Dispelling the Disempowering Birth Vocabulary
Before considering what makes the birth of human mammals special, we must first understand universal mammalian needs in the perinatal period. These needs are easily summarised and interpreted in the current scientific context. When giving birth, all mammals have strategies to avoid feeling observed: Privacy is one of their basic needs. At the same time, all mammals need to feel secure. For example, in a wild environment, a female cannot give birth as long as a predator is around. Physiologists easily explain that in such a situation the female releases hormones of the adrenaline family. This activation of the “fight or flight system” blocks the release of oxytocin, the key hormone in childbirth: The birth is postponed until the time when the female can feel secure. We are in a position to claim that today the priority is to “mammalianize” childbirth.