These interesting facts come from Louann Brizendine's book, The Female Brain:
- "Progesterone spikes from ten to a hundred times its normal level during the first two to four months of pregnancy, and the brain becomes marinated in this hormone, whose sedating effects are similar to those of the drug Valium." This helps protect against the stress hormones that are also being produced in large quantities in the body. (p. 99)
- During pregnancy, the size and structure of a woman's brain are changing too. Her brain actually shrinks. No, she is not losing brain cells. Scientists believe that this is to make room for the restructuring. Some parts of her brain get larger and others get smaller. You will be happy to note that this gradually returns to normal by 6 months after birth. (p. 100)
- "For the human mother the lovely smells of her newborn's head, skin, poop, spit up, breast milk, and other bodily fluids that have washed over her during the first few days will become chemically imprinted on her brain and she will be able to pick out her own baby's smell above all others with about 90 percent accuracy. This goes for her baby's cry and body movements, too." (p. 102)
- "Mother's may have better spatial memory than females who haven't given birth, and they may be more flexible, adaptive and courageous.... Female rats, for example that have had at least one litter are bolder, have less activity in the fear centers of their brains, do better on maze tests because they are better at remembering and are up to five times more efficient in catching prey. These changes last a lifetime, researchers have found, and human mothers may share them. This transformation holds true even for adoptive mothers. As long as you're in continuous physical contact with the child, your brain will release oxytocin and from the circuits needed to make and maintain the mommy brain."(p. 103)
- Mother love looks a lot like romantic love on a brain scan.
- Breastfeeding is better than cocaine-- In one study mother rats were given the choice between pressing a bar to get a squirt of cocaine or another to have their baby rat suck their nipples. You guessed it. Breastfeeding. It stimulates dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin in the mother's brain. No wonder women get depressed when their babies wean.
- Spiritual experiences stimulate the brain in a unique way, because they cause a person to feel elated and also peaceful. Though these are both positive feelings, neurologically they do opposite things. One is an upper, the other is a downer. The authors of the book note that it is very rare to have an experience that both arouses and also calms. (p. 75)
As far as I know, no drug can replicate that same brain activity or feeling of a spiritual experience. I don't think even orgasm does that, though some people compare ecstasy and orgasm. There is, of course, always the happy possibility that orgasm may be accompanied with a spiritual experience. But for the purpose of birth, ecstatic birth is possible for everyone, whether or not it is orgasmic, because birth is spiritual--we know that pregnancy and birth were divinely appointed. All you have to do is open yourself to His Spirit. Of course, that then means you may then have to do whatever He inspires you to do--like banishing fear, learning to surrender, reading our book when it comes out (hee hee) and whatever else, but I have found that is always worth it.