Issue 106 is out now
The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

27th April 2022

Debra Pascali-Bonaro believes that birth under the right circumstances can be an orgasmic experience. Photography By Kate Nel @kate_nel_birthkeeper

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

27th April 2022

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

27th April 2022

Have you ever had a dream while you are asleep and when you wake it feels so real that you know it was meant to guide you? That is how Orgasmic Birth was born. It was conceived in a dream. I saw myself making the film and woke my husband in the middle of the night and said I have to make a documentary. I was not a film maker, I am a doula and passionate birth activist. I had to find the people who knew how to make a film, build a team and we could achieve the dream. It was an amazing journey to vision the team and one by one they arrived, as did the parents who allowed me to film their intimate experiences giving birth.

My original concept for the film was to show that birth can be an empowering and pleasurable experience. What surprised me was when the labouring mamas were able to birth in their power, surrounded by love, support, care and respect, that their births were dramatically more pleasurable too. I had witnessed many births as a doula – I knew that this was possible, but the wave of pleasurable and even orgasmic births that took place during my filming process was extraordinary. When it was time to name the film – I knew we had to make a bold statement, birth, under the right circumstances was an ORGASMIC EXPERIENCE! •

BIRTHING IN LOVE
I believe it is every woman’s human right to have a pleasurable birth. It all comes down to how you define it. I define my orgasmic birth as a heightened sensation – that moment of release and feeling your baby slide from your body into your arms. I think that every birth has that orgasmic element.

Orgasmic Birth can be the blissful waves in between contractions. A labouring mother can enter this altered state and ride the waves of sensation, expanding into the pleasure and the hormones consuming one’s being. Birthing in love means filling your whole body with oxytocin, the love hormone, and surrendering to the power within. Dr. Sarah Buckley writes in Ecstatic Birth: The Hormonal Blueprint of Labour “Such high levels (of beta-endorphins) help the laboring woman to transmute pain and enter the altered state of consciousness that characterizes an undisturbed birth.”

One of the first steps to preparing for an Orgasmic Birth is to understand how birth is whole, it is physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual. Explore your connection to each aspect, to heal past traumas, to address fears and misinformation about birth. Next, find a safe place for birth and a caregiver who supports you and pleasurable birth. With a solid foundation you can dive deeper into all aspects of comfort, pleasure and the hormones of sex and birth. The more you understand birth the more you can make choices of how you can navigate the challenges safely so your hormones can flow. Your hormones are nature’s pain relief as well as designed to bathe you in ecstasy and love as you welcome your baby. Birth is powerful! You have a choice to claim your power in birth or give it away.

“The medicalization of birth has disconnected people from the love that began the pregnancy”

MY BIRTH STORIES
I have given birth three times. Each birth was unique and each took me deeper into understanding all that was possible. And demonstrated how fear, the over medicalization of birth and the loss of midwives often strips safety, ecstasy and pleasure away. I saw firsthand how much where you give birth, and the care you receive makes a difference and that memory lasts a lifetime.

When my first son was born, I had just graduated from McGill University and was living in Montreal. Canada had lost all its midwives, so my dream of a homebirth or birth with a midwife anywhere was not possible. I found the perfect doctor, a new family practice resident who had never seen a birth; we had to work to develop trust and educate each other.

Seeing how birthing women were controlled, I considered why my experience was so different to my great grandmother’s. She gave birth to eight children at home, moving through labour; eating, drinking and I was told I had to lie down in bed and turn my body over to medicine? Luckily my doctor supported my choices. I gave birth upright, without an episiotomy. I was the first upright birth, the first intact birth in that hospital at that time.

My second son was born at the same hospital I was born in, back in my hometown in New Jersey. I found a female physician - thinking a woman would be even more caring and understanding. I was wrong. In labour, she took over and made demands that I was not comfortable with. When she entered the room, I knew I was in transition but with her bold entrance, turning lights on and taking charge, my body shut down. After she left, assuming I had hours to go, I gave birth without anyone but my husband in the room. I felt let down, I believed I would have a peaceful gentle birth and in the end, the trauma she caused me 20 minutes before giving birth took away from the joy I deserved.

By the time I was pregnant with my third son, I had become a childbirth educator and found the few midwives who were in our region. I gave birth at a birth centre, surrounded by women. I birthed my way, upright, moving, with dim lights, music, and no fear that I had to defend my right to birth my way. I knew I was supported and respected. This was my Orgasmic Birth, fully able to enjoy my labour and feel the ecstasy as my son was born into my hands surrounded by love.

LOVE INSTEAD OF FEAR
How has it been that we have not talked about the connection between birth and sexuality? For the majority of people, conception happens through sex and, even if assisted with technology, there is love and someone had an orgasm. The medicalization of birth has disconnected people from the love that began the pregnancy. Instead love is replaced by fear. Consider that a baby born vaginally will pass through the cervix, vagina, stretching the labia, touching the clitoral nerves.

The clitoris has 8000 nerves with no other role than pleasure. It’s hard to believe there is not some purpose for them in birth. And the hormones of birth are similar to the hormones of arousal and orgasm. Oxytocin, the hormone of love, intimacy and orgasm, must be produced at elevated levels to safely birth a baby. Oxytocin is called a shy hormone and it requires feeling private, safe and unobserved. Women need this in birth and to have a satisfying sexual experience. The similarities to making a baby and birthing a baby are obvious. Imagine for a moment having sex in a typical hospital room, with strangers coming in and out, hooked up to a monitor - could you relax and find pleasure? That is exactly why I believe the sterilization of birth - stripping away sexuality, sacredness and the power of our emotions - has actually made birth more difficult, painful and dangerous for many.

Birth is a day you will remember forever! Birth lays the foundation for how birthing women feel about their bodies, themselves and impacts their postpartum sexuality and relationships in many ways. Society has overlooked for too long the short and long term consequences of how people are treated and feel about their birth. Birth impacts how women transition to parenting, their relationships and I believe impacts our communities. With more and more people suffering birth trauma and postpartum depression it is time to speak up and explore what has only been whispered about - birth is sexual! Birthing with love and pleasure is possible for every person in every setting.

Debra is a film-maker, author, doula, childbirth educator, mother to three sons and grandmother. She lives in New Jersey, USA.

ROADMAP FOR AN ORGASMIC BIRTH

Take a Lamaze childbirth class with a trusted educator -

The Pain to power online childbirth class with Debra will guide you with videos, activities and support

Watch the film - Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret is full of expert advice, real birth stories and inspiration for achieving your dream birth

Read inspiring birth stories and hear from experts in the field - The Orgasmic Birth Guide will guide you to be healthy and vibrantly sexual.

Find the right doula to support your pleasurable birth experience - Doulas help reduce negative outcomes and help you and your partner to feel supported, honoured and respected.

Vet your provider - Now full of knowledge, goals and inspiration, make sure to vet your potential providers. Make sure that they are up to the job to handle an empowered, strong expectant parent.

SIX HEALTHY BIRTH PRACTICES

  1. Let labour begin on its own.
  2. Walk, move around and change positions throughout labour.
  3. Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support.
  4. Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary.
  5. Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push.
  6. Keep mother and baby together — it’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding.

With thanks to lamaze.org

RESOURCES

WATCH Award winning documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best- Kept Secret orgasmicbirth.com

READ The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Baby: Secrets to Love and Intimacy orgasmicbirth.com/sex-after-baby-book

LEARN How to positively prepare for birth at paintopowerchildbirth.com

About birth hormones at nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/health-care/maternity/pathway-to-a-healthy-birth-booklet.pdf

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