Sunday, January 8, 2012
Orgasm During Childbirth? I call BS!
Everyone loves the movie Orgasmic Birth (now retitled Organic Birth, or something like that). At least, everyone in the natural birthing community loves it. Why? Because it communicates the fact that birth doesn't have to be horribly painful and scary. It can be beautiful and loving.
Birth is a time when our "love" hormones are at their highest levels - we will never experience that kind of high at any other point in our lives. So yes, a lot of women will get a "rush" as the babies head emerges, and some have even reported orgasmic-like feelings.
But seriously...I call bullshit. Not "bullshit, you didn't experience that" (because, who am I to deny a woman's experience?). But bullshit that childbirth will result in orgasms.
As one friend so aptly put it to me several years ago, "along with all the pressures women face in terms of their bodies, we now have to experience orgasm during childbirth AS WELL!?"
I agree with you 100% sister. Isn't it enough that I have to deal with (on average) 12 hours of knock-me-to-the-floor contractions (oops, sorry, I'm supposed to say "rushes")? But now I have to orgasm at the end of it all? Give me a break!
To all women out there - I can attest to the fact that natural childbirth is definitely wonderful. I think I re-live my labour/birth experience almost every day, and I am extraordinarily proud of what I accomplished. I wouldn't do it any other way.
But it hurt. Like, seriously.....it REALLY HURT. Here is how one woman put it when describing her water breaking:
Words cannot really describe the pain of my water breaking in that doorway, and the [babies] face dropping so fast, too fast, into my pelvic bones. They just can't. A too oft used cliche, but a true one. Like my mother's old 14 pound pink bowling ball being dropped on my pelvis?
If we tell women that birth is all orgasmic and stuff, aren't we setting them up for some serious disappointment if they experience something else? The majority of women do not experience orgasms in birth. Yes, there can be joyful moments, and some women report having painless childbirth - this is possible, but not the norm.
As doulas, I urge you to tread lightly when speaking to women about the experiences/feelings of childbirth. No one experience is the same, and when you talk too much, you risk your client coming back to you and saying "hey, it totally wasn't what you said it would be." Our role as a doula is to listen - to work through fears and concerns, and prepare parents for the reality of childbirth. And the reality is - it will probably be much more painful than expected. Chances are, if you skim through the book Hypnobirthing, you're not going to be moaning in pleasure during your contractions.
But does that mean that a positive natural childbirth is impossible to accomplish? No way! Our job is to encourage our clients in seeing their upcoming experience as a rite of passage - and an extremely positive one at that. Again, here is a quote from the same woman above:
There are moments that define us, that are written so vividly in our memories that nothing erases them, or overrides them. That moment, in the doorway, now defines me to myself, for it is always in my mind. In that moment, I knew I could face motherhood and everything that word encompasses. If I could get through that pain, that moment of the most unbridled display of emotion I'd ever had, when I was gripped in my partner's arms, screaming in his ear "I can't do this, what the hell is happening to me, this is too much" - if I got through that without crying Uncle, without the thought of drugs or asking for relief crossing my mind, I know I can manage whatever comes. Mayhap not gracefully, or quietly, but manage I will.
We can manage, we can conquer, and we can succeed.
But orgasm? No....sorry, not this time, honey. I have a headache.
Posted by Misty Pratt at 12:41 PM