Is Bonding from Birth Important?
This is a very important question to look at! What happens if bonding doesn’t take place from the very beginning between child and mother? Are there long term neurological damages due to lack of bonding? The answer is yes. There most definitely is! Consistently responding to an infant's needs is so important as this sets the stage for the child to enter a healthy relationship with other people throughout their life! In order for a child to appropriately express their full range of emotions, bonding is essential for normal infant development.
I was born in an era in Romania where hundreds of orphans were deprived of human contact.
For the first four years of my life, I lived in an communist orphanage. Most communist orphanages in Romania were overcrowded with unwanted and unloved infants. Desperate conditions, such as malnutrition which stunted growth, caused psychological problems in the minds of lots of the kids.
Most of these orphanages became known as the “Slaughterhouses of Souls”. Caregivers really didn’t care for the children in their care. Infants could spend up to hours, even days without their diaper being changed. Sitting in a crib without any affection or attention, the young child eventually would stop screaming, begging for love and affection. Eventually they would resort to rocking back and forth, banging their head against the crib walls and totally giving up any hopes for any kind of care or affection. As the infant would grow into a toddler, he will have by now learned how best to survive in such an environment. It becomes survival of the fittest. They did not rely on anyone or anything to meet their needs! If there was food, you did what you had to do to get it, even if it meant taking it away from another child.
What is another screaming child to them? Violence amongst the children was actually encouraged by the caregivers as this cultivated an environment of fear amongst the children and gave caregivers the control they needed in the orphanages.
On the right side of my face, on my cheek, is a huge scar that I came to America with. I don’t personally remember how and when I got that scar, but I do know that physical abuse was no stranger to me. These types of beatings would leave physiological wounds within me. Rations of food for the orphans would be taken by the orphanage workers. Then the children would be left to fight over the remaining scraps of food.
Hunger, cold, beatings, sexual, physical and emotional abuse is just the scratch of the surface of what most of us Romanians had to put up with….on a daily basis.
Did anyone love us….No. Did anyone care for us…..No. Were we even noticed…..No. To them (the caregivers) I’m sure we were just yet another annoying little brat in their care whom they had to “keep eyes” on….if that.
So, why should I have hoped for anything by age 4? I was a nobody. I have survived this far by manipulating my way through. I truly believe what kept me alive and going in that orphanage was my twin sister. There is video footage where I am rocking back and forth with no hope in mind for a bite to eat, and my sister comes over with a bar in her hands and splits it with me.
I believe I am where I am at today because of her. She was a fighter! I gave up quicker than she did. Most orphans by the age of 3 months gave up any and all hope of bonding!
Love alone just wasn’t enough for me anymore.