I was recently invited to speak at a women’s empowerment group in NYC to talk about the interconnected nature of birth, life and sexuality.
I shared how powerful and supportive pleasure is at every stage of the birthing process- whether we are birthing a physical or metaphorical baby (such as a creative project, a relationship, or ourselves).
Along the way I showed clips from Orgasmic Birth to ground what I was saying in concrete (and beautiful) images of women birthing.
The culmination was a clip from the birth of Amber where (if your eyes are closed) mom’s vocalizations as the baby emerges could be easily be mistaken for the passion and sounds of a sexual climax.
The room was captivated, as the connection between birth and sexuality, something they had never even considered, became crystal clear with this clip on the screen.
Inevitably when I share this possibility in birth there is an outpouring of grief among women whose birthing years have come and gone, a feeling of shame about what they did not know or do.
This is a pretty common response to my work. I have become adept at soothing it with the simple idea of perfection. “The births you had are the births you were meant to have.”
The more surprising response on this occasion was the number of women who stood up and passionately declared that “YES! This is true. I had this experience. It is possible.”
These women were simultaneously relieved and overjoyed to recognize their own experience in what I shared and what they saw on the screen.
It occurs to me that these women have in their own way been marginalized, their voices silenced because their experience ran so contrary to the dominant culture.
This gathering was not unique.
I hear this outcry of relief and joy more often than I expect in my work and often wonder how the world could have been different today if these voices hadn’t stayed silent, if these women’s stories could have been as loud as the stories we are so used to hearing about pain in childbirth.
Orgasmic Birth is a powerful film, opening the doorway for all the women that have had this type of birth experience to stand up proudly and share their story.
It is also a change agent, normalizing this unique experience, and spreading the message of the possibility of pleasure in birth.
Birth is the culmination of the sexual act and much like we can enjoy sex, or not. We can enjoy birth, or not.
Overwhelmingly as a culture we are not enjoying birth, but that is beginning to change.
As more women share about the validity of pleasure as a tool and potential outcome in birth, the more available it becomes to us as a reality.
Until then going against the cultural norm requires a whole lot of training and support.
In my work, I help both expectant mamas and birth practitioners prepare for childbirth using pleasure as a guiding force and have been blessed to witness first hand the transformative and empowering effect this training has on a woman’s birth experience and see it reverberate into her experience of motherhood.
Every woman deserves to know this is an option in birth.
I am looking forward to seeing the day when pleasure is as valid and as viable a choice in birth as an epidural!
Sheila fiercely desires to share with women that childbirth is not something they must endure, but a journey they can enjoy. She can be found screaming it from the rooftops at ecstatic-birth.com.