Turning birth upside-down and inside out

The way a woman gives birth is intimately intertwined with her approach to life and sensuality. Ecstatic Birth is a call to reconfigure our cultural conception of birth. It is a call to put childbirth back on its sacred pedestal and women back into an empowered relationship with their bodies and their experience of birth.

Our cultural and religious inheritance is that we are meant to suffer during childbirth. According to these messages, birth is something women have to endure, to survive, in order to get the baby prize. We look for somebody or something to save us from this experience. What we have lost in this model is our journey to motherhood, the gifts of birth that teach us and empower us towards mothering with our full feminine ferocity. In handing over our power in birth to something outside of ourselves — whether the medical community or even an idea of an “ideal” birth — we become a powerless object in the journey as opposed to an active participant. In order to reconnect with childbirth’s full capacity for deep transformative pleasure on many levels — emotional, spiritual, even physical — we must begin to reclaim our power in the birthing room. An empowered woman cannot be victimized. Only one functioning as object can be.

Culturally, women have come a long way, and we are still in the process of reclaiming the sacred feminine. Sometimes, as a part of the reclamation, one will grasp onto some sort of ideal, such an ideal way to birth or an ideal parenting approach. Ideals are good tools to guide us, but can become just as disempowering and damaging if they are used to judge ourselves instead of inspire. As we own our beauty, power, and gifts, we can begin to see a world in which the current patriarchal model of power (a hierarchical model where one thing must be better or worse than another) becomes obsolete and a new model emerges, a model based on balance. This balance of energies is an integral part of the birthing process, as well as life. It is a balance between action and surrender.

As we enter this age when women are stepping out of victimhood into a more empowered sacred feminine way of being, we are also being called to reevaluate birth. Birth lies at the heart of a woman’s sacred creative feminine nature, whether she is birthing a physical child or a metaphorical one, such as any creative project.

On an individual level, how a woman moves through the world plays an integral role in how she approaches and experiences birth. To what degree is she able to empower herself to live an authentic life, a life in line with her dreams and values? How does she overcome resistance — her own or others — to her desires? How does she process fear? How does she handle disappointment? These are all important components of personal growth, the fruits of which permeate a person’s quality of life.

A woman’s physical body has a virtually limitless capacity for sensual pleasure, but this is an untapped goldmine in most women’s experience today. Our cultural disconnect with female sensuality and its polarizing models of “virgin” or “whore” have created a landscape in which there are very few, if any, healthy and mature expressions of female sensuality being modeled for women.

Why is this relevant to birth?

The physiology of birth and sexuality are one and the same. As strange (or even repugnant) of a thought as it may be to some women, the energy that gets the baby in is the energy that gets the baby out. Our current cultural disconnect with our sensuality has only fueled our detachment from birth and our need for interventions to help us do what our bodies are fully and ecstatically capable of doing on their own. For this reason alone, the sooner a woman starts on this conscious return to herself and her relationship with her body, the better off she will be when her time comes to give birth.

A short note here: yes, there are situations where medical interventions are necessary and life-saving. My intention is not to impose fully natural births as an ideal by which any women should judge themselves. We believe that if you are a woman who does finds herself in a birth situation where medical intervention becomes necessary, there is ample potential to integrate pleasure into your birth experience and operate from an empowered rather than victimized stance.

As we become more conscious as human beings, we can translate that awareness into all areas of our lives. We invite you to join us in turning inside out our current cultural concept of birth. Ecstatic Birth is a movement that shares with women everywhere that birth is a journey we can actually enjoy. Childbirth has an intense, life-altering potential for physical, emotional, and spiritual pleasure. When approached consciously, childbirth has the potential for infinite gifts along the spectrum of empowerment to orgasm. We believe that birth is a journey complete with peaks and valleys and dazzling treasures along the way. Our desire is to support women and their service providers in uncovering and reveling in these treasures.

Sheila