One of the biggest areas of concern for any “parent-to-be” has got to be “what if my baby and I don’t bond?” It’s a scary thought. We all have this image of a perfect, close family in our minds and unfortunately, this isn’t always a reality for everyone. Bonding with your child takes time and effort. And yes, this is me, the one without a child, telling you, the one with two or three kids, that you need to put the effort in and spend quality time with your kids if you want that bond to remain there!
The reality of adoption is that you have to work extra hard at the bonding process, because you are missing out on the first few months of your child’s life and he is being cared for by other people who he may form an attachment to. This is a scary reality, and one you need to be prepared to face.
When we first arrived on this course, we really weren’t sure what to expect. When telling people that we had to attend it, the reactions we got weren’t always positive ones. Now, sitting through the last session, I found myself wishing for more time to learn. Each session had it’s own unique effect on me, all of which were so valuable to me. Each topic discussed opened my eyes to new ideas and inspired me hugely for the journey ahead of us. Needless to say, “bonding” was a topic I was very excited to learn about!
The practicality of this session was so inspiring! We were given a list (those who know me know my love for lists!) of practical ways of bonding better with our new baby.
Throughout a child’s life they experience various stages of “attachment”. Good signs to look out for are smiling, eye contact, preoccupation with the parents face and making happy noises. Even stranger anxiety and seperation anxiety are signs that a strong attachment has formed. By the age of 36 months, the foundations of attachment are cemented. The scary thing is that a child with attachment issues can be identified through three behavioural patterns in common with serial killers: cruelty to animals, bed-wetting and fire setting.
I was really intrigued by one section of this chapter – the various types of attachment and how to identify them. Here’s a section straight out of the course book. Have a look at which type of attachment you could fall into:
- Secure Attachment
People who secure in themselves, in their relationships and view their partners in a positive light.
- Anxious Ambevolent
People who try their utmost to make other happy and feel guilty if it doesn’t work out that way. They crave a lot of intimacy and approval. The are emotional expressive and can be very impulsive. These people struggle to say no to any request. They worry a lot.
- Anxious Avoidant
This person struggles with commitment. They feel self-sufficient and feel very vulnerable in close relationships. They suppress emotions and distance themselves if they feel rejected. They do not seek intimacy in close relationships and are viewed as very independent.
These people often have very mixed feelings about relationships and feel very ambivalent about people in their lives. They experience strong conflicting emotions about their partners and parents. They often have a lot of unresolved trauma that they are still dealing with and this can keep them preoccupied in a relationship.
These people will attach to absolutely anyone because they have such a huge need for attention and approval. A person with this type of attachment experience is the most vulnerable to sexual abuse.
It’s incredibly daunting to think that the way you form an attachment with your child can affect them in such a huge way when they are an adult. The task we have ahead of us is a huge one!
For those of you in the same boat as us, here’s a list of helpful bonding and attachment techniques:
- Be sensitive and responsive to his needs
- Wear baby in a Kango pouch on the front
- Massage baby
- Make eye contact as much as you can
- Take skin to skin naps
- Put in the stroller facing you, if possible
- Try delay any medical procedures that may be necessary
- Get into a predictable routine
- Bath with baby
- Rock him and dance with him
- Limit childcare as much as possible
After a really encouraging, informative session, we ended our course and headed back home excited that we were now through the screening and preparation process.