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Archive for September, 2008

Birth and Bonding

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Finally there is research to support what many instinctively felt, and others convincingly wrote about- that natural birth helps the bonding process.

Bonding in human beings is a complex process- partly instinctive and partly an acquired skill. Scientific research has shown that simple exposure to children can increase maternal feelings and capacity in a mother, and it is thanks to this multi-layered bonding in humans that mothers who adopt children can become very bonded to them. Similarly women who are not able to have a natural birth, for one reason or another, should not be alarmed. But our desire not to alarm should not cause a muddying of facts. For women to make informed choices regarding birth, when choice is available to them, they must understand the process and physiology of birth and its implications. Uninformed choices are not real choices.

At the point of birth a mother and her child, are literally flooded with hormones, the main one being oxytocin or the love hormone. This hormone helps to make the mother more reponsive to the child and vice versa, helping to create the foundations for a strong bond or attachment betwen them. For those that have a natural birth this a wonderful advantage of the process and one not to be ignored. It is not to say that mothers with intervention will not bond, but that it might take a little longer or prove a little more difficul and so they should simply be prepared for this. Equally, mothers who have had natural births should not necessarily expect to feel an immediate rush of love. Whilst many women who have a natural birth describe the love they feel for their child like an irrational onslaught, it is equally the case that many take their time despite the hormonal help. Bu like all things in life, if we can lay the appropriate foundations, it is going to make things an awful lot easier. At a time when family breakdown and teenage epidemics abound, the attachment between mother and child is ever more important. Psychologists can now point to direct links between early attachments and later mental health and resilience. Instead of brushing valid information under the carpet so as not to offend, it is essential that we bring information to light, to enable and encourage women to make choices that will be of great benefit to both them in their offspring, and not simply in the short term.