Do you think children are impacted by their births? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I used to think this was hooey but then I got to thinking...the only one of my children that had a "traumatic" birth (they "had" to deep suction thin mec. so cut the cord right away and suctioned for a few mins) was my son. He is the only one of my kids that really hates strangers touching him, gets anxious about new situations, and is not even ready to be potty-trained at almost 4 yrs old. My other two are girls and have no issues with people or new situations. I am sensitive so maybe it is personality- maybe still birth issues?
Do your kids personalities match their birth circumstances?
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#2 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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Mine does. She was born at home and it was fine except it was a long and tirnig birth. But 3 days later she was hospitalized for jaundice. *I* haven't even worked though my issues with that yet, and my primary issue with that is I felt we abandoned her, were forced to abandon her. DD is not shy and quite outgoing but she has major abandonment issues, which is significant because we have not been apart from her since that hospital stay (no daycare or even babysitters). Why else would she have this issue? She even gets upset if both her parents go upstairs (even just for a minute) leaving her downstairs alone.

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#3 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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Interesting question.

I think it *can* make an impact. How much and in what way depends on the child.

I have all boys. Ds1 was a hospital birth, whisked away to warmer, suctioned, eye goop, etc., etc., and he is much more sensory sensitive than my other two. He is friendly and outgoing but is very sensitive to touch, sound, smells, colors, etc.

Ds2 was a home birth. He loves being out and doing things, has no problem w/change, doesn't ever get overwhelmed, but has a temper.

Ds3 was a home water birth and absolutely LOVES water. I have never seen a kid so fearless of the water at such a young age! He is only 18 mo and he will already put his face into the water and shows no hesitation at all. He is a daredevil all around though and although he is a really happy boy he is shy around strangers and is a homebody.

It seems like my two homebirth babies are much more laid back and easy going than my oldest ds. They have COMPLETELY different personalities though so who knows?

BTW, I also think birth order has a lot to do w/personality or the shaping of a person's natural personality. IMO there are just so many factors (nurture) that affect the inborn personality traits (nature). It is an age old debate though!

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#4 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I definitely think so.
I have even taken one of my kids for NET (neuro-emotional technique) for the trauma he faced at birth (born not breathing, hard cpr on the chest) and after that his physical issue cleared up.

I know people use eft and also rebirthing techniques as well for birth trauma issues.

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#5 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 02:43 PM
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Mine do, but I don't know how much is genetic or situational rather than birth related.

DS was a hospital birth, very long, stuck in transition for 10 hours. I had a deep episiotomy and spinal anesthetic just 20 minutes before his birth. I was so disappointed in myself and my body (and my doctor!) I had PPD for months and months that was never treated. I had a hard time bfing him and he nursed CONSTANTLY.

He has SPD. I don't think I would relate it back to his birth because there are signs of it on both sides of our family. His severe anxiety probably comes from me. I have had panic attacks since I was 8 (that I can remember) and am phobic.

DD was a birth center birth. Absolutely beautiful, natural, blissful. I loved loved loved every second of it. I felt so wonderful after she was born. She was peaceful and relaxed in the womb, and she has been the happiest, best sleeping baby ever since. She totally goes with the flow. BFing her has been really easy and she lasts a long time between feedings. She is fat and always has a gaping grin on her face. She is such a different baby.

But I am a different mom too, so I wonder how much of that plays a part. I guess I really wouldn't draw it back to any one thing, and I certainly wouldn't want to take the blame onto my shoulders for DS's disorder. It took me so long to get it off of my shoulders in the first place.
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#6 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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I planned a homebirth. I pushed for NINE hours before having a c/s. They claimed mec and did very aggressive suctioning. They punished me by taking my perfectly healthy, apgars of 9, baby to the NICU and refusing to let me see her for over 20 hours. I did not get to see her or hold her often for the first 5 days, when they finally let us take her home. Her poor heel was a mass of scabs from all the pricking they subjected her too. She wasn't able to latch for 5 days and barely after that until 8 weeks.

She is the happiest, most secure, most easygoing, curious and smiley baby you could ever meet. Like seriously, a dream baby. I would have 6 if they would all be like her.

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#7 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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Yes.

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#8 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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I don't think as much as some people believe.

DS1 was an unplanned c/s and although it wasn't overly traumatic for him or I, it wasn't the calm peaceful homebirth I wanted. He's pretty well adjusted.

DS2 was a calm peaceful UC with no trauma whatsoever. He's whiny, needy, sensitive and can be very fussy. That's just who he is!

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#9 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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I don't think so. I had what might be considered a traumatic birth with DS - c-section with no labor at 32 weeks. His first Apgar was 1, so he had to be resuscitated, then spent 6 weeks in the NICU. People have commented since he was tiny that he is such a sweet, easygoing, friendly child. He loves to snuggle, likes holding hands with friends he has just met, and talks to adults as easily as children.

