Birthing a brave, new world

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According to Dr. Nils Bergman, how we spend the first 1000 minutes of our life determines our health and development throughout life.

How does it work?

In the first 1000 minutes of being born, our brains develop neural connections based on this choice: either the world is a safe place or an unsafe place.

If the world is safe, the brain connects the amygdala (the emotional brain) with the prefrontal cortex (the social brain) and produces oxytocin, the hormone of pleasure and love.

If the world is unsafe, the brain produces cortisol, the stress hormone.

How does the brain makes this choice?

Nils Bergman proposes kangaroo mother care (KMC) meaning continuous skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and support for the parents. Data from the senses such as the mother's body temperature, the smell of the mother's body, her heart rate, the taste of the milk tell the baby that s/he is safe.

How does this affect the mother?

When  the amygdala connects with the prefrontal lobe in the baby's brain the same connection is happening in the mother's brain.  The wiring in the mother's brain changes as well. Thus, the mother has the potential to become more intelligent, sensitive and strong. Dr. Bergman calls it FEROCITY.

There is a term for this that I have come across in my readings: the fierce mother. This process starts during labour with the releasing of oxytocin that takes place with cervical dilation. As you go through the birthing experience your body is already preparing for the next stage when the baby arrives and be able to breastfeed her/him. That is why is so important not to tamper with this process by using modern solutions such as epidurals that interfere with oxytocin production. One stage builds upon the other.

Our current society

All throughout the twentieth century, mothers and babies have been separated at the moment of birth.

Cesarean births are on the increase.

The minute you are born, nurses pull the baby out, cut the umbilical cord, check him, clean him/her and other medical practices established in hospitals. I was astonished to find out that most of these practices have no scientific evidence whatsoever.

In fact, most of the scientific evidence is not being implemented. This is part of a pattern in which discoveries are applied to other facets of society (like technology)  but they are very slow to be applied to the social sciences.

Our society is made up of people with cortisol in the brain, the hormone of aggression. This explains the current state of affairs, in which violence is rampant from movies to wars, stress levels are high, depression and suicide are common, etc.

Do you know how you were born? What happened to you?

I think it is good exercise to ask your parents, particularly your mother, about the circumstances of your birth. When I was pregnant I found out stories and circumstances around my birth I had never heard before. I thought they were very interesting in pinpointing patterns of fear and control.

What kind of society do I want to live in?

I want to live in a peaceful, harmonious society based in cooperation, dialogue and trust.

A society in which parents are supported in bringing children to this world in a safe environment.

A society in which the mothers are empowered to follow their intuition.

As mothers, we have the opportunity of changing our current world. Every time a child is born, the mother makes a choice:

Do I choose love or fear?

This is not an easy task since your brain is probably wired to feel not safe in the world, depending on how your own birth experience was.

Birthing your baby is an opportunity for healing the issues of your own birth, which invariably will come up. To face them and go beyond them.

I think it all boils down to

TRUST. To trust my body, to trust Nature, to trust that Nature knows best, to know I am going in the best direction, to trust I am getting this information for a reason

and to

LET GO of my fears, of everything I previously thought.

When I let go of fear and choose love, I am safe.

Mothers are birthing the world, a brave new world.

When I was giving birth, I had this image of pushing the world out, birthing the world. Days and months after giving birth the words "pushing for the world" came up every time I tried to describe the experience.

About Nils Bergman

Dr. Nils Bergman was born in Sweden and raised in Zimbabwe. He has worked in several hospitals and currently promotes and researches skin-to-skin contact.

I found interesting to discover that his work in skin-to-skin contact started when he was working in rural Zimbabwe and noticed the improvements of preterm newborns thanks to skin-to-skin contact. This was done due to the lack of incubators.

In western societies, money is being spent in incubators that could be better spent where it is actually needed. To this, add they are made out of plastic, aka waste.

He has several websites where you can find more information but the most interesting one for me is ninobirth.org. NINO stands for Neuroscience for Improved Neonatal Outcomes.

For those of you who would like to delve deeper in the science of it all, I found this pdf explaining the neuroscience of birth and breastfeeding.

photo credit: Spiral Galaxy M74 via photopin (license)

Would you like instant relief after birthing?

Get the Godsent After Birth Toolkit to learn 3 simple natural remedies I used that made all the difference in how I felt because of the amazing instant relief they provided. 

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