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Hello Lovelies,

So, I needed Pitocin in order to fully dilate and give birth to the Bean Sprout, which you will remember from the birth story, and here’s the thing… I think it affected my bonding with him. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, which your body makes a lot of in labour and helps you 1. Give birth and 2. Bond with baby. When you give a woman in labour synthetic oxytocin you tell her body to stop making her own for a while. So, while in labour, on a Pitocin drip my body was like, ok cool, I don’t need to make this stuff anymore. Which is all fine and dandy when you are actually in labour because the synthetic stuff will make you contract just fine. The issue comes after the birth. Or it can, and I think it did for me.

The issue being that your body naturally gives you a HUGE surge of oxytocin after the baby is born to help the placenta come away from the uterus and to help you and baby bond. When using Pitocin they don’t do this and they just leave the pump going at the same pace for a bit to get the placenta out and then they turn it off. What I’m saying is they don’t do a great job of simulating the way your body would respond after a natural non-medicated birth. Also, the massive amounts of Pitocin used during labour can sort of overload your sensors making it so that your body produces and uses less oxytocin in the days following birth. I think this can very much affect your ability to bond deeply with baby right off the bat.

Maybe that’s part of what happened for me. Between the difficult birth, the hard times breast feeding and my baby blues I really don’t feel that I BONDED with the Bean Sprout until about week 3. I mean, I loved him in a protective sort of way. I would have totally taken on a lion for that kiddo. But LOVE him? Like see stars, and heart flutters, and gushy, squishy feelings? Certainly not right off the bat! Are you kidding?! I was way too busy crying and pumping to feel anything close to that surge of emotion.

But, I also think that my lack of intense bonding went over and above just a hard first few weeks. I really believe that the use of Pitocin in my labour made it worse. It’s something the medical literature acknowledges, although no one acknowledged it to me. That overriding my natural hormones could make the bonding process harder and make it take longer. That would have been nice to know.

This is apparently not uncommon. I have now talked to a bunch of moms who took anywhere from a few days up to a full year to really feel bonded with their children. I wish someone had told me that it could take a while. I wound up feeling incredibly guilty the first few weeks for looking at my gorgeous baby and not really getting what the other moms were talking about. I mean he was cool, in a removed kind of way, and I was glad he was alive and breathing but I didn’t get the singing and dancing in the streets feeling. Not right away.

For me, it took until week 3 to really start hitting me. That this GORGEOUS babe was mine. And that I LIKED that. And that I APPRECIATED that. And that I really fucking LOVED the little pipsqueak! Thank god! I had been silently worrying that it would never come.

But it did. And I don’t know what affected it really, what made it take a while. Was it my shitty birth? Difficulties feeding him? Or the use of Pitocin? I’ll never know.

But I wish I’d known to anticipate the feeling. Or lack thereof. That would have been nice.

The Chicken

*Note: I know all the stuff I’ve posted lately has reveled how difficult I found the first few weeks and has worried some of you. I want to say that we are now 11 weeks old and doing really well! More on that to come of course. But, one post at a time 🙂 *

Micro Post- Pitocin and Bonding
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6 thoughts on “Micro Post- Pitocin and Bonding

  • February 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I felt just as you describe and was fortunate enough to have had a fairly quick and unmedicated birth. We spent a couple of years of trying to get pregnant and suffering a number of early miscarriages and I think I was so convinced that it was never going to happen/was all going to go wrong that it took me a while to really get my head around the fact that she was really here and all was good. I don’t doubt that pitocin might have made it even harder though!

    • February 23, 2016 at 9:32 am

      I think that maybe this is just normal… At least thats the consensus to this post on Twitter and Facebook. Who knew! Pitocin may well have added to it but it looks like the instantly falling in love thing isn’t as common as people seem to think.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

  • February 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Interesting. I was pitocin augmented too but I’m not sure if they kept it going or turned it off. I never even thought of it before and now I wonder. I know it got turned down at one point. I agree that what you experienced is not uncommon but I have heard similar theories about pitocin too.

  • February 24, 2016 at 9:15 am

    That’s an interesting theory. Have you researched whether anyone is looking at that connection? When you talk aobut medical literature acknowledging it, have they also tried withholding pitocin and seeing if the labour progresses on its own and the blues are staved off?

    • March 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Yeah there has been some research done on Pitocin and bonding I don’t know how “controlled” the study’s were. Human studies can be hard because controlled groups are hard to obtain. I haven’t delved too deeply though.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

  • March 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

    When I had my first, it was an emergency c-section (I was unconscious) at 33 weeks. Between the general anesthesia, the fact that he was in the NICU, and the 4 month battle before we finally got really good at breastfeeding, I was exhausted. Plus, my kiddo screamed. All. The. Time. And rarely slept more than an hour at a time. For 11 months. I didn’t bond with him the way I wanted to. Everyone said “don’t you love him more than anything else in the world?” And I thought, “eh….” Like you, totally would have taken on a lion to protect him, but didn’t feel that “love” like I thought I should. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at 13 months I remember suddenly realizing that I loved my kiddo more than anything in the world. Finally! And now he’s 2.5 and we are super close.

    Had my second a month ago. Had pitocin. But you know what? The bond was instant! I don’t know if it’s because he’s my second or what, but it was great. I was secretly (and not so secretly!) scared I wouldn’t love the second enough – due to how long it took to bond the first time and due to the fact that I thought I might resent someone coming between me and my oldest. But the bond was instant and wonderful!

    Sooooo, I’m happy you’ve bonded with your baby. And glad it only took 3 weeks!

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