Originally Posted by amberskyfire
I just have to wonder what it is that causes so many women to not listen to instinct and instead do things like CIO. There's got to be some kind of underlying issue.
FIrst of all, you need to remember that primate mothering is not, in fact, based primarily on instinctive behaviors. There are some, its true, and there are also hormonal mediators of behavior.
But we're not rats. We're not bugs, we're not mice, we're not cats, we're not goats. We're primates. And it is common across primates, especially the "Higher" ones, that parenting behavior is learned, to the extent that monkeys and apes reared in zoos away from natural family groups actually refuse to parent. Sometimes they *kill* their babies from sheer ignorance of what to do with them after they're born.
DO you see the significance of that? A chimpanzee that has had a "natural" birth, if she has never seen other adult females caring for their babies? Will refuse to nurse her baby. She doesn't know how.
"Instinct" does not take care of that in primates.
She can *learn* how, though. Zookeepers at one primate research center had human mothers sit outside one pregnant chimp's enclosure every day of her pregnancy, nursing their babies, cuddling them, carrying them -- and when that mother gave birth, for the first time she nursed her baby and did not reject it. She *learned* what she was supposed to do.
"Instinct" is a big word that gets tossed around a lot, and people begin to think that it should work like it does in some birds and lower mammals -- that we should be driven by it to very specific, stereotyped behaviors. When baby opens mouth and peeps, we peck at the dark area to feed it. But we don't work that way. Our "instincts" are largely reactions in our brains giving us the urge to do *something* -- but that's pretty much it. Our babies' cries put us into an stressed state. They make us feel like we should be taking some *action* -- but what action we take is, largely, defined by *culture*. There are many cultures that deny babies nursing in the first 24 hours because they beleive that colostrum is unhealthy. There are cultures in which mothers birth onto the ground and no one is allowed to touch the baby until it cries on its own. Instinct? No. Culture.
And CIO is *cultural*. It grows from our
culture's insistence on the importance of independence and sleeping alone. Other cultures may not do it, but may have practices around eating or sex or cleaning that you might find equally shocking or "anti-instinctual." But waht they're doing is "Doing something," as *their culture* defines it.
Finally, before continuing to propagate an untested theory about whether people who have c-sections, or epidurals, or breastfeed a certain number of months, are "better" mothers, it might be a good idea to read some of the other forums here, where women who have read books and websites that say similar things are saying that they have been very, very hurt and damaged by people expressing similar theories to them. Sorting mothers into classes of "better" and "Worse" is something that never, ever goes well.