Published October 19, 2005
We have something new to blame on our mothers.
Have you felt kind of traumatized your whole life? Do you have certain fears you can’t explain? Well, according to the Church of Scientology, your problems could have resulted from your mother screaming during childbirth.
This is why Scientologists advocate a birth method called “silent birth,” during which the mother does not express pain. Use of music is also discouraged, as well as medical personnel communicating with each other. The idea is that sounds during birth can traumatize the baby because “any words spoken are recorded in the reactive mind and can have an aberrative effect on the mother and child,” according to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
If you’ve never heard of the word “aberrative,” that’s OK. Neither has my spell checker.
Oh, and the Church of Scientology also frowns upon the use of painkillers during childbirth. No drugs and no yelling. This should make for an interesting combination.
Silent birth has been in the news lately because Katie Holmes, fiancée of Scientologist Tom Cruise, has opted for this birth method when the couple’s baby arrives in a few months.
Katie is so fortunate to have landed a guy like Tom, what with everything he knows about psychiatric disorders and childbirth and all. He’s a real gem. Congratulations, Katie. I’m sure you’ll be as happy as Tom’s first two wives were.
Anyway, reading up on silent birth got me thinking. I’ve always been afraid of heights. Even standing on a chair to change a light bulb makes my head a little swimmy. And I’ve never understood why.
Until now! I raced to the phone, dialed my mom’s number and asked her something I had never asked her before.
“Did you yell when you were giving birth to me?” I inquired.
“No, I probably just moaned a little,” she said.
I should mention here that the Church of Scientology approves of a little moaning during silent birth. “Then why am I afraid of heights?” I wanted to know.
“What?” she asked.
What, indeed. I’m thinking this silent birth thing holds about as much water as Scientology’s stance against medication for psychotic disorders. No drugs and no way to express your pain. This doesn’t sound like a birth method to me. It sounds like a recipe for a messy celebrity divorce.
I’ve come up with my own birth method. It’s called “harsh reality birth.” I think the mother should scream her lungs out during birth, if she is so compelled. And she should scream things like “Welcome to the world, where gas prices and divorce rates are at an all-time high!” and “If you’re ever going to hope to afford college, you’ll have to start working full time by age five!”
Hey, life is hard. Might as well let the kids know about it as soon as they get here.
As for my own birth experiences, I was pretty quiet during my C-sections. As soon as my first was born, I do recall anxiously asking the anesthesiologist if the baby had any hair. Well, she didn’t. Until she was almost two.
I’m sorry, Julia. I should have kept my mouth shut.
Deana Nall's column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.