Whenever I mention the term “ecstatic birth” in front of a live audience, people tend to look at me a little funny, as if the words I am using are an oxymoron and I must be a bit crazy to imagine that birth can be ecstatic! I often get comments like these:
“What do you mean by the term “ecstatic birth?”
“I didn’t know there was such a thing.”
“My birth certainly wasn’t ecstatic!”
“I thought birth was supposed to be painful”
Indeed, one of the most strongly held beliefs in modern society is that childbirth is supposed to be painful. Although it is not clear exactly where this belief originated, I think it is safe to say that the media have done their part to promote it (by projecting terrifying images of women in childbirth into our living rooms) and religion has played a major role in locking it into out minds.
According to Biblical Genesis 3:16:
“To the woman he said,
‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.’”
Now, it is not my purpose in this essay to challenge anyone’s religious beliefs. However, if one feels strongly committed to the path of ecstatic birth, I think it is imperative to let go of previously held religious beliefs and look within to find THE TRUTH.
Here are a few questions we might want to ask ourselves in pursuit of THE TRUTH:
1. Would it make any sense for the loving source behind all of creation to willfully cause women and babies to suffer during childbirth?
2. Wouldn’t such suffering tend to restrict and limit Creation? Wouldn’t it tend to put a damper on the expansion and continuation of life?
3. Isn’t it possible, instead, that the Creator intended for birth to be conscious, joyful and love-filled? Wouldn’t that, in fact, make much more sense — especially in light of the fact that the Creator appears to be “pro-life” and that no matter how hard humans work t pave over it – LIFE FORMS STILL POP UP THROUGH EVERY CORNER OF CREATION?
Consider these quotes below, which seem to support the idea that birth was intended to be ecstatic:
“[Women in childbirth] tend to become conscious of a sense of exaltation and incomparable happiness as they watch the arrival of their child. Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware… Can it be that the Creator intended to draw mothers nearest to Himself at the moment of love’s fulfillment?” (see footnote 1 below)
“As she fulfills her highest purpose… the woman who has carried the Divine Child within herself receives a reward ordained by the Creator. This reward is the feeling of bliss and the chain of joyful ecstasies during labor, but certainly not pain. Quite to the contrary, the process of giving birth …. should be a joyful and pleasant one. (see footnote 2 below)
Consider this Truth. In its ideal expression, childbirth is intended to be the fulfillment of human love – a love shared between two people that have consciously chosen to bring forth a child. If a baby is conceived in this context (i.e., intentionally and in a mutual explosion of love), wouldn’t it seem natural for birth to be an extremely joyous – even ecstatic – event?
Let us consider that THAT is the divine intention.
WHAT IS ECSTATIC BIRTH?
When I use the term “ecstatic birth,” I am referring to a birth experience that is filled with extreme joy, supreme satisfaction, deep love, and spiritual bliss. Ecstatic birth is a life-changing, cellular shifting, consciousness-altering event. Some women describe their experience as transcendent, i.e., an inter-dimensional journey that activates union with the divine. (see footnote 3 below)
“It was an incredible experience of oneness with my baby. It was a feeling of transcendence, a spiritual transcendence…You can experience oneness and transcendence with God… It is as if you have the ability to cross over to the other side and then come back and be completely in love with this angel being.” (See footnote 4 below)
Ecstatic birth is deeply empowering for both mother and child (and dad, if he is present) and provides a memory of absolute victory for the entire family that can be referenced again and again throughout time. Ecstatic birth activates the neurobiology of love in all family members and lays the foundation for the preservation of love in families forever.
Mothers who have experienced ecstatic birth speak of the deep, exquisite feelings of love they experience at birth – for their babies and their partners – a bond of love that persists throughout life and seems to create immunity to the dysfunctional types of relating we see so often in mainstream parent/child interactions.
“I fell in love with him so completely, so amazingly, I would do anything to protect him and take care of him… I tell everybody that my 22 year old son and I have never had one single argument between us. I look at the picture of him and my chest just expands, and it started with his birth.” (See footnote 5 below)
An ecstatic birth is usually bestowed upon families that have prepared themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Technology is typically not part of an ecstatic birth, and very often the parents have worked on resolving their own negative birth imprints before they give birth to their babies.
