Unrecognized by the maternity care system for years, myself and others, including my colleagues, mentors and other birth workers were noting that childbirth was a fully integrated mind-body-soul experience, full of hormone release, emotions, and with deeply sacred and physical components. It was apparent that birth was designed to create ease in breastfeeding, bonding and the important attachment of MotherBaby love. Dr. Sarah Buckley’s Hormonal Physiology report was the science to back up what we had been witnessing and believed deep down – that a challenging or traumatic birth was creating more difficulties to overcome, often making it harder to breastfeed, increasing risks of depression and adjustment to parenthood.
When witnessing births that were instead supported as part of the sexual and intimate life, with providers and care that understood the very delicate hormonal physiology must be supported just as in sexual activity – not disturbed by all providers and support – these births were pleasurable, ecstatic and orgasmic.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the science and hormonal orchestration of birth, I want everyone to know that giving space for birth hormones to flow, creates a sexy -physiological birth. The less birth is disturbed, the more these hormones can flow to provide nature’s design for comfort, pain relief, and ecstasy. The new parents now have the brain chemistry and hormonal surges to move through bonding, attachment, breastfeeding and the ability to handle postpartum challenges with move ease and love.
There are always times when safety includes technology and a gentle belly-birth is needed. But even in these situations, having an awareness of the hormones allows you to ask the questions of what can be done to “close the hormonal gaps” as Dr. Buckley suggested. Some examples of helping the hormones to flow and filling the gaps when needed are to ensure skin to skin care after birth and no early separation of MotherBaby-Family. We know this in animals, as we would never take kittens away from their mother upon birth. We know that by doing so, we would disturb their bond/attachment, and animal mothers will often reject their young if that sensitive first hour is disturbed in any way.
Breastfeeding is on the continuum of our sexual and reproductive health. It’s not isolated as just postpartum feeding. Conception, gestation, labor, birth and breastfeeding all involve our sexual parts, vagina, cervix, vulva, labia, clitoris, breasts. When you see all these sacred parts listed – how can we separate birth from our bodies and into a medical event? Birth and Breastfeeding are intimate and seeing them as such – honoring the continuum – helps prepare for breastfeeding by preparing for a safe, satisfying and pleasurable birth.