Are you PREPARED to have children? Here is how you can have YOUR BABIES NATURALLY — and joyfully — AT HOME!
In writing this article, Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong has compiled a series of four articles published a few years ago in The PLAIN TRUTH. Although they were originally aimed at our PLAIN TRUTH audience, they contain vital information all of God's people especially need to know. This vital article can be used as a manual by those of you who are expecting parents — save it, refer to it often. Editor.
NO QUESTION can be more vital to YOUR HOME than the question of having children! What should prospective parents do to PREPARE for children? What about mental attitude toward children? What about dieting for pregnant women? WHERE should babies be born? Is it really advisable to go to a hospital? Is it advisable to use drugs? What about the oldest form of childbirth known to mankind — NATURAL CHILDBIRTH? Is it better to have your babies NATURALLY — at home? ALL prospective parents need to FACE these questions — SQUARELY! Here, in this article, is information YOU NEED TO KNOW, and be concerned about, so YOU can avoid making a tragic mistake!
Preparing for Children
With the tremendous upswing in young marriages, illegitimate births on the increase, unwed motherhood rampant, and the average young couple of today not evenly faintly concerned with the responsibilities of parenthood, there are seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome. The average young person who contemplates marriage has given almost no thought to what steps are necessary for preparing for children. Think of it! Fully eighty percent of the girls reaching marriageable age look toward homemaking, housework — fulfilling wifely responsibilities — as mere drudgery. Only a pitiful three percent of American girls have devoted any time whatsoever to even thinking of how to become good housewives. What is the matter? What is HAPPENING to our standards? As has been revealed in previous statistics, our youth of today seek only THRILLS, PLEASURE, entertainment, pastimes! Is it any wonder they do not suddenly change these desires when they become married? What a shame it is — that mere youths, who are fully capable of becoming married and having children, should bring children into a frightening world of chaos, with a pair of irresponsible parents, incapable and undesirous of really rearing children. These statistics are only an indication of part of the prevailing attitude toward marriage, childbirth, and housekeeping among our youth. Where there has been no education, no forethought, no financial preparation, and childbirth is a totally unexpected and unprepared — for occurrence, there is hardly a basis for the successful rearing and training of children! What chance do these children have to become decent citizens? With young, thoughtless, unprepared parents, they have very slim chances, indeed! The pressures of society, and especially the entertainment media have formed a highly successful barrier to happy marriage! Youngsters, envisioning marriage, giving birth to children and future parenthood through the hazy, nebulous pink clouds of American advertising, movies, TV, and novels can hardly be expected to have a down-to-earth, sincere and adult appraisal of the serious responsibilities marriage and parenthood entail! Here is a blight and a scab, a sickness and a disease, an abominable atrocity running rampant among our young people which further serves to point up the fact that our society is going the way of Rome! All too often, pregnancy and resultant childbirth is an unexpected burden, an "accident" which occurred at the wrong time, or an "accepted risk' of marriage which is irksome and bothersome to the youthful parents. Rare is the couple today who seriously plan for a child, solving their financial problems, in order that the mother can devote her full time to child care and training, and all the many tasks of being a loving wife and help to her husband, a thorough and efficient housekeeper, and a gentle mother to her children. Rare indeed is the couple today, who have planned a child, waited expectantly through the months of pregnancy by learning together the basic fundamentals they should know, and who have shared, as a result, one of the truly deepest, fullest emotional experiences of this human lifetime.
