditions/cardio/altitude-and-the-heart/

        People with this tend to know that they have it so I doubt that would be an issue. I am not saying it isn’t. I’m just saying that I’ve not seen it personally.

        • Nick Sanders

          Thanks for the info. I’m not in medicine, so I just vaguely remembered hearing that it could cause some sort of heart issue.

  • Anna

    “Women have told us there is something worse than death – there is being alive but dead inside. There is being so traumatised by pressurised interventions in their birth plan that they can’t care for their newborn or have a relationship with their partner, and their own mental health is affected”.

    OMG! This is just SO shallow and childish. In a world where terrible things happen, people die every day in wars, famine, disasters and terroristic acts, loved ones are lost to fatal ilnesses and accidents, some people never get to have any kids at all and give up after having had 10 miscarriages… be upset because things didn’t go your way! I know it sounds a bit like “but children are starving in Africa”, but this is it! Now I was a bit upset over my-c-section. I was annoyed I couldn’t exercise, drive right away. I was annoyed that I was somehow different from my postpartum friends. But it was NOTHING like she describes. To not want to live and care for your baby because of interventions during birth. Grow up, that is what I would tell these ladies (if they even exist????) who don’t want to live because their birth plan didn’t work out. But it’s been long my suspicion that people like Hannah actually PUT it into women’s heads, to be so frustrated about a single and not so important episode in their lives and make the perfect birth a goal of a life because that’s what they live from.

    • Ladyloki

      If they are that traumatized, they need to be diagnosed with PPD help. Or perhaps we should stop saying that unmedicated childbirth is the only way, any other way is a failure, and thus stop setting women up with such impossible expectations. Hannah is waging psychological warfare on women and it is sick.

    • Who?

      I get it to some extent. Our subject has had a nice life, and life’s essential unfairness has operated in her favour the entire time.

      She’s used to doing the reading, getting across the subject, preparing and executing. Perhaps she has come to believe that the smooth happiness of her life is a result solely of all that hard work and effort, conveniently overlooking the many social and financial safety nets that prevent or break the fall.

      The wedding was perfect, house is set up, the career in a good place and then, more or less on cue, she’s pregnant. Then it all goes off the rails.

      She rightly observe that this is nothing she has or has not done, but instead of appreciating that all the planning in the world won’t make this experience go according to the plan, and believing that it ‘should’ have, she blames the people who were in her space when it went wrong. She probably still thinks there is another thing she could have done to prevent it.

      What a very difficult and potentially tragic way to learn a basic life lesson.

      • Tiffany Aching

        THIS exactly.

      • Anna

        Oh, I can so clearly picture this gal, from a wealthy family perhaps, getting high grades at school, educated, privileged, with a nice job and a nice house, fit, attractive, nice wedding photos and travelling all over the world during the honeymoon, wanted pregnancy… And then, all of a sudden, traumatic c-section/episiotomy/whatever. The gal is mad with the whole world. How could smth so vile have happened to her, HER? A “kind, caring” postpartum doula will explain that she has been “birth raped” and all hell breaks loose. Husband, parents, siblings, doctors, all get their share of hysterical fits. Baby? Couldn’t care less. “I’m dead inside, I’ve been so horribly wronged, I’m not just a vessel!”

        • Who?

          It could also be the aspirational one, who knows what she wants and is building, stone by stone, the life she has aspired to since forever. Not so much entitlement as desire for something very particular.

          Either way it’s very sad: many of these people are actually seriously mainstream in their values, getting mixed up with the lunatic fringe is far from their real selves. And risking life and health along the way is just gruesome.

          • Anna

            In which case I would remind them that even J. Lo and Angelina and many more couldn’t avoid the cesarean birth. Whereas many marginal alcohol-and-drug-addicted women from poor distrcits have had the dreamt of by many easy unmedicated vaginal birth. But they couldn’t care less and many even ended up killing or abandoning their newborns((( There’s to the bonding.

        • Erin

          To be honest, that was me. It never ever occurred to me that I might not get the birth I wanted because apart from one horrible horrible exception when I was a student, my life ran to my over privileged rules and after the horrible exception, everything being perfect was even more important.

          Apart from the flashbacks to said horrible exception during surgery, I have a lot of gaps during my labour but the one thing I remember with blinding clarity is the moment reality hit me like a freight train.. I wasn’t in control. Nothing I’d achieved before hand mattered, I was as helpless as I would be adrift in the ocean and god did I struggle with that. It sounds ridiculous but it was one of those moments which puts everything into perspective… I admit I was high as a kite (eight hours of gas & air) but I swear I could almost see the jigsaw puzzle pieces drifting down and slotting together. I’d always thought the birth I wanted and my child surviving entering the world were two separate things and since I believed the latter was going to happen without a hitch, I didn’t see the issue with the former. Yep, I really was that naive.

          In the circumstances though, “birth rape” makes me rage, I feel like yelling “No, the Doctors didn’t rape you..” to those ladies of my acquaintance who believe it, try reliving actually being raped whilst your child is being born. Try living with that association every day, looking at your baby and seeing your rapist because somehow in some screwed up way, your head joined the two events together. Try dealing with the fact that the enduring memory you have of your child’s first breath is feeling like it was your last, as you lay there unable to breathe, thinking some bastard has his hand cutting off your air and that no one is helping you. Assault maybe.. scary yes, I get that… but it’s not rape.

          (Sorry for the rant.. not in the best of moods at the moment. My Mother just told me in all seriousness she didn’t “sign up” for looking after my Father now that he has cancer. Apparently despite all the fuss she made about me having to get married, wedding vows don’t mean anything at all).

          • Mishimoo

            Thank you for sharing that even though it’s painful and you’re seriously stressed. Your rant is fair, it has a point, it’s valid, and it will help others. It just really sucks that you’re stuck dealing with the aftermath as well as your mum causing more drama, and I’m sorry. I hope your dad’s cancer treatment is as easy as it can possibly be.

          • Anna

            I too hated the helpless sensation during c-section. Just laying there and having things done to me. Like an object or laboratory animal, that was my association. And though I was not traumatized I was annoyed as hell for the first couple months. I think while it is important to actually acknowledge that giving birth CAN be an unpleasant experience (and this part is mostly for relatives and friends who tend to undermine your feelings, saying it’s nothing special), it is all the more important to draw the line and not go too far in victimization. Cause while I would get mad at those who’d tell me it was nothing special (my first hospital stay and surgery, huh!), it would have been thousands times worse had someone put it into my head that the doctors have taken advantage of my helpless state and performed surgery for their own convenience. Don’t know how that could have blown my mind unstable from hormones as it was.

          • Erin

            I really think if I hadn’t had flashbacks to actually being raped and semi strangled, I’d have been okay with the section because I’d made my peace with what was happening before then but I’m not great at doing passive so maybe I’d always have had issues.

            The sooner “certain” people stop making out birth to be this awesome natural thing, the better really. I mean we aren’t exactly the most “natural” species out there are we. Plus what always makes me smile is that all the “natural” birth fanatics I know drive expensive German cars, possess at least 4 devices produced by Apple and fly abroad twice year.. so their love affair with “natural” only extends to having babies and breast feeding.

          • Anna

            And many of them don’t despise plastic surgery either, which is clearly unnecessary. Kate Winslet, fierce NCB fanatic, obviously has had her nose altered when she was young. Anyways, I guess the memories are still too fresh for you and me. Like one friend of mine said in a year you won’t care and in five years you will hardly remember.

          • Who?

            I can really see how that happens, giving birth is scary and strange enough without all the ‘shoulds’ following it around, and your trauma on top of that.

            And sorry about your dad’s illness. Hopefully your mum is talking out of fear and shock, and once she regains her equilibrium will be able to cope with what’s ahead.

    • Hilary

      The thing is, childbirth CAN be traumatic, and interventions can contribute to that trauma … I had a gazillion interventions, including painful steroid shots, magnesium drip to prolong labor for 2 days during which time I was not allowed to get out of bed, antibiotics, rhogam, and a classical c-section. Both my arms were covered in scars and bruises from blood draws and IVs. The recovery from the combined labor and surgery was horrendous, I had to be taken in a wheelchair to visit my baby in the NICU and was in pain for months. It was a really scary, upsetting experience. I would not say I felt “dead inside”, but I did develop PPD and perhaps trauma as I had flashbacks and involuntary replays of the experience for a while. I guess I would say that I was traumatized.

      And yet, the interventions were necessary. There was a reason for each one, and I consented to them.

      So … what I don’t understand is why all these women expect childbirth NOT to be traumatic. Where did this idea of childbirth as some great experience that should go perfectly even come from?? It’s been a leading cause of death for women through the ages – right? And the reason the death rate has declined is because of those traumatizing interventions.

      I deeply resent the natural childbirth industry’s manipulative use of experiences like mine to disparage hospital birth. My son would very likely have died, had he not been born in a hospital.

      • Elisa

        I’m cracking up. The natural childbirth industry??? And what do they sell? Vaginas? You frustrated women who don’t have a job should find one so you would have less time to be on the internet.

        • Tiffany Aching

          Because CPMs work for free, and there arent tons of books, websites and shit to explain to pregnant that having her/him coming out of your vagina and being in unbearable pain are the most important things you will ever do for your child (except of course breastfeeding).

