Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Healing sibling’s birth trauma
February 24, 2008, 7:00 pm
Filed under: baby care, birth | Tags: , , , ,

Ronnie Falcao, homebirth midwife, CA:

I’m often struck by how much VBAC moms insist on having their older siblings present at the birth, especially the ones born by cesarean. It finally struck me that this is yet another example of a mother’s wonderfully strong instinct about providing the best possible care for her children.

In my studies of the hormones of birth, I’ve learned that the stress of labor causes a woman’s body to release endorphins to ease the pain and to facilitate a primal bonding with her baby. In a natural labor, the levels of these hormones are significant, and they are passed through to the baby also to ease the stress on the baby. As a fun side effect, the endorphins seem to fill the air around the laboring woman so that her birth attendants also get to enjoy them. There’s a reason why birth attendants sometimes call themselves “natural birth junkies”. 🙂

sibling bonding

Endorphins are the “love hormones” released during childbirth and breastfeeding, and they really are like an aphrodisiac, causing people “under the influence” to fall in love with each other without any rational filtering. I try not to usurp the power of these hormones, and I work hard to keep the family focused on each other in that first hour after birth, because I want them bonding with each other instead of with me.

I have previously understood how these endorphins can have a wonderful healing effect for couples who have had a past traumatic birth, as the mom is under the influence of nature’s finest “narcotic”, and the dad absorbs them from the air around her. But it was this most recent discussion about siblings at VBAC that helped me realize that this also pertains to the older children who were born through a traumatic birth process. If they are present at the VBAC, these older children get to enjoy and absorb the endorphins and bond with their families in a way that they missed completely at their own birth. Nature heals.

Ronnie Falcao’s Midwifery Archives

Photo By Jennifer Schwalm

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