For the sake of brevity, it will be impossible to go into great detail in many of the physiological points regarding actual childbirth. However, there are certain basic principles, which are vitally important to understand, which, if they are followed, will form a priceless fund of knowledge of the foundation for child training. Oftentimes, either through ignorance, or perhaps the deliberate teaching of parents, or from other sources, expectant young parents are unprepared mentally for the arrival of children, and so develop many harmful attitudes. Again, there are monumental evidences today that our present society is exactly as the apostle Paul said it would be when he prophesied, "Men shall be lovers of their own selves... lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God" (II Tim. 3:2-4). To many "modern" parents today, children become not "an heritage from the Lord," but a burden and a millstone, a bother and a trouble, a ball and a chain that keeps them home when they would rather be out SEEKING THEIR OWN PLEASURE! If young parents deem themselves too busy to accept the responsibility of parenthood, too occupied to give birth to their children, too involved to properly care for their children, they are not fit parents, nor should even consider planning a family! However, assuming we are dealing with parents who have thoroughly planned children spiritually, mentally and financially, let us analyze what the correct mental approach should be. Too often, mere ignorance results in undue suffering. Young women who entertain vague "fears" about pregnancy and pain in childbirth, who are so concerned about their figures that they look with disgust upon the normal swelling of the abdomen in pregnancy, and who approach motherhood with the feeling of distaste and revulsion are not fit by training or mental attitude to give birth to children! It is vitally important, then, that the woman, especially, have an intelligent grasp of exactly what pregnancy is, and what her attitude toward it should be. A pregnant woman IS NOT A SICK woman! The expectant mother who is constantly complaining of discomfort, of the heat, of nausea, of cramps, or of other slight discomforts, which are usually nothing but the normal symptoms of pregnancy, is merely showing that she does not really want the child, and has an unhealthy mental attitude toward it. Possessing this attitude, it is unlikely she will be willing to take the steps necessary for the preparation for the child, or to eat and drink the proper foods in the proper amounts, getting the proper exercise, all of which will help insure the birth of a normal, healthy child. On the other hand, the expectant mother who adopts a good, healthy mental attitude of joy and satisfaction at the prospect of giving birth to a child will not only begin to prepare herself for a much easier childbirth, but will experience a real depth of joy she was meant to receive through the months of pregnancy, and, the chances are, will give birth to a healthy child! The expectant mother who zealously takes her walks, eats proper foods and drinks plenty of milk, spending her spare hours in other preparation for the child, is going to have a much easier time during her pregnancy, and many of the "discomforts" will be dissolved.
The Source of Unhealthy Attitudes
Each human being is the product of the environment arid the society around him. Young girls entering puberty have naturally inquisitive minds regarding childbirth. They ask their mothers, or, what is more likely, ask friends of approximately their own age. Shameful though it seems, in this modern age of technological development and scientific enlightenment, there remains a cloak of ignorance over the very root and core of all human existence — childbirth! This ignorance can be the very cause of undue suffering at parturition.
"All too often, growing girls develop misconceptions regarding childbirth which later blossom into full-fledged fears which cause them unnecessary suffering. Oftentimes, young parents find they have a lot of 'growing up' to do themselves as they approach parenthood" (p. 59, Childbirth Without Fear, Dick-Read).
This foremost authority, and promulgator of natural birth methods, reveals that fun, pastimes, entertainment, and a merry-go-round of thrills are poor training for prospective parents! The saddening thing is that so few really seem to accomplish the "growing up" they need to do as they approach parenthood. Also, many youthful mothers possess deep-seated fears, doubts, and mental anxieties when they learn they are expecting a child. Oftentimes, they may even bring on serious psychosomatic illness through wrong thinking. To what extent can apprehension, fears and doubts affect actual childbirth? To a very great extent!
"... Soon, the conflict between the demands of nature and the fear-conditioned mind sets up physical complaint, backache or headache, dyspepsia or constipation, listlessness and muscular apathy, depression or weariness of mind and body" (p. 59, Childbirth Without Fear, Dick-Read).
An important factor is the incidence of psychosomatic illness even in children. Dr. M. Murray Peshkin, speaking before a group in Denver, said more than 300,000 U. S. children are suffering from "intractable asthma," which "is a disease of the body generated by the mind of an emotionally disturbed youngster" (p. 16, Rocky Mountain News, July 20, 1959). It is a medically proven fact that up to 50% of the illnesses brought before the doctors can be diagnosed as directly attributable to maladjusted minds.
"Over 50 percent of all the illness that doctors see is emotionally induced illness!... Emotional stress eventually produces serious, disabling illness, and... emotional stress is, today our Number One cause of ill health" (pp. 19, 20, How to Live 365 Days a Year, Schindler).