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Not to mention childbirth classes (hypnobirthing, lamaze etc) and doulas (yes, I know that doulas can attend medicated childbirth too, but a large portion of their business comes from women who wish to have a non-medicated delivery).

            No matter what your views are on NCB, to claim there is no money involved is clearly foolish.

        • Megan

          “You frustrated women who don’t have a job should find one so you would have less time to be on the internet.”

          And yet here you are, finding time from your busy life to insult someone who gave an honest account of the delivery of her child. Really classy…

        • Hilary

          My job is taking care of my medically complicated toddler … But I’m glad the description of my high risk birth and my son being hospitalized gave you a good laugh …

        • Sue

          What does the natural childbirth industry sell, Elisa? Woo.

        • Who?

          What does the natural childbirth industry sell: fear of professional care, dependence on charlatans and psychopaths, junk potions and lotions, pretend love and care, false hope and unrealistic expectations.

          The bonus (which happens four times as often as it would if mother hadn’t fallen into this particular horror show) is a dead or badly damaged baby at the end of it all, that the natural childbirth industry will tell you is all your fault because you didn’t buy enough of their ‘stuff’, didn’t work hard enough, or trust yourself or your ‘carer’ enough.

        • Anna

          Do you imagine they (doulas, midwifes, birth coaches) do it for free? Ahahah. It’s business and there’s LOADS of money in it! As for the second part of your comment it’s plain rude and considering you adressed it to a new mother it’s twice as rude.

        • Sarah

          Well they don’t sell brains anyway.

          Nice SAHM shaming there, incidentally. I’m a lawyer btw, but I know that being at home with one’s children is a totally valid role.

        • Allie P

          Hmmmm, how about: Uninsured (cash based) medical care, herbal supplements, books, water birthing pools, doula services, crystals, clothing, photography, knitware, workshops, seminars, classes, training in their schools, birthing kits, dolphin rides, videos, their “brand” (see Ricki Lake)… the list goes on and on. If homebirth stopped tomorrow, the increase to OB-GYN services would be about 1%, but it would be 100% of the NCB industry’s income.

          • Megan

            Don’t forget placenta encapsulation!

          • Roadstergal

            Supplements, kale smoothies, horrible tea to help with labor or breastfeeding or whatever.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Essential oils, herbs for sits baths, cloth diaper and baby wearing evaluations (they tell you if you are doing it right), baby massage, chiropractic.

        • moto_librarian

          Doulas and midwives don’t work for free. And you bet your ass it’s an industry. They sell an “empowering experience.” Never mind the fact that giving preference to the experience can have real consequences, as in the case of a fellow daycare family. They decided to have their third at home after two hospital births with CNMs. Their baby had a severe shoulder dystocia. He was transferred to a level IIIb NICU because of seizures. He spent three days being cooled, and an additional week in the NICU. They are only just now weaning him off of his anti-seizure medication. This blog might help spare other families such awful consequences. It’s a far better use of the internet than drive-by trolling.

        • Eater of Worlds

          We can’t forget the pressure put on women to breastfeed by the lactationists, either. It can easily cost a thousand bucks to get started on breastfeeding, with a lactation consultant, pumps, nipple cream, nipple shields, supplements, buying bottles to store extra breast milk, and hope you have room in your existing freezer for that.

      • Anna

        So sorry you had to go through this! Hope you and your son are doing fine now. And I do think depression is adequate after trauma. But, yes, “dead inside” is a bit far-fetched, that’s just not the situation! I would understand if a mother who lost her child used this phrase but in this context it freaks me out a bit. Just like another phrase they always use “birth rape”. That’s a gross exxageration and is used to manipulate women into dreading hospitals and hating their hospital experiences, however life-saving, by default.

        • Hilary

          Thank you – we are both doing well now. He has various medical problems but they could be much worse. I completely agree about both those phrases. Birth rape? Yuck. Trauma =/= victimization.

  • sdsures

    And what about father-baby bonding, eh? I guess if the dad bottle feeds the kid, they can’t POSSIBLY bond, eh? And they certainly can’t bond because he didn’t personally push the kid out of an orifice.

  • Nick Sanders

    OT, but the CDC Facebook page posted another breastfeeding pic, and it’s getting swamped with intactivst nuts.

    • demodocus

      Makes sense. *eye roll*

      • Nick Sanders

        They’re claiming circumcision impairs breastfeeding. Some are also claiming the Hep B shot does too, although their posts got removed, thankfully.

        • Roadstergal

          “They’re claiming circumcision impairs breastfeeding”

          They’re doing it wrong.

        • sdsures

          The kid’s genitals are about a foot away from their mouths…or did I miss something?

          • Nick Sanders

            “Something something pain and trauma, something something suckling rates”

          • Blue Chocobo

            They’ve got it backwards.

            Discomfort (of any sort, really, newborns aren’t great at differentiation) makes babies want to nurse because latching on to something (anything, really…again, they’re not great at differentiation) is wired to be comforting.

          • sdsures

            Ohhkaaaay.

        • Liz Leyden

          My son isn’t circumcised, and he had lots of trouble breastfeeding.

        • Tara Coombs Lohman

          My son’s best breastfeeding effort while we were in the hospital was when he was brought to me right after his circ. He had to wait a little before, and I’m sure cried during the procedure–he had local anesthetic, but all babies HATE being strapped to the little gingerbread board. Anyway, as soon as he was put in my arms, he opened his mouth wider than he had before and latched on like a pro. And he continued to nurse beautifully for the next four months, until I stopped.

    • Nick Sanders

      Ok, some when I asked for evidence about the “overwhelming” research on breastfeeding, all I got was this:
      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/1/103.full

      Can someone who is better at reading studies give it a look over? My ability with medical studies is mostly limited to spotting clear stinkers that are completely busted, and, while it doesn’t seem to be on the level of complete bullshit, the conclusions appear a lot more confident than the data supports, since a lot of the body seems to be hedging and handwaving.

    • Nick Sanders

      I swear, the double speak from some of these people.

      Them:

      Right… Lets all celebrate doctors pushing poor choices on parents. That sounds like a real bright idea.

      Me:

      Formula is not a poor choice.

      Them:

      Again, that doesn’t give doctors a right to push it on parents when there are better options out there like donor milk and breastfeeding. Doctors don’t encourage women to breastfeed. They don’t care. I decided to breastfeed just because I thought it would save me money from having to buy formula, that is seriously the only reason. Every doctor and hospital I have been to treated it like they were both the same. They are NOT! No I don’t judge people for formula feeding and sometimes that is the only option, and in those cases formula is a life saver, but that doesn’t mean we get to pretend that breast milk doesn’t have amazing benefits for our children. Doctors should be sharing the benefits of breastfeed with new parents and encouraging them to do so. Women walk away from hospitals feeling like formula is just as good for their baby as breast milk and the honest truth is it’s not. Yes, it is heartbreaking for a mother to have to use formula when she wanted to breastfeed, it is just as heartbreaking that there are women who wished they had breastfed, or wished they didn’t stop, but didn’t get encouragement from their doctors.

      • Who?

        Doctors have a tough gig.

        I had a conversation with a friend this morning. My daughter recently broke her wrist and has had a plate and some screws put in to repair the break and help ensure the best possible outcome for her.

        My friend was saying how, when she broke her wrist several years ago, she was given ‘no choice’ but to have a plate and screws, even though she didn’t want them. After further discussion, it became clear that the break was reduced under general anaesthetic, then a recommendation made that she have further surgery, which she refused.

        The surgeon then had her in every couple of weeks for an xray to make sure it was all healing as it should, which it did, and her wrist is now great.

        So how, you’re wondering, is that giving her ‘no choice’. Well, because the doctor wouldn’t applaud her choice-he supported and facilitated it, but made it clear that she was acting against advice, which she was. She was annoyed with him for not changing his recommendation, even though he did the next available best thing, which was what she wanted.

        Sound like the thinking of anyone we might be familiar with around here?

        • Amazed

          I am reminded of Hush. Do you remember her? When baby Griffin died, she was all “It’s evil doctors’ fault, they should have served his mother the way she wanted to! They should have done her VBA2/3C, instead of leaving the poor dear to do it at home! She had no choice!”

          The mother hadn’t had even one uncomplicated pregnancy. Her reproductive life was a line of pregnancy losses and NICUs. She was even a RN. I can’t help but think that she didn’t need an OB indeed, she needed psychiatric help if, with her history and education, she thought yay vagina at all cost was the way to go. Unfortunately, she found ICAN instead.

  • AirPlant

    I have an aquaintance who had a didn’t know she was pregnant surprise baby. Went to the hospital in pain and one emergency c-section later she had a son. For a day she refused to see him and had all but signed the adoption papers. I literally cannot imagine a more unbonded mother than her in that moment, but her family convinced her to bring the baby home and five years later she is as happily bonded as any mother I know. No vaginal birth, no breastfeeding, not even a conscious pregnancy, and within days she had become a mother. I think the rest of us will be fine.

    • sdsures

      I’m glad things turned out well.