Ecstatic birth can include orgasm, but does not require orgasm for the experience of ecstasy and spiritual bliss. Consider these quotes from women who have experienced ecstatic birth – some with orgasm and some without:
“You have no idea of the beautiful memories I have of my birth. It’s been more than 2 years and I think of it everyday. I wish I could put my baby back in my womb and birth him again.” Angie de Gaytan
“The experience of the birth of my second child… was so blissfully ecstatic that a minute after the birth I was sure “This I want to experience again”… Dariya Avantario
“I may not have experienced an actual orgasm, but the birthing itself was amazing. I was high for weeks afterwards. The love I felt towards my hubby, and my baby, well it just made the entire wedding/honeymoon look like a drop in the pail.” Guggie Daly
“I, for one, felt my body move in the same ways it had while orgasming and I was thinking…THIS is what my body is made for during childbirth. I was HIGH for YEARS on these experiences. YEARS!” Judith Condor
“On November 28, 2007…. I had the most ecstatic orgasm of my life! Gabrielle Marie was born into her daddy’s hands while her big brothers stood by. There is nothing like it in the world, to experience birth in this way. My memories are always vivid, my mind easily finds its way back to every feeling that went through my body as I birthed my daughter. It’s a re-experience that runs through my entire body when I think of it. By far the most ecstatic feeling ever while she descended through me and opened my entire body, my legs, my vagina with a pulsing pressure, one can only describe as orgasmic.” Jessica Legare.
“The birthgasm is much more total, much more complete. There is always a bit of longing left when I experience an orgasm with my partner. This was absolute completion – I was everything and everything was me. It is very spiritual.” Faith (see footnote 6 below)
According to Danielle Harel, author of the dissertation entitled “Sexual Experiences of Women During Childbirth,” orgasm is physiologically possible during labor due to the combination of hormones (especially oxytocin) and endorphins that are present, and the intense pressure of the baby’s head on two important nerve systems – the hypogastric and the pelvic. The pressure on these nerves, in combination with the hormonal elixir of birth, can induce orgasm.
Statistics indicate that approximately 20% of women are reporting having orgasms during childbirth. (see footnote 7 below). Some women spontaneously and unexpectedly experience orgasm, while others are deliberately integrating sexual stimulation into their labors (what Danielle Harel has termed a “passionate birth.”). For women who experience surprise orgasm, responses vary. Some are deeply pleased by the orgasmic waves. Others feel embarrassment and/or shame. A woman’s response depends on her awareness and acceptance of the sexuality of birth, in combination with the context in which she is giving birth. Shame and/or embarrassment tend to occur when women are in a more public setting with people (especially strangers) going in and out of the room.
SO WHY ARE SO MANY WOMEN EXPERIENCING PAIN IN CHILDBIRTH?
To begin this discussion, let us first note that it is primarily women from industrialized societies that are prone to experience pain in childbirth. Animals in the wild typically do not experience pain, and neither do women from indigenous cultures. Therefore there must be something peculiar about technocratic civilization that is causing a malady in birth.
My task in this essay is to help identify some of the components of our erroneous psychological approach to childbirth so that we can make the necessary adjustments to align with our innate capacity to give birth ecstatically.
Problem #1 – Unconscious Conception
Whereas in indigenous cultures babies are intentionally called forth by their parents (and/or babies consciously alert their parents – through dreams and other methods of communication – of their readiness to incarnate), in western culture we tend to conceive our babies haphazardly, often feeling a sense of doom, discomfort or dread when we realize a child has entered our womb without our conscious awareness and permission.
“Oops” babies are typically unwanted and often the sad result of a loveless/lustful and/or shame-based/fearful sexual encounter. They carry severe prenatal wounds including “discovery shock,” (i.e., the trauma of being rejected and unwanted when mom and dad discover the pregnancy) and/or “conception shock,” (i.e., the trauma of being conceived through a wounded sexual encounter and the isolation the fetus feels at having no one there to greet and welcome it). They are often gestated in wombs filled with toxicity (both emotional and environmental), where abortion is considered and/or attempted. If the child makes it through to birth, it will be imprinted with an intense fear of annihilation and a sense that it does not have a right to live. It may develop serious illness (in an affirmation that it does not deserve to live) or it may have an over-adrenalized, hyper-vigilant nervous system due to the prenatal feeling that its life is in perpetual jeopardy. These memories leave a profoundly negative impact on the child and strongly influence its ability to enter into the world with ease and grace.
