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This article in today's Guardian has really upset me

(25 Posts)
Bearcrumble Sat 18-Jun-11 10:41:36

www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jun/18/monkey-human-mother-child-oliver-james

According to a study, even short separations between mother and child in the early days and weeks cause monkeys to be more insecure and have depleted brain chemicals even 4 years later.

I just had a cry. I wish I had stayed with my DS in SCBU more - I felt so 'in the way' and like the nurses didn't want me there and that I was no help and useless. I regret so strongly only going in for an hour every four hours to do 'care'. Why didn't I stay? Why didn't I know? Why didn't I read up on all this beforehand. I knew he was most likely going to be early because we had prior warning and I was having regular scans because of IUGR (and blood pressure checks as that was rising).

Feel like shit. Feel like this explains why he is so clingy - I had thought it was because he has never been to nursery or away from me for more than a few hours with either his dad or my mum. I feel like all the good I may have done since still won't make up for the early separation.

tabulahrasa Sat 18-Jun-11 10:48:24

One hour in four isn't seperation, most newborns sleep for about three out of four hours anyway, you were there...when they're talking about shorter periods of seperation, they're talking about days and weeks, not hours

mnistooaddictive Sat 18-Jun-11 10:51:26

I know plenty of children who have been in scbu with patents visiting a few hours a day. They are all happy, well adjusted and properly attached to their parents. There is always a report in the papers to beat yourself up! Just ignore it.

chibi Sat 18-Jun-11 10:53:32

He is a numpty who cherrypicks studies (often small scale) and uses them (often inapproptiately) to confirm his central thesis - women are baaaaaad.

Misogynist wanker. I can confidently assert this even in the absence of inappropriately extrapolated 'data' from a small scale monkey study.

Bearcrumble Sat 18-Jun-11 10:54:09

Thank you smile - I don't know why it hit me so hard - I think this quote: "if a groupof infants are only briefly and occasionally separated from their mothers during the first 14 weeks of life, they are fully as insecure as youngmonkeys reared solely away from their mothers" that really got me freaking out.

tabulahrasa Sat 18-Jun-11 10:59:53

But no-one doesn't leave a baby alone for 14 weeks, I didn't stay with mine while they slept, or take them with me when I went for a bath or to the toilet, or in the kitchen while I cooked and I'd left them with their dad, granny and aunt for longer periods of time before that age as well - that didn't affect their attachment.

It doesn't make any logical sense that that wouldn't yet leaving yours in scbu for a few hours at a time would, honestly I think you're worrying about something that's not worth thinking about.

stepawayfromthebiscuits Sat 18-Jun-11 11:01:06

Ignore ignore ignore. Chibi speaks sense.

I spent the first 11 months with my son - pretty much full time - and he's as clingy as they come (and he's been to nursery etc)!

SpringHeeledJack Sat 18-Jun-11 11:04:07

I used to think OJ was great, but now every article that bears his name seems to have a central tenet of "doooooon't go to wooooooork, ladeez, staaaaaaay with baaaaaaby, you painted selfish hoors, ye"

I might be being over sensitive. That said, I have been a SAHM for donkey's, and a home educator for a few- even so he still makes me hackles rise

Bearcrumble Sat 18-Jun-11 11:05:44

Thank you all so much for speaking sense and helping me calm down. I feel a bit daft now but I was having a real fit of "OMG I have damaged my baby for life".

WillbeanChariot Sat 18-Jun-11 11:29:42

I think that mums of early babies have a default 'guilty' status- I know I feel guilty because I couldn't carry my son to term, he was IUGR too and I felt I had failed him. Something like this article comes along and it just brings those feelings up again. I think you just have to remind yourself that there's no logic to feeling guilty because you did the best you could for your child, but the feelings are normal and surface sometimes. You're not daft. We've all been there.

colditz Sat 18-Jun-11 11:36:26

Can I say "What a pile of wank"?

My friend was born at 31 weeks, she's now 31 YEARS old and is THE most balanced friend I have. Literally the only friend who has never had any neuroses, or and depressive episodes.

colditz Sat 18-Jun-11 11:37:07

Oh, and her mother was sent home until she was 37 weeks gestation. Didn't see her at all for 6 weeks because she was so tiny and fragile.

fortyplus Sat 18-Jun-11 11:37:50

Papers just want to sensationalise everything. For example - our local one had banner headline saying our town has more paedophiles than any other in our county...

...well guess what - they conveniently didn't mention the fact that it's by far the largest town in the county

turningvioletviolet Sun 19-Jun-11 21:14:43

All 3 of mine were prem and spent time in scbu - numbers 1 and 2 spent 4 weeks there and number 3 11 weeks - and in my random study, they're all perfectly ok and 'normal' children now (imo!).

