Baby Number Two — Chapter 4

IMG_0219Our new home had what could only be described as a professionally decorated nursery. The room had a soft pale beige, almost white, carpet with an oversized under padding. It had this luxurious feel when you walked across it and the added benefit of concealing any squeaky boards or any sound whatsoever.

There were two windows that both had metal horizontal pale blue blinds. This meant that you could essentially make the room completely dark by closing them. There were also decorative valences over the windows that were a peach colour. These colours were all found on the wallpaper, which was mainly white but was a high quality; think easily cleaned, paper that had a baby motif. This paper was accented by a border that was hung stylishly a foot or so down from the ceiling. The baseboards and all of the trim had been painted in a glossy white paint that just pulled the whole room together.

I already owned a white crib and a change table that had been leant to me by a professor that I did research for. The change table had been a laboratory bench at the University of Toronto and when they took out the old equipment, this man’s mother had acquired one of the benches. The bench had been fitted with a piece of foam and a plastic covering and was sturdy and ideal for a change table. There was a spot where the chair would have gone, where the diaper pail sat and a drawer and a cabinet on the other side. It had been painted white and looked like it was meant to match the room.

The room had obviously been decorated before the sex of the baby had been determined. It was fantastic to have such a nice room all ready for my baby. The only thing now that I needed was the baby!

Labour began while I was in a Dancefit class on a Friday morning. I remember having the feeling of joy wash over me. My due date had been for that weekend, so from my point of view, I was right on time. Early contractions do not demand much of your attention so it was easy to smile as I felt a contraction and then keep dancing. I felt like dancing anyhow.

The labour was strong and regular so I called the midwife to let her know. As an experienced mother I could tell her that her presence was not needed right away so she told me that she would come over in the morning, unless I needed her that night. This was fine by me.

Then a funny thing happened. I laid down to go to bed and the contractions stopped completely. This is a devastating feeling, but I let it go. I checked-in on the baby and all was well. When the midwife arrived the next day she confirmed that I was indeed in labour and had started to progress. In simple terms, you open up and then push the baby out. I was in the process of opening up. The contractions had begun again in the morning, so I was still progressing. I told her about them stopping and she did not seem too concerned about it.

After she left, they stopped again. Bob and I had read all of the ways that you are supposed to help to bring on labour, which I’m certain has nothing to do with actually starting labour, it is just that enough people try these things at the end of their pregnancies and so even though the nine months of pregnancy should get credit for the beginning of labour, many other things do.

With this in mind, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which was, quite frankly, exhausting and uncomfortable. My labour started up again but not in earnest. I was having good, strong contractions but they were several minutes apart and simply not getting closer and closer together as I had expected. Then it stopped again.

In tears, I called the primary midwife that I had for my first birth. I had more of a connection with this woman and my current midwife had done nothing to allay my fears about this starting and stopping. She told me that I had a very large baby. She said that the body knows that it is going to have to do extra work to get the baby out so it takes a rest. The reason that I was unfamiliar with this fact was that in modern medicine, if your labour does not progress, they induce you.

So, I was instructed to get a lot of rest, eat well and be patient. Speaking with this woman helped a lot but I had no idea that it would take another two days! My second daughter was born on the Tuesday morning after four days of off and on labour and yes she was large—an even 10 pounds.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Rainbows and Sunrises

www.wendypowell.ca

The Chemistry of Connection

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679/duckrescue404_679621c.jpg
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679

We have all laughed at videos of little ducklings following inappropriate things around. Ducks and geese both imprint on the first moving object, that is larger than they are, that they see upon hatching. Imprinting is designed to ensure survival since the hatchling must rely on its mother for both food and protection.

Oxytocin is responsible for this behaviour. It might be alarming for you to know that oxytocin plays a similar role in bonding in humans. While siginificantly fewer people follow someone around all of the time, bonding is just as important in human social interactions and survival of the species as it is to the duckling.

Oxytocin, which is released in response to many social activities, is one of a cocktail of chemicals that are released when people interact with one another. Opioids, norepinephrine, vasopression and likely more, all seem to play a role.

