For those of you who hear the term Ecstatic Birth for the first time, it may sound like an oxymoron. However, it is the most natural and desirable birth experience every woman can have. Yes, every, even the one that has a c-section, if prepared with the right mindset. Those cesareans are called Ecstatic Cesareans. Ecstatic birth is a term trademarked by Sheila Kamara Hay, who launched the global Ecstatic Birth movement in 2011. This term refers to a wide range of positive birth experiences that lay the foundation for empowered motherhood. An ecstatic birth is a childbirth experience full of overwhelming bliss or pleasure, be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or all of the above. Learn more in detail about it here.
We do not hear about that Ecstatic birth experiences often because:
In Startup City Mariposa we would like to discourage Fear-Based Birth Culture and create an Ecstatic Birth Culture instead. Let’s check how that would look.
I invite you to imagine something most people may be skeptical about. If you are skeptical too, that’s ok. Thank you for being here and being open to learning something new. Right now I just want you to imagine it. We will come to the feasibility and practical terms of this right after.
Imagine if there was one place on Earth, where people have developed the Ecstatic Birth culture. In this place, the level of c-sections is below 1%. Most babies are born healthy, with no medical interventions. Most women enjoy their birth experience throughout and come out of it empowered and confident that if they could birth their babies that way, they can accomplish anything. They walk away from this experience with a deep sense of awe for their body, nature, and life itself, and they look back at the day they birthed their children with immense joy. These women revive the pleasure they experienced at birth every time they celebrate their children's birthdays. Moreover, they are eager to share these powerful birth stories to empower other women as well.
The traumatic birth stories are an exception because birth is no longer a taboo but rather a subject of high importance you are encouraged to ask questions about. Women are highly educated and know how to process their emotions and find the source of power even if the birth scenario does not unfold the way they planned. After all, Ecstatic Birth, to a large extent, is primarily determined by our ability to see it as ecstatic. Ecstasy is present even in difficult life experiences: the only question is whether you can find it or will remain a victim of your circumstances. Nevertheless, if the trauma occurs, traumatized women receive a lot of empathy and help from other women in their community so they could heal and have empowered motherhood too.
How do I know that what I have just described here is not a utopia and that it is actually possible to create despite the overwhelming world statistics of traumatic births we have today? Well, we can learn from the success stories of small groups of people. Let’s have a look at the story below.
One of the most surprising and inspiring stories I have ever read was in the foreword to the book “HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method” written by M.F. Mongan. The foreword was written by Lorne R. Campbell, an experienced OBGYN and family doctor. He described how his medical practice has changed over the years and how it was related to the change in his beliefs about pain management in birth and his methods of working with future moms. When he started working as an OBGYN, her c-section rate was 25%, which was about the average rate in North America at that time. By now, according to WHO, it is 32%. At that time, just like many other doctors, he believed that epidural and the use of drugs was a medical blessing for laboring mothers. However, as many women demanded natural birth, he started holding off analgesics until the mother could no longer hold the pain. Just by doing that, his c-section rate dropped to 5%. However, when he discovered a HypnoBirthing method, started preparing his clients to birth with this method and stopped using any analgesic drugs altogether, not only his c-section rate became nearly non-existent (3 women in a few years!) but his clients stopped experiencing pain, neither mothers nor babies were exhausted in the process, there were no more birth complications, no need for oxygen or any other medical support for babies, and “all of the families have left their birthings excited about the birth event”. He says, “I have a large number of HypnoBirthing families - mothers and fathers - who love to talk about their own birthing experiences”.
That’s the impact of just one doctor, and HypnoBirthing is only one modality for ecstatic birth preparation. I believe there are many more. Imagine if the majority of the birth practitioners were certified in ecstatic birth prep modalities like HypnoBirthing, then Ecstatic Birth would have a chance to become a norm. Let’s talk about what practical steps we can take to make it a reality.
In Mariposa, most people will have at least basic information about the key conditions for creating an ecstatic birth experience. At the entrance to the city Mariposa, you will be passing through a Welcome Center that has several auditoriums. In each auditorium, visitors will be able to see an educational video dedicated to one part of the city vision. One is about the leading-edge app we will use for transparent governance. Another is about nonviolent communication, a highly effective method for conflict resolution that allows people to remain human even under trying circumstances. Another one is about ecologic living and organic farming, and so on. One of the videos will be about Ecstatic Birth. Visitors are not obliged to attend any of them; however, they are informed that for watching at least one of the educational videos, they will receive a quality t-shirt with the city logo on one side and an invitation to learn about parts of our vision on another. For instance, for birth, it could have a simple phrase as “Did you know that childbirth could be ecstatic? Visit www.Mariposa.hn to learn more.” Of course, not everyone will be interested in the birth section right away, but those in childbearing age may be drawn to it naturally. Imagine the impact these visitors may have on the whole world by wearing these t-shirts and spreading the word about the possibility of having an ecstatic birth.
Moreover, it is our dream to create many educational opportunities for future parents and birth practitioners, and build a birth center, where together with leading-edge practices for safe and respectful maternity care, these educational programs will allow women to dismount their fears of labor, create healthy pregnancies and powerful birth experiences that will positively impact their children’s health and brain development. We hope that these practices will drive birth tourism and new residents to startup city Mariposa.
"Additional high-quality research on these programs is clearly warranted given these promising, but uncertain findings."
~ Sheila Kamara Hay, the Leader of Ecstatic Birth Movement
"I am so honored and humbled to be walking this path with you! I can’t wait to watch as your community continues to grow and to find more ways to collaborate."
~ Debra Pascali-Bonaro, World-known Doula and Orgasmic Birth Movie Director
"What a beautiful vision you have, so needed in the world!"
~ Kim Anami, Holistic Sex and Relationship Coach
How about you? Would you like to contribute to making this vision a reality? Contact Katerina Morin for more details.