Labor of Love
Is orgasmic birth a labor of love? This Friday 20/20 will show a piece on women who experience what ABC News has called labor orgasms. From the looks of the comments over at ABC News, some people are pissed, and not in the I-drank-too-much-for-breakfast sort of way. There were only eight comments when I last checked, but the loudest ones shouted that this was the biggest LIE (their caps not mine) ever told and that only white women into the idea of natural birthing claim to feel any sort of bliss during birth, and that it seems to only be a white thing, which either makes it elitist or non-existent I suppose. (If you look at the "Orgasmic Birth" trailer, or the pictures accompanying this article you realize that this women is either so angry she can’t see photos or actually blind, because it’s not only white women at all).
This notion of birth being natural, but not like a natural disaster, like a natural happy thing to go through is not how we see it in this country. Blissed-out births do seem to happen only to women who allow themselves to get away from the notions of fear and pain around the delivery. They do happen to women who aren’t afraid to let it happen, who have the time to work on themselves before the time arrives when they can’t. And that is only a small portion of women. So how do we spread the idea that every women deserves a happy childbirth (as long as everyone is healthy and can be happy), before she has to spread her legs, breathe and push.
The trailer and the article both make important points about our health care system and how medical hospitals are not usually looking at birth as an experience that women (and their partners) go through, they’re looking at it more like surgery. From how she lies (on her back verses sitting up) to being pushed in a wheelchair through the hospital, the experience is handled in a way that leaves women feeling sick and helpless. Instead, if she can feel empowered and in charge, things can be different. Especially since, from a scientific perspective, it is naturally possible. According to the article, and Dr. Christiane Northrup:
“When the baby’s coming down the birth canal, remember, it’s going through the exact same positions as something going in, the penis going into the vagina, to cause an orgasm,” Northrup said. “And labor itself is associated with a huge hormonal change in the body, way more prolactin, way more oxytocin, way more beta-endorphins — these are the molecules of ecstasy.”
Midwives even massage womens’ vulvas during labor. Imagine if, on top of this midwife massage - which does help prevent tearing when the baby peeks through - your partner was there too, kissing and pinching and rubbing you in all the right places. How good could that feel? Ecstatic? Maybe even orgasmic?
In sex, in labor, in life, there’s that fine line between pleasure and pain. Even just the concept of orgasmic birth, or ecstatic birth, makes me understand so much more about my body and how natural processes like labor don’t have to be about suffering and pain but can be about happiness and excitement. How we each have this switch, think like a light switch, and it’s somewhere in who we are (we have to go in and seek it out) and if we can find it and flick it, and then we can find ways to replace the pain with pleasure. So much of it stems from us having to believe. After reading this article and seeing the "Orgasmic Birth" trailer, I do believe. I believe there’s something really beautiful, powerful and exciting about being unafraid to give birth. If I ever got the opportunity to try it firsthand (and yes, I’d like the opportunity), then I’m reaching for ecstasy. The kind you can’t find in a little white pill.
Read the full story at ABC News.
More on Orgasmic Birth.
This article was originally posted on Jamye's blog.
Image: "pregnant profile II" by mahalie on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.Tweet