Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher and Doula in Los Angeles

Nurturing Joyous Life

Emily Herakovich: Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator and Ayurvedic Consultant in Los Angeles

HORMONES!

We sometimes forgot that our bodies are not just made of physical mass. We think of our selves as walking, talking, moving, originating from the physicality of our bodies. But, actually the "action of life" is not physical, it's physiological. We came once, from nothing. Not literally from nothing, but from a physical perspective (from what we can physically see), we did sort of just appear. And by "we", I mean life. I mean bacteria, I mean cells, I mean the basic physical component of life.

Our physical bodies, in fact, came last. First it was a mix of very strong forces and those strong forces created a variety of separate strong, but not quite as strong forces. We call this energy, or emotions, or even circulation. And we forget that beneath all of that, at the first point of life, some chemical (or energetic) interaction had to occur to create the force of dense mass: hormones! 

Sound all too over your head or like a science class you're not that interested in? Well, you're right! That's not the point. The point is that we are made of hormones. Life is hormones. The hormones create emotions and thought, directing us toward the next physical action, helping us through the present one. 

This is an important concept to consider in childbirth. It is, in fact, the hormones that create the baby. Both in the encouragement of intercourse, but more importantly in the growing of the baby. And when you get to labor, it's a hormone release that initiates it, it's a continuous flow of the right hormones that keep it going, and it's a huge surge of them that delivery the baby into the world. When the baby comes, it's a certain mix of hormones that maintains the mothers interest in the child. If not for this unique movement of chemical reactions (mainly oxytocin) in the body, humans would cease to exist. 

The thing is, because hormones are so powerful, we have to make sure that we are producing the right ones. Mostly the control of that comes from environment and this is why the struggle for "natural" birth is so strong. Long ago, we all used to deliver babies at home. Doctors traveled to patients; not patients to doctors. We controlled the setting in the very place we were most comfortable in. Now, most of us travel to our delivery location. As a result, she enters an unfamiliar environment - one that she has no control over, that is stripped of any comforting surroundings, and that is nothing like her usual everyday environment. So, her body produces cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) as a physiological response to her immediate situation.

Sometimes in our physical reality, we forgot that a woman must be able to get herself into a state where she is producing oxytocin to have her baby on her own with her own body. Otherwise, she requires the assistance of a medical team to elicit that state in her body. She must make an adjustment in her physiological structure and our understanding an awareness to this need makes all the difference in our treatment of her situation and ultimately, her life.