  • Monkey Professor for a Head

    I absolutely resent the implication that my love for my son comes from vaginal birth and breastfeeding. There’s so much more to it than that.

    I also resent the implication that my husband must not really love his son, since he didn’t give birth or breastfeed.

  • Jen

    When she says pain after c-section, it makes me wonder if women who’ve had c-sections are under-medicated? I plan to choose elective cesarean, so it’s very worrying to think I’d be given less pain medication after that than someone who has had other abdominal surgery would receive.

    • Megan

      I was actively discouraged from taking my pain medicine after my csection in the name of breastfeeding. I also had to inflate my pain scores in order to get my meds regularly (which I did since the pain was so much harder to treat after it returned rather than treating it in a scheduled fashion). After I got home I used it on a more as needed basis but it made me feel bad to have to “justify” my need for pain meds so much in the hospital. This was after my 4-day induction, csection with a uterine inversion while my daughter was extracted and large PPH, mind you. I had reason to be in pain!

      • sdsures

        “I also had to inflate my pain scores in order to get my meds regularly (which I did since the pain was so much harder to treat after it returned rather than treating it in a scheduled fashion).”

        Our hospital’s official pain scale is a joke: 0 to 3.

        • Gene

          I remember coming out from anesthesia and asking for some IV meds. They asked me my pain scale and I said 4. The nurses told me I couldn’t have narcotics until my score was at least 5. I said, “fine, it’s a five. Give me drugs!” Pain scales are a joke.

          • demodocus

            Not to mention so subjective. If the worst pain you can remember feeling was a bad sunburn, how would you place a broken bone? How would someone who’d battled cancer describe the broken bone?

          • Gene

            Totally agree. I’ve seen plenty of “10/10” who are smiling and texting and 6/10 sickle cell crises who are stoic on the stretcher (they KNOW their pain can be worse). I’d say my three vaginal births were 6/10 (epidural on one side only, felt the epis), 9/10 (completely ineffective epidural with 5kg baby), and 0/10 (the epi finally worked!). I’ve never met an ED worker who has ever gotten to 10/10.

          • Nick Sanders
          • Gene

            There is a reason that Scrubs is considered to be one of the most accurate representations of medicine on television.

          • toni

            lmao. japanese people, so true!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            *grins* Back in my ER volunteer days as a teen, I quickly learned to take a quote of a “10/10” on the pain scale with about a pound of salt if the person wasn’t showing any visible signs of pain or injury, and most especially if they followed up that “10/10” with “and I’m allergic to everything except Dilaudid.” Fear not, I’d still alert the triage nurse ASAP, but like a good little volunteer, I’d be sure to mention the allergy bit just to see how far back in her head her eyes would roll. *gigglesnort*

          • Amy M

            Yeah, I get migraines, and some of them have been far worse than childbirth. And lasted longer. And it took 22hrs for my children to be born.

          • Liz Leyden

            I was taught that a 10 is usually a gunshot wound, a kidney stone, or childbirth. That can make the pain scale hard for people who haven’t had a baby, had a kidney stone, or been shot.

          • Nick Sanders

            I once overheard a guy I used to work with telling another coworker about his kidney stone. He said he’d been stabbed and shot and neither hurt as much it did.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I had cluster headaches for a while, which I’m told rank, painwise, with kidney stones and childbirth. I wouldn’t know, having experienced neither, but I will say that they persuaded me *quite* firmly of the benefits of epidurals in childbirth, given that I have no interest whatsoever in ever being in that much pain again.

          • Eater of Worlds

            I have a condition that has pain that ranks higher than childbirth on the McGill pain index. I have it all day every day. I can no longer rank other pain reliably.

          • Roadstergal

            And it’s not just the magnitude of the pain. I’ve experienced worse pain than when my OB forcibly dilated my aged cervix to put in my IUD, but something about that pain was different in quality – it hit my fight-or-flight brain center like no other pain I’ve experienced. I wanted to hit everyone in the room and run like hell, and once it was done, I was shaking uncontrollably with adrenaline.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Definitely. The first pelvic I ever had was when I started bleeding while pregnant and had to go to the ER. They didn’t even bother to put me on a pelvic table, and instead just propped my hips on a bedpan while that doc SHOVED his hand inside me. I was scared (I thought I was losing my baby, and I’d never had a pelvic before), and it hurt a lot, but nowhere near as badly as some other pain I’ve had. I still remember the strong urge to kick him in the crotch, preferably while wearing toe-spiked combat boots. Pain in that area, especially when you’re feeling rather vulnerable, is different, and as much psychological as the very real physical pain.

          • FormerPhysicist

            Yes, I can honestly say my pain for anything was not the worst I can imagine. But I might be imagining being drawn and quartered by grizzlies while acid is being poured over me. Nonetheless, 5 weeks post-mastectomy, I still can’t get through two nights in a row without something stronger than advil and aleve. Well, I can survive, but I can’t sleep enough to be functional the next day.
            (Partly I can’t turn onto my side without pain enough to wake me from a sound sleep. And I am generally a side sleeper. So I turn in my sleep and wake up gasping.)

          • Megan

            This is exactly what I mean and why I constantly had “6/10” pain. They would not give me both of my Percocet unless my pain was above a 5. Even though I knew one pill did not treat my pain. It is ridiculous. I may ask my OB this time around to write my pain meds not as prn, but q6hrs and “patient may refuse.” I’ve done that with my own patients to help ensure they do not have to keep track of the pain we schedule themselves (which I had to do and hubby wrote it on the marker board in my room).

          • Megan

            *pain med schedule

        • Allie P

          My husband had an undiagnosed appendicitis because he looked at the pain scale and was like, well the worst pain I can IMAGINE is getting flayed alive, so… and they sent him home. Almost ruptured before we caught it.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            That’s my problem too. Im looking at other people in the ER that are being cleaned up from ATV rollovers on backboards when I’m working and go “Well, I’m not as bad as that guy by any stretch. Like that’s probably a ten and he’s moaning in pain. At least when he’s awake. I don’t think I hurt half as bad as that even. So is my pain a 4 then?”

            Well I finally got checked out for some pain on my right side that kept coming back as “nothing” after going to the ER or Instacare then the ER for what I thought was gallbladder issues, appendicitis, and other lovely ailments that cause right side pain. Did exploratory surgery in case my endometriosis came back after the last surgery I had.

            Well it turns out my right colon was quite attached to my abdominal wall and was attempting to become one with it via massive adhesions. They kept wondering why it was only the last time I said seven on the pain scale. And that was because I thought I had appendicitis and wanted them to take it seriously. I’d passed kidney stones and that was a ten. Nothing else had come close since them.

            Incidentally, you don’t realize how high your pain tolerance is until after your colon has adhesions lyzed and then peeled off your abdominal wall and realise that pain had been there for years and you’d just gotten used to it. And that post op pain was easier to deal with.

            I keep saying it, high pain tolerance is not a good thing. It’s a curse. You let things go for way too long because you don’t think it’s -that- bad.

          • sdsures

            “How are you feeling?”

            [calmly because I am used to chronic pain]: “3…3…3…3…”

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        That is so very WRONG. I’m sorry. 🙁
        As obsessed with breastfeeding as the hospital at which I had DD was, I’ll give them this: they stayed on top of my pain pretty darn well, and no nonsense about avoiding pain meds. Every time the nurse checked on me, the standard question was, “How’s the pain on a 1-10 scale? Do you want to take a pill for it? You can take ibuprofen now, and you can take another Vicodin in another hour (not delaying, just a question of how often they can be taken), or you could take the ibuprofen now AND the Vicodin later; which would you prefer?” Which is as it should be, thankyouverymuch.

      • Gatita
        • Charybdis

          Dangit!! I was looking for that to post it. I gave a copy of this to my primary care doc. He loved it, I love #7 and #8, which are where my migraines leave me.

      • I inflated pain scores too — there was definitely a number the nurses needed to hear me say before they would give me anything.

    • Erin

      I know pain is very subjective and I was doing an awesome impression of the family banshee after my emergency c-section so my impressions of pretty much everything should be taken with a pinch of salt but I found the pain to be entirely manageable with the drugs I was provided with. The only problems I had were when I over did it, like pushing a trolley around Costco ten days later which I really wouldn’t recommend.

    • Houston Mom

      I was so happy to finally leave the hospital because I knew I could fill a prescription for pain medicine and take it on schedule. The nurses did not bring pain medication on time. One even claimed I had turned down my scheduled dose when I questioned her. I was offered pain medication as soon as I got to my room after the birth but it was a hydrocodone pill. I have to take it with food or I will heave and I hadn’t had any food for days. The thought of vomiting on top of the horrible pain I was already in had me close to tears. The nurse said I would have to wait until 7:00 a.m. (about 7 hours away) for breakfast to take the pill with. Finally someone checked my chart and saw I was prescribed one more dose of IV pain medicine by the anesthesiologist. I was really peeved when I got out of the room to walk the next day and saw that the hospital had a stocked snack bar of free food right around the corner which the nurse had not mentioned. I would recommend sharing your concerns about pain with your OB beforehand, find out what medication you will be given and how often, and keep track of it yourself. And bring your own snacks.

