by the editors at ParentDish
Nov 24th 2010 9:39AM
Before Kelly Preston and John Travolta welcomed their baby boy Benjamin yesterday, rumors were swirling that the 48-year-old actress was planning a silent birth in keeping with the Church of Scientology’s guidelines. What is a silent birth, exactly?
We didn’t know either, so we’re posting the Church of Scientology International’s media advisory on the meaning of “quiet” and “silent” births. What do you think? Would you have a silent birth?
WHAT IS SILENT BIRTH?
Silent birth is all about providing the best possible environment for the birthing mother and her new baby. Its origins can be found in L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and are firmly rooted in a fundamental and abiding principle that women, particularly expectant mothers, be given the utmost in care and respect.
A silent birth is labor and delivery done in a calm and loving environment and with no spoken words by anyone attending. Chatty doctors and nurses, shouts to “PUSH, PUSH” and loud or laughing remarks to “encourage” are the types of things that are meant to be avoided.
As L. Ron Hubbard wrote: “Everyone must learn to say nothing within the expectant mother’s hearing during labor and delivery. Particularly during birth, absolute silence must be maintained and the more gentle the delivery, the better.”
The point of silent birth is NO WORDS. It does not mean a mother cannot make any sound during childbirth. It is doubtful that any woman could give birth without making any noise at all.
Mothers naturally want to give their baby the best start in life and thus keep the birth as quiet and peaceful as possible. That being said, a woman’s choice for her delivery is completely up to her and her doctor. There is no requirement to adhere to any specific routine. Just like care is taken in all other aspects of labor and birth, a woman and her doctor or midwife and any others present work out how to communicate without words.
Doctors respect the right of a mother to choose her birthing experience. Silent birth is not a medical model but a religious and philosophical approach based on L. Ron Hubbard’s research into the mind and spirit.
The principle behind not speaking during childbirth is delineated in Dianetics and to fully understand why, one should read the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. But to provide a brief explanation, L. Ron Hubbard discovered the hidden source of nightmares, unreasonable fears, upsets, insecurity and psychosomatic illness-the reactive mind. This part of the mind records all perceptions during times of pain and unconsciousness-which childbirth is for both mother and child. And words, in particular, spoken during these moments, can have an adverse effect on one later in life.
However, since the research, findings and practice of silent birth were first announced by Mr. Hubbard in the 1951 text entitled Child Dianetics, this method has been corroborated and applied by doctors, nurses and midwives world over.
The Church has no policy against the use of medicines to help a person with a physical situation and these principles do not preclude a mother from receiving any medical procedure needed to safely deliver the baby, including Caesarean section. These are medical decisions and these, too, are between the mother and her doctor.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
HOW DOES THIS ACTUALLY WORK?
There is no specific routine. Just like care is taken in all other aspects of labor and birth, a woman and her doctor or midwife and others present work out how to communicate without words. Different women have done different things.
IS IT A CHURCH RULE THAT THEIR MEMBERS MUST ADHERE TO THIS PRACTICE?
Not at all. A woman’s delivery is always up to her and her doctor.
DOES THE CHURCH HAVE RULES AGAINST PAINKILLERS, ANESTHESIA OR OTHER MEDICAL DRUGS?
The Church has no policy against the use of medicines to help a person with a physical situation. This is a matter between the person and their doctor.
DOESN’T L. RON HUBBARD RECOMMEND/ADVOCATE A NATURAL, DRUG-FREE BIRTH?
Yes, because it is best for the mother and the child. It is common knowledge that natural childbirth is best, but that doesn’t always work out, and it is up to the mother and her doctor.
IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT MANY SCIENTOLOGISTS WILL DEMAND A NATURAL CHILDBIRTH WITH NO DRUGS. WHY?
It is the mother’s choice. If they don’t use drugs it’s simply because a mother wants the best for her new baby.
IS IT TRUE THAT SCIENTOLOGISTS CAN’T TOUCH OR TALK TO THEIR BABY FOR THREE DAYS TO A WEEK? OR ARE THERE SEVEN DAYS OF SILENCE AFTER BIRTH?
Absolutely not, this is a complete fabrication and not a practice of Scientology.
DO DOCTORS AGREE WITH THESE PROCEDURES?
Of course. It’s a personal decision of the mother and doesn’t interfere with any medical procedure. Doctors naturally respect the right of a mother to choose her own birth experience.
ARE C-SECTIONS PERMITTED?
This is a medical decision, nothing to do with Scientology.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN FURTHER WHAT DIANETICS IS?
L. Ron Hubbard discovered the single source of stress, worry, self-doubt and psychosomatic illness, which is the reactive mind. This part of the mind records all perceptions in times of pain and unconsciousness and in particular, words spoken during these moments can have adverse effects on people later in life.
Full information on this is available in the book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
WHAT DOES SCIENTOLOGY SAY ABOUT THE RAISING OF CHILDREN?
L. Ron Hubbard has written a great deal about raising children. In Scientology, children are respected the way any person should be albeit in a young body. This does not make them any less a person and they should be given all the love and respect granted adults. Scientologists also believe children should be encouraged to contribute to family life and not just be “seen and not heard,” as the old saying goes.
Most children raised in Scientology homes are above average in ability and quickly begin to understand how and why people act as they do. Life thus becomes a lot happier and safer for them.
WHAT ELSE HAS L. RON HUBBARD WRITTEN ABOUT RAISING CHILDREN?
There is a lot written in Scientology about children. Scientology help people understand their basic nature and this alone helps parents tremendously.
Some of the basic principles Scientologists apply to parenting are summed up in the following quotes:
“Today’s children will become tomorrow’s civilization. Try to be the child’s friend. It is certainly true that a child needs friends. Try to find out what a child’s problem really is and without crushing their own solutions, try to help solve them. A child factually does not do well without love. Most children have an abundance of it to return.” - “The Way to Happiness”
“The spoiled child is the child whose decisions have been interrupted continuously and who is robbed of his independence.” - “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”
“Affection could no more spoil a child than the sun could be put out by a bucket of gasoline.” - “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”
“A good, stable adult with love and tolerance in his heart is about the best therapy a child can have.” - “Child Dianetics”
“A human being feels able and competent only so long as he is permitted to contribute as much or more than he has contributed to him.” “Child Dianetics”
DO SCIENTOLOGISTS CONSIDER CHILDREN ADULTS IN A SMALL BODY?
No. Scientologists consider children to be spiritual beings, like all people are but they need to be taken care of as children. L. Ron Hubbard has written quite a lot on the subject, including that “a child needs all of the love and affection it can possibly get” and that “a good stable adult with love and tolerance in his heart is about the best therapy a child can have.”
Children need respect, love, help, and education. They want to help others from a very early age and it is important that adults allow them to do so, within the realms of safety. A child has to know they have a place in life, that they are important and that their contributions are meaningful in a real way.
Education is an important part of this, as a child needs understanding of the workings of his family and society to be able to contribute to them in meaningful ways and in this he can be greatly assisted by his parents and other family members.
CAN CHILDREN PARTICIPATE IN SCIENTOLOGY? HOW?
Yes, many children do and there are no age restrictions as to who may participate in Scientology auditing or training. Scientology Churches conduct courses and study programs specifically designed for young people. Children below the age of majority must first obtain written consent from their parents or guardian to participate in Scientology services. Like adherents of other religions, Scientologists are very proud when their children join them in the practice of their religion.
WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY?
Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.
Scientology addresses the spirit-not the body or mind-and believes that Man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.