Create an Ecstatic Birth!

'Ecstatic Birth' is a call for a revolution.
a revolution in the way we think about birth,
and, as a result, the way we give birth and support birth. 


Ecstatic Birth is an invitation to participate in healing the most ancient of thought forms, “BIRTH HURTS. BIRTH CAUSES PAIN AND STRUGGLE AND DEATH”. It is not a method or a technique. Ecstatic Birth is fundamental to conscious evolution. It is not a return to ‘the way things were’. Ecstatic birth is about a journey of choice and freedom, not a destination.

A well-known psychologist, Margo Anand, has said, “One moment of ecstasy can transform your life.” E.J. Tinsley describes ecstasy as “ . . . an overwhelming experience wherein the sense of individual selfhood is transcended, the primary tense dimensions of time, past, present and future, are blended in an overwhelming sense of the eternal now, and there is an unforgettable experience of serenity, well-being and joy”.

Ecstasy is an experience of expansion made possible by surrender to and acceptance of what is happening right now. Ecstasy is not the absence of feeling. Ecstasy asks that we embrace all that we are feeling in the moment and make a conscious choice to say "Yes" to those feelings, no matter how we perceive them. Then all of our powerful energy can flow and shift and change to a transcendent, empowering event that will set the foundation for expanded creativity in all areas of life.
When a physical experience is as intense as birth certainly is and there is a high expectation of pain, it is essential that the support available to women be constant and confident, compassionate and creative, as well as courageous. I choose to use the word ecstatic to describe birth in order to awaken thought and exchange. Profound change requires the energy of strong feelings and responses. I have not been disappointed. One incident reminded me, yet again, of the culture of fear surrounding birth. Pat Bennaceur, an excellent therapist and Ecstatic Birth Coach in England, worked closely with a young woman to co-create a satisfying, ecstatic birth. Subsequently, this birth featured in an article and an interview in a national newspaper. The article, titled “From Agony to Ecstasy”, told about the self-development work that the young woman had done in the years between the births of her two children. Pat, justifiably pleased, asked her stepmother if she had seen and read the article. “Yes, dear, I did read it”, she said. “But I can’t believe it! I cannot believe that birth can be anything but excruciating, dreadful and humiliating; the most terrible experience that a woman can go through!” This fundamental thinking about birth is prevalent.
These cultural beliefs lead women and their partners to leave birth to the medical establishment and their technology. Midwives, doctors, nurses, therapists, and educators, the people who are with the powerful energies of birth everyday, must lead the way to more enlightened birthing practices. The strong debates and media coverage at this time are bringing our deepest fears into the conscious awareness. When we are aware, we can make informed choices for ourselves and our future. Unexpressed fear quells confidence, and blocks creativity. Unexpressed fear stops the flow of energy and invites intrusion. Unexpressed fear causes separation and motivates victim consciousness. Since 1986, only 3% of the births with a focus on Ecstatic Birth work have had any intervention at all. While in most of civilized society the average national Caesarean rate alone is well above 25% and intervention is upwards of 80%.

I began a lifelong relationship with birth through the experience of giving birth to my two sons.  The first, in 1966, was extremely painful and I was drugged.  The second, in 1968, was drug free, and I had an expanded, "beyond time and space" experience that I described as an orgasm.  I learned then, quite spontaneously, that birth could be ecstatic.  In the subsequent 32 years I have realized, experienced and witnessed that ecstasy can be a conscious choice and can be learned.  In her landmark book, MOLECULES OF EMOTION, 1997, neuroscientist Candace Pert, states, "A shocking but exciting fact revealed by the opiate-receptor findings was that it didn't matter if you were a lab rat, a First Lady, or a dope addict -- everyone had the exact same mechanism in the brain for creating bliss and expanded consciousness."  Ms Pert goes on to highlight the well-documented peptide, respiratory link, showing that there are more endorphin receptors in the lungs than any other part of the body.
Birth has become my greatest teacher. In each moment we are creating the foundation consciousness or attitude of the next moment. After the birth of my first son, I made a clear declaration. I said with all my feeling energy, "There must be a better way to give birth, we know too much about ourselves not to know this. I am not going to give birth again unless I find another way."  That declaration was a form of commitment.  My commitment brought all the forces together for the desired result. At the birth of my second son I had the support of the father of my boys, a trained coach and educator, and my obstetrician. 

During pregnancy I met with women who had had "pain free" experiences. These meetings supported me greatly. I read all the books that I could find on the subject of psycho prophylaxis, the method of birth preparation developed by Dr. Lamaze in France in the 1950’s, and complementary subjects. I considered myself to be in training, as though for an Olympic eventI know now that knowledge about the possibilities and support were the major contributing factors in my "success".

I have been exploring the impact of my own conception, pregnancy and birth since 1975.  After a painful separation and divorce in 1971, I began a deep self-evaluation process. The path led from the psychiatrist's office through many processes and workshops to a hot tub.  Here, began the work with psycho-spiritual process and Breathwork known as rebirthing, pioneered by Leonard Orr in 1974. I started my work with Leonard in New York City in the fall of 1975. This powerful and effective breath therapy based on the philosophy, thought is creative, was in its very early stages.