The child’s capacity to love and be loved will also be extremely diminished due to its wounded beginnings.
The mother will also be negatively affected by an unplanned pregnancy because it is not easy to gestate or give birth to an unwanted child. Mothers have been known to think about unwanted babies as “parasites” and to feel uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding their children once they are out of the womb. During birth, the mother may unconsciously experience hesitation and/or resistance to letting the baby out, which will activate a series of “complications” and a cascade of medical interventions to follow. Mom’s resistance to birthing the baby, combined with the introduction of technological interventions to force the birth, will guaranty a painful and/or traumatic childbirth experience. It is highly likely that the neurobiology of love will not activate for this mother-infant pair and the relationship between mother and child will be detrimentally affected – perhaps for the duration of life. We can also expect the relationship between father and child to be less than ideal.
The influence of this type of sad beginning cannot be overstated and clearly undermines the possibility of ecstatic birth.
Problem #2 – Unhealthy Relationships
Millions (perhaps billions) of children are the product of dysfunctional, non-loving relationships. Women are conceiving babies with men who do not (or cannot) love and nurture them and/or who are incapable of being supportive partners and parents. Some women are in abusive relationships. Others are partnered with drug addicts or alcoholics. Still others are conceiving babies with men who do not respect them and who are womanizers or actually having sex with other women. This sad reality is leaving a profoundly dark influence on our entire society.
All of the above scenarios will interfere and negatively influence a woman’s chances of experiencing ecstatic birth. Generally speaking, for ecstatic birth to occur, a woman needs to have absolute trust and faith in her partner. The ability to be wholly intimate with ones partner and to feel totally safe and supported by him is a definite plus. Safety cannot be achieved in the context of a dysfunctional relationship and therefore, babies that are the product of such relationships are rarely born ecstatically.
Problem #3 – American Social Institutions Teach us to Fear Birth
Americans are continuously bombarded with images, stories, religious dogma and more – all of which affirm that birth is a terrifying and agonizing event. We have allowed the media to define what birth looks like and we have accepted the trauma-filled stories of friends and family as proof-positive that birth was intended to be a brutal event. We have become a completely disempowered species.
If we want to take back our birthing power, and are committed to going for the best experience possible, I recommend viewing videos of gentle, joyous birth, which will implant positive images about birth and remind us of The Truth about how birth is supposed to be. (For a list of recommended videos, write to email@example.com).
Problem #4 – Hospitals Instill Fear and Create Trauma
This is an area where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Hospitals are places of unspeakable horror – i.e., life-threatening injuries and illnesses, trauma, fear, death, disease, toxicity, etc. If Americans weren’t being continuously bombarded with messages telling us that it is “normal” to give birth in a hospital, we would clearly see that what we are doing is insane.
Hospitals do not provide a gentle or nurturing context in which to give birth and, on the contrary, generally offer one of the harshest environments imaginable. Bright lights, cold temperatures, loud sounds, machines, metal, antiseptic smells, face masks, needles, IV’s, sharp surgical instruments, technological gadgets (just to name a few) – all of these things are completely alien and antagonistic to a gentle, natural birth. Having a baby in this type of environment is usually not easy for the mother or child and can be extremely traumatizing for the entire family. In many instances, a woman’s body will lock-up in fear the moment she walks into a hospital, causing her labor to halt and a parade of technological interventions to follow. The interventions can feel violent and intrusive (i.e., episiotomy, repeated cervical exams, wrist restraints, forced starvation, c-sections, etc.) and have been known to disrupt the mother-infant bond. Hospital staff tend to be so committed to their routines and procedures, they often overlook the intuitive knowing of the birthing woman, and force women to fight for their right to have a natural birth. In some cases, hospital personnel are extremely rough and insensitive, leading some women to refer to their hospital experience as “birth rape.”
“With my first birth I left my body. It was so incredibly painful and so humiliating I felt that I was raped. As I mentioned, I was raped when I was 17, so I knew how it feels to be raped and the feelings of humiliation and discomfort that go along with that –the powerlessness. My first birth was in the hospital; I was tied to the bed and couldn’t move or protect myself. It was so incredibly emotionally painful that I left my body. I remember having the feeling of sitting on top of the curtain rod on the window and watching them cut the episiotomy and force drugs into the IV and tighten the wrist restraints.” Barbara Harper (see Footnote 8 below).
