As I approach my own third birth, my mind drifts back to the amazing interview I did with the incredible Dr. Sarah Buckley, during the Pregnancy Wellness & Empowering Birth Online Summit.
If you haven't heard of her before, Dr. Sarah Buckley is a world-renowned author of the internationally best-selling book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, and in the summit, she discusses how our hormones are programmed to enable us to have an empowering birth but also to instinctively care for and love our new little baby...among many other amazing benefits.
Sarah wrote an ebook (which I'd highly recommend you all read), and the opening line is: "Giving birth in ecstasy: this is our birthright and our body's intent". I asked her to explain what she meant by this. She started off by talking about how an ecstatic birth is 'Mother Nature's superb design' - it's hardwired into all mammals. Really, what follows is mindblowing. Sarah talks about how the orchestration of hormones during birth is designed to actually reward us - that's why we can get these euphoric, ecstatic experiences when the hormones in our brains and bodies are flowing optimally. The hormones that we release in our brain, switch on our pleasure and reward centres powerfully so that when we meet our baby for the first time, it's like 'oh my god this is my baby, this is the most rewarding thing I could ever encounter'. And then, every time you care for your baby, you get a 'hit' of these reward hormones which enable all of us mammals to care for and love our babies.
This deep-rooted love and caring instincts kick in automatically because of these huge peaks of hormones that occurred during labour and birth.
I love the description Dr. Sarah gives when we meet our babies for the first time as the 'Best First Date Ever'. When you see that baby first, you are totally in love and ready to care for baby, all because of the hormones released in your brain during labour and birth. It truly is an incredible system.
Not only are the hormones in the brain and body working beautifully to enable us to have an ecstatic birth, and to care for our baby immediately, they are also a very efficient system. There are 4 or 5 main hormones working in the body and brain during the labour and birthing process, one of which is oxytocin. To give you an example of their efficiency, while oxytocin is working to increase your waves of contractions and birth your baby, it's also working within the brain to switch on the instinctive mothering behaviours - the reward and pleasure centres, as well as turning on natural pain relief. It's all pretty mind-boggling, and so important to sit back and think, my goodness, when a woman is 'allowed' to labour and birth in a calm, private, safe and drug-free environment, her body and mind come together in the most incredible way to keep the human species alive and well!
If you'd like to hear more from my interview with Dr. Sarah Buckley, as well as the other 14 amazing global leaders regarding topics related to a healthy and empowering Pregnancy, Birth and journey into motherhood, you can now access all 20 videos here.
Helen Plass is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist, and Yoga Instructor, working with women and their birthing partners to achieve a comfortable, healthy & happy journey into Pregnancy, birth and Motherhood. She is known for her very practical & non-judgmental approach to pregnancy and the crazy times of motherhood. Check out all her communication at NurtureMamas.com, and if you are in Ireland, her local business MumandBaby.ie