      • sdsures

        That sounds horrid! I’ve also had to deal with nurses who don’t bring pain meds on schedule, and the sad fact is that they’re overworked and understaffed. They’re only human. Puking with surgcal scars on your tummy is not a fun experience.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        That is totally inexcusable. I hope your OB reamed them a new one? When I had DD, it seemed like my nurses offered pain meds and snacks virtually nonstop, and while I didn’t need much in the way of pain meds post-CS (just wasn’t in pain that ibuprofen wouldn’t handle perfectly well after the first couple of days), I know I have a relatively high pain tolerance and that different women experience things differently, so I wasn’t at all annoyed that they kept offering either–made me feel better cared for!

        • Houston Mom

          I never brought it up. I didn’t see him after the delivery until I had the staples removed. The discharge instructions told me to follow up with the OB two weeks later. Due to that mistake and a 3 day weekend and the OB being busy, I had had the staples in for 3 weeks when I saw him. He was upset and occupied about that. I was so relieved to finally have those removed, it didn’t occur to me to complain about the nurses.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yeowch! I’m sorry. 🙁

      • araikwao

        That is revolting. I’m horrified you were treated that way.

      • nomofear

        You should definitely bring this up, at least to your insurance company. They want to know about stuff like this, and, with aggregate reports, will crack down. Frankly, after having read about racism in the medical industry, this sounds like something a Black or Latina woman would almost expect from hospital staff. Granted, I don’t know what race you are – but, if it could be racism, don’t be hesitant to mention that if you ever do file a report.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          ^ What (s)he said. Another thing: while I was there, they had this guy with a clipboard come around the rooms every day to see how happy we were with the level of care/general service. He was a PR sort of person, not a medical person, so I think the idea was that someone who wasn’t getting good care would feel more comfortable telling him so than, say, a nurse, who might take it personally.
          Also, he was slightly campier than anyone I’ve met outside of San Francisco, so suffice to say that I was quite sure that despite his lack of medical professionalism per se he wasn’t interested in the boobs that tended to be hanging out when he walked in. (Thanks, breastfeeding.) *grins* I’ll say this: the man brought chocolate, and I was both amused and edified by the fact that he would half-scold me at the end of each interview because “girlfriend, you NEED more chocolate in this room, know what I’m saying? (*eyeroll*) You’ve been through a lot!” and produce tasty, bite-sized candy bars–always, I add, at the end of the interview so that he couldn’t influence me to be nicer in my comments by giving me chocolate first. *grins again*

      • Mac Sherbert

        After my c-section I had a pump at first and during the night it malfunctioned. The night nurse just wanted to start me on pills. I refused and told her I would take them on the morning. When the OB came in the next day she asked me if I had eaten. I told her no because my food release papers hadn’t been signed. She said she would take care of it and told me it was a good thing I was still on the pump because at that point I hadn’t eaten in 48 hours and would have puked. The nurse had been rude and had acted like I was neing s princess or something…I was glad I stuck with my gut and had her fix the pump. Only nurse I didn’t like.

      • sdsures

        I edited my post below. 🙂

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I think a lot depends on your OB. In my experience, I had an absolutely awesome OB; he sent me home with prescriptions for Vicodin and prescription ibuprofen. I ended up filling neither, as I had a bottle of regular ibuprofen and three of those are the same as the prescription’s strength. For *me*, that was plenty; I honestly didn’t need the Vicodin, and believe me, I’m no martyr. Likewise, in the hospital, my nurses were *very* on top of my pain levels; they only got bad once, and that was totally on me, as they had offered pain meds but the spinal was still in effect, so I hadn’t felt anything (and therefore had turned down the meds) until the next night when WHAMMO, pain of about an 8-9/10.
      Long story short, my experience was awesome, others have had bad experiences, though, so talk to your doc in advance. He/she is the one who writes the prescription, and should have a fairly standard post-op prescription for CS moms. If the nurses deny you prescribed pain meds, raise holy hell with the OB. OBs (and docs in general) are not known to enjoy letting their patients be in unnecessary pain.

    • Anna

      I had c-section and never experienced pain before, during or after. Nobody will deny you pain medication in the hospital, God forbid!

    • oceanlily

      Once my doctor found out I wasn’t breastfeeding and my husband was staying the night, he gave me the good stuff. Apparently my baby cried and screamed and I heard nothing I was so drugged. Happy times. Got a great night of rest, after a planned c-section and was able to go into the mom role fully rested.

      Of course that lasted all of one night 😉

    • the wingless one

      I had a unplanned c-section and the doctors and nurses were very on top of pain control. I was told over and over again not to try and “tough it out” because once the pain gets going, it is apparently much harder to control. They had to change meds for me a couple times until they figured out what worked best (and safe given my specific medical conditions) – it was clearly important to them that I have good pain control.

    • Hilary

      It depends on the type of c-section and the circumstances. If you have an emergency c-section, or labor plus a c-section, or a vertical incision, or combination – the recovery can be very painful after the spinal wears off. Mine was some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt, even with the narcotics (which definitely helped, however). I was on IV meds and then the maximum dose of percocet + ibuprofen.

      All the women I’ve talked to who had planned c-sections without labor did not experience anywhere near that kind of pain.

    • Blue Chocobo

      A doctor/hospital combo that will respect you enough to let you have a purely elective c-section will likely respect you enough to take your pain management seriously.

    • KarenJJ

      I’ve experienced both poorly controlled medication post c-section and well controlled medication post c-section. After my eldest was born, patients had to buzz for pain relief and then the nurse would come around for it when she could fit it in. Obviously not the best system and pain was not managed well plus you felt a bit embarrassed having to ask it of someone that was clearly busy (I gave birth in one of the busiest weeks of the year).

      The second time around, pain relief was scheduled with regular rounds form the nurse and was much better managed.

      Before there was an attitude of stoicism and “how will you cope at home” etc, second time around there was more effort to reduce pain. I’m not sure what changed between 2008 and 2011, but I’m glad it did.

      • Hilary

        That’s pretty much how my experience was. It was supposed to be on a schedule, but the nurse was so busy that I almost always had to call and remind her, and then she wouldn’t come right away. I started calling earlier and earlier in hopes that I would get the meds before the pain got out of control. Once I was discharged and was responsible for my own medication, the pain was better controlled.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      See if you can get a PCA pump. That way you can control how much pain medicine you get and not have to wait until the nurse is free to bring you more.

      Also, post-op pain is extremely variable. I had very little after my urgent c-section. In general there is less pain after a scheduled than after an emergency surgery so you may be fine. But make sure you have access to meds anyway.

      • An Actual Attorney

        Is the PCA pump the thing you get to push the button on? I loved that machine.

        I remember this conversation after my CS:
        Nurse: I see you are in a lot of pain.
        Me: No, not really. Why?
        Nurse: You’ve used all your allotment of pain meds (or however you explain that pumpy thing).
        Me: Yep. That’s why I’m not in pain.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Yes, the PCA is the thing where you push a button to get pain medication. Sometimes a low level constant amount is given as well to make sure you don’t wake up in pain or similar problems.

          I had one after my c-section. My conversation with the nurse the next morning went like this:
          Nurse: Are you having a lot of pain? I see you pushed the button several times during the lockout. (Period where pushing the button doesn’t get you any more in order to avoid overdose.)
          Me: No, I’m really not having much pain at all. I just wanted to see if I could tell a real infusion from a lockout. Turns out I can’t.
          Shortly thereafter the PCA pump went away. (But that was fine because I really had no more significant pain until the opiate-induced constipation became evident.)

    • Dr Kitty

      I’ve had two planned CS with spinal.
      If you are breastfeeding, be prepared that you might have to fight to get take home opioids.

      As someone who has had a LOT of surgeries, in my experience you’ll find people pressing oxycodone on you after a laparoscopy, but expect you to nurse every two hours and look after a newborn with a larger incision and horrible after pains- all with less pain relief than you’d take for a simple headache.

      Honestly, this time the after pains while nursing hurt more than the incision.
      I just made a fuss until I got some opioids to take home, but I only needed them for about 5 days.

      I was pushing a trolley round a supermarket day 4, went to IKEA day 7, was driving at 3 weeks and doing Pilates at 6weeks. I’m not going to sit around for a week doing nothing and barely sleeping with a pain score of 7 when I could be sleeping well and up and doing things pain free with the right medication.

      Now 7 weeks post op, and apart from the scar, wouldn’t know I’d had surgery.
      Baby is growing like a weed and he is super content and easy.

      • This is spot on in my experience from 7 weeks ago. I eventually got Percocet, both in the hospital and a script to take home, but I had to really convince the nurse to give it to me in the first place (“are you sure you don’t just want some acetaminophen?”) and then had to jump through some serious hoops to fill the prescription. (Paper script as no pharmacy would accept it electronically or via fax, no pharmacy would tell me over the phone if they had it in stock, had to go in person and show photo ID to pick it up.) If I had been in any worse shape than I was, I wouldn’t have been able to get it at all — it was multiple car trips and a lot of standing in line, and if I had been feeling like I was after my first c section (MUCH worse than this one) I just wouldn’t have been able to do it. I mean, I get that drug seeking is a thing, but come on — pain meds exist for a reason, and I think pharmacies should make them sufficiently accessible to people who need them.

