As Mother’s Day approaches, Diva is using the occasion to explore underrepresented perspectives about birth and parenthood. Here, Amy Saunders shares her wish for an orgasmic birth as a way to bring pleasure to an often painful experience.
Are you prepared for labour?
You’ll never feel so much pain in your life.
Oh my god, I tore so much.
These are usually the first few things people say to me when I tell them I’m pregnant—at least the well-meaning already-moms in my life. They immediately dive into their unsolicited horror stories about the birthing process.
Me? I’m looking for a different kind of experience.
There’s only been a few folks who don’t bat an eye when I say, “No, actually—l’m aiming for an unmedicated, minimal intervention, home-water, orgasmic birth experience—if I can get there.”
Mostly though, it’s a lot of blinks and blank stares.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the scoffs—the ‘just-you-wait’s’, the ‘you’ll see what it’s like’ and the general disbelief that birth can be anything other than a torturous experience.
Don’t get me wrong—of course it’s going to (maybe) hurt. A lot of things in life hurt. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that bad. Maybe I don’t have to rip my perineum to shreds. Maybe, there are other possibilities. Another birthing experience is possible, you dig? Just maybe.
At six months pregnant, with enough sciatica and SPD pain to tranquilize an elephant, this is the question I am asking: IS another birthing experience possible? What is that like? And how do I prepare myself, my home, my body, and my partner for that?
When I found out I was pregnant in late November of last year, I was on the pitocin train.
Believe me when I said, yes, drugs please, and all the doctors possible. As a survivor of multiple ovarian cysts, a very painful ovarian torsion in 2018, and subsequent pelvic and bladder conditions labeled after that, I hadn’t considered any other possible option. I also happen to love pain meds.
Let me side bar here for the record: I will do whatever I have to do to have a safe delivery for the baby—C-section, induction, whatever is necessary. I am setting the ‘woo bar’ quite high, hoping I’ll land at maybe 50%.
During my pregnancy, I started to learn a bit more about the possibilities that birth can hold for both mother and baby. Birth is such a transcendental state. Have you ever seen a woman giving birth unmedicated? She seems to be in another world.
And she is in another world.
Working with my midwives, my doula, and a hypnobirthing teacher, I am learning that there are multiple possibilities and ways to enter the birth state that are not only safe but a transformative experience for me and baby. (I told you the woo factor was high).
What is Orgasmic birth?
Orgasmic birth, also known as Ecstatic Birth, is quite literally that: an orgasm during the birth process (one, two, maybe multiple).
Totally steeped in taboo, the topic of Orgasmic Birth has been brought to the mainstream since about 2009 when Debra Pascali-Banaro created a documentary film on the subject. She’s also written on the topic—a great book that I am reading now.
Debra advocates, along with other believers in Orgasmic Birth, that the process and experience is a best-kept secret. It promotes the idea that all the areas of the body that are active and stimulated during intercourse or arousal, are the same areas of the body at play during birth. A woman’s cervix is expanding and contracting, similar to how it does during orgasm. Her vaginal walls are expanding to make room for baby, not unlike how it does during intercourse.
I’m no expert in Orgasmic Birth—but something about this lands deeply with me as someone who has experience different pelvic conditions including dyspareunia (pain with penetration). It has been possible to achieve orgasm while my body has been programmed to put pain and pleasure together. As a survivor of assault and CSA, this seems like a huge feat. But I would like to consider that it isn’t: that my body is mine to work with and retrain. I have retrained it before, through somatic work, yoga therapy, EFT and various healing modalities.
Trust your body, trust your power
I have been able to experience pleasure and power where pain once took up residence.
Why should birth be any different?
I have transformed pain in my body, mind and spirit into power, into pleasure, into a deeper knowing of myself.
Is this something I can achieve with birth?
Ricardo Jones, of the Orgasmic Birth movement, says:
“Women who are giving birth, trust yourselves. Trust your inner power. Trust your ability to give life. This is something absolutely sacred that is inside all women in the world.”
To achieve this is the goal. An orgasm is simply an added benefit, a nice plus.
With orgasmic birth, I aim to trust my body. To trust my power. To trust my ability to give life.