Human Values in Birth: The Power of Love
The power of love
A midwife: As a midwife, I have always regarded birth as sacred. I have always kept in mind the spirit that was coming through as I attended women in birth. And what is so wonderful is that spirit can be communicated with on a level where words do not exist, so it has always been possible for me to know how these beings were doing in the absence of technology or even in spite of it.
While birthing my own son, my connection with his spirit was so strong… It’s obvious we were connected physically, but the spiritual connection was so intense and so pure, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was like a beautiful dance breathing him down and out while he did his part moving down and flexing his head. I told him what he needed to do and the birth unfolded in utter perfection of that communication. In that moment, you could see the magical circle of two people existing only for each other.1
A mother: I believe that birth should be an experience that makes you forget your name (and hopefully conception was too!) I have always dreamed of the birth experience filled with love – the deepest, truest love that requires no words: that, when the time of silence passes, all you can say is “WOW!”2
A midwife from the Oneida nation in Wisconsin expressed the power of love this way:
It’s just like when God enters you. You shake because the power is so enormous...that’s usually when the woman says, “I can’t do it.” Then you know the baby is going to come. As soon as the woman lets go of her control, God comes in: the Power and the Spirit comes in birth…I think as midwives we’re honored with that opportunity to be present when that happens.
Love is our Truth
The intensity of love goes beyond what words can express. Love is a human value. Its power has the characteristic of attraction. Newborn babies are full of innocence and love. We can’t stop looking at them, feeling their soft skin, and looking into their eyes. The experience of love at birth opens us up to a power greater than any force a human can know and therefore gives us the opportunity to elevate our consciousness. Experiencing this love is the gift of birth.
This is not any ordinary Love; it is the Love that governs the universe, that keeps the earth spinning through space in our Milky Way galaxy, that causes plants to grow so we have food to eat, that brings water for us to drink, and that brings new souls into the world.
Truth is the cornerstone and is synonymous with Love because our infallible Truth is that we are Love and Love is our Truth. How do we know this? As oxytocin, the hormone of love, is found in every major system of our body, we can say that we are beings of love. When we feel loved, we feel peaceful. We feel respected. We feel safe. The heart beats more slowly, the pulse is slower, our breathing is slower and we feel in balance. We are happier. We sleep better. We are healthier and labor progresses. A mother in labor has more confidence when she feels safe, respected, and loved.
When we are fearful, we have increased heart rate and pulse; we feel a need to protect ourselves as we do not feel safe. Labor does not progress as well. We breathe faster and our body feels out of balance. When the body is out of balance over a period of time, our well-being and health may be affected. This is not a natural state, it is not being who we really are.
Love and protection
Inherent in the power of love, is the power of protection. Just as love is powerful beyond our wildest imagination, so is the intensity of protection. As Michel Odent MD says, “If you take a baby monkey away from her mother, she will try to kill you.”
One woman expressed her powerful feeling of protection at her birth this way.
“When my second daughter was born, she had to be hospitalized for an ABO blood incompatibility. I told the nurses that I was breastfeeding her. They took her from me and I waited patiently. After a half hour I started asking where she was. They told me that they were working on her. They said I should wait, but I couldn’t. I started walking around looking for her. I heard a baby crying and searched but couldn’t find her. Finally, someone told me she was down in intensive care. I ran down, only to find that the nurse was pinching her feet, trying to wake her up so that they could feed her sugar water. I was mad and came into the room and took her. They said I couldn’t have her, but I said I was going to nurse her. The doctor came in and let me stay with her by her incubator. I had to keep a blindfold on her eyes to protect them from the bilirubin lights, but I was allowed to take her out to feed her, and I was allowed to stroke her back and arms and could talk and sing to her.3
When born, we enter a world of duality, a world of opposites. This means that for example, we would not be able to understand hot without cold, day without night, pleasure without pain or love without fear. Love and fear are examples of this duality. This is important to know because:
We cannot access love and fear simultaneously in the human body:
we are in either one or the other.
