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It is interesting how I have come across a lot of people lately saying that they would prefer epidurals in labour as pain relief instead of other forms such as Pethidine or Atarax because of the misguided belief that the epidural doesn’t impact on the newborn as much.

Well I am truly disconcerted that there are professionals in South Africa that can actually teach this to a class full of eager and trusting minds without explaining the WHOLE situation that potentially could happen as a consequence of an epidural.
If the epidural is as innocuous as they claim, why then is a mother

wondering

wondering

  1. strapped continuously to the electronic foetal monitor
  2. with a drip in her arm to keep the line open for emergency interventions
  3. having a blood pressure cuff strapped on reading her blood pressure every 20 minutes
  4. catheterised and told she should not try to get up from the bed she is lying in
  5. Moved from side to side if the epidural is in for a long time to prevent the medication from settling in one zone of her body and therefore not working efficiently.

In my research I came across an excerpt from a book called ‘The Soul of the Great White Ant” by Eugene N. Marais. It is very interesting to read his experiments on wild life relating to the use of anaesthesia and as he puts it ‘unlocking the mother complex’. Marais is trying to prove (or disprove) the connection between birth pain and mother love.

Marais continues to write on page 89 and 90 “For the experiment I used a herd of sixty half-wild buck…I have proof that during the previous fifteen years there had been no single instance of a mother refusing her young in normal circumstances.

  1. Six cases of birth during full anaesthesia of the mother induced by chloroform and ether; unconsciousness in no case lasted for more than twenty-five minutes after delivery. In all six cases the mother refused to accept the lamb of her own volition.
  2. Four cases of birth during paralysis – consciousness and feeling were partly paralysed but not destroyed by the American arrow poison curare. In all four cases the mother appeared for over an hour in great doubt as to the acceptance of her lamb. After this period, three mothers accepted their lambs; one refused it.

To prove that refusal on the part of these mothers was not due to the general disturbance caused by the anaesthetics used, I did the following experiments:

3. In six cases of birth the mother was put under chloroform anaesthesia immediately after delivery was complete but before she had seen her lamb. Unconsciousness lasted about half an hour. In all six cases the mother accepted her lamb without any doubt immediately after she became conscious. Similar experiments with curare gave the same result.

From these and other experiments I became convinced that without pain there can be no mother love in nature, and this pain must actually be experienced psychologically. It is not sufficient for the body to experience it physiologically.

The mother love is activated during natural childbirth so that she will utterly and completely accept and safeguard her child at all cost. This makes sense, surely!
But what is happening in our hospitals and all around the world? More and more mothers are using some form of pain relief to escape the pain of childbirth. The very pain that helps bonding to occur, the pain that creates a family.

Frequently mothers have asked me why did I not feel motherly from the instant my child was born? Why did I have to work at bonding with my child? Looking into their birth history I see time and again that either there was an epidural used or a caesarean birth was performed. These factors have contributed to much sadness and strife in many families all over the world.

I just thought it was time others starting realizing how delicate and precious bonding is how this link can be so easily damaged. When all goes as nature planned, in her immense wisdom so long ago, then the bond is strengthened immediately and continues to flourish without added assistance but if this link is delayed then bonding becomes harder to achieve and takes so much longer to establish. Not all is lost for we can still salvage the bond but it takes so much more work whereas it comes so easily if left alone.

Experience has shown me personally as well as with women that I have assisted in various ways that a natural, un-interventive birth works out so much easier in the short and long term.

We all want what’s best for our children but sometimes we are not given all the facts to make a truly informed decision. This is but one aspect of how epidurals impact on us and our children’s lives.

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