The much anticipated moment arrives. Women have heard so much about what they are likely to feel when their newborn baby is handed to them to hold after childbirth. A rush of love, the most powerful tender and protective feelings one might ever hope to experience, ecstasy, deep relief combined with joy........my own mother said that this moment was the nearest thing to heaven that existed as an experience in life.
So many women do not feel this way and the disappointment and bewilderment over an anti-climax can hurt women deeply. It can unseat the beginning of the unfolding of a loving heart in bonding and connecting with one's child. To not feel what one hopes for, or to discover that one feels so differently or in fact nearly the opposite of what people have said that you would feel, is utterly devastating.
Homeopathy can help.
The first step in bonding is like the opening of the door to a long journey of mothering your own child-self. It is the first opportunity you have to be tender, loving, embracing and wholly accepting of yourself in parallel with your new baby. It is the biggest opportunity in life you will ever have to learn to love. Love does not and never will exclude the Self. Love is not merely for offering to others and to God even. Love must love the Self. It is hard to love yourself when you cannot fathom or understand your own inner feelings or judge them as being bad and wrong.
Women pass through a whole spectrum of feelings after birth. Indifference, shock, a desire not to see the baby especially after a protracted and prolonged , intensely painful and difficult labour. Sadness, overwhelm, a feeling of this being the start of not being able to cope, a feeling of tremendous helplessness in the face of a child who is now helplessly dependent upon you. A fear of responsibility, a cowardice wrapped inside a shrinking desire to escape,. Tears, upheaval of emotions you never knew existed, flashbacks to your own childhood and genuine fear of the repeat-play button. Terror. Sometimes the indifference and not being able to feel anything at all is the worst one, as this can continue over time and one hopes that one day sudden recognition that one would do absolutely anything for this person , even sacrifice one's own life , would announce itself in your psyche.
There is a reason for every single experience. Nothing is irrational, and no, in my opinion, feelings like these have sometimes very simple explanations and quite simply are not merely due to hormonal surges or the infamous 'Baby-Blues'. Although, it has to be said, it is true that our hormones offer channels for our emotions to flow through ourselves, just like a river canal, occasionally our hormones acts as dams and weirs on this canal stopping and starting the waters.
1. The first and most obvious reason for being unable to feel anything at all is Shock. Shock sets in when the body and/or the mind has had enough. If shut down does not occur more serious disturbance, illness or troubles will occur. Shock is our friend. It puts up a hand to shout 'WAIT' when everything has become too much. Shock can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as extreme sensitivity to touch, denial and refusing help or being attended to in any way, numbness of emotions, a staring look in the eyes and face, numbness and lack of ability to feel physical pain. A shocked state can be a gift as it blanks everything out until such time as things begin to happen which can help the person to recover and heal and return to a normal feeling-state. Any feelings are not going to overcome and destroy a person whether that be physical pain or emotional pain. Mostly shock is temporary. Shock after birth can last a few minutes, an hour or maybe longer. It is possible though for a shocked state to be parcelled off into a corner of one's self and retained or hung onto for a much longer time days, weeks , months or years even. Shock will remain for as long as the person is not able to cope with the pain of past or present. Even though other parts of the person return to normal functioning, if the person cannot open Pandora's Box, they won't. They will sense the 'blankness' somewhere inside themselves but they won't be able to touch it. Sensing the blankness is scary and can generate other feelings such as guilt, anger...
So how can homeopathy help? There are two remedies which address and release shock gently and immediately. Arnica and Aconite.
Arnica. Many women will have heard of the homeopathic remedy Arnica for taking after childbirth to speed up healing and recovery. It heals bruising, pain, soreness. It heals bodies after surgery and c-sections and episiotomies. It can halve the time of the recovery period. But it also releases a shocked state in the body. So use Arnica 200c for women who have the following symptoms: hemorrhage, constipation from shock, inertia, indifference, unmoved by anything, staring expression in the eyes, unresponsive, refusing medical help of all kinds despite being evidently in need of help and treatment, sending the doctor away, repeating the words "I'm fine, I'm fine " when their loved ones can see they are not fine at all. Aching muscles and limbs, soreness. Headache, cough, swelling, inflammations. Blood pressure soaring unexpectedly. Not wanting to be touched, poked, prodded , or interfered with anymore. Complaining that the bed is uncomfortable and hard and that they cannot get a good rest because of it. Not showing much interest in the baby, not holding the baby, not responding much to the baby.
Aconite. The shocked state of Aconite is more an emotional shock but it can bring with it physical symptoms too. If a woman needs Aconite she will be shaky and very anxious. You will see anxiety and fear in her eyes and written on her face. Her face will be pale occasionally sweaty. Sometimes her cheeks will flush and her pupils will dilate. she may have bouts of dizziness and light-headedness. She may feel intense chills. Midnight is her worst time when this fear will take over so the first night after the birth is difficult and she may remain awake despite exhaustion.
A woman with this type of shock in her system may have been in a frightening, emergency situation where all plans for the birth went out the window, the baby was in distress, something went wrong, post-partum haemorrhage, a rushed and panicky emergency c-section etc. This remedy will settle and soothe shock and fear and relax a person completely. It brings a woman back into the present moment where all has worked out ok, the knowledge that both Mum and baby are safe and well . This remedy will let a vulnerable woman know there is nothing more to be afraid of. That includes being afraid of pain. To come back out of fear to the present moment is a powerful turning-point and the start of being able to feel happiness and pride, anticipation, enjoyment and recovery.
2. Shut-down from exhaustion. When a woman is tired and feeling at the end of her rope before she even goes into labour to have her baby, she will be severely compromised after the birth. Quite simply, she will have nothing left to give. This empty feeling of being utterly drained can continue on months after the birth. It is like the 'chronic fatigue of parenting'. For mothers who are giving birth to their second, third or fourth child etc, especially if these children are young in age, you can bet that this woman is already very tired and drained before birth and approaching the end of a very tiring pregnancy. To look after the needs of another person is very demanding. If this care for others is not balanced by the care of Self..then there are going to be troubled waters ahead. Let's face it, many women just will not have the necessary support to be able to take care of themselves well as a mother. If a woman becomes chronically burned out in herself from parenting, then her feelings may shut-down to protect her from further drain. This burn-out can happen during and after parenting of one child or several. Once the burn-out is addressed then feelings can return to normal and there is no 'risk' to giving, and a woman can feel joy and love again. To give without replenishing one's reserves is not wise. All of life is in a cycle of giving and receiving. To break that balance will bring suffering and pain. For women who are burned out, try Sepia 200c. This remedy is amazing. It brings back energy and vitality, restores shut-down and cut-off feelings. It heals physical ailments. It heals the exhausted mind.
Here are some symptoms which may indicate Sepia: looking on the dark side of everything, sadness and depression, a feeling of utter indifference to loved ones, exhaustion and sluggishness, constipation, bloatedness, cystitis, prolapsed uterus, prolapsed rectum, painful piles and haemorrhoids, 'empty feeling' only relieved by eating, anaemia, low thyroid function, difficulty remembering things, anger and irritability, especially against one's husband. Vigorous exercise is the only thing which gives relief , getting out and away from everyone into the fresh air, or dancing, desire for chocolate......(In order to use Sepia, it does not mean that one must be suffering from all of the above listed symptoms just some..of them..)
4. Regression to baby/child Self.
Some women have had traumatised , troubled childhoods and were rejected by their own mothers very early on. To become a mother oneself, with very little to go on, is frightening and it is brave. Sometimes when women become mothers, they remember in their bodily cells how they felt as a baby, how they felt as an unloved baby. The pain, the helplessness, the rage at abandonment, and the acute distress of something that happened long ago can often trigger post-natal depression. People have no conscious memory until a certain moment as a young child. Some people can remember when they were two years old or earlier, for others their conscious memories begin at a later time. BUT our bodies remember and hold our experiences, our feelings.The power of the birth experience and the power of hormones causes our bodily cells to release these feelings. It might not be possible to understand where these feelings arise from, but they are there. Homeopathy can help. But if this is the case, it is best to seek out a homeopath and talk to them, have a consultation and acquire a remedy based on your own experience. Trust a practitioner to understand the depth of your experience and how wounded you feel and get the help you have always needed to reach out for.
Post-natal depression is not something to be self-treated and it is not safe to go without medical care.
But my hope is that women can become aware of and use other healing helps such as homeopathy, to support them at this most incredible time of their lives. There is always a reason for finding it difficult to bond with your child. It does not mean you don't love your child or can't love him or her or that you might never love this child. It does not say anything about you as a person. It does not say anything about your child. Feeling inwardly not-connected to your child is painful and many women hide it from others and do not speak of it. They feel ashamed and scared by it. They hope for a 'moment' which will arrive when their inner feelings change. Usually that moment comes. It would help to understand yourself and to cut yourself some slack, to give yourself a break and to not judge yourself. How you feel makes perfect sense after what you have just been through.
Women need love, and back-up in order to feel strong, and able for life. Homeopathy can help us all, why not try it?