Thursday, March 28, 2013

The truth of the matter…


Cindy Lynn has a book about childbirth sitting in her bathroom.  (And since I already posted this you already know that I read in the bathroom. I also read while I brush & floss my teeth, if I’m eating alone, and I would read while I’m driving if I could!)  Anyway.  This book has all sorts of essays and stories, but in general it is a book about the spiritual awesomeness of giving birth.

To all of you out there for whom giving birth was a spiritual event, very cool for you.

For me?  Not so much.  I’ve had 4 very different labor and delivery experiences, and all of them have involved a lot of pain and I’ve been glad when they were over.  I am perhaps missing an important gene (the one that connects spirituality and childbirth) but I’m ok with it.  I just feel the need to stand up and say “Hey, for me it wasn’t spiritual.  But it worked just fine anyway.”

And while I’m confessing my child-birth shortcomings, here’s another one for you.  I didn’t bond instantaneously and amazingly with my babies.  For a while I wondered when their real parents were going to show up and claim them.  After a while I was completely attached to them, though, so I think it’s worked out ok.  Now I adore them and would fight to the death anyone who messed with them. 


You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this.  Really, because I want to put my truth out there.  We live in a world of blog/facebook/pinterest wonderfulness.  Where if we’re not careful we can begin to think that everyone else’s life is prettier and shinier than our own.  That everyone else’s experiences are deeper and more meaningful, and that their children are all above average.  I just want to go on the record saying that my experiences with childbirth were a lot of things (painful, intense, painful, exhausting, and one time both frightening and painful) but not spiritual.  And that I didn’t bond immediately and intensely with my new babies. 

And guess what.  We’ve turned out just fine.


  1. I think we have two sets of memories (at least) of the things that happen in our lives, the set that we can recall feeling at the time, and the set that includes all our life's experiences since then layered over the top of what actually happened. If that makes sense. I wonder if people haven't gone back and layered the spirituality in, and then called that their "memory". That said, I do have a friend who describes labor and delivery that way, and I kind of want to punch her in the teeth sometimes.

    Also, I think I read somewhere that the lack of bonding for several days is biological. It's why, back when population control consisted of infanticide, they could take a baby away from a mother within a few days and she'd be more or less complicit. (Although, how they got around the simple fact that she'd just worked like a dog on this new life, whether or not she cared for it, is beyond me.) Lovely subject matter, I know, but just so you know nothing's wrong with you. Or me. I do the same thing. It was nice to know it'd come the second time, and the third. The first time I just thought I was a horrible person.

  2. I wish I would have read this before I had Parker. I felt so much shame when he was little because I didn't feel that movie-like instant bond that I expected to feel after he was born.

  3. Actually, knowing that the lack of bonding for a while is a biological fact, I've wondered whether it's a built-in defense mechanism. In times where fewer babies survived than today (and this is complete conjecture, because I haven't got any statistics on how many babies survived "then" as opposed to "now", the first few days and weeks would be the most critical period. So it might save mother a (very) little grief if she wasn't so attached to the baby if something happened to him in that time period.

    Doesn't it seem odd what we recognize and celebrate about ourselves, and what we don't even realize, or sweep under the rug? One little shift in our history somewhere, and there could be a whole set of rituals or celebrations surrounding the day when a mother starts to fall in love with her baby. After all, somebody started hiding "Easter eggs" once...

  4. Erin I think you're probably right in both directions--that some people (who really should be punched in the teeth) feel/see it as spiritual in the moment, and some overlay it with spirituality later. Whenever I'd hear someone talking about how spiritual childbirth was I'd mentally check back, for instance think about the 42 minutes between the time that we got to the hospital and Josh was born, and say to myself "nope."

    Melissa that makes me sad. But I totally understand it. I felt guilt for YEARS for having had an epidural with Cindy Lynn. You see if I had done it right like my natural childbirth class taught, I wouldn't have needed an epidural. I had child #2 without an epidural to atone, lol... ;)

  5. The person I did fall in love with that day was my husband. The baby, meh. But my husband carrying him around the delivery room and cooing to him? Somebody catch me. How does THAT make any biological sense at all?!?

  6. Oh isn't that the truth. And if you think that's good, just wait till he becomes a grandfather... :)

  7. Yeah, because then they become these old grumpy guys. Oh wait, we already are. :)