“They forced me into a c-section — ruined my tummy and had me so traumatized I was going unconscious from stress. My baby of course had serious decels and almost died as a result of their rushing in to my hosp room throwing my legs open and stuffing things up my vagina… They never once came to explain anything to me – just rushed in by force – as if I were their prisoner… My son was born via forced c section – I really mean forced. Me and the dr. argued over and over. That’s when he had the nurses rush in and attack me by surprise, right after I threatened to leave the hospital… It was quite an ordeal. We won’t talk about the fiery burning pain I had on my stomach for months after that made me scream out loud. There was also talk of forcing me legally to get it [a C-section] or calling CPS on me… I wouldn’t wish that rape like experience on anyone…” Elizabeth Meyers
In the US, 95% of births are considered traumatic, 50% rated as moderately traumatic and 45% rated as severely traumatic. (See Footnote 9 below). These statistics are a direct result of the practices and procedures being imposed on women and babies during hospital birth.
Consider this quote which exquisitely articulates some of the emotional and spiritual consequences of mainstream birth:
“It is Man himself… who by his own intrusion has made childbirth painful for the mother and a fatal shock for the baby…
“[The baby] gets born, but does not understand why it is being so rudely torn out of its pleasant and perfect Space and why its mother suffers and experiences pain. The mother’s pain occasions untold mourning on the part of the child.
“…Anesthetics can lessen the mother’s physical pain, but they increase the mental pain for the infant, since anesthetics cut him off from contact with his mother. Such a state instills in him fear and a lack of self-confidence, which continue even into adulthood, even into his most advanced years…
“When the woman experiences pain from her labor and has thoughts only for herself, the child in the womb experiences double the amount of pain. He feels abandoned, and, above all, helpless and defenseless. Such feelings are harmful, and they are lasting… ” (see footnote 10 below).
In general, a hospital environment is NOT conducive to the experience of ecstatic birth and I highly recommend avoiding hospitals if at all possible.
Problem #5 – Millions of People are Carrying Unresolved Traumatic Memories from their Own Birth. This is Negatively Influencing our Species’ Capacity to Give Birth with Ease.
This is an ENORMOUS topic and one that has remained hidden from most people’s conscious awareness. Millions of people are suffering from unconscious and unresolved memories of their own prenatal and birth experiences. Because so many of us were conceived unconsciously, and because we were gestated in toxic womb environments and born to dysfunctional parents in dysfunctional relationships, we are a suffering species. To compound this issue, the overwhelming majority of us were born in hospitals, where babies (and parents) are treated with harshness and extreme indifference to their emotional and spiritual needs.
Early imprints are stored somatically, and although our conscious minds may not be aware of them, our bodies remember. Each time we approach pregnancy and/or birth, the memories are likely to “activate” and can seriously influence our ability to give birth with ease.
For those committed to the path of ecstatic birth, I strongly recommend undertaking an exploration of your own prenatal and birth experiences – particularly if you were born in a hospital. This is important for both the mother and father and should ideally be done before the next baby is conceived. If you would like help with the exploration and/or information about healing modalities that are beneficial for the healing of early trauma, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO CREATE AN ECSTATIC BIRTH?
At this time, there is a growing trend of awareness about the significance of early life experiences. More and more people are realizing they’ve been traumatized and recognizing the dangers inherent in technological birth. As a result, many are now willing to make the changes necessary to create a whole new paradigm re: conceiving, gestating, birthing and parenting our children. The “ecstatic birth” movement is taking this planet by storm, and here is just a short list of things that we can do to enhance the possibility of a trauma-free, ecstatic birth.
1. CREATE A HEALTHY, LOVING RELATIONSHIP BEFORE CONCEIVING A CHILD.
To re-iterate what was said earlier, for ecstatic birth to unfold, it is helpful to have absolute trust and intimacy with our partners. If dad is a drug addict, alcoholic, abuser, or womanizer, emotional safety cannot be created and the likelihood of an ecstatic/orgasmic birth will be very slim. (If the mom is any of the above, the situation is even worse). How dad thinks about and treats mom (i.e., as a sex object vs. a co-creator) will be imprinted onto the child’s psyche forever and will influence that child’s ability to have healthy relationships later in life. This is especially true regarding the father’s thoughts and feelings toward the mother (and vice versa) at the precise moment of conception.
