Friday, August 12, 2005

Lightning Crashes

lightning crashes
a new mother cries
this moment she’s been waiting for
the angel opens her eyes
pale, blue-colored iris presents the circle
and puts the glory out to hide, hide.

~ “Lightning Crashes,” Live

Most of us can picture the scene, at least from movies and television if we haven’t actually been there: Mom, newly-delivered, red-faced, sweaty and exhausted, but smiling, cradles her newborn child. The infant’s eyes stare, fixed, back into hers, pupils dilated wide. In normal childbirth, this is what we can expect to witness. These moments of post-natal bonding are brought to us courtesy of various hormones released by the mother, in response to labor, and by the newborn, in response to the signals from his mother’s body.

But in the post-Roe world, Mom has a problem. There’s about a forty-percent chance she has had one or more pregnancies before this one that she chose to end with abortion because the pregnancy and/or the outcome were undesirable at that point in time. This may be all the recall of past stressors that she needs during labor to inhibit the adequate production of oxytocin and the other hormones she needs to protect her from the pain and trauma of childbirth. [Author's Note, 9/27/2005: further research has led me to conclude that the amount of oxytocin may be less significant than where it is utilized in the brain. In rats, the presence of adrenal steroids, released in response to fear and anxiety, increases the ability of oxytocin to bind with its receptors (or be put to use), but mainly in the amygdala. To facilitiate bonding behavior, the endorphinergic, opiate-like rewards of oxytocin must be used by the anterior cingulate, which we have already seen does not activate properly in those with PTSD.]

These are also the biological mechanisms acting on her brain by which she is encouraged to bond with her child. Stress and anxiety inhibit the production of these hormones, which can make childbirth a traumatic event. Environmental triggers will stimulate the sensory memory portion of Mom’s brain, and she may experience all of the anxiety and stress that surrounded the difficult moment(s) in time when pregnancy did not result in birth. And for about one in four post-abortive Moms, these cues are triggers for post-traumatic stress syndrome, and Mom’s stress response to childbirth will be elevated. Her labor may be prolonged because these hormones also facilitate birth in other ways. Prolonged and difficult labor can lead to the use of forceps and other complications that result in birth trauma.

So Mom’s problem isn’t hers alone, and for another very good reason: it is her production of these hormones that stimulates the infant to produce his own endorphins. They protect him from the traumatic pain of birth. They also dilate the infant’s pupils, encourage him to fix his gaze, and stimulate the bonding center in his brain, as well. His fixed stare is thought to attract just the kind of activity we see – long, loving, and bonding looks between mother and child. The lack of a maternal bond has been shown to lead to maladaptive behaviors later in life, such as an increase in criminal behavior, substance abuse, and violence.

But something else happens to the child who doesn’t have the protection of endorphins against the pain of childbirth: Strike one – at birth. Recently, the Veteran’s Administration announced they were going to “audit” the disability claims of some veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They claim to be doing this in response to the increasing numbers of cases that they are seeing. The VA suspects the condition is being over-diagnosed. I don’t think that’s necessarily accurate. The number of cases has been rising in the last three decades. This can be attributed to the current conflicts, and to a growing awareness of the disorder, but here’s another factor we aren’t considering. We started growing these young men and women in the post-Roe, post-traumatic-stress disorder world.

There are more cases of post-traumatic stress disorder being reported because there are more cases of PTSD to report, especially among our soldiers. These 30-and-unders are the legacy of the Roe decision. Minorities and the poor are over-represented in both our military and our abortion populations. So there’s a good chance our brave soldier’s Mom aborted one or more of his older siblings before they were allowed to reach the outside air alive. Did she produce enough endorphins during labor to prompt his own body’s response to protect him from birth trauma? We don’t know. But we know our traumatic experiences weaken us, may summate, and cause some degree of PTSD. It isn’t unreasonable to at least suspect that our current generation of young soldiers may be more susceptible to the disorder precisely because abortion was legally and widely available to their mothers.


At 6:19 PM, Blogger achromic said...

Wouldn't this also be true for women that had miscarriages?

