I’ve really started to pay attention to how babies act in the days, weeks, and months after they are born. I’m starting to really buy into the idea that naturally-born babies tend to be more calm, more confident, and sleep better than babies who experience traumatic births.
Fact. My daughter didn’t sleep well and was difficult to calm as a young baby.
Fact. My student’s wife just had their first baby at home. Calm. Chill. That’s how this baby is described.
Fact. My best girlfriend here in town just had her third baby at a birth center. Calm. Chill. I’ve seen first-hand how calm and secure this little guy is. He’s only 2 days old and he clearly recognizes his mother’s voice. They were only at the birth center for a few hours following the birth. And my friend is SO IN LOVE with him.
Now, I’m not trying to suggest that ALL homebirthed babies or all babies born at birth centers are calm and quiet, and ALL hospital-born babies are difficult, but as I’ve learned from Diane Wiessinger, the birth environment and the birthing act/ritual have a tremendous impact on the mother-baby dyad.
Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, MD writes: “The connections between events at birth and long-term health certainly deserve more study.1 But we cannot afford to wait for years for researchers to prove the benefits of an undisturbed birth. Perhaps the best we can do is trust our instincts and vote with our birthing bodies, choosing models of care that increase our chances of undisturbed- and ecstatic- birthing.”
The three examples that I made above – my child, my friend’s child, and my student’s child – are not the only ones that I can think of that strengthen my belief that how a baby is brought into the world is critical to his/her health, happiness, and development. Talk to everyone you know who has had a baby and find out what their early experiences with their children were like. I’m certain you will observe patterns in what you hear and see.
1. Odent M. Primal Health Database: Birthworks, 2003 http://www.birthworks.org/primalhealth/.