I had a similar birth with DD, and she is a lot more high-needs than DS ever was. But she is just as easygoing around strangers as DS was/is.

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#10 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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I have to wonder if it's not moreso how the mother processes the birth and how this impacts the child, excepting long term NICU separation or other long term separation.

Liz

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#11 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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dachschundqueen - I've thought of that, but once again with my two I have to disagree.
I did not like one aspect of DS1's birth. It was traumatic for me and it took me a long time to process.
DS2's birth was what I would call "perfect". It was just as I had hoped, it was so satisfying and calm. Once again, their personalities don't line up at all.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#12 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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I'm glad you posted this, I've been wondering the same thing lately!! I only have 1 kid but I really feel like the circumstances of his birth traumatized him & have contributed to him being so "high needs"...

It was a hospital birth with 40 or so hours of labor, pitocin, stadol, epidural, vacuum extract, not breathing, whisked away, returned to me for only a very brief period before whisked away again...

He is very high-needs, very anxious & clingy (I know most kids are at this age but he's been like this since birth & VERY intense), only comforted by me, always has to have one hand touching me (won't go play a foot away from me), easily upset, etc. I have dealt with PTSD myself for several traumatic events in my life & I see a lot of the same characteristics in him. I wonder frequently if he had had a gentler birth if he'd have an easier time over this first year. I actually feel a lot of guilt & sadness regarding his birth because of this.

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#13 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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I think it does. I have seen it with each of my births and the way my children are now .

My first had a very very traumatising birth as well and he is very high needs and sometimes worries if we will leave him.

My third was born at home in a very peaceful environment and is totally at ease all the time.

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#14 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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I have no idea. The logical side of me says no. Yet, I'm not saying that it definitely can't happen.


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#15 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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I don't think so at all. For example, me & my brothers were all three of us born at home, easy peaceful births, same midwife, my mother enjoyed all three (so jealous of my mum's births!). My brothers & I are wildly different. One of them is anxious, neurotic, insecure, shy etc. My daughter, who was a forceps delivery after a home to hospital transfer is outgoing, cheerful, & easygoing.
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#16 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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I think my children's birth colors my view of them. Not in an overwhelming negative way but I factor it in when I think about their personalities, likes and dislikes. It think it might be chicken and egg question. A better question might be does a person's birth affect the way they are perceived and parented.

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#17 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dachshundqueen View Post
I have to wonder if it's not moreso how the mother processes the birth and how this impacts the child, excepting long term NICU separation or other long term separation.

Liz
I think you may have something there.

Do newborns even have the cognitive development to understand that they had a 'bad' birth?
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#18 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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Do newborns even have the cognitive development to understand that they had a 'bad' birth?
How much cognitive development do you need to understand if something hurt a lot or things were scary and there was no comfort, you were cold, you were left alone, etc?

If your mom burned you with a cigarette, how old would you have to be before it started to scar you?

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#19 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
How much cognitive development do you need to understand if something hurt a lot or things were scary and there was no comfort, you were cold, you were left alone, etc?
I don't know. That's why am asking. Does anyone have any evidence as to what babies can understand?


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If your mom burned you with a cigarette, how old would you have to be before it started to scar you?
I'm not seeing the two things as the same? How does deliberate child abuse, and the associated trauma, compare to birth?
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#20 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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I wonder about this, but I definitely err on the side of what happens AFTER the infant is outside the womb is what causes any lasting impact, of course if the baby was injured/in pain during birth I can imagine it might have some lasting effect. I think it's almost impossible to tell.

I'm highly sensitive and had a birth that might be considered traumatic. Do they tie together? I can't say.

I know that my mom treated me somewhat different because I was her c-section baby and I was a twin and the other one was born dead. I think I got sort of emotionally shut down a lot due to her difficulty with the birth.

Then again my mom is a cold fish and was way before I was ever born.

My dad is highly sensitive as well, so I can't tell if it's genetic, or birth related.
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#21 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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My easy child was my hard, interventioned labour, induced (at 41+2, born 41+4), epidural, water broken, hospital, O2 at birth. She's laid back, almost to the point of comatose sometimes.

My more challenging child came on her own 4 days early, lovely homebirth, no interventions, no issues. She's go go go.

So no, ime, it doesn't make a bit of difference.

The only thing I could remotely relate to pregnancy/birth and them now, is the laid back one didn't want to come out, and had to be evicted, the go go go one came early, on her own.
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#22 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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IME it doesn't seem to have a huge impact. I have friends who have had highly traumatic births with easy going kids and incredibly peaceful births with high needs children. I never had what I would call a peaceful birth, in fact, I think all of mine were pretty traumatic, and while my children are not exactly laid back, they aren't super sensitive and anxious. My sister and I were very laid back births and both of us are pretty sensitive and anxious people. My DH was a highly traumatic birth with a highly traumatic aftermath and he is very laid back about most things.

