As a women’s therapist I find myself talking about vaginas quite a lot! I never planned this, but let’s face it, we all have them, and they are a pretty big part of our lives! Yes we have other stuff going on, we don’t spend our entire lives talking about them, thinking about them, worrying about them, but we also don’t need to censor the conversation around them.
The lovely April Austin of the VBAC school was sharing her frustrations that as a specialist in VBAC, that is VAGINAL birth after caesarean she is not allowed to boost any of her posts on social media due to the word vagina, and rightly so, she is a bit pissed off about this. The use of the term vagina or vaginal is key to her work, it is being used within medical terminology. I mean what is she supposed to say ‘foo foo birth after caesarean’ ‘Noni birth after caesarean’?? No it is vaginal birth, it is a baby coming out of your vagina, and that is ok, it isn’t rude, dirty, pornographic or offensive, it’s just a vagina!
It still amazes me how out of touch women are these days with the word vagina, and I feel this has come from society still being just a little bit coy about women being sexual beings, or more specifically mums. I mean most of us have cringed at the thought of our mums having sex, but our very existence is concrete proof that not only has she had sex, she has probably done it more than once!
I have spent many years talking to pregnant women, and still find it shocking that when I mention the word vagina, or even orgasm they seem to blush a little, particularly if accompanied by their partners, I mean what is that about!!! You are standing there pregnant, it is like having a massive neon sign above your head saying sexually active person with a vagina!!! And that is ok, we all do it, some of us more than others, some of us enjoy it more than others, but that doesn’t matter, we shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk openly about it, and the word vagina should not be seen as some sort of dirty word.
I am going to be slightly controversial here and suggest that during childbirth, a lot of the fear, the pain, the interventions are rooted in a lack of connection with the vagina, a lack of ownership of this part of the woman’s body. By reconnecting with your vagina I put it to you that you will be less fearful, and more considered of your childbirth choices.
So let us consider for a moment the vagina. It is a place of soft intrigue, it is a place of pleasure, it is designed to stretch and open. It is a place of connection, it is private, and it is sensual. It is not in the public domain, it should be treated with respect.
Thought needs to be given to how the vagina will stretch and open during childbirth, because it does. There are many different principles you can adopt, be it birthing actively, allowing a balanced and even stretch, be it orgasmic birth which is working with the hormones of pleasure and relaxation, be it hypnobirthing working on the principles of deep relaxation and surrender. But whatever you do, take care of your vagina, because, you will most likely want to enjoy it again someday!
But vaginas aren’t only to do with birth, they are so much more than that so I am going to invite you all to reconnect with your vagina, whether you are a teenager, a pregnant mum, a new mum, a busy mum of 3, a stressed out mum of teens or a mum of newly fledged adults, hell let’s give us all a general name of ‘women’ I invite all women to reconnect with their vagina, not in some weird out there public display of defiance against censorship, just because it matters, because it may well help you find the strength to say no to something that you don’t want, to not be fearful of what might happen to your vagina, because it is yours, you need to own it, and to own it you need to connect with it, enjoy it, talk about it, learn from it.
Let us open up the conversation about vaginas, starting with our daughters as they become women, get their periods, and let’s celebrate it, take away the shame, the whispered conversations, if they connect with and respect their vaginas right from the start then when they come to be having their own babies they will be having the conversations they need to have to birth their babies out of their vaginas without fear. Let us talk to each other about our own experiences of birth, about prolapse, incontinence, trauma, orgasm, menstruation, and menopause.
“Anything you can do I can do bleeding”
This was a wonderful placard I saw on one of the international women’s day marches, and all I thought was ain’t that the truth! So let’s talk about vaginas openly and without embarrassment, and then let’s go continue the important work of changing the world, because our strength comes from being women with vaginas.
Persephone Moir is a women’s therapist, working through all stages of womanhood to empower, balance and support. She offers private healing retreats in Cornwall working on a triple healing modality of mind, body and spirit, releasing trauma, balancing the physical body whilst energising and nourishing the soul. For more information about the work that she does contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up today to my regular newsletter full of useful hints and tips about preparing for your birth, including a wonderful positive birth story delivered direct to your inbox to help you feel positive and prepared throughout your pregnancy!