Few realize to what extent worry, fear, apprehension and anxiety affect normal body functions. It is normal for the expectant mother to wonder, "Will I be a good mother? Will my baby be normal? Will I be able to endure the pains of childbirth? Will having a baby ruin my figure? Will I look as awful as some other women I've seen?" It is a normal thing for certain small doubts and fears to exist in the minds of expectant mothers — especially those expecting their first child. However, with proper education of what childbirth is, of exactly what is going on within her body, and a constant joyful preparation for childbirth, even these minor, normal doubts and worries can be dispelled. The right state of mind is vitally important. It depends, primarily, upon whether or not the wife really wants the child. We have seen, then, that ill health, discomfort, undue pain in labor and other far more serious complications can, and sometimes do, result from an unhealthy attitude toward childbirth.
What Is the Right Attitude?
There is no room for selfishness in expectant parents! The young mother is about to GIVE birth. And it does entail giving. The right attitude is one of a wholesome, eager anticipation toward the greatest event of life, and a deep feeling of gratitude and thankfulness for the privilege of possessing limited recreative powers, and bringing another human being into this world.
"Young people who want a baby and wholeheartedly accept the pregnancy have a helpful head start. Healthy living, happy planning, and an attitude of anticipation contribute immensely to welcoming a new baby" (p. 765, The Encyclopedia of Child Care and Guidance, Gruenberg).
Those who do not understand the deep spiritual significance in childbirth are truly missing countless riches of right human experience and emotions which the Creator God intended we experience fully.
The apostle Paul wrote: "For the invisible things of Him [the unseen things about God, His nature, His plan) from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).
God reveals the invisible things of Him are made known and readily evident to humankind by looking at those things which have been created! In looking at the creation around us, there is no more easily discernible and evident truth than the fact of the cyclical life character of all living creatures. Each living creature reproduces! Further, it reproduces after its own kind! Life exists! Life reproduces life. And life reproduces life of the same kind! So God reveals the secret that seemingly is hidden from the minds of so many today that He is reproducing Himself! Constantly, in the Bible, there is a family relationship illustrated. God is spoken of as the "Father" while Christ is the "Son"! The Church is illustrated as the "Mother" of us all. God "begets" children by the power of His Divine Holy Spirit implanted within human beings. God is a family. Human beings, given the opportunity of being born of God by means of a resurrection through the sacrifice and intercession of Jesus Christ will be in the very family of God! There is no more wonderful way to learn of the plan of God and of the fact that He is reproducing Himself, than by experiencing the bringing forth of children in marriage. God fully intended that human beings should see in the reproduction of human life a beautiful counterpart and type of the reproduction of God — life! If the two parents have been really converted, and UNDERSTAND this great and beautiful truth of God, then truly childbirth becomes one of the deepest, most satisfying experiences of all human life! It becomes a thing of intense beauty, of awesome wonder, and a breathtaking miracle! Perhaps you have heard, many times, the expression "the miracle of birth!" Truly, the fact of the development of a mere egg cell into an embryo and finally a mature fetus which is born as another separate human being is one of the greatest miracles man is ever permitted to witness! A priceless treasure indeed if the expectant parents understand this marvelous plan of God, see a type of spiritual birth in the physical one, understand fully what pregnancy and childbirth is, and meet it hopefully, anxiously and expectantly — together!
How Much Do You Need to Know?
The expectant mother is usually beset with conflicting opinions on anything from the possibility of inflicting terrible birthmarks on the baby from having seen a snake to an urgent caution against breastfeeding — which will supposedly "ruin her figure." Whom should she believe? She will undoubtedly find herself beset with advice from her mother and mother-in-law, from neighbors and friends, from all and sundry who have had children or have heard others talk about having them. She should take it all with a "grain of salt" and merely believe in down-to-earth common sense! The expectant mother can obtain any one of a variety of small, easy-to-read, reliable handbooks containing the physiological facts concerning childbirth. It is not our purpose to endorse every word committed to writing concerning childbirth and child rearing in any work which might be quoted, but to offer easy to-read sources of information which may prove to be valuable helps to the expectant mother. The works from which certain quotations have already been taken, for example, Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, and others are very helpful and valuable books in many ways. A small handbook, such as Expectant Motherhood, by Dr. Nicholson J. Eastman, Professor of Obstetrics in Johns Hopkins University, Obstetrician-in-Chief to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, might be recommended as a guide. Dr. Eastman, however, seems unduly opposed to "natural" childbirth in his section on anesthetics. Such works, set down in simple, easy-to-read form, could be studied by both the expectant father and mother so that they are learning together. Now we are ready to begin with some very important principles of actual childbirth! You will be SHOCKED to find how much undue, unnecessary, out-and-out SUFFERING is needlessly being endured by an uninformed group of young mothers!