However, that doesn't mean that I think that birth doesn't have an impact, just not a huge impact every time.
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#23 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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I'm with DaughterOfKali in the wishy-washy camp. I don't think it's intrinsically impossible, but I think it's often overstated and can veer into airy-fairier territory than I'm comfortable with.

My sister's birth definitely affected her, but only due to lack of oxygen and resultant brain damage. The rest of us? We all had similar births (hospital, induced for GD, little or no pain relief). The nerviest of my sisters (who self-weaned/went on a nursing strike at 8 months) had the birth Mum described as the most peaceful and "spiritual".

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#24 of 32 Old 02-12-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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I don't. My preemie who was poked, prodded, left alone sometimes, and had pretty traumatic birth is now the happiest child in the world. She is sooooo easy to please and just in general a happy content child.

My second who had an easy c-section, never left my side, and was held and cuddled from birth hates the entire world and pretty much everyone in it. She was an easy baby, but now that she is more of her own person she is very difficult.

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#25 of 32 Old 02-13-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tessie View Post
I don't know. That's why am asking. Does anyone have any evidence as to what babies can understand?

I'm not seeing the two things as the same? How does deliberate child abuse, and the associated trauma, compare to birth?
I think the trauma of birth is very real. Being yanked out of a nice cozy place (the womb) via c/s, vacuum, forceps, etc.... being poked/prodded/needled/operated on/etc.... all must elicit some physiological reaction. Being removed from mom (comfort, safety, nourishment) is difficult for kids at any age & even if the reasons are important (not breathing etc.) the baby still has to deal with the separation. And that's their very first experience of the world... some kids may base their views of the world on their first experiences, while others are likely more resilient & form their views of the world based on their life as a whole rather than a single traumatic experience. It's very similar IMO to any trauma an older child or adult faces. Some people collapse & mentally fall apart after a serious trauma and others hold it together and move on with their lives. I think it's the same for babies. Whether they "understand" or not is irrelevant (you know a burn hurts, there's nothing to "understand") and in fact, someone older may better be able to process similar circumstances if they understand there's a greater benefit (health & survival) while little babies don't know "why", they just know they are alone, or cold, or in pain, etc.

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#26 of 32 Old 02-13-2010, 04:38 PM
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I had two good, natural, intervention-free births (one in the hospital, one UC). I caught both my babies myself. There was no difference in mother-baby separation (my first was taken to the nursery for about 5 minutes while I moved rooms, an hour after the birth, with his dad, and my little one was held by dad/grandma, weighed, dressed, etc. while I showered and got dressed about an hour after birth). I felt good about both births-- maybe a little better about the hospital birth because the labor was shorter and less painful.

They are like night and day. Totally different personalities despite similar births. My child born on dry land was swimming like a fish at 3, and jumping off the high dive, and my waterbirthed baby is still learning to swim at 4. One is very sensitive/emotional/empathetic and the other is not at all. My oldest is an easy kid and my second is impossible.

I was a c-section baby after 27 hours of labor and "failure to progress". I think I'm a well-adjusted adult.
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#27 of 32 Old 02-13-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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Nope, I don't believe it. Not even a little bit. Don't buy it at all. I think, to some degree, that births are inherently traumatic. I don't think humans are that fragile, that we would be forever affected by our manner of birth. I think it's all in the parents' minds, honestly.

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#28 of 32 Old 02-13-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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The only thing I could remotely relate to pregnancy/birth and them now, is the laid back one didn't want to come out, and had to be evicted, the go go go one came early, on her own.
My sister was born early and has been a 'go-getter' and punctual ever since. Mom says I was a week late. I've been late everywhere since.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#29 of 32 Old 02-13-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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My sister had uneventful home births for both her children. The second was an easier and calmer labour. But the baby screamed for the first two hours after her birth--her heart beat was so elevated until they could finally calm her down that the midwife was contemplating a hospital transfer. She's six months old now, and has been a pretty clingy baby, not liking to be held by anyone other than my sister, not even her dad. My sister has been taking her to an osteopath for about two months for torticollis, and this week, during treatment, the baby kept rolling onto her side, and then rolled from her back to her tummy, which she has never come close to doing (has only rolled tummy to back once)--and then started crying hard. The osteopath said that sometimes newborns who've had C-sections perform the "birth spiral" in treatment--even at a few days old. This reminded her of that--so my sister has been wondering if she was somehow working through issues to do with the birth, even though she has no idea what those issues might have been, given that it was such a textbook delivery and nice happy homey aftermath.

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#30 of 32 Old 02-14-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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Nah, I don't think so, at least not in my experience. All three of my kids had nearly the *exact* same birth experience, and they are all as different as night and day! I have one total extrovert, one introvert, and one right in the middle. They seriously have almost NONE of the same qualities -- it's amazing to witness! I never would have thought siblings could be so different.
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