Moreover, Dad’s willingness and capacity to nurture, honor and respect mom during the childbearing year will deeply affect mom’s emotions and sense of well-being, as well as that of the baby. Remember – baby is swimming in mom’s neuro-chemical experience. Whatever mom experiences, baby experiences as well. Therefore, it is extremely beneficial for mom to feel completely safe, supported, nurtured, nourished, and loved, both during her pregnancy and at birth and beyond.
2. PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR CONCEPTION.
In order to ensure the highest quality egg and sperm, it is beneficial for both mom and dad to cleanse their bodies before the conception of child. This can mean fasting, parasite cleanses, liver cleanses or whatever you feel guided to do. Mom and dad should eat the healthiest, most vibrant foods available before conception, during pregnancy, and after birth (especially while mom is breastfeeding). Both parents should stay clear of nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, toxic cleaning products and chemical lawn and garden products. Consider using only herbal, organic, skin and hair-care products on your body. Any or all of these steps will benefit both you and your baby. A healthy body is much more likely to produce a birth experience that is easy and/or ecstatic.
3. CREATE A LOVING, NURTURING, STABLE, NON-TOXIC HOME ENVIRONMENT WITHIN WHICH TO CONCEIVE, GESTATE AND BIRTH YOUR BABY.
Ideally, this space should be clean, clear, beautiful, safe, and nourishing… a space that genuinely feels like home.
4. CONCEIVE YOUR BABY CONSCIOUSLY.
As discussed above, mom and dad should make a conscious decision to conceive a baby together. An accidental pregnancy will inhibit the chances for ecstatic birth.
5. DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO ADDRESS/RESOLVE YOUR OWN NEGATIVE PRENATAL AND BIRTH EXPERIENCES – IDEALLY BEFORE YOU CONCEIVE A BABY.
This is important for both mom and dad and includes healing imprints from conception, gestation and birth. Negative prenatal imprints can include, but are not limited to:
(i) being conceived unconsciously, in lust, or from a fearful/shameful sexual encounter;
(ii) being in a womb where we are not wanted or where abortion is contemplated or attempted;
(iii) being in a chemically toxic womb (i.e., mom and/or dad are ingesting cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, or are exposed to toxic substances from the environment); and/or
(iv) being in an emotionally toxic womb (mom and/or dad are under extreme stress, or are chronically depressed, anxious, or fearful).
Negative birth imprints can include, but are not limited to:
(i) being born in a hospital;
(ii) being induced;
(iii) being born into a cold environment with bright lights;
(iv) being born into an environment where one is surrounded by loud machines, sharp metal objects, and people wearing masks;
(v) being handled roughly or with emotional indifference at birth;
(vi) being exposed to pitocin, narcotics, anesthetics or any other drug during labor; (see footnote 11 below)
(vii) being pulled out of the womb with forceps;
(viii) being sucked out of the womb with a vacuum;
(ix) being forcibly removed from the womb through C-section;
(x) being separated from our mother at birth;
(xi) being left in a nursery immediately after birth, surrounded by other screaming, terrified infants who have also been left alone;
(xii) being exposed to premature cutting of the umbilical cord;
(xiii) being wrapped tightly in a blanket so that we cannot move and have no skin-to-skin contact with our mother;
(xiv) being in an incubator;
(xv) being relegated to a neo-natal intensive care unit and subjected to their protocols and procedures; and/or
All of the above can and do leave damaging and lasting imprints on our psyche and can cause dysfunctional psychological and behavioral patterns throughout life. If left unattended, these imprints can negatively influence the way we give birth.
6. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR NATURAL BIRTH.
This includes reading books, viewing films, taking classes and doing anything else that we are guided to do in order to empower ourselves with knowledge about gentle, natural birth. There are literally hundreds of books, films and classes about natural birth and/or water birth which would be very beneficial. For a list of films and books, please write me at: email@example.com.