Will You Have a Normal Child?
This is a question which every mother asks herself many times during pregnancy, and probably there is not a mother or father alive today who, in reflecting the first moments after childbirth, cannot remember having carefully counted all the fingers and toes, and looked searchingly for any deformities or blemishes on their newly born infant. In today's society, replete with all the modern gadgetry of accelerated 20th century living, we seem to be approaching an era where malformed, imperfect and incomplete children are becoming a more frequent occurrence. Is it any wonder? We are living at the time of the end of nearly six thousand years of human experience, of man trying to go his own way, contrary to the Divinely imposed laws of Almighty God. We have followed the way which seems to be tight to a man (Prov. 14: 12) which way has brought us to the seemingly insurmountable problems of the "explosive sixties." Why are more genetic disorders appearing? We have chemical sprays and fertilizers, processed and packaged foods, complete with many preservatives added, many dyes, artificial flavoring, and other additives in our prepared foods. We are held captive by unbalanced diet and the addiction to pill-taking, an insatiable lust for self-satisfaction, which drives us in frenzied hordes to the glittering candy counters, the cigarette vending machines, the popcorn stands and the corner drugstores and malt shops. We are heedless of our physical weakness and lack of exercise — becoming a nation of drivers rather than walkers. All this, and strontium 90, too! Is it any wonder there are increasing numbers of malformed children being born?
What Should You Eat?
A balanced diet, and plenty of fresh air and exercise are among the most important aspects of pregnancy. Again, however, in discussing diet and exercise, let us use discretion not to enter the realm of fanaticism. There are so many conflicting ideas, panaceas and "cure-alls" so as to bewilder anyone caring to peruse one tenth of the works extant on diet, and real caution is necessary in order to avoid the fanatical or the extreme. The saying, "You are what you eat" is in many respects true. Carrying this same saying into pregnancy, it is then obvious that the child is pretty much what the mother eats! A mother can, by merely pursuing her own selfish interests and tastes, literally destroy the health of her yet unborn child. Carry this same principle over into certain habits such as smoking, dipping snuff, overabundance of sweets, or other harmful and detrimental habits. Argue though some may, the pregnant woman who smokes is injecting nicotine and deadly tars which have been absolutely PROVED to be carcinogenic (cancer-inducing) directly into the bloodstream of her yet unborn child. She may be condemning her own child to an early death from a gnawing, strangling, cancerous tumor which could well choke out its life in mere infancy! Why is it that cancer, heretofore a disease of the middle-aged and elderly, is today cropping up repeatedly in infants — and some of them even as yet unborn? These are merely a few of the factors concerning the necessity for a well-balanced diet and putting away of harmful habits for a pregnant woman.
Some Basic Diet Requirements
It must be strongly emphasized that any attempt to substitute any artificial products for the raw, fresh fruits, the raw or properly cooked greens and vegetables, and the certified, whole milk (or skim milk as the case may be) would be very foolish indeed. Human beings tend to go to extremes. However, it is not the extreme, or the fanatical which you want, but the normal, balanced and sound-minded information concerning proper diet, so as to insure a healthy child and a normal childbirth. For some overall, balanced concepts of correct diet during pregnancy, study carefully the recommendations in this article. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: You should be sure to increase your usual amount of fruits and vegetables, eating from five to seven servings each day, and including one serving of raw fruit or vegetable. Citrus fruits are exceptionally healthful in proper amounts, and other fruits such as tomatoes, berries and melon are good supplements. These foods will supply the vitamins and iron you need, and are important to "balance" your normal amounts of protein and starches. Blessed indeed is the family which has its own garden, or can obtain homegrown fruits and vegetables which have not been artificially raised on chemical fertilizers, sprayed with deadly poisons, or "kept fresh" for weeks on end by frighteningly strong preservative agents! As has been very briefly discussed, there are literally hundreds of artificially prepared, artificially preserved foods packaged and sold in today's modern supermarkets. Simply because they have an attractive package does not make them fit to eat. Again, truly blessed is the family who is able to procure its own naturally grown grains, grind the grains to the desired size for cereals, bread