I began to remember my own birth
and the births of my sons.  I experienced extraordinary energy moving in my body and remembered the fear that those feelings had brought forth in my first labor. I also remembered the orgasm like event.  I somehow knew that part of my Soul's purpose was to discover how to have an experience like that, consciously.  What was it that had happened for me? What was it I did or didn’t do? What did I think?  What didn't I think? How could I reproduce that experience again for myself or for other women? I actually think that I know how.  AND the truth is I can't do it for someone, no one can do it for someone else. However, we can make a conscious choice to work together, allow support and learn how to have a transcendent, empowering experience giving birth and living life.


I have been supporting others
to re-experience and heal the impact of their prenatal and birth experience on a full time basis since 1978.  In 1979, I was given the opportunity to begin my work with pregnant couples.  I have spent thousands of hours with people remembering and integrating their births in private sessions and in my workshop and training settings.  I have also spent thousands of hours with women and their partners before and during pregnancy and while giving birth.  I have listened, counseled, observed and coached. The work has always been focused on healing the negative decisions made in the pre and perinatal stages of development. 

Transforming life by healing birth has been the theme of my self-development trainings in Germany, England and Denmark since 1988.  The work once known as Healing Birth Rebirthing is now 'SOURCE Process and Breathwork'.  SOURCE, is a three-year training process for Breathwork coaches, Ecstatic Birth preparation and birth support, as well as self-development. Everyone has the opportunity to learn to birth their babies, their projects and their lives consciously aware in every moment that they can choose a way that is empowering and promotes satisfaction.

The development of Ecstatic Birth work has its foundation in my personal work, psychological, emotional and spiritual, as well as in study of the pioneering achievements of Wilhelm Reich, Carl Jung, Arthur Janov and Stanislav Grof.  The social scientist, Ashley Montagu, has had a profound impact on my thinking about being a woman and being human. In the field of conscious birthing practice, I acknowledge the work of Dr. Dick-Read, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Lamaze, Dr. Leboyer, and Dr. Odent.  I must acknowledge the spiritual master, Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, who as long ago as 1938 spoke to his students in France about the influence of the mother during gestation and the need for conscious awareness about all aspects of the environment of the unborn child.  My heroes in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology are Thomas Verny, M.D., David Chamberlain, Ph.D. and Prof. Peter Fedor-Freybergh, M.D. I am grateful for their faith and their friendship.

"This is birth.
The torture of an innocent.
What futility to believe that so great a cataclysm will not leave a mark, it's traces are everywhere - in the skin, in the bones, in the stomach, in the back
In all our human folly
In our madness, our tortures, our prisons
In legends, epics, myths
In the Scriptures."

Dr. Frederick Leboyer, 1975, Birth Without Violence.

In modern society we are faced every day with the consequences of high technology birthing practices.  They begin by separating a woman from her family and the familiar at this most tender of times, and move on to intrusive intervention in the natural process with fetal monitoring, drugs for relief of pain, forceps, and the knife.  All are practices of control rather than co-operation.  A very high percentage of healthy women do not need the chemicals and the instruments. 

In a paper titled Psycho-Technology of Pregnancy and Labor, Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, 1988, Dr. Thomas Verny puts forth two laws of the psycho-technology of labor:

Verny's First Law: The quantity of technological devices in the labor room is inversely proportional to the amount of human contact between staff and patient.

Verny's Second Law: The quantity of technological devices in the labor room is directly related to the degree of discomfort experienced by the patient.

In a recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, 1998, researchers Jacobson and Bygdeman concluded that the pain experienced by infants during complicated delivery is likely to be linked causally to violent suicide.  Another study done in 1985 by Lee Salk and associates showed a link between high tech birth and separation from mother and adolescent suicide.  Studies regularly site the link between violent behavior and the overuse of labor inducing drugs, intrusive birthing methods and intensive care nurseries. 

 

All the research shows that pregnancy, birth and the days immediately following birth have a profound impact on the entire creative process we call our Life.  Babies are educable in the womb, and they are conscious at birth.   Conception, pregnancy and birth, are an intense and clearly defined metaphor for the mechanics of manifestation. In order to create anything, a painting, a meal, a business, a building or a baby, we must first conceive it; think about it (Conception).  The next step is to take action, to give the energy and time that it takes to give life to the concept (Pregnancy). Commitment and persistence are ingredients that are required in varying measure depending on the concept.  Babies take 9 months and a meal can take ½ an hour, whereas a cathedral can take many years.  In time we produce a result (Birth).

Many concepts remain just that, a concept, because we have chosen not to give the energy necessary to get to the desired result.  Mysteries about our relationship with creativity and with relationship itself are solved when we begin to explore our own birth stories.

A couple conceiving and a mother carrying a child are physical symbols of our connection and co-creation at the most profound levels of consciousness.  All of the people involved with this fundamental life process are affected by and cause an effect on the miracle of birth, no matter what the circumstances

I believe that we can transform the quality of life on earth by transforming the quality of the birth experience for EVERYONE.


