Thursday, April 20, 2006

Scientology Silent Birth

Congratulations to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes!

Here's a good article on Scientology Silent Birth

'Quiet birth' practice raises a commotion

Actors' Scientology labor custom stirs up questions, but experts say idea isn't anything new.

The Orange County Register

No words were spoken during Kim Binford's labor. When she wanted a back massage, she pointed to her back. When it was time to push, the midwife gave the thumbs-up sign.

It was a "quiet birth."

Which meant that nobody spoke during the experience, in line with what Scientologists advocate.

"It was, for me, as a first-time mother, so empowering," said Binford, a Church of Scientology minister from Capistrano Beach. "There is so much force being channeled through one body and it's such a forceful and powerful experience. I felt empowered by it, instead of victimized by it. I had a very quick recovery experience."

Actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' decision to have a quiet birth brought media attention to a custom practiced by Scientologists who want to bring their children into the calmest environment possible. Holmes delivered a baby girl, named Suri, on Tuesday. The baby weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 20 inches long.

Facing growing criticism, Cruise, 43, stressed in a TV interview aired Friday with Diane Sawyer that Holmes could make noise if she wanted to. And he denied rumors that he bought a giant pacifier for his 27-year-old fiancée.

Binford sees all the media attention as an opportunity to educate the public about what should be a peaceful experience for both mother and child. The 29-year-old has two children, son Oakley, 4, and daughter Portia, 16 months. Both of them went through quiet births.

Binford said "that it is almost an impossibility" to truly have a "silent birth."

"I'd like to meet the woman who can pull it off silently," she said, laughing.

"You have a woman going through this incredible experience, so much exertion. There will be noise. We want to make it as gentle as possible so it can be a positive experience."

According to the Scientology Web site, "Chatty doctors and nurses and shouts to "PUSH, PUSH" and loud or laughing remarks to "encourage" are the types of things that are meant to be avoided."

Scientologists believe in "engrams," a moment of pain and unconsciousness. Any words spoken during an engram can affect the person later in life, Binford said.

"A baby doesn't know. A baby can't judge if something is positive or negative. It is just recorded into their mind," Binford said.

Binford and her husband, Myles, trained in the Bradley method, which encourages a natural birth without medication. Scientologists do not have a policy on pain medication during the labor. That is a decision between the mother and her doctor.

The idea of a quiet birth isn't anything new, said Lorrie Walker, a registered nurse and certified nurse midwife. Walker, who has more than 20 years' experience, delivered Binford's children.

Walker says that 90 percent of her patients request a quiet birth, meaning that there is low lighting and as stress-free environment as possible.

"That is my highest request. They want it calm and quiet and just peaceful," she said.

The benefit of a quiet birth, Walker says, is that it keeps the mother in a tranquil state of mind.

However, if there is an emergency, talking is necessary, she said.

"Then families have always understood that we need to do what we need to do ... (Scientologists) have never tried to hinder me in my professional duties. If there is an emergency, you don't have to sign for the nurse to start an IV," she said.