    • Eater of Worlds

      I wonder how much the current climate with pain pills is affecting pain control. I know that many ERs now won’t give out more than three days of pain meds (even if you can’t get in to see a specialist for a couple weeks!) and in the state of Florida, god forbid you need to fill an opioid prescription because chances are you’re out of luck. When they shut down the pill mills in Florida and fined the pharmacies they created a culture of fear and suspicion. Now people with valid scripts can’t fill their prescriptions and it’s an issue in a couple other states too but not as bad as Florida. You often have to go to four or five pharmacies before you can get it filled, but if you go too far away from your house you’re out of luck. They have even denied giving it to a four year old kid who was just out of the hospital after brain surgery for cancer, and that mom had to travel to four pharmacies to get the meds.

      The ERs often have drug seekers and people who exaggerate pain, and how much of that has created nurses who simply don’t believe when someone describes their pain? And has this leaked into other departments? I have chronic pain and as a result, I don’t go to the ER for anything that has to do with anything. I broke my foot, it swelled up to the size of a small ham for weeks and I still didn’t go in because I didn’t want to deal with the possible issues that could come up, and I wasn’t going to ask for any medication either.

      A few people have mentioned that they didn’t get adequate pain medication when they said they’d be breastfeeding. Holy cow, I would so totally lie about breastfeeding if that were the case.

  • demodocus

    Also, my vaginal birth, immediate skin to skin, and nursing as soon as he felt like trying didn’t mean it didn’t take me days to bond. I’m just slow that way.
    Edit to add: My husband, however, bonded about 3 minutes after conception (which we know because the nice ladies at the IVF place called to tell us)

  • demodocus

    A toxic postnatal experience would be having a child in one of those developing world areas where they are doing small scale gold mining and have so much mercury about that nearly everybody’s sick.

    • Mel

      Don’t have to go that far. Across the state from me, in Flint, MI a plan to save water by switching from the Detroit water system to water from the Flint river has a)raised costs substantially while b)causing lead poisoning due to changes in corrosivity in the water.

      Not kidding = one of the orginal responses to terrified pediatricians who were reporting the sky-rocketing rates of lead posioning was “Well, we don’t have tests from before the switch, so the kids might have been being poisoned for years.” Because that makes it totally OK…..

      http://www.npr.org/2015/09/29/444497051/high-lead-levels-in-michigan-kids-after-city-switches-water-source

      • demodocus

        Sheesh. Hadn’t heard of that one specifically, though I’m hardly shocked. I just had the PBS NewsHour’s profile from last week on the brain.
        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/extracting-gold-mercury-exacts-lethal-toll/

      • Gene

        Actually in every state I’ve practiced in, all babies get a lead level at 9-12 month of age.

        • Mel

          Here, lead testing is standard, too. This point was brought up. It was more of a *headslap* moment.

      • Blue Chocobo

        Wow. That’s completely unacceptable.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Politician’s head. Pike. Some assembly required.

  • Amy M

    Is Dahlen a proponent of the Odent oxytocin theory? (As in, any interuption/intervention in the birth process=cancelling out of all circulating oxytocin, and therefore complete inability to bond.) Someone correct me if I am wrong, but don’t people (all people, not just mothers) produce oxytocin at other times? I know during sex/orgasm, but also any time that the person is enjoying spending time with someone else?

    I mean, oxytocin may be key or even ultimately necessary for people to form bonds to other people, but I would think most people would produce it when they need to. Perhaps not in the quantities that happen during childbirth, but I imagine a little goes a long way, when it comes to neuropeptides.

    It’s such a no-brainer that people generally can bond with most people they spend enough time with. It bothers me that the NCB crowd can convince so many new mothers that following every NCB tenet to the letter is vital to bonding, when its so clear that that is just not true.

    • Megan

      Oxytocin is produced even when you let your dog or cat.

      • Megan

        *Pet

        • Amy M

          Yeah, so that’s what I”m trying to say: 1)Odent and maybe Dahlen seem to think its only available during childbirth and in the immediate hour after that 2)That that oxytocin is entirely responsible for any bonds that form between mother and child and 3)that just about anything during labor, except NCB, can disrupt the production of the oxytocin, which in turn, leads to emotionally damaged babies who don’t know who their moms are.

          • Megan

            Yup. They’re misinformed at best and nuts at worst.

  • MaineJen

    Huh. Choosing what is riskier for you, over what is riskier for the baby (i.e. choosing RCS over VBAC) seems to me the epitome of self-sacrifice and love. But hey, what do I know? I had an epidural both times. My kids must not be bonded properly (as they spend their weekends trailing after me as I do chores, begging me to look at their drawings and help them with puzzles. Nope, not bonded whatsoever).

  • Houston Mom

    “While the birth of a live baby is of course a priority…” reminds me of the slogan, “Safety third!”
    I loved my son before he was conceived after many years of trying and waiting but I didn’t feel immediately fiercely bonded to him right after birth. I was groggy from being knocked out for the C-section and extremely thirsty & hungry. Even though I had carried him for months in my body, he was still a tiny stranger we were just getting to know. By the time we left the hospital, I was his biggest fan. Three years later, he is usually glued to me. So our relationship did not suffer for the mode of birth.

  • Mel

    Human moms aren’t ewes.

    Sheep need to bond with their lambs in a very short, biologically mediated time-frame or the bond never occurs for mother sheep. (The lambs will continue to try to get anything to adopt them. They need milk to survive and being picky about who feeds them is a one-way death sentence.)

    Humans are much better at long-term bonding. If you give a baby to a human with any interest in babies, bonding will occur between the adult and the baby eventually in 99.99% of the time.

    Authors have known this for centuries – read “Silas Marner” and “Rilla of Ingleside” for great examples of bonding between a man and a toddler and a never-given-birth teenager and a newborn for examples.

  • Allie P

    These people have such a warped view of humanity it’s not even funny. I did NOT bond with my inducted, epiduraled, breastfed first newborn on sight. But you know, you haul a baby around with you for a few months/years/decades and she becomes your heart and soul. She’s five, and she’s a piece of my body walking around outside. The other one, also inducted, epiduraled, breastfed, I bonded with right away, probably because the “mother track” already had a deep groove in my brain. Or, it could be the fact that the hospital had gone baby friendly and they didn’t bathe her for twenty four hours.

    I’m sure that’s it. Vernix=love. //Sarcasm

  • Shawna Mathieu

    Dear God. She seriously thinks that a woman’s “trauma” over not having things go according to her birth plan is worse than death?

  • Christina

    Eh…natural birth fanatics demonize every and any intervention and consider it the source of all evil. Did you have trouble breastfeeding? Must have been your c-section/epidural/pitocin/you name it. Does your baby become fussy at times (as most newborns do)? Blame your hospital birth and not giving him/her a calm environment with candle light and music at birth. Whatever. In my experience? All this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I went into labor at full term on my own, took an epidural midway through because my contractions were becoming very intense and I didn’t see why I’d have to become a natural birth ‘martyr’, the epidural actually helped my labor SPEED UP as it relaxed me (all those natural birth advocates will tell you that an epidural will only ever slow you down!), and everything was going perfectly until the pushing stage when the electronic fetal monitor showed multiple decelerations. Long story short, I ended up with an emergency c-section and don’t regret it for a minute as I know my baby was in danger at that point. Fast forward a little later, despite Mommy being pumped full of drugs, my healthy baby boy was super alert and latched on my breasts like a champion. He started regaining weight before we even left the hospital, and by 9 days at his first pediatric visit, he was 4 oz. above birth weight, all with breast milk. A friend of mine was really set on a fully natural labor (luckily, at the hospital), and she got it. She birthed in the water for a long time, pushed her baby out with no drugs (not even an IV), had immediate skin-to-skin contact, and was home from the hospital within 24 hours. She did everything the right way according to natural birthers. Well, her baby has had difficulties latching since day 1 and still hasn’t gained his birth weight 20 days after being born due to all the latching difficulties and her being set on exclusive breast feeding and refusing to supplement. He also cries inconsolably on most hours of the day despite his Mom giving him a calm/no interventions birth. I rest my case.

    • Amy

      That poor baby– he’s probably crying because he’s hungry 🙁

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Did you have trouble breastfeeding? Must have been your c-section/epidural/pitocin/you name it. Does your baby become fussy at times (as most newborns do)? Blame your hospital birth and not giving him/her a calm environment with candle light and music at birth. Whatever. In my experience? All this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

      One thing I have pointed out a few times is, even if it WERE the truth, so what? Blaming breastfeeding troubles on an epidural does not fix them. Blaming a fussy baby on a hospital birth does not make them non-fussy.

      So even if it things were true, they mean nothing to the person in that situation.

    • Mel

      Poor little guy. My newest practice niece had problems latching after bith and struggled to regain her birth weight. Her mom supplimented with formula for a while and was eventually able to shift back to EBF when Peanut got a bit bigger and had a better coordinated suck reflex.

      There’s no call to starve a baby to facilitate breast-feeding. Quite the opposite, really.

