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Ecstatic Birth: What Is It?

I am triumphant! My birth was ecstatic!

I’ve heard of water births, I’ve heard of home births, hell, I’ve even heard of orgasmic births, but I had never heard of an ecstatic birth.  Have you?  I stumbled onto this website about “Escstatic Birth” and considering I write for a column called “Being Pregnant” I figured I’d check it out.

I was all geared up to read about some mama earth-type woman shouting for joy while pushing out a baby but I actually think the style of birth I hoped for and achieved when giving birth to Henry was pretty close to the theory behind ecstatic births.

Sheila Kamara Hay, creator of the website Ecstatic-Birth.com, says she fiercely desires to share with women that childbirth is not something they must endure, but something they can enjoy. “Ecstasy is about being present, not with your mind, but with your whole being. Ecstasy is about soaking in every drop of what you receive.States of ecstasy require shutting down the mind and all its judgements about how things are supposed to look and feeling every drop of an experience with your body.”

I can totally dig that.  Remember how I mentioned my birth plan was not to have a birth plan?  That’s kind of the deal with ecstatic birth.  Take Jennifer, for example.  She attended a conference on ecstatic birth, had her birth plan all mapped out – the whole nine yards. But after hours of labor her body wouldn’t fully dilate and her midwife said she needed help.

” I sobbed as I heard the words “pitocin,” “epidural,” and “transfer.” From all my reading and research, I knew that those interventions tend to snowball into larger ones, including a C-section — so different from what we’d planned and hoped for.”

Jennifer had a c-section and gave birth to a beautiful boy.  In spite of all the unplanned medical interventions she realized she had an ecstatic birth after all.

My ecstatic birth was about absolute surrender of my small, neat plans to the messy, brilliant chaos of life. My ecstatic birth cracked me open to grace, grief, gratitude, and immense love unlike any I’ve ever felt.”

Exactly my intention when I gave birth.  Sure, I hoped for an easy vaginal delivery but I was also fully prepared for whatever came down the pike.  Epidural not working properly, not dilating, c-section, watever it took to bring my boy safely into the world would be the right birth for me.

Here’s a snippet of Sheila discussing ecstatic birth on the website:

…an Ecstatic Birth is not necessarily a seamless birth, all pristine and beautiful and smiling, but it is about being fully in your body, connected to its wisdom, and soaking in every drop of the experience, no matter what you get. I want you to know that kind of trust and embrace that level of connection and surrender.

Ecstatic birth is emerging triumphant from whatever your experience.  As Jennifer says, I had the right to claim my birth story as ecstatic no matter what it looked like.”

Image:  flickr.com/chimpr

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