by Sheila Kamara Hay
The seeds of my business, Ecstatic Birth, were conceived years ago with my first pregnancy. I desired a birth that would leave me breathless and marveling at my body’s strength, wisdom, and capacity to bring forth life – but I had no idea how to get there. My experience turned out to be the exact opposite and felt way more traumatic than ecstatic.
If I was ever going to give birth again, it had to be completely different so during my second pregnancy I left no stone unturned in my birth prep, training myself – body, mind and soul. My labor was very peaceful, zen-like, and with my first few pushes I felt a deep powerful pulsation within my body and I thought to myself- “Oh my god it’s true! Women can orgasm when they give birth!”
With that thought I jumped out of my body and into my head, but I never forgot that sensation as my baby made her way down the birth canal. I had gotten an inkling of what was possible, so during my third pregnancy, I decided to literally train my body for my third birth by training my body for pleasure.
What I discovered went way beyond my highest conception of what was possible.
My labor was pokey from the start, so my midwife sent us out to walk. I delighted in that, remembering all the times Ina May would do the same with her women. In the heart of NYC, amidst honking horns and pedestrians, I leaned into my husband for every contraction, breathing, moaning and taking my sweet time.
By the time we had returned my labor had definitely progressed, but still wasn’t in full swing. With a wink my midwife said she’d give us some privacy. We cuddled and snuggled and put some music on to dance. At some point my husband took a seat as it was clear that this dance was between me and my baby.
I was fully in the flow of the music and the sensations, my contractions feeling like a gallant partner that would approach me from a distance, gather me into his arms for a whirl and a dip before slowly retreating as I caught my breath in anticipation for our next round.
This dance put me in a connected trance of ecstasy between me and the divine. The energy mounting and flowing through me, guiding me in movement and sound, overcoming me and then leaving me spent. I have never had so much fun dancing in my life (rivaling only my wedding night.)
I birthed my baby with my hand on my vulva, managing my ability to open so wide with pleasure, flow and engorgement. I birthed my baby without a tear, not even along my episiotomy scar line.
I still get emotional when I think about it. I had trained for pleasure. And yet what I had experienced went beyond anything I could have conceived.
I remember turning to my husband, tears in my eyes, saying, “Why didn’t I know [birth] could be this good? Why doesn’t every woman know?” Share on Twitter
Thus why I do what I do. I want everyone to know what is possible.
I began by sharing my journey informally with women in my community. It quickly became a thing.. “If you are pregnant, you should call Sheila. Talk to Sheila.” I was raising 3 kids under 5, my energy stretched so thin. I realized that each of those conversations fueled me and recharged me and allowed me to come back to my kids VIBRANT, so I decided to go for it and do it for real. To formalize what I had informally been doing for years.
I launched Ecstatic Birth by sharing my teachers with the world, each of them having given me a transformative pearl that had been integral to my journey. I connected the dots for women between birth and female sexuality. We shared information, practices, raised the collective consciousness around birth and each woman’s own conception of what is possible in birth.
This series, now known as the Ecstatic Birth Training Sessions, was the first of its kind and pulled in so many more practitioners than I could have imagined. What I thought would be a conversation between me and moms like I was– women that wanted a great birth experience but didn’t know how to create that– was pulling in midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, a fact that perplexed me. Didn’t they already know this?? Each one said, adamantly, “No. We need this!”
I signed up for B-school a couple of years into my business. It has given me tools and structure to formalize my passion. It has also enabled me to feel like I am not in this alone. There is so much support and connection that happens, Debra’s “Birth Your Dreams” group being a beautiful example of this.
One of the biggest perks of B-school is the standing invitation to audit the course each time it runs. We are always growing, changing, evolving. Each year my business needs are different and each year I am able to lean into the content with a different perspective.
I’ve drawn on the content in B-school to support me in creating my website, in structuring my coaching business, and most recently in developing and launching a program for birth practitioners, which just like B-school, practitioners are invited to audit year after year.
As a business woman, I am constantly birthing new ideas and programs. It is a gift to have B-school and the community doula-ing me along my journey..
Sheila Kamara Hay is an Ecstatic Birth advocate, visionary and trainer. She is passionate about providing expectant moms and birth practitioners with tools and resources to support them in creating empowering, transformative, and joyful birth experiences. Sheila fiercely desires to share with women that childbirth is not something they must endure, but a journey they can enjoy. She can be found screaming it from the rooftops at ecstatic-birth.com.
Sheila is also a member of our Birth Your Dreams community, a B-School bonus offered by Orgasmic Birth. Our Birth Your Dreams Group has created an amazing online webinar series – click on the picture below to sign up! Learn more about joining our birth business group and sign up for our upcoming Q&A.