Whenever a woman gives birth to a child, she remembers the hard work no more, for the joy that a child has been born into the world.
– John 16:21
Labor and birth are hard work. But pain of childbirth is subjective. Pain does not necessarily equate to suffering. Labor can evoke feelings of pleasure as well. A laboring woman who feels loved, supported and safe is able to relax and give herself to the process. Dr. Michel Odent has coined the phrase “the cocktail of love hormones” when referring to that cascade of endorphins, natural pain blockers, a woman’s body makes throughout labor and birth.In contrast, adrenaline, our emergency fight or flight hormone, can interfere with normal labor and causes pain to be felt more exquisitely.
To quote the World Health Organization (WHO) By medicalizing birth, that is by separating the woman from her own environment and surrounding her with strange people using strange machines to do strange things to her, the woman’s state of mind and body are so altered that her way of carrying through this intimate act must also be altered.
And Dr. Marsden Wagner, former director of the WHO has said, “Having a highly trained obstetrical surgeon attend a normal birth is analogous to having a pediatric surgeon babysit a healthy two year old.”
The parallels between making love and giving birth are clear, not only in terms of passion and love, but also because we need essentially the same conditions for both experiences; privacy and safety.
- Sarah Buckley-midwife