7. CHOOSE A GENTLE, SAFE PLACE TO GIVE BIRTH TO YOUR BABY – A PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL SECURE AND PROTECTED
As mentioned above, it is helpful to birth in a place where we feel extremely safe – a space that is warm and nurturing and that is free of noxious people, sights and sounds. A space that is in, or surrounded by, the natural world is a definite plus as the sights and sounds of nature can create ease and gentleness and allow for the deepest levels of relaxation to occur.
Giving birth in water can also be very helpful. Water not only eases the pain of contractions (my own personal experience is that water cuts the pain in half), but can also make for a very gentle, ecstatic entry for our babies.
“I was eight centimeters. I asked her if I could get in the pool and she said ‘Use your own judgment,’ so I got in. The minute I got in, the minute I sank into the water, it was like as if a lightening bolt hit me. I experienced very intense five to eight contractions. I said that I want to push, and she couldn’t believe me since I was just eight a few minutes ago, and she asked me to come out and to check me again, I stood up and had another contraction and said “No.. no.. no I am getting back in the water, I can’t get out.” My partner got behind me and very soon after that I started pushing. Oming… I was making sounds as if I was being made love to… really letting that sound out enjoying every single movement… I could feel the micromovement of his head right through me, I could feel everything intensely. As I was birthing him there was this incredible orgasmic tantric relief, and my body just went with it, I shuddered from head to toe. When I have an orgasm my toes always curl up and I remember my toes curling at the bottom of the birthing pool. It was as if every fiber of my being was having an orgasm…” Barbara Harper (see footnote 12 below)
Keep in mind that whatever mom is experiencing, baby is experiencing also. If water can help create the kind of ease and/or ecstasy described above, it is certainly a very good option for those committed to the path of ecstatic birth.
Although hospitals are a difficult place to create ecstasy, for some women, giving birth in a hospital will nevertheless seem like the safest choice. I encourage all women to follow their truth, and for those who choose to go to a hospital, I would like to point out that you can create an orgasmic birth even within a hospital setting. Here is what happened to April:
“…you see, I did not experience pain in labour, though neither did I experience orgasm in the first and second stages of labour. However, after choosing not to have the syntocinon [i.e., synthetic oxytocin/pitocin] injection routinely given post-birth (known as third stage) to stimulate the ejection of the placenta from the uterus (something the body is naturally designed to do on it’s own, without the need for any injection), the placenta came out in it’s own time… and when it did – woOoAaoaoooOOoohhhhhh! (insert ecstatic, highly orgasmic groan of pleasure *here*.)
Yes, I had a naturally pain-free, speedy, easy, EUPHORIC delivery – and to top it off, an absolutely indescribable out-of-this-world orgasm!
Will we be having more children? Yes, please!” April Bevin
8. BE VERY SELECTIVE ABOUT WHO YOU HAVE AT YOUR BIRTH
For many women, privacy during birth is extremely important. Some women are choosing to birth their babies alone (“unassisted childbirth”), while others are choosing to birth with only their partners and/or a midwife present. In order for mom to feel safe enough to fully surrender to the primal energies of birth, it is wise to allow only those who can be completely trusted into the birthing space.
Some women have eagerly invited loved ones to be present for their births only to find that these people brought fear and tension into the space. This is a common occurrence because people who attend births often have unhealed memories from their own birth experiences which activate as soon as they get close to a live birth. This causes the birthing mother to worry about what is happening for the other people in the room, which completely distracts her from her own primal birthing process.
As a general rule, the fewer people at a birth, the better.
Again, I will repeat, birth in a hospital is generally not conducive to ecstatic birth. It is very difficult to relax and feel safe (much less sensual) in a room where a parade of strangers are continuously marching in and out of the space. (see Footnote 13 below). These same strangers are likely to be demanding that you give birth on their schedule and threatening to impose technological interventions on you as a means of quelling their own fears about birth. If you choose to go to a hospital, it is helpful to have a fiercely protective and knowledgeable husband with you who will enforce appropriate boundaries for you and your baby. Also, doulas can be extremely supportive and protective. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of having a doula, or would like to hire one to attend your birth, please write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In general, keep your birthing space as quiet and private as possible, but have knowledgeable, supportive people close by who can be called on for help if needed.
