This is a bit sketchy, but I thought science was the best place, because it's a real question, not a theoretical or moral issue...
I was once in a discussion here on A|N on abortion. Although I was agreeing with the choice of the issue, I mentioned that from what I saw, more women regretted abortion than regretted parenthood. (I wasn't trying to inflame the issue, but the all-or-nothing argument was a little threatening. In what was perhaps my own naive little way, I was still trying to protect the best interests of women.) The response I got was something to the extent of that "mythical" connection that a mother has to a child as she holds it ... does not exist. This was a long time ago, so forgive me if the story is off but it got me thinking.
From all that I've heard, this "baby connection" is sometimes entirely true. (This is based almost purely off of what I hear from parents, more particularly mothers, which is possibly the best and worst source of information on the subject.) Other times, a mother feels nothing, or even resentment-- but that is usually caused by postpartum depression and such issues, or that has been my understanding. Even though it sounds like some magical, bullshit type of phenomenon, from the "evolutionary perspective" (which I am at times, loathe to take), it makes complete sense. Babies are work. You've gotta love them. It's crucial to their survival.
Of course, we live in a time when most babies, theoretically, can be planned out or prevented if unwanted. Therefore, just as theoretically, when a woman is expecting, she's planned it and is excited, and loves the baby before he/she is even conceived. Could this account for the baby connection? Is it completely voluntary, and does it even exist?
Plenty of women, not planning to have a child, have aborted and don't look back. A baby was NOT in their best interest. The sane part of my sex does not feel guilty for using birth control. A baby is not in our interest. However, were I to get pregnant, I don't think I could help myself from naturally adoring my child (although postpartum has been seen in my family). Would this reaction, if real, be something caused by hormonal changes, evolutionary strategies, societal ideas, or would it be completely voluntary? Is it something else entirely, and have I missed the mark and should I go pick up a science textbook before shaming the human race with my offspring? (Well, screw you, sir.)
Is it purely because they're so very cute? Because I don't buy it. There are some pretty ugly babies out there. (And their mothers are apparently delusional, or in denial of this.)
Share your thoughts. I wanna hear 'em. Unless they're awful. In which case, please don't share.
Someday we'll find it... the baby connection. The lovers, the dreamers,