Can you picture THIS labor?
You and your partner are alone in the room. Your doula has stepped out to give you a little private time. The lights are low. There's music quietly playing in the background. You're laboring and listening to your body beautifully as each wave comes and then goes. Your partner looks at you, sees how hard you are working, and tells you how amazing you are. You hug. You put your head on their shoulder and slowly dance to the music. In this moment, everything melts away. In this moment, there is nothing and no one else but the two of you. You kiss. You tell each other I love you and you labor on.
I love encouraging these bonding moments. It's important to find time for love in labor. I feel that we are almost never as open and vulnerable as we are throughout the process of bringing a child into the world. Feeling a sense of calm, security, and well-being is the best thing for those in labor. The hormone oxytocin plays a big part in these feelings and this process. Oxytocin can decrease the levels of stress hormones in your body, decrease your sensitivity to pain, lower your blood pressure, and promotes bonding and a sense of well being. This is important for not only those in labor but also new parents and their babies.
You can raise your levels of oxytocin by hugging, hand holding, and kissing. Having moments like those I described above can play an important role. There is plenty of opportunity for this during your labor. I especially think that your time in the shower and/or tub are great for this.
Your body will also receive a big surge of oxytocin after your baby is born. The biggest in your lifetime. This helps promote bonding between you and your baby. This will also happen during breastfeeding, allowing the relationship between you to strengthen.
So, turn down the lights, keep your partner close, make some time for love in labor.
Cristina Evans is a Mother of 3, Wife, & Birth Doula