You're alone with your lover. The room is not too hot, not too cold. The lights are dim with a glow from the twinkle lights and a flicker from the candle. The warm scent of vanilla soothes your mind. Gentle, instrumental music flows easily in one ear and out the other. You move freely within your space with no regard to modesty, riding the rhythm of it, allowing yourself to fully open to it and receive it. Everything moves slowly and sensually despite the intense rush within you. As the experience comes to it's peak, it becomes so consuming that your mind goes completely inside of yourself, and anything happening elsewhere disappears. You yell out with reckless abandon allowing all to know the incredible surge running through you. As you descend back into reality, the euphoria stays. Locking eyes with your lover you declare, "I did it." Your words exit your body in a breath of astonished relief. You cuddle, sigh and smile that effortless smile that can only come when love is left unhindered and free. Time stands still, and nothing could be more perfect.
I'm sure you've figured out by now, we're talking about sex and birth. While sex is an act of receiving, and birth is an act of releasing, these two acts require the same hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is our love hormone, and thrives in the absence of adrenaline. Therefore, these acts require the same state of mind.
Here's how to release adrenaline and invite in oxytocin
Consider Your Birth Space
Take a moment right now. Close your eyes if that helps you connect with your mind's eye. See your birth space. If you haven't chosen one yet, chose the one that comes to mind first. Notice, are the lights bright or dim? Is there a lot of talking or other noise, or is it silent with maybe soft sounds happening? Does it smell sterile and abrupt or warm and inviting? What are you eating or drinking, if anything at all? Does it make you feel nourished or neglected?
You can do this exercise until you land on a space that feels good to you. Remember, oxytocin is the love hormone, and love is a feeling. That is why, during this exercise it's important to focus on how these things feel. Many times birthing people end up compromising even when something doesn't feel right. It's important that you listen to that feeling. Pay attention when things, people and events fill you with nourishment and support. These are the feelings you need to fill not only your birth space with, but your pregnancy and postpartum as well.
I'm a wife, mother of two, avid reader, doula, birth educator and an aspiring midwife. I grew up in Iowa, and my family and I moved to Columbus in 2019, and have decided to call it home.