CiC Chat on Pleasure and Birth, from our Director of Program Development, Khushbu Srivastava
Last Thursday, Choices in Childbirth hosted our first official “CiC Chat”, a new bi-monthly gathering where we sip wine, eat cheese and talk all things birth- including sharing inspiring stories, discussing pressing issues for change, and deliberating on not, new trends within the maternity care world. More than anything else, these events are one way that we have prioritized fostering a community of folks around our mission of promoting safe, healthy, and deeply fulfilling birth experiences.
Last Thursday’s event was co-hosted by CiC Board Member and Ecstatic Birth Advocate, Sheila Kamara Hay. Sheila and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, visionary, birth activist, and director of the film Orgasmic Birth, led an open conversation about the potential for pleasure in birth.
As someone who has worked in the maternity care/women’s right field for many years, and as someone who gave birth last year, I have to say that, even I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As the night began, I ensconced myself in a quiet corner of the room with a fluffy floor pillow, drink in hand, ready to learn. I found myself peacefully floating along as the night progressed, as Sheila shared her incredible birth story- a difficult birth, followed by a deep personal journey to reclaim her pleasure and strength in a second birth that was joy encapsulated. Debra showed a clip of the film- a beautiful birthing woman surrounded by flowers and greenery, birthing in a tub, with the most delicate expression of ecstasy- in a world that was completely her own. Debra’a laughter and easy jokes made me feel like I was sitting in a kitchen with my great-aunts and sisters, sharing naughty secrets and prized recipes.
Many women shared their own birth stories- the need for silence, the unexpected sexiness in the hospital room, the courage to stand up against those who may have tried to control our process, and the fear that perhaps this type of joy was for other women, not us. We held the many precious moments of victory and
sadness, and laughed together.
If there is one thing that I learned that evening, it is that there is no one way to birth, just as there is no one way to be a woman. It feels really special to be part of a community that celebrates women’s innate ability to bring life into this world joyfully.