Opioids that are released during relationships may be responsible for how awful we feel during a break up. We become addicted to them, in the same way that we become addicted to taking drugs, and consequently feel the same withdrawal and the associated pain when the relationship ends.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, is instrumental in the formation of social attachments and the reduction of fear, especially fear resulting from social interactions. Simply being with other people can create a certain amount of bonding, even if it is just a gathering. This mild effect may be totally offset by how much you dislike the people, however.

The more intimate the interaction, the more oxytocin is produced and it is produced in large quantities during childbirth, breastfeeding and coitus. It is not difficult to see how bonding can be very valuable during these activities ensuring a pair is created. This is in the best interest of the survival of our species since babies with loving parents are the most likely to thrive.

There are however, people that are not as affected by oxytocin and their personalities are associated with callous-unemotional traits. So, in a relationship with say, a narcissist, you get a hit of oxytocin and further bond and they do not have the same hormonal response. This immediately tips the power into their favour. They are not as bonded as you are.

Ironically, even in a bad relationship, the oxytocin that is produced, makes you feel “safer” even if you are not actually safer. In addition to that, oxytocin is responsible for the feeling that “our group is better than their group” and supports the practise of excluding others. This double wammy makes it very difficult for a person to be rational when they have pair bonded with an unfavourable person. Simply put, they feel safer with this person and they feel separate from other groups of people.

Threatening situations, even those created by your partner, may encourage the return to a secure base and the strengthening of social bonds, which are, provided by your partner. So, a vicious cycle ensues. You feel threatened and then you form a tighter bond with the person threatening you. We have all seen someone that chooses to stay with someone that is not good to them. It is nice to know that it is not just a lack of judgement.

There are two take away messages here. First, you should make sure that you really like someone before you become intimate with them because the hormones that you produce during intimate contact can make sober thought difficult. The second is that if we find ourselves in these terrible relationships, perhaps with a narcissist for instance, we should be gentle with ourselves. Our biology, in these cases, is working against our greater good, not unlike the duckling imprinting on a predator.

My Newest Book, The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

The Chemistry of Connection

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679/duckrescue404_679621c.jpg
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00679

We have all laughed at videos of little ducklings following inappropriate things around. Ducks and geese both imprint on the first moving object, that is larger than they are, that they see upon hatching. Imprinting is designed to ensure survival since the hatchling must rely on its mother for both food and protection.

Oxytocin is responsible for this behaviour. It might be alarming for you to know that oxytocin plays a similar role in bonding in humans. While siginificantly fewer people follow someone around all of the time, bonding is just as important in human social interactions and survival of the species as it is to the duckling.

Oxytocin, which is released in response to many social activities, is one of a cocktail of chemicals that are released when people interact with one another. Opioids, norepinephrine, vasopression and likely more, all seem to play a role.

Opioids that are released during relationships may be responsible for how awful we feel during a break up. We become addicted to them, in the same way that we become addicted to taking drugs, and consequently feel the same withdrawal and the associated pain when the relationship ends.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, is instrumental in the formation of social attachments and the reduction of fear, especially fear resulting from social interactions. Simply being with other people can create a certain amount of bonding, even if it is just a gathering. This mild effect may be totally offset by how much you dislike the people, however.

The more intimate the interaction, the more oxytocin is produced and it is produced in large quantities during childbirth, breastfeeding and coitus. It is not difficult to see how bonding can be very valuable during these activities ensuring a pair is created. This is in the best interest of the survival of our species since babies with loving parents are the most likely to thrive.

There are however, people that are not as affected by oxytocin and their personalities are associated with callous-unemotional traits. So, in a relationship with say, a narcissist, you get a hit of oxytocin and further bond and they do not have the same hormonal response. This immediately tips the power into their favour. They are not as bonded as you are.

Ironically, even in a bad relationship, the oxytocin that is produced, makes you feel “safer” even if you are not actually safer. In addition to that, oxytocin is responsible for the feeling that “our group is better than their group” and supports the practise of excluding others. This double wammy makes it very difficult for a person to be rational when they have pair bonded with an unfavourable person. Simply put, they feel safer with this person and they feel separate from other groups of people.