9. DO YOUR BEST TO KEEP TECHNOLOGY OUT OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE.
Michele Odent has argued that birth is primarily a function of the primitive brain and that, when left to its own devices, birth is something that the body knows how to do instinctually and automatically – with relative ease and grace.
When technology is introduced into the birth experience, birth becomes a whole different animal. Technology activates the mental centers of the brain, which can detract from the primitive brain’s capacity to do its work properly. Moreover, the emotional center of the brain (known as the “limbic system”) can be negatively stimulated at the introduction of fear-activating technology such as fetal heart monitors, sharp metal instruments, wrist restraints, needles, IV’s, etc. In actuality, just about every hospital intervention would fall into the category of causing fear in most women and fear permeates most hospital environments.
When a woman’s body senses that it is in danger, the primitive brain will send a signal to the body to stop the birth. The body will only resume the birthing process when and if the primitive brain determines that it is safe to do so. All too often, when a woman enters a hospital environment, the danger detectors of the primitive brain will immediately send signals to the body of “NOT SAFE, NOT SAFE.” As a result, birth halts and a cascade of technological interventions follow, effectively forcing birth to happen in a context that is completely contrary to a normal and healthy birth.
Even the most seemingly benign technology, such as a television, can inhibit the birthing woman’s ability to give birth with ease. Television can cause the thinking part of the woman’s brain to activate (i.e., the cortex), which can override the primitive brain’s capacity to do its work. This is not a healthy occurrence during the birth process and is particularly problematic if there are violent or fear-based images flashing across the screen.
Technological gadgets can also frighten your baby and leave him/her with a visual birth imprint that is completely alien to the human species. When babies emerge from the womb into a setting of machines, metal, beeping/buzzing/pounding/banging sounds, sharp surgical instruments, face-masks, needles, bright lights, etc. they feel terrified. Compounding this initial shock is the reality that hospital personnel then brutalize the baby by cutting off its oxygen supply (cutting the umbilical cord too soon), smacking it to get it to breathe, handling it roughly through wiping and swaddling, taking it away from its mother, placing it on an ice cold metal scale to weigh it, dropping burning poison in its eyes, and – the harshest abuse of all – if the baby is a boy, cutting off a piece of its penis, often without any anesthesia). Naturally, the child will be left with a psychological and emotional imprint that says “this world is a terrifying and unsafe place and people are not to be trusted.”
Be aware of the impact that technological/hospital birth can have on you and your baby’s experience and try to avoid it if at all possible.
10. DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR BODY.
For childbirth to be ecstatic, it is important for the birthing woman to feel at home in her body and to know that her body is innately competent and powerful. Birth can be a very smooth event for those who totally trust their body’s ability to do just the right thing at just the right time to bring a baby through. Being able to surrender to the process of childbirth, in the knowing that there is nothing intellectual a woman needs to do to make birth happen, is a plus.
Participating in things like yoga, dance, swimming, massage, etc., can enhance the comfort we feel with our bodies and provide us with a sense that we are beautiful and powerful. Find the things that work best for you and play with them. Let this be a time in your life when you develop a love affair with your body.
11. DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR OWN SEXUALITY AND WITH THE SEXUALITY OF CHILDBIRTH.
Judeo-Christian religious teachings have caused many women to feel shame about their bodies and their sexuality. It is imperative, for those on the path toward ecstatic birth, to break free of this ideological distortion and reclaim feminine potency and power.
Femininity is sensual. It is lush, fertile and juicy. It is extremely magnetic and attractive and, in my opinion, it is magnificently beautiful. I encourage all women – especially those who are planning to make babies – to own this TRUTH and to think about themselves as Goddesses.
Female sexuality was designed for the pleasure of creating and bringing forth life. There is no experience that could be more profound than this. There is no greater gift that we could be given and no greater gift that we could offer the Earth. It is time for us to own the awesome beauty of our baby-making power.
Once we choose to own our own bodies and our sexuality, we may even be so bold as to decide to integrate sexual stimulation into our labors. By this, I do not mean that we should have active, sexual intercourse during labor. Rather, I am encouraging things like kissing, caressing, and maybe even oral or digital stimulation of the nipples and clitoris during labor. All of these things activate sexual pleasure in the female body, which will ultimately alleviate pain. Orgasms during labor can trigger a series of very strong, pleasurable contractions, which can lead to the swift and easy delivery of our child.