Most moms about to give birth, experience some degree of fear. Short lived acute fear helps to protect us but it is longer term chronic fear that is harmful as it produces stress hormones. What are pregnant and laboring mothers afraid of? Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural speech suggests our true fear.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others
The most important question all members of a birth team need to ask themselves is:
“What can I do to keep the oxytocin flowing?”
Oxytocin is known as the “love” hormone and is what helps to establish labor in birth. Where we place our attention, we place our energy. Saying, “I am love,” sends a message to the body to secrete love hormones. The entire body responds by feeling love. On the other hand, fear has a paralyzing and guarding effect, making it more difficult for a mother in labor to have the confidence to open her body to give birth.
Love versus Fear
Love is strong. Fear is weak.
Love is power. Fear is tension.
Love frees. Fear paralyzes.
Fear holds us back- the body tightens and guards (as in being fearful of a strong labor contraction) keeping labor from progressing well, keeping us from focusing on the contraction.
Love helps us let go of fear and allows labor to progress. Love brings freedom moving babies from the womb to the outside world and beyond labor.
With love, there is peace. Without love there is fear.
Love is our natural state. Fear is an unnatural state.
Love is what naturally brings a baby into the world. Fear encourages the use of medical procedures and obstetrical drugs in birth even when not required.
Birth is sacred – Birth is love.
So which one do you choose in your births and in life? Try saying, “I am fear,” and see how it feels in your body. Now say, “I am Love.” Note how this feels in your body. Which one resonates with you? “I am Love,” likely feels better because that is who we are. It is our Truth.
“I am Love,” - three words. It is that simple. It is a positive thought pattern also called an affirmation. It obeys the three rules of any affirmation: first person singular, present tense, and all words positive. Affirmations are most effective when they are short. Because they carry an energy, they always work, though we don’t know exactly how or when, but we can be sure there will be a reaction. This requires patience, another human value and one that needs more respect in birth.
Repetition is key, so saying “I am love,” over and over again, writing it down ten times, putting up notes on the fridge or on the steering wheel of your car, anywhere that you will see it often, serves to strengthen the energy in the words. You can even breathe in the positive energy of love with every breath, and breathe out any negative thoughts during waking hours. It is one of the most important affirmations a birthing mother or anyone on her health team can say because the inherent power in it has an impact on all decisions, the birthing environment, and helps to keep the oxytocin flowing during labor.
The practice of human values builds confidence in birth and in life. When we are reminded over and over again that our bodies know how to give birth, we wake up from a long “sleep” as if we have forgotten our true nature. Saying, “I am love,” we begin to remember that we are strong and capable and begin to live our lives with more confidence. We feel empowered and can say “I have trust and faith in my body. My body knows how to give birth. I can do this because I AM LOVE.
Our thoughts produce an immediate physiological response. For example, imagine just now you are sucking on a juicy lemon and feel the immediate increase of saliva in your mouth. The mindset of a birthing mother before she gives birth, matters. She has already programmed her body with her mind regarding how she visualizes her upcoming birth. Practicing the affirmation “I am love,” integrates the spirit with the mind and body. Birth is an integration of mind, body, and spirit.
Knowing our Truth, that we are beings of love, makes a huge difference in the mind of a birthing mother because decisions made out of love have more positive consequences than those made out of fear. Midwives can encourage their clients to practice saying the affirmation “I am love,” and explain how this can be helpful in their births. Saying, “I am love,” is like waking up to who we really are, giving us purpose and direction in birth and in life.
Wake up my dearest friend!
Life is waiting for you now.
You’ve been sleeping all too long.
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up my dearest friend.
Take a look around yourself.
The energy of love is everywhere.
Choose to see it now.
Wake up! Wake up!4
- Daub, Cathy, Birthing in the Spirit. BirthWorks Press, 2007, Quote by Kristine Lauria, midwife, p.236-37.
- Ibid. Quote by Nikie Caps, p. 38
- Ibid. Quote by Heidi Kucera p. 276.
- From Ginnungagap, a Musical from Denmark, drawing inspiration from Norse Mythology