So I've been pondering my births. For those who don't know me, I have 5 children. I've had every birth type imaginable, I've been induced, epidural, c/section, and all natural.
I often hear moms say that when they have a c/section or when they've been medicated during labor and delivery, they don't feel the same bond that they have with their unmedicated natural births. I always used to think (before my all natural birth) "how is that? how do they not feel the same love for that child?" Now that I've experienced the natural birth, I think I understand what I was thinking wrong. Make sense? Probably not.
I kept asking myself how could they not feel the same love, but what they were saying was not the same BOND. I think I actually get it. I know we all love our children the same, different ways but the amount of love is the same. I would die for any of my kids, I would literally DIE for any single one of them. I LOVE them equally, some receive my love in different ways but hey, they're different kids.
Now bond, lets discuss bond. I realized the difference, or the mistake I was making. To bond with someone, technically you don't have to love them at all. If I work in a rice field and another farmer works next to me, we're both slaving it in the heat, busting our butts, gathering the rice and waiting to be finished. I don't love that farmer, but we certainly can bond and connect over the aches and pains of the field work that day. Same with labor and birth.
During the labor process, the baby is going through stress, hormones are being released to make sure of it. The body really wants baby to be ready for the real world. Its journey of "hard knock life" begins and it feels it. Keep in mind, that the baby feeling the stress of labor is a good thing...side note.
Either way, for my first 4 children, I was induced and received an epidural. Granted I took 12hours of pitocin before requesting the epidural, and if I was a midwife at the time, I would have realized I was in transition and wouldn't have asked but hogwash now.
What story did I share with them? What journey had we gone through together? I realized I bailed on them mid-trip. I medicated myself because I forgot the core of what I was doing as a woman, as a woman entering into motherhood and this amazing rite of passage.
Do I blame my support? nope. They saw me in pain and wanted to help, they also were not educated about this at the time. We see a person we love in pain and we want to help them so we intervene. We forget that we are stripping them of this amazing journey they are on with their baby, their first "day out on the rice field" together. This is the time when I needed the reminder that I wasn't alone, that I was walking into the path of motherhood with my child.
I still don't blame any of them. I do get angered at society, however. Why did we somehow allow the "pain" of labor to be associated as bad and something we must fix? When we do a workout the saying is "no pain no gain" and when we feel the burn we're happy. Since when did we think we'd get such an amazing gift as that of a child with no work?
The pain of labor is not bad. Your not needing to be fixed. Your bonding with your baby for the first time. It is there, in those long hours, that you will connect with your child and forever have that bond with them. You can look at them and know that at their first journey to this world, you were with them, when they got squeezed, you got squeezed, when they were tired, you were tired, when they needed to use their bit of energy to be expelled, you were using your last bit to help them out. Never once leaving their side or forgetting the path you were on.
So with my first 4, I love them dearly, but I wasn't on the path with them and for that I will forever miss that bond. I make it up to myself and them with years of memories and activities to bond us but the first one is lost. My last child, my planned home birth/last minute hospital delivery, I never left him, I felt what he felt, and I have that bond and I am forever grateful for it. Was it hard? yes. Was it intense and overwhelming? at times yes. Yet, I am still FOREVER grateful that I was there, present in the moment.
I now understand what those women meant. I love all my children the same, I create amazing memories with them daily, we each have other bonding moments of our own, but my last one, we had a special bonding moment that I wish I could have had with all of them.
I share this with you so that if your a person that says "Why would you want a natural birth?" or "I just don't feel bonded with my baby", I hope this inspires you in any route your headed. If you don't understand the benefits of natural birth (aside from the risks of the drugs) I hope you do now. If your a woman who feels like your not as bonded with your baby, I hope this helps heal that gap. I hope you know that bonds will form and it was not your fault.