Does how you birth impact connection?
For me, personally, the answer is a firm YES, absolutely.
I deeply love both my beautiful, earthside boys. But my ability to connect, bond, pick up on cues and respond to my youngests needs versus my firsts, were a night and day difference. My postpartum experiences were both drastically different, despite each of them having their own struggles.
Did you experience the difference in connection?
Let’s discuss why that might happen.
When in a facility that is made to disturb your connection, it makes sense why we would struggle with connecting with our babies after birth, and potentially for the rest of their lives.
What occurs in a hospital or patriarchial-centric facility (including some birth centers) that is specifically made to disrupt connection?
EPIDURALS – this is a huge one. The epidural literally shuts down part of your nervous system, halting the physiological birth process in it’s tracks. While some are still lucky enough to have a pretty okay birth experience with an epidural and things go fairly smooth, not having all of those endorphins flooding your body, enduring the intensity of feeling your baby move down and out, and experiencing the pure bliss when the intensity stops and you collect your baby in your arms, is a huge hindrance to connection.
Think about it, when you do something that is really challenging, with a partner, coworker, spouse, etc, it is pretty bonding isnt it? Experiencing that adrenaline together, the doubts of “how are we ever going to get through this?” and then finally doing it, having had to experience all the raw emotions along the way, is significantly different than if you were taking sedatives the whole way through the challenging experience, to make it less hard. It would feel much less rewarding to be numb and out of sorts through the hard parts, than to feel it all, but then feel that joy of I GOT THROUGH THAT SHIT. This is the same with birth!
Being powered over instead of empowered
How can you feel safe to relax into the experience and just enjoy your baby’s birth journey, and baby when they are born, when there is an army of people powering over you?
The coercion that occurs in these sacred moments is so disruptive to the joyful and bonding experience! Spending your time trying to fight for your rights and birth plan, instead of bask in the beauty of the whole event, takes away from the bliss.
Pitocin literally disrupts the wonderful, natural flow of oxytocin in your body, as your body says, “oh, you are going to make it for me? Great, I dont have to work as hard.” While Pitocin will definitely cause your uterus to contract, it does not have the same endorphin-inducing effects that raw, naturally created oxytocin does, and being that it takes away from your oxytocin flow, you miss out on those additional endorphins and the literal bonding mechanism of oxytocin itself.
Pitocin also is known to shift the hormone balance that is supposed to occur postpartum. Studies have shown up to a 40% increase in postpartum mood disorders following pitocin, versus a natural postpartum experience.
Let’s not forget too….
The constantly disturbed sleep & impeding on baby’s natural feeding process
You know the feeling when you finally are drifting off into sleep, and someone calls or bursts in to wake you? Imagine that every 2 hours for days on end, and how maddening that would be. How can you bond with your sweet baby if they have to sleep in a separate cot from you, you have to nurse them every couple of hours or the staff pushes formula, on top of caring for their little fussy selves trying to figure this world out, dealing with trying to pee and poop after having a whole human exit your body, be woken up by staff on their rounds every couple of hours, AND sleep? Sounds pretty impossible, doesnt it? No wonder new moms leave the hospital feeling absolutely insane and incompetent, sleep deprivation is REAL.
Instead of all that madness, you can birth in your own home, with your own bed, own bath, own toilet, and you know all the people in your house (hopefully). This level of comfort and lack of disturbance during the labor, birth and postpartum, to a new level of bonding with your baby. It is pretty freakin amazing, if you ask me.
I notice with my freebirthed baby that I have much easier communication with him. I can recognize his needs more easily, can decipher his different cries better, and feel more intuitively aware of what he is doing, how he feels, and I truly feel he feels a deeper connection radiating from me, more than my oldest (born in the hospital with all the works) does.
What did you notice about your connection between your different births? Anything in particular stand out to you?