It is also helpful to be able to look in the mirror while we are kneeling on all fours during labor and think to ourselves “Wow – look how sexy and beautiful I am!” Positive emotions about our bodies and our sexuality can only enhance the experience of childbirth.
If you need help creating a deeper understanding of how childbirth can be a sexy and sensual experience, I recommend reading the following article: Ecstatic/Orgasmic Birth Article – http://jeanicebarcelo.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/barbara-harpers-ecstaticorgasmic-birth-story/ and/or viewing the DVD “Birth As We Know It.”
Well, it is time to take a deep breath. The terrain we have just covered is radical and revolutionary only because we live in a society that has come so far from the world of natural birth. I encourage you to take as much time as you need to integrate this material and to recognize that much of what was just shared, you already knew.
As you pursue the path to ecstatic birth, empower yourself in whatever ways you feel guided and make a commitment to protect yourself and your baby from harsh and unnecessary interventions.
Ecstatic birth is our birthright. For many, it is also our destiny. As we awaken from the spell that has manipulated our birthing consciousness for the last 100+ years, we are bound to return to our pristine capacity to give birth with ease and grace. I honor your journey as you walk this road of empowerment and reclamation and invite you to share your newfound wisdom with others.
Birth of a New Earth TV Show Excerpts:
Footnote 1 – Grantly, Dick-Read, ¬Childbirth Without Fear, Printer & Martin Ltd., London, 2004, p. 25.
Footnote 2 – Vladimir Megre, Rites of Love, Ringing Cedars Press, Paia, HI, 2008, p. 160.
Footnote 3 – An ecstatic birth is basically the opposite of a mainstream birth whereby mother after mother comes through the assembly line of hospital birth feeling traumatized and deeply depressed – and then told by friends and family that she should be “thankful” she has a “healthy” [albeit severely traumatized] baby. In a typical hospital birth, both mom and baby (and dad too) intuitively sense that they’ve been robbed of what should have been a joyous, empowering, love-filled experience. Instead of joy and deep satisfaction, there is grief. The lack of ability on the part of the mother and child to experience the neurobiology of love at birth (due to technological interference/abuse, separation of mother and child at birth, pain-inducing interventions such as episiotomy, etc.) triggers a neuro-chemical, physiological experience of mourning instead. Naturally, the bond between mother and child is adversely affected, as is the well-being of the entire family.
Footnote 4 -Barbara Harper on her own Ecstatic/Orgasmic birth, quoted as “Beverly” in the dissertation of Danielle Harel, “Sexual Experiences of Women During Childbirth,” Dissertation submitted to the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, January, 2007, pp. 27-28”).
Footnote 5 – Harel dissertation, quoting Barbara Harper (i.e., “Beverly”), p. 33.
Footnote 6 – Harel dissertation, quoting “Faith”, p. 41.
Footnore 7 – This statistic was found in a review of the film “Orgasmic Birth.” You can find the article here: http://www.feministfriendly.com/2009/04/originally-published-at-feminist-review.html.
Footnote 8 – Harel dissertation, quoting Barbara Harper, p. 33.
Footnote 9 – Study done by William Emerson, expert in pre- and perinatal psychology and pioneer in the field of birth trauma healing. (Emerson Seminars training material, Dr. William Emerson 2008)
Footnote 10 – From the Anastasia series by Vladimir Megre (www.ringingcedars.com), Book 8.2., Rites of Love, pp. 160-162.
Footnote 11 – Please read the following article for the sordid reality regarding the use of pitocin (i.e., synthetic oxytocin) during hospital birth: http://keyboardrevolutionary.blogspot.com/2009/07/just-when-id-thought-id-heard-it-all.html. This article suggests that doctors are using high doses of pitocin to deliberately cause babies to go into fetal distress so they can move more quickly to do a C-section. “Pit to Distress” is the medical term being used and, as one nurse said, “I’ve had an MD say to me… ‘Pit to distress so we can cut her and get it over with.’” Jenee Clark
Foonote 12 – Harel dissertation, p. 32.
Footnote 13 – As one birthing woman put it, “There were so many doctors and nurses in the room I felt more like a science experiment than a new mother.” Vicki Davis.