Ina May Gaskin is the most famous midwife in the United States. As one of of the founding members of the intentional community the Farm, Ina May and the Farm Midwives have thirty years of statistics that demonstrate the safety and benefits of natural childbirth. For example, only 1.4% of births attended by the Farm Midwives have required a Cesarean section compared to the national average of about 25%. Ina May has long been respected for advocating women’s rights, as well as changing people’s perceptions about natural childbirth. Instead of an agonizing ordeal, Ina May believes that childbirth can be an orgasmic experience.
When I first became pregnant 16 years ago, a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, I read Ina May’s first book Spiritual Midwifery. Not only was this book full of information on natural pregnancy and childbirth, but it was packed with images and stories of labor, in which the parents saw psychedelic colors and experienced orgasms. I thought that these hippies had done too many drugs and were just having flashbacks, but by the time I read her second book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth before the birth of my second child, I decided to try out some of the visualizations described in the birth stories. As MSNBC explains,
She promoted the idea that a woman’s state of mind will influence how easy her birth is and encouraged unorthodox ways to improve the woman’s experience, like encouraging her to make out with her husband during labor.
Although I didn’t have quite the experience Ina May espouses, my son was born in a third of the time of my daughter. Instead of grimacing in pain as I did during my first labor, I visualized a flower opening as the hard contractions bore down upon me. Shortly after, my son was born in water into his daddy’s arms.
Ina May is working on a movie titled “The Orgasmic Birth”. As she describes,
A midwife’s work means something: It prepares the woman to go through childbirth in a way that’s transformative and empowering. The empowerment and self respect she learns in labor is passed on to the child in a loving relationship.
I highly recommend her books to anyone about to give birth. Even if you don’t experience an orgasm during labor, at least you will have a positive experience that will start your relationship off right with your child.
Image source: Crunchy Domestic Goddess