One of the things that I have learned from being with birth and the effects of birth is that what we think about birth, we think about life.  In order to co-create this transformation a great change must take place in our consciousness about birth.  The creative process, birth, is not simply a mechanical, physical process.  It is important to employ heart and spirit as well as mind.  Love and intuition have as much importance here as instruments.  Honor, respect and self-esteem are as vital in the conception of the possibility of ecstatic birth as technical skills.  Everyone involved with the process is an integral part of this revolution.  We are perfectly designed, physiologically and psychologically, to give birth in ecstasy.  What we do need is support and more education regarding the long-term impact of birth for everyone involved in the birthing process.  The results we produce are always consistent with our beliefs and expectations.  In order to bring Ecstatic Birth, Ecstatic Life to reality, everyone must be included, everyone with a navel.  Midwives, doctors, nurses, therapists and educators must make a commitment to be more and more conscious in all the stages of conception, pregnancy and birth, knowing that our presence, knowledge and wisdom makes a difference.  We all have an effect on every outcome, just as every outcome has an effect on each of us.  As we deepen our understanding through self-experience, we can then educate pregnant women and their partners, birth professionals, and the young people who are the parents of the future. 

 

In the profound and sensory experience of birth we were making decisions.  Those decisions are held at the level of our cellular memory.  They cause an effect whether we are conscious of them or not. It is possible to explore the decisions made at birth and the closely held beliefs about birth that we hear from our family and society.  When we give birth and support birth in past thinking we are giving birth to the past again.  Our future is worth more than that.  Babies can be born through Mothers who are allowing their own natural morphine to flow freely by conscious, open breathing, relaxing and being active.  Women can remain present and in charge, wholly conscious in all stages of pregnancy, labor and birth.  When there is support for the full expression of all thoughts and feelings allowing fear to be released and the absence of artificial pain relief, endorphins are released and received by both Mother and baby.  When they make eye contact just after birth, the endorphins recede.

How many women and their partners know this about natural pain relief?

How many women have the opportunity to listen in and freely express their fears about birth? 

How many women report that their experience of giving birth was empowering and wholly satisfying? 

How many midwives report that their experience of supporting birth is empowering and wholly satisfying? 

Do you have the support that you need?

 

A survey published in England in May 2001 showed that only 7% of women have a normal, physiological birth.  This is not good enough. Human beings are not assembly line products.  England is not alone.  We can observe more and more technical intervention in birth all over the world.  Midwives are leaving the profession on a regular basis.  Burnout is one of the most prevalent of their complaints.  Although they are well trained technically, they are compassionate women who are touched deeply by what they have to deal with every day.  It seems that every birth gives birth to more fear about birth.  There is a major imbalance.  Energy is blocked in chaos and confusion. Birth professionals and women, alike, want answers, and society needs them. 

 

The time has come for us to bring our attention to the profound personal and cultural impact of conception, pregnancy and birth on all of life.  The time has come to respect and use the information that we have gathered. The time has come to slow down and take the time to acknowledge, speak, and feel our birth stories.  Once explored, patterns and influence are apparent.  Everyone I know who has integrated the reality of consciousness before and during birth, approaches birth differently. 


The fact that birth affects all that we think and do is not an indictment.  Acceptance of this fact actually brings us closer to wholeness and deeper understanding of ourselves and of others.  Birth and early childhood memories held at the level of the subconscious form patterns of behavior and expectation and attraction.  I have found that one significant aspect of the subconscious is what I call the “Baby that lives in your heart”.  To acknowledge its existence is an act of compassion and forgiveness and sets the stage for profound spontaneous change.  As we bring what has been thought to be the ‘underworld’, the ‘dark side’, to the light of awareness, it is no longer dark.  When we employ the breath consciously, we can gain access to strong repressed feelings, experience them and release vital life energy.  Revealing a part of the subconscious to be tender and innocent and in need of attention and loving care can provoke a whole range of feelings from anger to sadness to exaltation followed by a deep relaxation and sense of well being.  In this state of relaxation and connection with our history, we become aware of our choice for life and our original intent.  When our all-pervasive love is revealed it extends to all creation, and we can be present wherever we are without judgment.  We can be creative with our lives, our tools and our technology.

 

If we can say, “Yes”, to the ‘baby that lives in our heart’, we can then and only then say an unequivocal, “Yes”, to the babies born to us and through us.  Personal history is the history of all humankind.  We can be leaders in the conscious evolution of humanity.  I extend my honor, respect and deep gratitude to everyone who is co-creating conscious evolution with me and to all those who are holding the vision of babies being born through peace and, YES, even pleasure. Ecstasy can be a conscious choice.

Conceive the birth of consciousness that is certain that it is safe in the world, supported and loved. 

Conceive the birth of consciousness that embraces feelings and opens easily to higher and higher levels of energy.

Conceive the birth of consciousness that knows that it has a choice about what to think about every experience.

Conceive the birth of consciousness that perceives itself as innocent, an expression of love co-creating.

Conceive the birth of consciousness that remembers its Soul's Purpose to serve by being present without judgement.

Conceive the possibility of all the members of the Family of Humanity participating fully in the creative process, Birth and Life, with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.   



BINNIE A. DANSBY 2001