Honestly i've met plenty of clingy babies in my time who have spent no time at all away from their mothers. you know, you do the best you can at the time - ds, my eldest i was there all the time, my dds, much less so as i had older children - I don't allow myself to feel guilty. I did what i could, what was best for us and our family, and i wouldn't allow Mr James to make me feel bad about that. To be frank, DD2 wouldn't be here if it wasn't for scbu - so what choice do you have?

clabsyqueen Mon 20-Jun-11 09:14:58

Bear crumble, I think your guilt is a universal mother's problem! Not a SCBU issue. I can second what everyone says about knowing lots of clingy babies who have never left their mummies chests from birth! I personally know a couple. I am currently 6 days into my SCBU adventure and would be lying if I didn't say I'm anxious about the things you describe but without the unit our little ones wouldn't even be here. We have no choice! I will be glad if my little one is still around to have her brain chemicals measured at age 4! And I'll be feeling guilty too no doubt! I really hope that these comments on here have made you feel better. I'm sure he'll grow out of his clinginess, as a teacher I see many children shed their clinginess over time.

Bearcrumble Mon 20-Jun-11 13:32:44

Good luck Clabsy - just make sure you assert yourself and stay with your baby as much as feels right for you. I regret not being there when I could have been but felt like the nurses didn't want me there (which could have been entirely in my head as I was in a right state - hormones and shock and just feeling shit generally).

Owlingate Mon 20-Jun-11 13:40:47

DC1 was prem. Spent some time away from me before 14 weeks. Was mix fed so DH often did care while I slept / showered. We even left him with MIL while we (heaven forfend) had a night out when he was only little - 6 weeks old I think. He was and is the least clingy child I have ever come across.

DC2 was born at 38 weeks. Never left my side, in sling everywhere, didn't go out till he was a lot bigger, co-slept as a tiny baby. And he is a real cling-on leg grabby scream if I can't see Mummy little sod.

I know I know the plural of anecdote is not data but for goodness' sake my anecdote is about as scientifically useful as this shitey monkey story.

It makes me so cross that pseudo science news stories about pregnancy and birth always heap blame on the mother. There was one recently about children of women with PND being more likely to have mental health problems themselves. Well fuck me next time we should all try really hard not to get PND for the sake of the children innit. FFS.

steviesmith Mon 20-Jun-11 13:48:02

We should all treat Oliver James like a toddler having a tantrum and ignore, ignore, ignore. He has to stop and go away eventually.

libelulle Mon 20-Jun-11 13:53:27

OJ is a misogynist tosser who manipulates science for maximum shock and guilt value. I refuse to read another word written by him - he talks dangerous bollocks.

And fwiw my 26 weeker ds looks happy and adjusted to me despite his horrific early experiences, though admittedly he is only 1!

Bearcrumble Mon 20-Jun-11 14:17:13

Haha Owlingate and the one about mothers who are stressed when pregnant getting babies with higher cortisol levels - ie more prone to stress themselves. I'd like to know how one stop being stressed when you know you know your placenta is crap and you're going to give birth early to a small baby?

Owlingate Mon 20-Jun-11 14:23:57

Ooh Bearcrumble yes I remember reading that one during my pregnancy after late MC after PPROM. So lets add to the stress of worrying whether my waters would break at any minute by stressing about whether my baby would be more stressed because I am stressed. Thank you! Anything fathers do or don't do that has a negative effect on babies? Thought not.

Don't get me started on sleeping on left side. Is that supposed to be helpful? How the hell can we control which side we are on when we are actually asleep? Should DP stay awake to turn me back over?

Madlizzy Mon 20-Jun-11 14:28:05

Ignore the knob. I have 12 year old triplets who are very well balanced, secure kids despite their 3 weeks in SCBU. Opinions are like arseholes - everyone has one, including Oliver James.

stillfrazzled Thu 23-Jun-11 10:53:26

DS2 spent three weeks in SCBU and is the most cheerful, placid baby I have ever met.

Also I can't remember details of the study (but unlike Oliver James I WILL let my lack of knowledge stop me basing a theory, a book and a fucking woman-bashing media campaign on it) but I'm sure there was something on babies who'd spent time in SCBU being less prone to depression years on.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 23-Jun-11 11:06:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsChemist Thu 23-Jun-11 11:28:29

OJ is a tool. FACT.

I did a study and everything. I studied what mumsnetters think and they said he was, so my hypothesis was proven.

<dons scientister cap>

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