I’m at that age when suddenly all of my friends are getting married and having babies. I’ve been around more pregnant ladies and babies in the past six months than ever in my life and I absolutely love it. It’s magical, mystical, and mind-blowing to me that human beings are actually made inside other human beings. The creative potential that we hold as humans is so HUGE. When I start to think about it for too long I have to stop because sometimes I feel like my head will explode with the sheer wonder of it all.
The thing about birth, whether it’s an actual baby or some other brilliant creation, is that it’s messy. I’m in the process of birthing a new project that I’m cell-buzzingly excited about, but the reality is it’s not all rainbows and plush ducks and onesies. I keep waking up in the middle of the night panicked because the thing is, once you give birth to something, your life as you know it is over. And that’s certainly good news in most cases. (Every parent I’ve ever asked has told me that having kids was the best thing they’ve done in their entire lives.) I know that as I birth this project that I’m in the process of creating I’m saying goodbye to my life as it is and welcoming in massive amounts of adventure, the unknown, and infinite possibility. And it’s all kind of scary.
Having never given birth myself, nor ever witnessed a birth, I’m certainly no expert. But I’ve heard a thing or three about it from my mom who’s probably delivered thousands of babies (and two of her own) and from the women in my life who have generously shared their stories. My sister and I were obsessed with watching a documentary called Water Babies when we were little. We couldn’t get enough of watching women give birth in water and seeing their tiny newborns swimming around, sometimes within hours or moments after coming out of the womb. I think we were fascinated partly because it hadn’t been so long since we had made that shocking journey from living inside our mom to breathing oxygen and being a separate person. And I think part of the fascination also came from the part of the birth process that still rivets me today: that we have that much life force and potential within us ⎯that it’s enough to create a human life.
As a culture we’ve turned birth into a medical emergency. Women are systematically talked out of the wisdom of their bodies to bring another human being into the world, something that we’ve been doing for thousands and thousands of years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the medical community. Not only was it responsible for paying for my college education (both of my parents are doctors), but also there are times when modern medicine is so necessary and an incredible blessing. When it comes to birth, though, a great deal of extra fear is brought in by a culture that has forgotten that our bodies are designed to be vessels for human life. Is it not enough that when a woman has a baby she’s taking a huge leap into the unknown and saying goodbye to her life, as she knows it? Must we also add to it passing down birth horror stories from mother to mother and a fear that somehow her female body somehow missed the memo and wasn’t passed the innate wisdom to give birth?
My mom was in a documentary called Orgasmic Birth created by Debra Pascali-Bonaro a few years ago. I was blessed to attend the opening of the film in New York City. Watching the film I was so aware of the fact that Debra and her colleagues were shedding a light on something that is a huge taboo and definitely not something that most women are made aware of: that birth can actually be pleasurable. What?! We are taught that suffering buys us something, that those who struggle the most are somehow worthier human beings, and that the only way to get anything done that’s worthwhile is to work your asses off. The fact that Debra, my friend Sheila Kamara Hay (read below for information on her Ecstatic Birth Telesummit), and others in the birth advocacy and consciousness world are bringing awareness to what’s possible for women in birth is revolutionary. It’s also confronting and scary to many. It’s seductive and fascinating to others. What I love about this particular type of consciousness raising is that it’s gentle and feminine. It doesn’t make any woman’s experience right or wrong. It’s simply bringing a fuller spectrum of possibilities to the table so that we, as women, can make more empowered choices around our birthing experiences.
I’m someone who’s always known that I’m going to be a mother. I’m grateful for women like Debra and my friend Sheila Kamara Hay, founder of Ecstatic Birth, who are reminding us that while birth is totally scary and messy and miraculous, there can be a thread of ecstasy within it. Whether you’re pregnant with a baby or a creative project, let this be a reminder to infuse your creations with pleasure. As I birth the project I’m cooking up (more on that later) I’m giving myself permission to feel the fear of it, to panic, and to grieve the ending of my life as I know it. And I’m also giving myself permission to dance, laugh, savor, notice and celebrate the many sparkling gems of joy in the process, and to find ecstasy in the birthing process.
What are you birthing right now?
What’s the scariest part of it?
What’s the most pleasurable part of it?
Share your thoughts on birth…we’re talking babies, books, paintings, business projects, etc…whatever you’re creating right now counts! Leave a comment.
Intrigued by the idea of infusing birth with a healthy dose of ecstacy?
If so, my friend Sheila Kamara Hay has just the thing for you. Intended for birth professionals and future parents, the upcoming Ecstatic Birth Tele-Summit has generated a lot of buzz, opening possibilities, and raising questions about the potential of childbirth. The purpose of the course is to raise awareness that birth is not just something women have to “endure” or “survive.” For the first time ever, leaders in the fields of birth and female sensuality– including Dr. Christiane Northrup and Ina May Gaskin — are coming together to share everything they know about how a woman can ENJOY birth — mind, body, and soul!
The idea of an “Orgasmic Birth” is definitely becoming more prominent. Women are coming forward to share stories that they might have been embarrassed to tell years ago. Many expectant moms also want to know how they can create this sort of experience for themselves. An orgasmic birth is intriguing because it is the antithesis of what we have culturally understood childbirth to be — a potentially excruciating experience.
That said, it is interesting to note how much of a trigger “sensuality” or “orgasm” can still be for a lot of people. A recent thread on Facebook included a woman declaring that the whole idea of pleasure during childbirth is “sick.” The more disconnected we are from our bodies, our sexuality, and our sensuality, the more perverse we might label the whole idea of pleasure in birth.
Saida Désilets, Taoist Sensual Educator and a featured teacher at the Ecstatic Birth Tele-Summit, describes our current situation as this: if human sexuality were a person, we, as a society, are currently stuck in its adolescence. There are few, if any, widespread and fully mature models of female sensuality in our culture. Instead, we are presented with a stark dichotomy of “virgins” and “whores.” In the most mature sense of the word and the aspect that we will be tapping into at the Tele-Summit, female sensuality is about a woman’s connection to herself, her body, and inner wisdom, and how that translates into her experience of the world around her — in this case, her experience of childbirth.
The physical pleasure of orgasm is only one end of the spectrum of what is possible in birth — dancing, laughter, spirituality, empowerment, connection, LOVE… all of these can be brought into birth and are strangely absent from most labor and delivery rooms. If you have the choice, why not prepare to ENJOY birth, rather than endure or survive it?
Cost is $600 if you register on or before October 15, 2010 (which is TODAY!). As my guest, please use the discount code: AUTHENTIKATE for an additional $150 off, bringing the price down to $450. Send us a referral who signs up and we’ll give you $50 off your registration after class starts!
*I am not an affiliate with Ecstatic Birth but I’m really proud to spread the word.*