I got to witness Hurricane Sandy up front and close. Out my living room window, I watched as some of the most massive trees on our property got uprooted and thundered to the ground. Trees that had been standing for hundreds of years, with circumferences of 3 or 4 feet, as solid as they make them. It was a humbling and terrifying spectacle.
I heard a teacher once share that fear of birth (and fear of women in general) is directly related to our fear of nature. This idea emerged in my mind as I contemplated Sandy. Yes, nature in its fury can definitely be terrifying, but usually it isn’t. On a day to day basis, nature is beautiful, glorious, and life affirming. Since we moved here into our little neck of the woods, I have soaked in stunning sunrises and reveled in autumn’s vibrant paintbrush. I have felt the energy of the trees, surround me, sustain me, and ground me. And yet, in the aftermath of the hurricane, I couldn’t help wondering if moving here wasn’t a mistake. The city seemed so much safer, more stable, as if Sandy had barely hit. But my body wholly resisted that thought with the knowledge of what I would be giving up- all the joy and pleasure that I experience everyday in living in the beauty of the natural world.
Recently, I was telling a friend about Ecstatic birth and I noticed that she had a dubious look on her face.
When I questioned her she asked- “So, you’re trying to teach women that they can ENJOY childbirth?”
Yes. I nodded, smiling. She shook her head condescendingly. “Well, that’s an oxymoron.”
Her reaction is totally understandable, given our cultural messages around birth, the endless TV shows depicting a birthing woman as a shrieking object waiting to be rescued by the doctor or drugs. Given the medicalization of birth, women are more likely to be trading birth war stories, than sharing tales of birth as a pleasurable empowering experience.
I’m totally thrilled to announce that things are changing.
Looking back on the last year, I realize my overarching theme emerged in full force with the Ecstatic Birth Body Series: “The more I melt into my body, the harder it is to deny my personal truths.”
And woah… we really saw how deep body connection can be an INTENSE journey. For some participants, the Body Series was a beautiful awakening into a conscious relationship with their bodies and inner wisdom. For others (and for me personally) – it was like looking the sun in the eye- blinding, terrifying, and always stunning.
It can be really tough to look that inner wisdom in the eye, especially when you’ve been using the full force of your rationality to passionately deny Deny DENY! Why would you ever want to deny a deep truth?
The Ecstatic Birth Body Series has officially lauched- and our first session was absolutely stunning. Sheri Winston blew the socks off the participants with her tour of a Woman’s anatomy and all the connections she drew between the sexual and birthing processes. I received so many acknowledgments from participants like this FB post: “First class of the Body Series and I’m already a whole new woman. The bliss door is open!!” I am so proud of this baby being born, of myself for the part I play in its creation and nurture and growth. And yet, when the session ended, I was trembling head to toe. Trembling with an overwhelming feeling of SHAME. Shame. Can you believe it?
Oh my, ladies. Birth, it cracks you wide open. It has the potential to be the deepest most profound healing experience of your life. It is a rite of passage, no doubt, to support your growth into becoming the mother you need to be for your child. And the shame? We live in a world that doesn’t understand sexuality as sacred…
Perhaps you imagine an Ecstatic Birth all serene and lovely… It definitely could be.
Perhaps it is a water birth with the woman smiling as the baby slips into her waiting hands…Yes, that is also possible.
Perhaps the woman is in a whole other universe, experiencing waves of bliss that she may later define as orgasmic.
Sounds good, right?
But what about being rocked by waves so strong, you lose control of bodily functions?
What about labor that persists past hours and into days?
What about a hospital birth– can that be ecstatic?
What about a c-section?
Absolutely. Yes. To all of the above and more.
You see, birth can be really GRITTY!
Just like life. Life can be really gritty.