I think you are right about PTSD being diagnosed more now because of a recognition of what it is. I don't know that I think Roe is to blame. I think of how badly the Depression and WWII affected my family but they would never think to call it PTSD. I also think about how much we are being changed by TV and just basic city living that wasn't quite the same 50yrs ago. It is like blaming cancer for people dyeing..... but people forget that we are now living long enough to get cancer, that we know what cancer looks like, that we can point and say this is what caused this persons death. That doesn't mean that there are not things that help cause cancer, but it is still all relative.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Hello, Achro! I have had an article printed out, sitting on my desk, for a few months now: it's called "Acute and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After Spontaneous Abortion" and is on the American Family Physician website at:

It describes exactly what you say, that women who lose their children to natural death in the womb are susceptible to PTSD as a result. If spontaneous abortion is traumatic, and research says it is, then it strengthens the case that surgical or chemical abortion is also traumatic.

I agree with you - PTSD has always been around. We're just learning how to identify it and how it works. It is also a recent event in human history to look for a physical or psychological illness to correlate to "bad" or abnormal behavior. But further than that, if we buy into what I'm saying here, then we have to assign some blame to legalized and available abortion for the spread of PTSD - in the mother, and in her future children. We are inflicting this on ourselves in a way unseen in history before 1974, so we can expect some never-before-seen results.

I think the increase in PTSD and other somato-emotional, social and psychological disorders is maladaptive behavior of a species that is wiping itself out. We can't survive by destroying our young - that just ain't good science, or good sense.

The blogspam was a new one on me. I have changed comments to require a log-on for the time being. It is a shame, because some people were encouraged to share their feelings when they could remain anonymous, and all the spammers do is steal whatever small comfort they could gain from that.

Thanks so much for dropping in! I hope you are well.

At 5:18 AM, Blogger Wandering Pilgrim said...

I've long suspected that there's been something going on in the last twenty or so years regarding the change we teachers are seeing in the kids we meet in our classrooms. If the bonding process is being damaged (for about 40% or so of mothers & children), that would explain a lot of things.

Kids now, generally, are so much clingier than ever before: they don't want their independence. This is a shock to anyone over 35 or 40, but it's true. As I recall, we wanted nothing more than our independence and autonomy. Not so with this generation. They cling to their parents and teachers and just won't let go (the word "barnacle" comes to mind). (g) They also have this tactic of getting attention from their parents by creating problems in the classroom or with the teacher - because it gets the parents' attention. What you've pointed to here with the interruption of the natural bonding process could well be a clue as to why things are the way they are right now.

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Demi, great comment - thank you for this important point, from the perspective of one who knows. As a teacher, you are in an excellent position to actually see what's going on with our young people.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Josephine said...

You know I can see this in my family. My own post abortive mother wouldnt look at my face. She would look at my shoulders and or close to where I was standing but never in my face. So whenever someone looked at me my eyes glazed over. I became unresponsive. I think Ive mentioned before that I was in an institution for foster care evaluation and after they told me I was extrodinarily smart that I was also a sociopath. I would never bond and would need councelling for the rest of my life just to keep from killing people or harming myself.

Now I make it a point to look at my kids. For the shorties I get down on one knee and look'em right in the eyes. And if Im rocking them to sleep as babies I watch thier face until thier eyes roll back and thier lids close. When they are talking to me I look straight at them. I dont know how well it will work but they seem to be pretty happy kids.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

Josephine--it is so sweet that you are making certain to create an emotional bond with your children.
That was so touching!

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Hello, Carrie - thank you for reading here.

I want to add another point while I'm on this subject; it really deserves its own article, but I haven't found the time to write it.

There are many social attachment disorders that may be attributed to this lack of maternal bonding at birth, and the reason is most likely neurological. I have confirmed with my sources that the oxytocin "jump start" to the infant's brain may be key to his ability to adapt socially for the rest of his life, and it is theorized as one potential cause of autism - a social attachment disorder that has been labeled an epidemic today.

Again, are we seeing more cases of autism because we have defined it, or are the neurologists' theories correct? And further, can we find a way to correct or cure these social attachment disorders by rerouting, or attempting the jump start in the anterior cingulate, later in life?

This is just one of many questions that researchers need to answer; but as long as we keep abortion at a political, rather than a medical, level, we may never know. If we start theorizing about the unborn child's neurological activity too much, someone is going to object that we are humanizing him, and threatening a woman's "right" to end the infant's life in utero.


Post a Comment

<< Home