Threatening situations, even those created by your partner, may encourage the return to a secure base and the strengthening of social bonds, which are, provided by your partner. So, a vicious cycle ensues. You feel threatened and then you form a tighter bond with the person threatening you. We have all seen someone that chooses to stay with someone that is not good to them. It is nice to know that it is not just a lack of judgement.

There are two take away messages here. First, you should make sure that you really like someone before you become intimate with them because the hormones that you produce during intimate contact can make sober thought difficult. The second is that if we find ourselves in these terrible relationships, perhaps with a narcissist for instance, we should be gentle with ourselves. Our biology, in these cases, is working against our greater good, not unlike the duckling imprinting on a predator.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Baby Number Two — Chapter 4

IMG_0219Our new home had what could only be described as a professionally decorated nursery. The room had a soft pale beige, almost white, carpet with an oversized under padding. It had this luxurious feel when you walked across it and the added benefit of concealing any squeaky boards or any sound whatsoever.

There were two windows that both had metal horizontal pale blue blinds. This meant that you could essentially make the room completely dark by closing them. There were also decorative valences over the windows that were a peach colour. These colours were all found on the wallpaper, which was mainly white but was a high quality; think easily cleaned, paper that had a baby motif. This paper was accented by a border that was hung stylishly a foot or so down from the ceiling. The baseboards and all of the trim had been painted in a glossy white paint that just pulled the whole room together.

I already owned a white crib and a change table that had been leant to me by a professor that I did research for. The change table had been a laboratory bench at the University of Toronto and when they took out the old equipment, this man’s mother had acquired one of the benches. The bench had been fitted with a piece of foam and a plastic covering and was sturdy and ideal for a change table. There was a spot where the chair would have gone, where the diaper pail sat and a drawer and a cabinet on the other side. It had been painted white and looked like it was meant to match the room.

The room had obviously been decorated before the sex of the baby had been determined. It was fantastic to have such a nice room all ready for my baby. The only thing now that I needed was the baby!

Labour began while I was in a Dancefit class on a Friday morning. I remember having the feeling of joy wash over me. My due date had been for that weekend, so from my point of view, I was right on time. Early contractions do not demand much of your attention so it was easy to smile as I felt a contraction and then keep dancing. I felt like dancing anyhow.

The labour was strong and regular so I called the midwife to let her know. As an experienced mother I could tell her that her presence was not needed right away so she told me that she would come over in the morning, unless I needed her that night. This was fine by me.

Then a funny thing happened. I laid down to go to bed and the contractions stopped completely. This is a devastating feeling, but I let it go. I checked-in on the baby and all was well. When the midwife arrived the next day she confirmed that I was indeed in labour and had started to progress. In simple terms, you open up and then push the baby out. I was in the process of opening up. The contractions had begun again in the morning, so I was still progressing. I told her about them stopping and she did not seem too concerned about it.

After she left, they stopped again. Bob and I had read all of the ways that you are supposed to help to bring on labour, which I’m certain has nothing to do with actually starting labour, it is just that enough people try these things at the end of their pregnancies and so even though the nine months of pregnancy should get credit for the beginning of labour, many other things do.

With this in mind, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which was, quite frankly, exhausting and uncomfortable. My labour started up again but not in earnest. I was having good, strong contractions but they were several minutes apart and simply not getting closer and closer together as I had expected. Then it stopped again.

In tears, I called the primary midwife that I had for my first birth. I had more of a connection with this woman and my current midwife had done nothing to allay my fears about this starting and stopping. She told me that I had a very large baby. She said that the body knows that it is going to have to do extra work to get the baby out so it takes a rest. The reason that I was unfamiliar with this fact was that in modern medicine, if your labour does not progress, they induce you.

So, I was instructed to get a lot of rest, eat well and be patient. Speaking with this woman helped a lot but I had no idea that it would take another two days! My second daughter was born on the Tuesday morning after four days of off and on labour and yes she was large—an even 10 pounds.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Rainbows and Sunrises

www.wendypowell.ca