A few weeks back, I received a package in the mail from my friends David and Lau. Among the goodies they sent was Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, a true classic in the literature about midwifery and home birth. I’d first learned of Ina May and her work in the documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” which was produced by–wait for it–Ricki Lake.*
I packed the book in my bag and ended up reading it in one sitting on a flight from Miami to Rio earlier this week.
Beyond being convinced that home birth (or as close as one can get to it) is the way to bring a child into this world, beyond learning about how to choose a medical provider and what questions to ask about the pre-, birth, and post-natal phases of care, I learned about orgasmic birth.
Ina May and her colleagues are considered pioneers of a number of techniques intended to help women reconnect with the utter naturalness of giving birth. They have also studied indigenous cultural practices from around the world, adapting relaxation, birthing, and medical intervention practices that women have been using for centuries, but which have been obscured by the modern-day medical establishment.
But I think Ina May’s greatest contribution may just be the notion of the orgasmic birth. Sure, pushing a baby into the world is not a pain-free experience. But Ina May explains (and has certainly attended enough births to know) that birth can be such a sensual and spiritual experience that the mother can actually have an orgasm in the process of birth.
Sounds good to me.
There’s another idea that Ina May promotes that I really like and plan to try out when the time comes. When the going gets tough, Ina May suggests that the woman’s partner hop in the bed with her and make out. The familiarity of the partner, the natural relaxing that occurs when we’re kissing our partner– it all relaxes the woman and helps the cervix dilate.
Orgasmic birth. Read all about it. Ina May, I’m counting on you!
*Don’t roll your eyes; it’s actually a fascinating 101 course in all things related to birth and the medical establishment. Here’s the trailer (Netflix carries the film if you want to see the whole shebang):