Orgasmic birth: the unicorn of childbirth?
A few months ago, I wrote about the elusive orgasmic birth on my personal blog. At the time, I was only slightly pregnant and figured it was just something that would make for humorous content. But since then, I’ve been thinking about the topic more and more. Is the orgasmic birth more myth than reality?
I wanted to start my investigation by asking someone who has personally witnessed and attended several thousand live births: my mid-wife. The group I go to, Boulder Nurse Midwives, are an especially open and friendly bunch, so I knew that when I posed my question about orgasmic birth, they would be the least likely to laugh. I was right about their reaction.
According to the midwife that I spoke to, she has never seen anything she could describe as an orgasmic birth. She also brought up the point that she thinks that orgasm is not the right word to be using. By taking a word that describes sexual feeling and placing it a non-sexual context, you’re misrepresenting what an orgasm, and what birth labor, are all about. While both activities have to do with intense experiences involving the vagina, they really have nothing to do with one another.
In addition, I wanted to get a feeling for what my mom friends had to say about the subject. A close friend in Texas said she had never heard of an orgasmic birth. She also suggested that any woman who described her labor and delivery in such a way had probably never had a real orgasm. (This is the same woman who didn’t want me to mention her name in this post for fear of showing up in Google results being associated with the topic.) A second friend brought up the point that if you did actually have an orgasmic birth with one of your children and not the other, it would be pretty easy to tell which child was your favorite from there forward.
Another friend that I approached the subject with mentioned that she really enjoyed giving birth…but not because it was orgasmic. She admitted that there were sensual feelings involved with the births of all of her children, but that it went much deeper than anything she had ever felt with an orgasm. Shortly following her remark, she also wondered aloud if Michelle Duggar, who has given birth to 19 children, might be a better person to ask about the possibility of orgasmic birth. What other possible explanation for that much labor and delivery?
There is a documentary out that details many women who have had orgasmic births and after watching the trailer, I’m definitely open to the possibility. But I think that what I really desire is the use of a better adjective to describe birth. Many women go into the whole ordeal thinking labor and delivery will be a scary or painful process, mainly because that’s all they’ve seen in movies or heard from others. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take fear out of the equation and instead, let women be excited about the process of childbirth? Perhaps the word “orgasmic” is not the right one to be using, but if we can change the perceptions of pregnant women about the very natural process they will be undergoing, wouldn’t that be orgasmic in and of itself?
Tara Anderson is a recovering stand-up comic and expecting her first child in March. Her day job involves marketing a web-development firm and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably hiking, running or baking. She can be found writing at Tall Tara, making jokes on Twitter and striving for a panic-free pregnancy.
Photo courtesy of Orgasmic Birth.