      • Allie P

        that was me. i suffered terribly with supply issues with my first, listened to the doomsday prophets about supplementing andhad a constantly screaming babe. #2 i started supllementing when we got home from the hospital and she was a total well fed angel and within a few weeks, i donated all my formula.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      That poor baby and mom. I’ve been there. It was awful. I was supplementing, though–problem is, in retrospect, I wasn’t supplementing *enough.* I was so scared that if I gave her just one more ounce of formula, my supply would tank even further. Most feedings tended to end with us both in tears. It was freaking HORRIBLE.
      Now I see friends with new babies who are actually fed enough, and I’m stunned because of how much they don’t scream. Oh, sure, they cry some, but they don’t seem to spend most of their lives sobbing hysterically, like she did. I just didn’t know, and there wasn’t anyone to tell me–except, of course, Teh Interwebz, all of whom assured me that babies cry a lot and that the crying would make me produce more milk. Fat chance.

      • Kelly

        I swear my preschooler and toddler have colic now as they cry and scream more than they did as newborns.

      • Christina

        You’re absolutely right. Unfortunately this gal is getting advice from a bunch of fierce lactivists (the kind of women who organize public breastfeeding events) who keep giving her advice that just don’t seem to work for her baby (every baby is different, but that detail seems lost on them). I wish she gave him just a little supplementation, but she’s too scared of hurting her milk supply. Chances are, her baby will eventually ‘get it’ and start latching well (as seems to be the case with many babies with initially poor latch after a few weeks), but unfortunately it may be to the detriment of his development until he does so. I was lucky to be able to breastfeed successfully, but I’d have supplemented my son without regrets if things were rocky for us and he wasn’t gaining adequately.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Is this her first kid, and has she been around newborns much? DD was mine, and I hadn’t, so I assumed that newborns just screamed all the time, that it was horrible, but that it would eventually stop. I didn’t realize until quite some time afterwards, when I’d made a number of mom friends and spent time with their babies, that *that* much screaming, all day/every day, wasn’t normal.

          • Christina

            Yes, first kid. Not surprisingly. Not sure how many newborns she’s been around 🙁

        • Eater of Worlds

          Oh, god. I wouldn’t be able to hold back at this point. I would tell her that she’s starving her baby and his worsening health isn’t worth her wanting to breastfeed.

  • Roadstergal

    This post hits me for sure. My friend finally had her VBAC. She’s not very sharing with the details, understandably, but she did finally go to the hospital despite starting with a planned HBAC, and was delivered by a doctor and a midwife. Her son stopped breathing immediately after birth and had to spend 5 days in the NICU with systemic antibiotics and had a lumbar puncture. She spent those days in the hospital too, barely able to walk from the pain of her stitches.

    Yeah, I don’t get it. Her C-section was emergent and traumatic, yes, but her daughter was robustly healthy, was on her tit immediately, and they were both home from the hospital in a shorter time. I don’t get it.

    I’m just relieved they’re okay, now.

    • Blue Chocobo

      Nature edits birth plans at will, without warning, and with a permanent marker. Glad your friend got help in time.

      • Bugsy

        Very, very beautifully stated.

      • Roadstergal

        That’s such a perfect line. It needs to be in every delivery room, and tattooed on the chest of every midwife. :p

        • Roadstergal

          …seriously, I’m so relieved they’re OK. I didn’t realize how worried I was about their safety until this thing was all over.

  • Julia

    “The advantages of a VBAC include … enhanced mother-infant bonding.”
    Ugh.
    by the way, parents and adopted children can bond just fine, too.
    It’s a *process* and one event doesn’t make or break it.

  • Erin

    Having been diagnosed with PTSD following what every medical professional I’ve spoken to do describes as a harrowing and traumatic experience during the arrival of my son, am I wrong to take issue with:

    “Women have told us there is something worse than death – there is being alive but dead inside. There is being so traumatised by pressurised interventions in their birth plan that they can’t care for their newborn or have a relationship with their partner, and their own mental health is affected.”

    As horrible as I have felt since his arrival, as much as it has felt at points like I’ll never manage to put myself back together again and as much as I have struggled to bond.. (almost eight months and I still feel at times like he isn’t the baby I carried inside me – therapy starts next month though!!!) I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. Deep in that rational corner of my mind I know I’d choose what happened to me over even the tiny chance my child would suffer.

    • Anna

      I remember you sharing your experience of being traumatized. How are you? I do hope reading this blog makes you feel better, cause it really helped me put my thoughts together. Therapy is a great idea, it does change the way you think and you will be looking at it all differently! Had therapy some years ago for other issues so I know it’s very helpful.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I am so glad you’re getting therapy next month!!! Good for you!
      Like Anna below, I hope this blog helps you. It did me; I found it while googling “Does a C-section make me a bad mother” (I kid you not) at a tearful 2 AM feeding. It, Dr. Amy, and the community here were significant factors in my coming to terms with the CS, not being able to breastfeed, and working through the PPD.
      Good luck to you, keep us posted (if you wish) on how things are going, and stick around! 🙂

      • Erin

        A friend sent me here to have a read after listening to me wail about how I was the worst mother on the planet because I didn’t give birth, gave up breastfeeding because it was too triggering and generally felt that I’d brought a changeling home with me because I’d missed the whole “baby being born” bit and it’s definitely helped.
        I can definitely sympathize with the googling, as I may have googled many similar things to the point where my software developer husband was contemplating child-locking the internet when he was at work.

        Pre-baby, I was mostly rational but that seemed to be the first thing to fly out of the window and I’ve found this site grounding which I definitely needed because too many of my friends and family are vaginal birth at all costs.. for example someone at one of the baby groups I take my son to had a semi elective section last week with a 11 pound 15 ounce baby (she’s very petite) and the majority of women there were coming out with things like “Oh they should have let her try…”.

        Also it’s a weird sort of therapy in itself. I don’t think I’ve bonded yet without thinking I find myself typing stuff like:
        “Deep in that rational corner of my mind I know I’d choose what happened to me over even the tiny chance my child would suffer.”

        Maybe I just overthink things.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          When DH and I were doing marriage prep, the very smart priest who was going to marry us pointed out that love often isn’t a feeling; it’s an action. Sure, the warm-fuzzies are AWESOME, and we should definitely work on kindling them, but they’re not going to be there all the time because that’s just how it is. If, for example, a husband *really* doesn’t want to hold his wife’s hair while she barfs, and is, in fact, a bit grossed out by it, but does it anyway and so cheerfully that she doesn’t know and he makes her feel a little better by doing it, then *that’s* love; he doesn’t have to feel like “ooooh, I so love holding the hair of someone puking up her guts!” (’cause most of us wouldn’t feel that way, understandably!), he just should try to do it.
          Similarly, I didn’t feel the warm-fuzzies much for DD until she was about 10 months old, but I still got up with her in the middle of the night, and rocked her while she was howling over the fact that she woke up with cold feet (never mind that she had determinedly removed her socks…), and fed her her bottles, and changed her diaper, and took her outside even when I really didn’t want to go. That’s love, just like it’s love when you do that for your baby. The warm fuzzies will come in time. Mine came once I finally worked through most of the PPD haze; I hope that’s true for you, too. 🙂

      • Anna

        Yeah, same. Googling some crazy stuff like that too. Nowadays with the advancement of Internetand every moron being able to type their worthless opinion all over the place it’s really hard to find something intelligent and worth reading. So much rubbish like “you were birth raped, get a normal birth next time!” “c-sections ruin your health forever” and suddenly this blog!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I have no doubt that this blog has been a literal lifesaver for some women and babies, both from persuading moms to avoid homebirth and from the oh-so-helpful-when-dealing-with-PPD aspect. At least, when PPD is caused/triggered by the crazy NCB stuff. And, come to think of it, the combox here really is amazing; you can post stuff you wouldn’t tell a lot of your friends, whether from a lack of support or because you don’t want to discuss your third-degree tear with most people, and you’ll find kindness and non-judgmental but intelligent support. That’s a Really Good Thing, in my book.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I ended up here after ending up in a community with a large home birth community and I wanted to verify if the things I was hearing about traumatized babies from hospital birth was true. I wasn’t really seriously considering a home birth but would a birth suite be better? I wasn’t pregnant but my husband and I were gearing up for it in the next couple years.

            Then I tripped across the Hurt by Home birth blog and my eyes were opened. Of course no one talked about the bad outcomes. It would destroy their business. And that’s what they are. A business. Seeing all the branded items in the health food stores and other local stores from local midwives just sealed the deal once I knew what to look for.

            Then a home birth went bad my first month working at the hospital and a coworker who had worked there and larger hospitals a long time tearfully raged against people who think it’s okay to just plop a baby out anywhere. And that this outcome wasn’t uncommon.

            So I was saved before there was even a risk. And so very lucky this site gave me a good dose of reality before the crazy woo community around here could get started on me.

