From time to time in this blog I attempt to write a personal letter to my readers. Many readers have never met me in person, and I don't know you. However, our common interest in midwifery and anything that touches on women's reproductive lives gives me the opportunity to use a broad range of topics in writing to you.
The wonder and beauty of human love shared by a woman and her man, are in my mind, founded on the creation story in Genesis 1. God created human kind “in our image, according to our likeness”; “in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them ... God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
"Indeed, it was very good" the way our bodies, male and female, were created. The workings of the male-female creature, made wonderfully in God’s image and likeness, are indeed very good.
It [the way our bodies work together as woman and man] is very good whether we [intellectually] understand the processes or not. It is very good because it has been very good from the start, and we have a deep intuitive knowing that it is very good.
This separation of intuitive ‘knowing’ from intellectual ‘learning’ fits with my understanding of normal, physiological childbirth and nurture of a baby. (I use the word ‘physiological’, to differentiate from normal meaning ‘usual’, which is often very far from the normal, natural process.)
Intuitive, or maieutic, knowing is influenced by the amazingly sensitive hormonal states within our bodies, and is not dependent on theoretical understanding of what's going on at the time. The intellectual ‘learning’, achieved through more didactic processes involving teachers/writers and students/readers, is a particularly human characteristic. Other creatures who share similar physiology do not seem to share our need, or capacity, to understand why, and how.
Although there are aspects of the whole loving – childbearing – child nurture spectrum that our minds are able to investigate and delve into, I believe that the unique opportunity that the creator has given us is that we can experience something that is VERY good best without seeking to manage, control, or even understand it.
I see this principle being worked out many times when a mother who has given birth to her child is transported into a relationship of deep love for that child. Science calls it maternal instinct, and tells us that the primal parts of the mother’s brain are able to assert themselves, while the neocortex, or ‘new’ brain, is unstimulated.
That makes sense, and it reminds me that “indeed, it was very good.” The hormonal interactions of the normal loving – childbearing – nurture activities are “very good”. And when, as happens in these activities, there is a climax – a peak of the loving hormones, and we experience an altered state of consciousness with a huge rush of excitement, pain, wonder and amazement that we had not expected and that floods our being: indeed, that’s very good.
I don’t know if there is an ideal way for a couple to enjoy their oneness. I think it’s best not to seek that knowledge from an intellectual perspective. Each couple has the opportunity, in the privacy of their own relationship, to seek deeper and more enjoyable sexual intimacy. There is something reflecting the image and likeness of God in each of us that is, indeed, very good.