The difference between a birth that feels traumatic as opposed to ecstatic is rarely in the specific details, but in how a birthing mom processes the experience, and we as practitioners have an opportunity to help ensure it’s positive. In this piece, Ella Browne Hay of Ecstatic Birth shares a few essential factors and ways that we can elevate mom’s experience to the point of pleasure.
As the idea of Ecstatic Birth (and its Orgasmic soul sister) becomes more widespread, demand is rising for practitioners that can support expectant moms in these modalities.
If you have been working as a birth practitioner you have likely witnessed a wide variety of births — ones that make your heart sing and others that may have made your heart ache. You know that there is no way to ensure any specific outcome in birth- that is a co-creation between the mom, the baby and the divine. However, the difference between a birth that feels traumatic as opposed to ecstatic is rarely in the specific details, but in how a birthing mom processes the experience.
Practitioners, you stand at the doorway of this very sacred rite of passage, and you have a magnificent opportunity to elevate the experience of every woman you work with. I’ve put together some of the most essential factors to consider in your prenatal and birth work.
To support women in Ecstatic Birth, it is important for you to…
1) Disconnect Ecstasy from outcome
An Ecstatic Birth could happen at home or in a hospital, with a natural birth or an emergency c-section. An Ecstatic Birth could most definitely unfurl sensations of bliss or even orgasm, but that is not the essential piece. The heart of the matter is that the birthing mom feels empowered and connected to her intuition and her fierce feminine wisdom. An Ecstatic Birth is one in which a woman walks away from her experience with her head held high, full of reverence for her body, knowing that she has a strength and power beyond what she had ever imagined.
2) Recognize birth as a sexual act
This statement will make the average woman queasy- that is how deep our disconnect runs- from our bodies and our sexuality. Despite the fact that childbirth is the direct result of the sexual act, we have been conditioned out of the deep knowing that our sexual anatomy and our birthing anatomy are one and the same. Prenatal and birth practitioners must help women reconnect the dots. A woman that understands birth as the culmination of the sexual act will instinctively begin to create her birth with conditions that honor her body and its processes.
3) Offer pleasure as a powerful and (the most) holistic birthing tool
From singing to dancing to cuddling to eye gazing, orgasms and beyond, pleasure is a powerful tool to manage the onset of labor, the flow and progression of labor, and the sensations of labor. This is so far from the dominant cultural paradigm of birth that even when a woman knows this she may feel challenged (or just plain silly) to utilize pleasure as a tool in birth. Practitioners can provide the invitation and validation for integrating pleasure in support of the birthing process.
4) Look inward
What beliefs are you holding about birth? How do you feel when a woman’s birth plan goes awry? What reaction did you have to the statement, “Birth is a sexual act?” Dr. Christiane Northrup in the Ecstatic Birth Training Sessions points out every person working in the birthing field is working through their own birth trauma — consciously or unconsciously. Bring the perpetual practice of mindfulness to your role in supporting others in birth. Notice what triggers you. Uncover your limiting beliefs and release them. Above all pay attention to your body and take note of the moments when you are physically tense and gripping inside. There is something there for you in each of those moments.
5) Hold a steady tone in your body
The birthing field is extremely porous. We all have a tremendous responsibility, especially those practitioners that are present in the birthing room, to stay calm, centered, and connected to pleasure and oxytocin flow. This is a physical body practice that practitioners can explore outside of the birthing room. The more your body knows how to locate the bliss and ecstasy that is always flowing within, the more you can call upon it at will to support a birth. The repercussions for your personal life are pretty great too!
Each of you has a powerful opportunity to raise consciousness and empower an expectant mom through this transformative rite of passage in ways that could dramatically alter her experience of birth. You can empower each woman you work with to ENJOY the journey of labor and delivery rather than simply endure it.
Reclaiming the experience of childbirth is a major step in the evolution of women, and truly all beings on this planet. Every baby is born through a woman and as we support a generation of empowered moms in birth, we will inevitably support the emergence of a whole new generation of beings. The repercussions for mom and baby are enormous and if you have any doubt, just as yourself the age old question- “How would your childhood have been different if your mother was more joyous, empowered, supported, _________???”
If you would like a deeper dive into the paradigm of Ecstatic Birth, check out my recent webinar with Birth Institute: Birthing with Pleasure: Supporting Women in Ecstatic Birth.
Those of you that are unequivocally on board in ushering in this new paradigm of childbirth, I invite you to consider immersing yourself in an intimate global community of like minded practitioners by joining my Ecstatic Birth Practitioner Training Program. Beginning in May 2016, this seven month training will transform your relationship to your own body and provide you with tools and practices to support your clients in their journey towards motherhood.
Ella Browne Hay is a writer, Ecstatic Birth advocate and board member at Choices in Childbirth. She created the Ecstatic Birth Training Sessions to allow women to learn directly from revolutionaries and leaders in the fields of natural birth and female sensuality. Her own childbirth journeys left her exclaiming, “Why didn’t I know it can be this good? People need to know!”. She can be found screaming it from the rooftops at ecstatic-birth.com.