Don’t Throw Your Baby Out with the Bath Water
American women today are facing a tragic loss. With the dominance of technological birth practices in the United States today, the American mother and child are being robbed of the simple and natural process of birth and bonding. Nature’s organic program, built into the hardwiring of humans for millennia, has been disrupted and almost lost during the past seventy-five years.
A mother’s ability to bond with her offspring during and after the process of birth is the most significant and essential characteristic of all mammalian females--especially human females--on this planet. This innate ability and the mother’s knowledge that accompanies it have been so exploited, distorted, and trivialized by commercial thinking and conditioning that we no longer even see our loss.
We can certainly point to the results, however--even if we cannot always identify the cause:
- men’s and women’s inability to connect in relationships at all levels
- skyrocketing violence in our world
- the breakdown of consideration in the classroom
- rising rates of juvenile crime
- childhood despair and suicide
Scientific evidence points clearly to the destruction of the very fabric of our society if we do not restore birthing and bonding to the powers of the feminine.
This book helps to shed light on the path of this return. It is possible to return to the kind of birth that begins the process of creating and parenting human beings who can care for others and the world around them, use their creativity, and be strong in their understanding throughout their lives.
It all begins with natural conscious parenting and the kind of birth that takes advantage of the fact that labor and delivery have been part of feminine knowledge for thousands of years, before the advent of the technology that so often plays an unnecessary role in birth today. For several weeks after the birth of our son, Kesem, I found myself bothered by the realization that many mothers and fathers in our society have been systematically deprived of the experience in which we had just gloried. I wondered: How many parents have been denied the partnered joy of a free-from-fear childbirth and the elated bonding moments that follow?
How many fathers have sat anxiously in a sterile hospital waiting room, leafing through magazines, staring unseeingly at the TV overhead, not allowed to participate in the most awesome event that is likely to grace their lives? How many mothers have lain in hospital beds in a narcotic stupor, surrounded by aloof strangers, half-aware and half-terrified as medical technicians pull from the womb their baby who is as fully numbed and frightened as its mother?
As for myself, even after the blissful delivery of our child, it took a number of conversations with health care professionals who were friendly to the ideas of conscious parenting plus another year of research for me to understand fully the important lessons I had learned from my study and from my experience of Kesem’s birth.
First, it was apparent to me that so many of the traditional methods for organic birthing and heart-to-heart child rearing, which societies everywhere (including our own) had embraced for so many centuries, have been swept away by modern medicine.
Second, in the process of destroying the old ways, the medicalization of a woman’s childbearing functions and the giving over of all delivery-room power to doctors and machines has reduced the once radiantly blissful moment of birth to the status of an emergency-room operation.
Third, the separation of the mother from the child at birth (to clean and otherwise examine the newborn) denies the child essential bonding and also is emblematic of many more mother-child separations to come, from institutionalized daycare to the general workings of a society that does not like its children very much and does not really want them around a great deal of the time. I compared this to the many child-friendly societies of the world in which children are invariably kept close to home in the early years of life. There, family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers dote on them and just about everyone in the culture looks on them with admiration, respect, delight, and love.
The more I looked into the effects of techno-based childbirth and the lack of child-parent bonding that follows, the more I realized that many of the most severe woes our society faces today are linked to the ways in which our culture births, raises, and educates its children. The medicalized and industrialized model of child raising makes a major contribution to the disintegration of our health and safety as a nation, to our mental well-being, to our national character, and to our highest, finest dreams.
The remarkably toxic and injurious methods of childbirth and raising children that have become the norm in our culture are in your power to avoid. Even if a birth isn’t natural and organic, it’s not too late to begin the process of bonding to ensure that your young one is brought up to be healthy and happy. Conscious parenting can be a powerful and important a force in a family’s life and its tenets allow us to apply the ancient healing principle of tikkun. Translated from the Hebrew, this word means “to rectify” or “to fix.” In its most common use, it refers to righting wrongs, to making things better for everyone; to repairing our own life and, by so doing, helping to repair the life of the world--for these two parts of the whole, ourselves and the world, are ever linked. I have written this book as a call to return to the kind of birthing and bonding that can play such an important role in the world to come.