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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am giving a speech tomorrow about my work as a doula. The audience consists of lots of people belonging to an organisation working for world peace. I would love to say something about the importance of birth in relation to peace. I have heard the expression "peace on earth begins at birth" several times, but I don't know where it comes from and i can't really explain it.

Anyone know the context? And is this saying true for you? Why?

I mean, I know with every cell of my being that birth is important. Both for the mother, the baby, the family and their future. But how do you see the birth experience in relation to peace, and healing the world one birth at a time?
 

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I would suggest peace on earth begins at birth because a good birth generally translates to a strong mother/baby bond, which makes for a secure upbringing and less damaged people walking around the world visiting their pain on people. I would also suggest that a world which is concentrating on issues like good healthcare, the importance of family (in the sense of supporting family units, rather than religious affiliations of marriage and etc) and making sure the half of the population which procreates and nurtures is also being cared for and about is a more peaceful world than one which is focussing on making everything as quick, cheap and clinical as possible while ignoring the emotional needs of all the women and children involved.

I'm sure there is more!
 

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Very personal answer - but for me, peace on earth began with the home birth of my twins in that on that day (two years ago yesterday) I fully realized it was up to me to create a safe space for me and my family. I didn't have to accept a flawed system, I had some control and could use it to make the peace we needed.

For me it was the first lesson as a parent, but I can see it as a lesson for peace as well. I have pride and happiness when I remember my girls' birth, and from that good beginning all good growth springs.

Don't know if that helps any, good luck!
 

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We had to make a quick trip to hospital for a postpartum issue (after experiencing 3 amazing homebirths) and my husband summed it up nicely. He said something about how he understands why the world is in the state it is in, considering that women are stripped of their rights and dignity and forced to experience their most intimate, personal rite of passage in a sterile, brightly lit, impersonal hospital surrounded by ridiculous rules and procedures that dehumanize our most primal, animalistic, spiritual moment - birth.
 

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I work with a non-profit and our slogan is "Because Everything Begins with Birth," which is similar to the idea you describe. The reason birth is important to world peace is because all peace begins within the family structure, then goes out from there to communities, etc.

Think of 2 scenarios: A birth like the one depicted on the Today Show this morning, in which an infant, peacefully abiding in his mother's warm safe womb has the amniotic fluid sucked out from around him, is suctioned, then pried out. He is held upwith cold air all about him, under bright lights and shuffled over, not to be held by his mother and dried by her, but to a vegetable bin where he is roughly dried, repeatedly suctioned, dried more, and has yet to hear a voice he is familiar with, either mom's or dad's, who is standing there with him, but undoubtedly feels incapable of caring for his very own child. Baby is eventually wrapped in a blanket and eventually hears mom's voice and feels her touch, but no where in the segment they showed was the baby held skin-to-skin, cuddled, cooed to, etc.

Now, imagine a scenario in which a baby is born in the home he will grow up in, surrounded only by his parents and the people they trust completely. Fluid from his lungs is expelled with each contraction as he slowly emerges from his mother's birth canal. He feels the warm touch of his mother or father on his head before he is even born- perhaps it is tantalizing to him. As his head is born, there are no bright lights in his eyes, so instead he focuses on the voices around him, voices he recognizes as his own, now more clearly heard than ever before. He is now completely in the hands of those who will continue his care through his childhood; his mother puts him on her breast, which is warm and welcoming. He is wrapped in a blanket with her, dried gently by his father's hands. They all exchange looks of love, they fall in love.

Which baby will be more likely to be trusting of the people around him; which baby will have fear coursing through his little body; which baby will think the world is a good place to be; which might recoil from his birth?

This to me is the heart of it all: the way we treat babies at birth. And I am not discounting the importance of treating parents with respect. They certainly deserve it. They don't need to be taught how to be good parents; they need to be supported in their natural abilities as parents. It is all connected.
 

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Because they way we treat members of our society at their most vulnerable is a litmus test for how peaceful, caring, and civilized we really are. A culture which treats labouring women and newborn infants harshly is a violent one, no matter how devoted to peace it may consider itself; while a culture which treats labouring or new mothers and infants gently is probably inherently peaceful.

Years ago, I heard Michel Odent at a midwives' conference, talking about the fact that warlike societies almost always separated mothers and babies soon after birth. They always had some rational-sounding reason for it, a different reason in every case, but they felt strongly that the baby needed to be away from the mother soon after birth. He said many of these societies also argued that early separation would help the babies grow up into fierce warriors/good soldiers, and Odent thought they might have intuitively understood that interfering in birth and early bonding encourages people to be more aggressive and violent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much - all your input really helps! Because of your inspiring thoughts I have decided to include a passage about this in my speech.

I also found this quote:

"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

And I would like to find the authour of the original quote "Peace on earth begins at Birth." But I found somewhere that it said "Author Unknown".
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moonglowmama View Post
Which baby will be more likely to be trusting of the people around him; which baby will have fear coursing through his little body; which baby will think the world is a good place to be; which might recoil from his birth?
I don't think there is any research backing up this romantic concept that a gently-birthed baby will have better trust of his family & less anxiety than a clinically birthed baby. It actually sounds a bit to me like concepts from that cult Scientology.

I agree with GoBecGo - good post. I would just add that a positive birth experience can also serve to 'cement' a whole family together - mama & daddy as well as baby.
 

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Quote:
Which baby will be more likely to be trusting of the people around him; which baby will have fear coursing through his little body; which baby will think the world is a good place to be; which might recoil from his birth?
I think this only works when "might" is taken in the strongest sense! I was born by elective c-section at 37+4 (because it was half term and my teenage sister could sit my pre-school brother that week). I'm positive i was born in a very unnatural way (in 1980 my mother was the first woman in her hospital to be awake for surgery, using the spinal block, and every other "normal" intervention of the time was done to us both) but i grew up feeling loved and loving and believing in peace and compassion between individuals and nations. I think how the mother and baby feel during a birth can depend on a lot more than whether it's a vaginal birth and also that respect for the GENUINE feelings of women (which might include a need for medical intervention if the women really want that) is a more useful tool than trying to apply a blanket rule. I think women centred care, which doesn't necessarily equal drug free vaginal birth in all cases, is the key.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
I don't think there is any research backing up this romantic concept that a gently-birthed baby will have better trust of his family & less anxiety than a clinically birthed baby.
It might work the other way around, that a violent, mistrustful society is less likely to treat birth gently. Then again, it could be a case of mutual cause and effect, resulting in a literally vicious circle.

Quote:

Originally Posted by havsulen View Post
"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust." Suzanne Arms
Oh! I have that quote on my advertising posters (for childbirth classes)
 

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I have a slightly different view of the phrase. When I hear that phrase, I think to how an infant is brought into the world with no hatred, no stereotypical notions, no judgemental thoughts, etc. Part of peace is accepting others differences and letting love be the common bond between people. Babies by nature are this way - only after being 'taught' by those around them do they change.

[I don't believe that because a baby is born in a more traumatic way (like needing suctioning) than others does not mean the baby is loved any less or will grow up having trust issues (something like FAS is a different situation however). There have been interviews with parents and doctors discussing the differences about orphaned babies - those babies adopted shortly after birth by loving parents can turn out no differently than any biological child. The flip side was looking at a child who was adopted as a toddler (in the orphanage there were not enough nursing hands to provide much if any personal attention and attachment) and he does have trust and love/bonding issues with his parents which was diagnosed as Attachment Disorder.]
 
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