Ok, I know that’s a pretty intense title for a response to a book called Orgasmic Birth. I do want to address the radical, wild, and innate possibility of orgasmic birth. But diving into this book, I was yet again astounded by how most people don’t even question the act of giving birth in a hospital.
From the beginning of humanity, birth has happened at home. It is a mammalian necessity to be in a familiar environment where we feel safe to relax into the intensity of birth. Honoring our physiology is what makes birth safe. The role of the midwife seems to have been a natural evolution of women orienting around that primal need, and passing on knowledge and skill through generations.
Looking at present day maternity care, I’m dumbfounded. As I was listening to this book on Audible, I had to pause every so often in astonishment and outrage. I asked my sister in-law, who was sitting nearby, “Knowing that homebirth has relatively the same maternal and fetal survival outcomes but hospitals have such a massively high rate of interventions, why are people still choosing to go there?”
She responded, “It’s just normal. I don’t question it.”
The emoji of my internal state after hearing what she said: 😱
Ok, yes, she’s not wrong! I don’t blame her for saying that. That’s probably what’s true for the majority of people.
But this has me asking, how the heck did we get here?! How did we get to a point where, even with data showing the safety of home birth, countless stories of transformative undisturbed birth, and the fact that we are all alive today because our ancestors survived giving birth at home, the default is to go to a hospital?!
It was not an accident. It was not a natural evolution. It was a conspiracy.
We have been lied to for as long as the Catholic church has been around, from my understanding. This is when the belief was implanted that we must suffer in childbirth for the sin of being a woman. Men and a patriarchal society dominated, the field of medicine grew, and childbirth became an opportunity for experimentation.
And yet, the most radical domination of this conspiracy occurred later, through the industrialization of birth.
“The American public has been snowed by a deliberate disinformation campaign regarding home birth and midwifery.
Western Europe is different because healthcare there has long been state funded, and midwifery, focused on health promotion and maintaining normalcy, has proven to be dramatically cost saving.
But in the United States, the loss of this option began in the early 1900’s when medicine became a for-profit profession requiring university education, from which women were barred access. Thus midwives, primary caregivers for the majority of women and families at that time, were not only marginalized, but actively discredited in the medical profession’s campaign to monopolize healthcare provision…
…Training provisions and guidelines were gradually phased out so that, in many states, the practice of midwifery became illegal. At the same time, medical treatment became increasingly centered on the use of pharmaceuticals and technology, the interests of which are now represented by some of the most powerful lobbies in this country.” - quote from Orgasmic Birth
Hello people! We are not giving birth in hospitals because it’s safer! We are giving birth in hospitals because it’s more profitable.
It got very bad there for some time in the mid 1900’s, though I’m not sure we can say it’s much better nowadays with more than 30% of mothers giving birth via c-section. I suppose before that it was pretty awful too, with slave women being experimented on by obstetricians with no pain medication. White women who had money began flocking to hospitals for birth, but their husbands weren’t allowed, they were anesthetized, deeply cut, and separated from their babies. It sounds like pure torture, but it became the norm.
Somehow, midwifery survived. Somehow, women survived. Trauma was passed down to daughters and sons who would start families themselves some day. And thanks to some powerful shifts in the 1970’s, women demanding different care and making different choices, home birth still exists.
As I said in the beginning, orgasmic birth is an innate part of our physiology. Orgasm is a function of the natural release of oxytocin, flooding the pleasure center in our brain and pulsing through our body. Orgasm is a function of release and softening into our primal nature. Orgasm is connection and oneness with those we are interacting with. The effects are earth-shaking and life-changing and ever-lasting.
And there is no difference between this… and birth in its natural state.
Birth can be so many things: painful, terrifying, glorious, grounding, torturous, healing, rectifying, cataclysmic, gentle, intense, and yes, orgasmic. One thing is guaranteed. Every single one of us who goes on this journey will experience it in our own way. And whether we know it or not, it is an initiation into a new world.
If you want to learn more, buy the book Orgasmic Birth by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
If you're interested in working with me, explore here.
The title of this post is quoted from Yolande Norris-Clark who states, "The fact that most women leave their homes in order to give birth in the presence of strangers who abuse them, in institutions that fail to provide *any* element of what a mammal requires in order for birth to unfold optimally, represents one of the most insidious and successful conspiracies of all time."