A “missed connection”…in the birthing room. (Photo by Getty Images)
Say it ain’t so! If a Craigslist Missed Connections ad posted out of Jacksonville, NC is to be believed, a brand new dad hit the internet in search of the pretty labor-and-delivery nurse that helped his wife give birth to their baby.
“This is probably a long shot but you were the nurse taking care of my wife while she was having our baby,” the ad reads. “I enjoyed our eye contact and would really like to talk to you more. Maybe tomorrow I will be there most of the day and I will bump in to you in the hall way or see you at the nurse station.”
This can’t be real, right? Surely, men must bond with their newborn babies — at least enough to control attraction impulses around any nurses delivering said children into the world? We’re hoping for hoax, and did a little digging.
There’s not a ton of research on how delivery-room dads bond with babies; many more studies have looked into the bonding between mother and child after birth. However, Ruth Feldman, a professor of psychology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, sought to analyze the reactions of post-birth dads back for a 2010 study published in Biological Psychiatry.
Feldman measured oxytocin levels of 80 sets of parents, and found both mothers and fathers had comparable levels of this key chemical, sometimes called “the cuddle hormone,” right after delivery. Oxytocin levels were also higher in partners as opposed to single men and women, indicating the shared task of caring for a newborn together helps both parents bond. So, in other words: married or coupled-up moms and dads are pretty in tune with each other.
Spikes in oxytocin promote feelings of calmness, connectedness and trust, along with actions like touching, holding, hugging and attention – a sort of loving loop that holds parents and children together. This is great, because research shows children who bond with parents as an infant are happier and less troubled as they grow.
Oxytocin’s effect on the brain also seems to run counter to the implications of the Jacksonville Craigslist ad. Dads in the delivery room are usually pretty focused in on mom and baby. “This seems to be evolution’s way of helping men turn into good parents as soon as they have a baby,” Feldman told The Daily Mail.
There are always exceptions to the rule, though, so of course, this gross Craigslist fail could be legitimate. Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, co-director of The PUR Clinic and a specialist on issues relating to men’s health, says a hormone other than oxytocin might be to blame for this guy’s wild post.
“Research has also shown testosterone declines in men before their spouse gives birth,” Dr. Brahmbhatt told Yahoo health. “In this case, he may have a hormonal imbalance, and that increased testosterone might lead to a higher libido.”
And if hormones aren’t prompting his behavior, Dr. Brahmbhatt says there might be a psycho-social aspect in play. “A lot of men go through sympathetic pregnancies, and that heightened emotional state might lead them to feel marginalized,” he says, explaining that dads can occasionally feel like they’re no longer needed as the labor approaches.
However, more than likely (and more often than not), dad is feeling a pull toward mom and baby in the delivery room — not unsuspecting nurses. Phew.
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