      • Amazed

        It’s strange how different the circumstances that brought all of us here are, isn’t it? I still remember the homebirth death here (and she DID live 5 minutes away from a major specialized OB/Gyn hospital). Our homebirth community here tried to hush it and then started posting “proof” after “proof” how safe it was. That was how I first saw the name Janet Fraser. I was stunned when I googled her and I found out about her own baby. Even then, all I saw was how great homebirth was. I was stunned because before the death over here I had no idea that homebirth was even a thing (here, HCP are forbidden from assisting a planned birth at home). It looked like madness to me, yet the internet world thought I was the one off the rails. Finally, I googled Janet Fraser again, with “dead baby” and hey. I saw a “My birth rape was traumatic, my dead baby was not”. I took my jaw off the floor, clicked, found myself here and breathed a huge sigh of relief that I wasn’t the crazy one, after all. Frankly, before this case I knew that women feared c-sections, that there were some all-natcherel tendencies overall but somehow, I never linked both things. To me, it was self-evident that a novel where no one had lost their mother, wife or daughter at birth like the characters in the 18th century novels did was a good thing.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          DH is a big fan of Regency/Victorian novels and also the history of that period. I think he’s read most of the letters that Queen Victoria wrote (at least, those that weren’t destroyed), and that’s saying something, as she was the original overbearing mom–wrote to her married daughters daily and freaked out if she didn’t hear from them for a day or two.
          Anyway, when I told him I needed a CS, his response was, “Huh, okay, thanks for letting me know, I’ll notify my boss of the date so I can take off.” Me, hormonal, pregnant, swallowed most of the woo, had originally wanted a homebirth until I found that my insurance, thank God, wouldn’t cover it: “Don’t you understand?! This is horrible! I’ve been dreading this the whole time, and now it’s happened! I’m going to be gutted like a fish, and they’ll take my baby away from me, and…” I continued in this vein for a while. When I finally shut up, all he said was *shrug* “Well, it seems to me that a lot of women in history would have killed to be where you are now. Did you know that Queen Victoria raved in her letters about how amazing childbirth anesthesia was?”
          Some women probably would have decked him at that point, but we’re both uber-nerds, so I could hear that with (some) grace, and at least chill out a bit. As it happened, the CS itself was one of the most beautiful, warm, loving experiences of my life. It was dealing with the longstanding certainty that anything except all-natural childbirth and successful breastfeeding was bad parenting/a failure on the mom’s part that sent me into PPD, and thence to this awesome community. (Also, according to DH later on, it was rather nice from his perspective to have his biggest problem be picking out the right chocolate for me while on a formula run rather than picking out caskets for his wife and daughter. Can’t argue with that.)
          (And yes, that quote would have either my jaw on the floor or my fist through my computer screen. Possibly both.)

          • Amazed

            KotB, you look like a very level-headed lady to me. I can only imagine how vulnerable you must have felt if you fell prey to the natcherel hunters. I suppose the changes in your body and life were so overwhelming that you didn’t actually notice that you were losing – well, you – in that natural swamp. I think it’s disgusting, what they do to vulnerable women. And yes, thank heavens that your husband stayed with both feet planted firmly down when you couldn’t because you were so eager to do right by your baby, ending up googling about c-sections and bad mothers.

            And Hannah Dahlen has the gall to talk about toxic experiences!

            ETA: We have this story here, about the Not-Born Maid. She came from an apple. Unless we can all resort to this mode of birth – or uterine replicator, as Bujold updated it – it won’t be the ecstasy natcherels promise but cannot deliver (pun intended).

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Eh, there’s some background there. I grew up in a really nutty family. One of their particular areas of nuttiness, especially in my mother’s case, was this idea that women’s bodies were dirty/disgusting/shameful.
            In my late teenage years, I met an older woman who was a) very kind to me and b) very, VERY into the NCB/breastfeeding woo. Hearing “your body is amazing and can do anything and having a natural childbirth is the only way to go, it’s an incredible life-changing experience and what your body was meant to do!” is arguably a bit healthier, psychologically speaking, than “you have BREASTS? And not just A cups like mine, but more like C cups at 15?! AREN’T YOU ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!”. In a shocking (sarcasm there) turn of events, I swallowed the whole NCB thing hook, line, and sinker. Read and owned every book I could find on it, including Ina May, even planned on being a midwife for a while but couldn’t figure out how to finance the apprenticeship.
            So when I got pregnant and started preparing for the birth, it’s not surprising I was even more into this, especially since I have anxiety–everything had to be absolutely perfect or it would all be horrible, don’tchaknow. I was insanely lucky, in retrospect. Thank goodness for the chain of circumstances that led me to walking into my Awesome OB’s (TM) office, finding out that he was, in fact, utterly awesome, and being able to trust him entirely when DD was found out to be breech/transverse and not a candidate for a version, and he said, “You’re going to need a CS with this baby.”
            Still had to deal with all the mental crap afterwards, though, particularly that disconnect between “intellectually, I know this was the right decision” and mentally/spiritually “I’m a horrible mother and a horrible person because only a horrible mother would have a CS and end up formula feeding.” Thanks, NCB industry! Appreciate it! /sarcasm

  • luckymama75

    When my daughter had to be born by cesarean after a failed VBAC attempt, I was pissed off, and acted like a brat because I was knee deep in woo at the time. But the minute I heard her little cry my only feeling was, “OMG, I love her.” And when I held her I just cried with emotion. After the next few months when my woo groups would talk about loss of bonding after a section I was just like, “these people are assholes” And look, they just keep proving me right. My c section kids are 6 & 2 and if we were any more bonded we’d be attached .

    • Amy

      My kids both arrived by c-section, too. I am CRAZY about them, and we are really REALLY close.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Both kids born by c-section. The younger one is more attached to mom and the older one is more attached to me, although we all are good. Both breastfed for about the same amount of time (9 mos vs 10 mos). So there’s obviously more to it.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    The advantages of a VBAC include … enhanced mother-infant bonding.

    Aside from part about the baby dying, what is the basis for this claim in the first place? Are there actual (REAL) objective studies that support it? Not “well it seems to reason” claims, but studies?

    Of course, I don’t expect it, because it’s really hard to examine it objectively in the first place.

  • Angharad

    “On the “motherbirth” side, the mother’s physical health and emotional well-being were seen as important, in order for her to care for her baby. These women were more likely to choose a VBAC.
    “On the “childbirth” side, the mother put the needs of the baby above her own needs and took a more sacrificial perspective, seeing this as what a “good mother” would do. These women were more likely to choose a repeat caesarean section.”

    I thought it was interesting that she essentially says that women who prioritize their experience over their baby’s health are more likely to choose VBAC. I absolutely believe women (and men) need to take time for themselves and meet their own needs to be the best possible caretakers. However, in any situation where there’s a forced choice between my desires and my daughter’s safety, I’m choosing her safety. I think that’s a big part of parenthood. It doesn’t mean I martyr myself to her every whim, but at the end of the day it’s my job to keep her alive and well.

  • anh

    A lot of women don’t feel a surge of overwhelming love when they first deliver. I felt a fierce sense of wanting to protect her, but I was also exhausted, baffled, somewhat detached, and didn’t feel the overwhelming love that I came to feel months later. Fortunately, I knew this was a normal and not dangerous response. I didn’t feel inadequate. But I think a lot of these women go through what I felt, but feel so insanely inadequate and embarrassed by these feelings. Then it’s really easy to blame the birth method instead of just saying “I’m different and have bonded to my child in my own way”. I wish people were more honest about the realities of post partum experiences. Then maybe women would be chasing this ridiculous “bonding” transcendent experience, putting themselves and their babies at risk in the attempt.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Meanwhile, I had the “surge of overwhelming love” when our kids were born, and I wasn’t even pregnant.

    • Angharad

      I definitely think there needs to be more of an understanding that bonding is a process, not just an event, and that it can work differently for different people.
      I really relate to the quote about loving the baby before she was born or even conceived (we struggled with infertility), but I also know people whose babies were surprises or even birth control failures. They still love their children fiercely. They didn’t miss the window for bonding because they were initially not thrilled about the pregnancy.

      • Kelly

        I struggled with my third pregnancy because it came earlier than I expected and three weeks after my brother died. Also, my friend who had suffered multiple miscarriages had told me she was pregnant and we had been previously been pregnant at the same time when she had lost her pregnancy but I did not. I was terrified to have another baby that would remind her of the one that she lost. Basically, I was an emotional mess and really questioned why this child was coming at this time. She is here now and I already feel like she has been a part of of our family forever. Bonding can happen under the worst circumstances. She is also an induced, epidural, and formula fed baby and it has allowed me to have those warm fuzzy feelings earlier than with my other two.

    • mythsayer

      I’m the first to admit I’m not very maternal. My daughter was planned but my parents were shocked when they heard that. That’s how little anyone expected me to have a baby. I also didn’t experience an intense wave of love. I expected it but it didn’t come. It wasn’t until things would happen that could hurt her that I even realized I was bonded to her. Id have these intense feelings of fear if I thought something bad might happen to her. But when I first saw her…I was like “oh no…what is that? Why is it here? I have to take it home, don’t I?” Bafflement is actually a good description. I still have days where I say if I knew then what I know now, I might not choose to have a child. But that doesn’t mean I want her gone or am sorry I have her or am not bonded with her. It’s just that everyone bonds differently. I guarantee the crunchies would claim it’s because I had a CS, though…even though it’s not. It’s just my personality. I wish they’d stop acting like CS’ are bad. That does nothing but make women feel bad about having one.

