Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is perfected and perpetuated in the furnace of marriage, and then passed on to our children, with often miraculous results.
David and Kate Ogg love each other. Some time ago, Kate delivered premature twins at a Sydney hospital. One of the twins died, and the doctor handed them the dead baby, to say goodbye to him.
David & Kate were heartbroken. To quote from the story at the time, which appears in full in New Dads:
“Having given up on a miracle, Mrs Ogg unwrapped the baby from his blanket and held him against her skin. And then an extraordinary thing happened.
After two hours of being hugged, touched and spoken to by his mother, the little boy began showing signs of life.
At first, it was just a gasp for air that was dismissed by doctors as a reflex action.
But then the startled mother fed him a little breast milk on her finger and he started breathing normally.
‘I thought, “Oh my God, what’s going on”,’ said Mrs Ogg.
‘A short time later he opened his eyes. It was a miracle. Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger.
‘He opened his eyes and moved his head from side to side. The doctor kept shaking his head saying, “I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it”.’
It is interesting to note, as can be seen from the photos in the video, that both David and Kate held their son and spoke words of love to their baby. Yes, it was a mother’s love that was featured in all the news stories, but a father’s love was also there, along with a few prayers I’m sure.
In the story featured in the Healthy House Institute, titled the ‘Power of Love – Touching Others is Good for Us’ it shows how hugs and cuddles can have long-term effects.
‘How often do you hug? Do you like to sit close and hold each other’s hands? Recent research shows it’s good for your health. Between loving partners, between parents and children, or even between close friends, physical affection can help the brain, the heart and other body systems you might never have imagined.
For centuries, artists have examined love through poetry, painting, music and countless other arts. In the past few years, scientists supported by NIH have begun to understand the chemistry and biology of love.
At the center of how our bodies respond to love and affection is a hormonecalled oxytocin. Most of our oxytocin is made in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Some is released into our bloodstream, but much of its effect is thought to reside in the brain.
Oxytocin makes us feel good when we’re close to family and other loved ones, including pets. It does this by acting through what scientists call the dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a crucial part in how we perceive pleasure. Many drugs of abuse act through this system. Problems with the system can lead to serious depression and other mental illness.
Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.
Dr. Kathleen C. Light of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studies oxytocin in married couples and those permanently living together. She and her colleagues invite couples into the laboratory and ask them to spend at least 10 minutes holding hands and talking together about a happy memory, usually about how they met and fell in love.
“What we’re trying to do in a lab situation,” Light explains, “is recreate some of the experiences in real life where they felt close.” . . .
One thing researchers can say with certainty is that physical contact affects oxytocin levels. Light says that the people who get lots of hugs and other warm contact at home tend to have the highest levels of oxytocin in the laboratory. She believes that frequent warm contact may somehow prime the oxytocin system and make it quicker to turn on whenever there’s warm contact, even in a laboratory.
The same holds true for mothers and infants: they both produce higher levels of oxytocin when they have lots of warm contact with each other. “Those women who hold their babies more at home have higher responses when they hold their baby in the lab,” Light says.’
Watch the video about this amazing story with your wife and be inspired. Make sure you hug your wife and your children and celebrate your own marriage in style with lots of hugs and kisses and a bit more besides.
Yours for more hugs,
PS: Some Good News. Junior Stowers, the young 33-year-old dad I went into bat for, was miraculously released from detention after almost 3 years behind bars away from his children. His children are very glad, and so is his partner. Dads4Kids has given him a half-scholarship for a Good to Great course. He is living on the central coast of NSW and is looking for work either in the Central coast or in the Sydney area, in a place not too far from the railway line. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions.