Originally Posted by Storm Bride
But...lots of women have scheduled c/s and don't have this happen. So, if it's biological, why do so many women not experience it? If it's not biological, why did I?
I think you're asking, "why do some people have c/s [or really you could insert any birth in which there is some sort of bypassing of the usual hormonal process] and not seem to have trouble bonding?" Is that right?
Hearing that question even asked is a relief to me -- so often what I hear is, rather, "some people who should be affected do not have trouble bonding, therefore, this chemical bonding theory must be a sham." (And along with that, implied or stated right out that it's perpetuated by evil people who just want to pretend they're better than everyone else.)
First, it is possible that some people either aren't capable of perceiving or don't want to believe that there could be a higher, deeper level of bonding than what they've achieved. That is offensive to them. So they will say they are perfectly bonded regardless of what the actual situation is. I think there is a pretty huge lack of awareness and irrational denial, about many things, in many people, and this is one of those thing that can happen with.
Second, we all have different starting places. Mine was that I was not a particularly hormonal person to begin with, never had PMS, didn't even hardly menstruate, developed sexually much later than average, don't perceive myself as particularly sexual and need conditions to be just so in order to get there, very cerebral, not interested in the least in babies or children. I've talked to women who are my opposite in all those respects. Perhaps it's that they are so swimming in hormones from the git-go that they can afford to sacrifice a few, or maybe it's that they just produce them at a drop of a hat, so that hardly anything can interfere with it. Me, I need all the the help I can get. So -- for some people certain biological events are crucial for bonding to occur, for others, not so much.
Third, there are a myriad of factors other than the presence or lack of bonding chemicals right at the time of labor and birth that affect the mother's feelings and behavior. The research that shows lack of bonding and mothering behavior in other mammals when the birth process is disturbed is often seen as suspect, simply because we all know that human mothers can love and care for their children even if they have zero biological connection to them. But that doesn't mean that we aren't still animals. It just means that we have excellent coping mechanisms, that the human race is resilient. But, again, we have a spectrum. Some people will find it easier to use work-arounds than others. For some people those work-arounds will not be available to them or will be ineffective.
I've had varying levels of hormonal and psychological disturbance in three of my births that led to difficulty bonding. That lost time and suffering mattered to me very much, but at least I can be thankful that I eventually managed to bond with my babies. What saved us was a very intentional effort to act as a mother even when I didn't feel like one, much like you described in your OP. Breastfeeding on cue, keeping the baby near me day and night, allowing myself time to focus on the baby, just be with the baby, and later, extended breastfeeding, and not sending my children away to be cared for by other people. You know what else helped -- having people around who did not feel the need to save me from the baby (i.e. "giving me a break") but were admiring of the baby. I will never forget this one time, the feeling of disconnection to my daughter, and a dear friend coming to meet her for the first time. She absolutely gushed
over her, how beautiful she was, how perfect. Something in me shifted, clicked on. It was really amazing. I still get teary thinking about it.
I'm close to all my kids, I adore them, I would give my life for them. But with the first three I didn't get to have that naturally and from the beginning as it should have been, I became a mother well after I was one (in the most superficial sense) -- the breastfeeding and AP etc. literally made me one.