By Debra Pascali-Bonaro
You have waited 9+ months – feeling new life moving within, anticipating labor, birth and what life will be like as a parent. What will your baby look like? What will labor be like? What will the first moments of welcoming your baby be like? What words will you say? What music will be playing?
Have you heard stories of labor as joyful, challenging, powerful, transformative, pleasurable, blissful and Orgasmic? If not, you are missing some of nature’s Best-Kept Secrets. If you have already given birth – these words might not seem familiar to you, and yet every person deserves to give birth with power, pleasure and love!
There are many reasons and first it is important to understand that giving birth is a right of passage, a transformation which causes us to stretch, to grow, to face challenges, and so for some birth will be painful – but that does not mean it also won’t also include pleasure, love, and great joy. Childbirth holds it all and yet we are only hearing half of the story.
Often the very practices that put us down literally into bed and emotionally as well create the likelihood that birth will be longer, more difficult, and more painful. The childbirth practices of today often create more pain and overuse of valuable medication, interventions and surgery – all of which are helpful in some instances but put others at risk with their overuse. So many surgeries could be avoided and reduced if we understood the simple ways to honor our natural ability to give birth and created environments and opportunities to prepare for and give birth honoring our physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual wholeness and well-being.
You are the expert on your body and your baby! Your care providers should be like lifeguards there to help you when you need assistance, but otherwise they sit quietly in the corner as you navigate the gentle waters, giving you the privacy and safety you need to experience the intimacy and joy of childbirth.
Where do your beliefs about childbirth come from and are they correct? Seek out and listen to powerful, pleasurable birth stories. When you hear birth stories that are challenging and/or distressing ask what they would do differently if they had the chance.
Respect yourself and make sure everyone on your birth team respects you!
Gravity Works! Don’t take it lying down! Alternate activity with rest to pace yourself in childbirth, but remember that gravity will help your baby move down.
for support and love from your partner, hire a doula and interview care providers to make sure your midwife or doctor sees birth as joyful and pleasurable.
Just the act of smiling when you feel down changes the hormonal flow and brings you into a state where you want to smile. The more you welcome labor and see it as a powerful and pleasurable event, the more it will become one.
Dance your baby into the world and find positions that bring you comfort. Movement will help your baby move and find the easiest path into your arms.
Birth is a part of your sexual life and the same elements that allow you to open to intimacy will help you open gently to give birth. Consider the lighting, sounds, smells, privacy, touch and sensuous kissing, stroking, and words that help you release to pleasure and equally be aware of any obstacles that will block that loving feeling.
a language of pleasure. So many of the words about birth are illness based and leading to pain. What do you think of when you hear the word contraction? What the mind hears or sees the body feels. I love to call the sensations of labor “personal power surges”. When you re-language the experience many people find labor becomes less painful (or not painful at all), it can still be intense, challenging and strong, yet these are healthy sensations of your body doing the amazing work of birth.
Your breath helps you to be mindful to stay present, bringing calmness into your body and releasing any tension or stress. Connect to your breathe as you welcome each surge.
Visualize & focus on images of the birth you desire. Write down your birth desires remembering you are inviting your baby to share your desires too. Sometimes our children have different dreams, so if your baby chooses or needs another path, find elements in any birth setting or situation that bring you pleasure.
Labor and birth is a dance, the more you find your rhythm the easier it is. Rhythm can be like the gentle rocking of your baby and yourself, your breathe, a mantra or chant.
yourself or invite others you feel safe with to give you loving touch that will stimulate your pleasure and love hormones. Oxytocin, the hormone of love, and beta endorphin, the hormone of pleasure are the same hormones of intimacy and these hormones make birth easier and more orgasmic! What turns you on in life can turn you on in labor! Create an environment of privacy and safety for a safe, satisfying and pleasurable birth!
Open your heart chakra. “All you need is Love” – Love yourself, love your baby and invite those who love you to share their love with you. Imagine what would you like to hear and feel if you were baby? Nestled in a dark world – baby can hear the sounds outside. What sounds, feelings and sensations would you want your baby to be feeling as they leave their current home and move into your arms. Send your baby your love, talk with your baby sharing how much you love them and are looking forward to meeting them. We often forget the baby during the intensity of birth, but connecting during birth and creating a gentle loving birth helps a baby to breastfeed, bond and relax knowing they are welcome and loved. Opening your heart and preparing to welcome your baby with love and pleasure sets the stage for a lifetime of love!
This blog was featured in the Zero2Expo: Birthing a Better Future
The Birthing a Better Future Exhibition was established to increase public awareness about the key issues and importance of the first 1001 days of life from conception to age two.
The ‘1001 Critical Days’ is the UK’s first cross-party children’s manifesto which proposes important ways to improve the lives of babies. Our first exhibition launched in the UK Houses of Parliament in 2016 and the second iteration at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in 2017. This exhibition was evaluated for its impact and effectiveness and published in the Lancet Journal in 2018. This touring exhibition covers key topics for contemplation and invites you to consider new ways of thinking about pregnancy, birth and parenting.
All text is underpinned by expert opinions and scientific research and is accompanied by thought-provoking art.
Science proves beyond doubt how important the 1001 days are for optimum brain development, an outcome which is most readily achieved through exposure to healthy environments and good relationships. These positive early connections last a lifetime, and are vital in creating successful, happy and healthy adults.
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*All images and text in this exhibition are subject to copyright.
*Alex Florschutz, MA Founder of Zero2 Expo