The disconnect some mothers feel after a Caesarean Surgery
By Lee-Anne Price, Kids in Perth Contributor 03 Nov 2021
From start to finish, getting pregnant, being pregnant and giving birth can cause apprehension and unease along with the resounding happiness parenthood brings. Something that can happen, be it rare, is the disconnection and maternal alienation some mothers feel towards their babies after a scheduled or emergency caesarean surgery (Journal of Health Psychology, 2009).
The feeling goes against everything you thought should be happening and are told by health professional, friends and family that an immediate and all-consuming love will wash over you, when the reality is sometimes the opposite. The notion that you don’t feel immediate love for a child you created over 9 months can be heartbreaking and isolating for new mothers as well as the new role of being a new parent.
A caesarean surgery can cause an emotional disconnect when you don’t get the immediate contact with baby or skin to skin contact in the “golden hour” after birth (Lutz, Monica Anne, 2013), the child is born early, no oxytocin surge or love hormone or emergency surgery foiling your plans for the perfect birth as general anesthesia can also be associated with impaired mother infant bonding (Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 2019).
As a new time mother, you’re looking for the natural response to seeing your baby and when you don’t get this, feelings of shame, failure and sadness creep in as a result. Time heals all wounds as the saying goes, and slowly but surely the feelings you were looking for on day one of motherhood can be found and will grow.
Feeling disconnected to your child after major surgery is not a failure but a natural response to the modern-day pregnancy and birth of babies.
Support | find help here.
If the birth and pregnancy of your child doesn’t live up to the expectations in your head, then just know there are many other women going through the exact same thing and you are not alone in these feeling and your experiences and emotions are valid. The effects of a caesarean surgery are endless, but with constant support from family, friends and healthcare services, communication and education you will at least have better insight into the emotions that sometimes come with the surgery.
If you or someone you know can relate to this feeling, we’ve found the following support services that might help.
- COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence: https://www.cope.org.au/preparing-for-birth/things-dont-go-plan/recovering-from-a-traumatic-birth/
- Raising Children Network: https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/labour-birth/recovery-after-birth/after-caesarean
- Pregnancy and Birth Baby Helpline: 1800 882 436
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