      • Bugsy

        I agree w/ so much of your post, and I had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Our little guy was a product of IVF – talk about planned! – and yet when he was born, it was just this complete mixture of excitement, bafflement and confusion that this baby was *mine* and that we were responsible for his well-being. Even a few years later, we still have moments of such bafflement. Again, there’s no way a C-section could be blamed in my case (although I’m sure natural mamas would instead pin it on my epidural…).

        I wondered if there was something wrong w/ me for not feeling the overwhelming sense of love the second he was born. I was thankful when both my mom and an older neighbor assured me that they’d felt the same way, and that there was nothing wrong with me. It’s just frustrating that modern parenting discourse doesn’t acknowledge ambivalence towards parenthood; it’s real and legitimate.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          I think one of my coworkers put it best when I asked how she was doing right after she got pregnant after a long time of trying:

          Oh my gosh I’m pregnant! 😀 😀 😀

          Oh. My. Gosh. I’m pregnant. O_O

          • Kelly

            I had to cancel my after school tutorials the day I found out I was pregnant with my first. It was planned and I have always wanted to become a mom but I was so freaked out that I could barely function that day. All I could think was, “What have we done?”

          • Amy M

            Ha, that’s funny! The day we found out I was pregnant with twins, I went to work (after the doctor appt). I had been crying on and off for a couple hours before I got there and started crying again as soon as I got there. My supervisor would have allowed me to leave, but I I decided to stay. I was pretty stunned to say the least, and probably should have just gone home.

          • Kelly

            I think it is funny now but I always had imagined I would be so excited not terrified and questioning our choices.

        • Hiro

          I remember the seconds after she was born, looking at my daughter and first thinking ‘Oh hey, you look like my grandmother!’ and then directly after ‘Oh f°°°, now I have to take care of you, f o r e v e r’

          Edit: Up until she hit around 5 months old, my daughter stressed me out enormously. I loved her very much, yet I was also continually wondering what on earth I was meant to DO with her, and basically ended up sitting around with her, looking at her a lot. When she started to really show her personality, is when I became super crazy about her. Now that she’s 14 months old I don’t know what I would do with out her but I still have moments on the regular where I am deeply grateful she’s not the ONLY thing in my life. I resent this overwhelming message that I’m supposed to be intensive parenting as my number one and only identity as a woman, otherwise I’m not a good mother.

          Luckily, I find living where I live that that message is less all pervasive in real life, but I get hit with it a lot online. The Martyr Mama who is allowed no ambivalence whatsoever gets right up my back.

      • toni

        not that you would but don’t ever tell your kid “..if I knew then what I know now, I might not choose to have a child” even if to you it doesn’t mean you regret having her. I have a friend who is one of five children from three marriages and her mother would occasionally inform them that if she could do her life over she would only have had one or two children and both with her third husband. She couldn’t fathom why her children took that to mean that she wished she didn’t have them or didn’t love them much. my friend said she always knew her mother wasn’t thrilled about parenthood but actually hearing at 13 years old that her mum thought her life would be so much better if she didn’t exist (she’s a product of the first marriage) and that if she could have a do over she wouldn’t have had three of them was painful. Maybe I’m immature but I don’t see how you could take it any other way. If my parents ever said that to me I’d have been crushed. people are too honest sometimes these days!

        • mythsayer

          Why would I tell her that? My ambivalence (at times), as bugsy so well put it, isn’t her fault. And it’s more like ambivalence towards parenthood as opposed to ambivalence to my daughter as a person. My life would NOT be better without her (although I think a lot of my “ambivalence” stems from me coming down with an autoimmune disease right after she was born…pregnancy set it off so in that sense sometimes I’m really sorry I was ever pregnant). I am amazed by her on a daily basis (as is everyone by their children). We think she might have perfect pitch…she can sing a Capella in the eight key…any song…at 5. She can mimic accents perfectly. She has the vocabulary of a 10-12 year old (she knows what emulate, duplicate, and a bunch of other semi-“big” words mean). She is an amazing person and I don’t really think of her as a child all that much (which I find interesting…generally I don’t like young children…I’m nice to them of course, but I prefer teenagers). It is MY failings that have created ambivalence…not hers. So of course I’d never tell her that (and really I don’t think my life would be better without her…we still travel and I love taking her on trips and to see Broadway shows and such…no need to be childless for any of that!). And I agree it’s cruel to tell children that. I know you weren’t on my case…I just wanted to say I agree with your sentiment but also point out that I don’t actually ever wish I’d never had her. Of course I’m happy I have her. She sleeps with me (my husband is deployed and we live with my parents) and I often just pay her in the middle of the night just because I can’t believe I created something like her.

          • toni

            I typed it in a bit of a rush. I didn’t mean to equate what you said with what my friend’s mum told her kids. for my part I know it was, objectively, a stupid decision to have my first when I did and I’m probably not really up to it but it is a stupid decision I would make over and over to have him. I would do everything in my life the exact same just to make sure I had the same child.
            she isn’t the only one I’ve heard say things like that though and i know a few people (perfectly decent people) who see no inconsistency in openly saying “i wish I didn’t have any kids/so many kids” and “i love my kids”. Maybe there isn’t and i just don’t get the subtlety but I really don’t understand how one could simultaneously truly love their children and, given the chance, go back in time and not have them (unless it’s something to do with extreme poverty or illness but then if we’re wishing for things surely you would just wish those problems away not the child itself)

            my MiL has said a couple of times in front of my husband that she wishes she’d had 4 girls instead of 3 daughters and a son. I told her I didn’t think she should say things like that but my husband wasn’t upset by it at all because he said he knows she loves him. she loves him she just wishes he was a totally different person? doesn’t compute in my head

        • Liz Leyden

          And don’t tell them that you never planned to have kids, or how nice your life was before you had kids.

    • Shawna Mathieu

      These people seem to think bonding is like psychic epoxy. You have to quickly apply it right after birth, and if there’s any delay, the glue sets up and can never be used again. It’s a horrible thing to do to a mother.

    • Blue Chocobo

      I had the immediate overwhelming surge of bonding lovey emotions at some of my kids births but not others. The labors and deliveries were all about the same as far as pain, interventions, setting, etc. prior to hearing that first cry, though, so birth details weren’t a variable.

      It’s just what happened. It all evened out over time.

    • Amy M

      I had a similar experience to yours. I don’t recall being too upset by it, but I think I was just so exhausted that it barely registered.

    • demodocus

      I was so out of it that I didn’t even realize he was out and that little old man laying across my belly was my newborn.

      • Kelly

        I remember a sense of relief and I was so tired that it took me at few moments to realize that I should look at the baby they had laid on my chest.

    • nomofear

      Hard to bond when you can’t get a good night’s sleep! With both of mine, I didn’t feel much but absolute exhaustion until they started smiling. At least I knew what to expect the second time around!

      I read a great piece years ago from a woman talking about strange visions she’d get when hers were babies, not of her directly harming them, but, say, while out strolling she’d get a sudden vision of a car flying at them, or someone grabbing the baby and running. I was so happy to rear this, because I get these macabre visions all the time. They went away after the older kid’s infancy, so I’m sure it will be about the same for this kid, but now I’m able to shrug them off. Before I read that piece, they would totally freak me out afterwards.

      • Hiro

        Ditto here! I had SO MANY ugly intrusive thoughts of her being hurt somehow, and nightmares of the empty bassinet variety..°shudders° I am glad to find out I’m not alone.

        • Bugsy

          Me too – scary visions!

    • Gatita

      I had the rush of overwhelming love but I also had PND and spent days sobbing over my baby because I loved him so much and felt so utterly incapable of giving him what he needed. The rush of love is overrated. The love I feel for him now is much more stable and better for everyone.

      • toni

        yes! Didn’t have PND but did feel extremely depressed and anxious for a couple of weeks after his birth thinking about every (and i mean every) horrible thing that could happen to him in his life.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Yup. I remember crying in DH’s arms because I felt like such a horrible mom, and, in my words, “DD didn’t ask to be born! And now she has a mom who doesn’t really love her!” Of course, I was confusing “warm fuzzy, not to mention not so tired I was out of my mind” with “really loves.”

    • BlaqueKatt

      This is true, I’m looked at as some sort of *monster* for saying “well, I love my son, but I’m not exactly parental material” and his father got custody after the divorce, I haven’t had visitation because he’s vindictive to a point, but fighting it would be pointless (he has money and family with money, I don’t), and I couldn’t afford childcare during the visit (last time I had visitation it cost more than a week’s wages, that left me short on rent). And people act like I’ve just admitted to slaughtering a basket of kittens, when I explain why my son isn’t with me. My family =/=your family, my experience and choices aren’t the same.

  • Karen in SC

    I’m sure the manner of birth means nothing to the baby, who will bond with his/her mother despite complications, even a NICU stay.

    • Blue Chocobo

      The emotional resilience of babies is absolutely immense. It takes quite a long term sustained inadequate environment to cause any lasting harm.

      Their cardiovascular and neurological resilience is much less so, and it takes only minutes of an inadequate environment to cause permanent severe harm or death.

      • Karen in SC

        Either birth as long as it’s a safe birth. Good clarification, I could have written that better. 🙂