50 Shades of...Birth??

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM

50 Shades of ...Birth?? How Having A Baby Is A Lot Like Making A Baby

If you think about it, and I mean really think, having great sex is just like having a baby; at least it has been in my experience. Here are a few of my many observations on the similarities between the two.


The hormones necessary for great sex and orgasm are oxytocin, cortisol, pheromones, and prolactin; in birth these same four hormones play leading roles. Oxytocin stimulates contractions in the uterus. Cortisol aids in conversion of progesterone to estrogen. This elevated level of estrogen stimulates prostaglandin secretion and oxytocin receptor development, the hormones needed for labour! Pheromones help us feel at ease, and feel good about ourselves; a woman that feels safe and confident will labour and birth smoother. Prolactin, the mothering hormone! It is interesting to note that estrogen has little to do with sexual desire, and it is also lowest levels during pregnancy.


Do we plan, or place time limits (ok, nooner’s aside) on the act of sex? Do we expect ‘The Deed’ to progress in a linear fashion? Or do we allow the event to unfold and simply enjoy the moment. Birth is the same. How would your partner feel if every two minutes you asked (or checked) him how far he was? If you ask me, that kind of takes all the fun out of it. Do you think that you would be able to sexually ‘perform’ under these conditions? Mothers in labour often crack under this pressure and get labeled ‘failure to progress/perform’.


Remember those awkward classes where you were taught Sex-Ed? I don’t know about your classes, but nothing in those classes had anything to do with sex or taught me how to be a good lover. They kind of took all the fun out of it. I feel the same way about most Childbirth Education Classes. Watching my 9th Grade teacher put a condom on a dildo was about as much fun as watching my CBE teacher run a baby through a pelvis. Neither one of these classes gave the good lessons. For sex, experiment until you find what works for you or watch porn where people are actually doing it. For birth, experiment and watch videos that show birth! Or do it with someone (hey, everyone wants a 3-some) more experienced; a midwife, doula, or friend.


I don’t know about you, but I have never had sex with my mom or dad in the room. My first birth, I made the mistake of allowing my sister and mother-in-law to attend. What was I thinking! I just could not find my groove with an audience during the birth. My ‘ideal birth’ was derailed, augmented, and drugged.


So, ladies, when you are fanaticizing and ‘going solo’, do you dream of spot lights on your crotch, smells of antiseptic, strangers all around coaching you on how to do it, and alarms incessantly beeping? Or do you envision a dark, candle lit room with rose petals strewn on the bed, romantic music, and soft, sexy voices? Your cat knows the atmosphere needed for birth; she grabs your favourite sweater, runs to the shoe closet, and makes a perfect nest to birth her babies in. We need to give more consideration to what a labouring mother requires in her birth to create the correct ambiance for birth.


It is interesting that how a woman sounds during great sex is very close to a woman having an amazing birth. These sounds are low, visceral, and sexy even! In supporting your partner in a great birth, encourage them to make these low, sexy sounds.


Imagine if we tried to de-sensitise ourselves during sex. Would we make condoms thicker, would we add numbing agents to lubricants, or would we inject ourselves with drugs that knocked us out completely? What do you think that it would do to our sexual performance or pleasure? This is exactly what we do to women in labour, yet we expect them to birth their baby. We give nitrous gas, analgesics, and even epidurals that numb everything from the rib cage down. Sure, they take away the pain, or make it so that you don’t care, but when push comes to shove, they need ‘purple pushing’, vacuum extractions, and forceps. Those nerves that have just been numbed play an important role in biofeedback; we need them to work.


Oh the lies we were told to keep us away from enjoying sex; it hurts, if you masturbate you will grow hair on your palms, only bad girls enjoy it. But we have come to know the truth, haven’t we? Childbirth is not exactly an organism for most of us, but it can be enjoyed.


Oh, erotica. We love to read you, but are ashamed to share you in public. My friends are all over The Outlander series, ‘Who is your Jamie?’. Well, mine is my big, redheaded husband. That book series is so long and hot, I got pregnant reading the first, and the last 18 months later reading nothing in between. But when we do come across a great erotic book, it spreads like wild fire…you may have heard of a wee book similar to the title of this article. Why is it that we feel comfortable sharing those great sex moments, but shamed about great birth stories?


If a woman is not ready to have sex, and she is forced, we call this rape. If a woman is not ready to birth her baby, we call her ‘post date’ or ‘failure to progress’. Scare tactics of fear such as ‘you baby is too big’, ‘your pelvis is too small’ or ‘the longer we wait, the risks of a dead baby increase’ are employed. We make her feel like it is her fault that she is not ready. Thankfully we do not have this same opinion with sex.


What is birth other than the final act of sex? Most babies are still conceived in the bedroom (or bathroom, kitchen, backseat of a car, what have you). The man gives a woman a gift of sperm and all the other yummy fluids that go with it. The woman takes that sperm, nourishes it, nurtures it, grows it, and 40’ish weeks later she gives it back to him in the form of a beautiful baby, a placenta, and a bag full of water.


Lindsay Matthews © 2012. All Rights Reserved.


Categories: Labour, Pregnancy

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