or pastries, and do this type of cooking themselves! However, since the average family is neither industrious enough nor able to accomplish this, let us strongly recommend that breads and cereals be of the natural kind, unadulterated, whole grains, without preservatives added and also without supposed "enriching" vitamins. Remember, whether stone ground whole wheat is without preservatives or not, bread is still bread. It should be eaten only sparingly. MEAT, POULTRY AND FISH: These are the tissue and muscle builders, and you should eat at least one quarter pound of some good meat each day. Be sure you get GOOD meat wherever possible, free from stilbestrol, or preservatives strong enough to embalm! You will be surprised to learn that GOD has labeled some meats unfit for human consumption — but good steaks, poultry and most fish are excellent body builders. EGGS: Be sure to use caution here. Most pregnant women develop an aversion to eggs, especially during the first months. But one egg a day, even if hard-boiled and mixed in a salad or with spinach, is a good source of iron. Anyone with albumin should use the yolks without the whites. CEREALS AND BREAD: Whole-grain cereals, even though more difficult to prepare and harder to come by, are the best. But cracked wheat, steel-cut oats, and other cereals are also good nourishing foods in the right amounts. In the so-called "refined" cereals, breads and flours, much of the important minerals and vitamins have been lost — hence labels claiming various enriching or restoring. BUTTER: Here again, caution is necessary. Butter supplies vitamin A, and should be used sparingly by anyone tending toward obesity. If you need to watch your weight, you can obtain vitamin A from liver, carrots, yellow squash, and green leafy vegetables. FLUIDS: You need to drink plenty of milk! Plenty of water and other fluids are also needed. Tea and coffee in moderation will do no harm but be sure it is in moderation, and not in excess! Soups, fruit juices and milk are good fluid sources, and a certified RAW milk is excellent, but nothing can substitute for good water! Now that we have seen a general approach to the mainstays of diet, let us see a practical application, in sample form, of some of these principles,
This simple, basic information is given here merely as a guide, and is not intended, in any way to present the total information necessary to the expectant mother with regard to diet and exercise. However, we feel it necessary to present a sample diet, as a basic outline into which many of the varieties of foods already mentioned may fit. This, in no way, is intended as a hard-and-fast rule for all individuals in all circumstances. Individuals may find they have certain allergies or physical conditions which would prohibit the use of some foods herein listed. Therefore, let us stress that this is intended only as a sample diet, and is not necessarily recommended for every individual. Commercially prepared foods not in this list should be avoided.
Breakfast: Raw, fresh fruit, or fresh fruit juice, preferably citrus One egg One-half to one slice whole wheat toast Milk, or coffee if desired
For variety, use various fresh fruits or juices that are in season. The egg and toast may be replaced by one w a e, or two hotcakes — if buckwheat or whole wheat, so much the better — or cooked cereals. Again, whole grain wheat, the steel cut oats or cracked wheat would be better than most prepared cereals.
Lunch: Four to six ounces of cooked meat, fish or poultry — or one cup vegetable soup, or other soup with beef stock One or two vegetables from the following: Asparagus, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, parsnips, spinach, squash, rutabagas, turnips, etc. One-half cup salad greens, principally utilizing raw spinach, watercress, parsley, with leaf lettuce or head lettuce only incidentally Two glasses of raw, certified, fresh milk Dinner: Simple dinner salad Four to six ounces cooked meat One or two vegetables of the aforementioned varieties with baked potato occasionally Simple dessert, such as custard or plain fruit with cookie Two glasses of raw, certified, fresh milk
There are many varieties of fruits, vegetables and meats which may be utilized, and the above-given diet can be extremely flexible. However, it must be emphasized again that a pregnant woman is not a sick woman! Actually, she should eat a diet exactly as would any normal, healthy adult who was paying proper attention to diet, with the possible exception that she should cut down on some starchy substances, and add more calcium, phosphorus and iron. It must be remembered she is generally eating for two persons, and not just one. Many women yield to the temptation to snack in between meals, or to "piece around" on foods at odd hours during the day, and hence, perhaps because they realize they are eating for two persons, tend to become overweight during pregnancy. This places undue strain on the heart and is certainly inadvisable. There is about equal danger in becoming overweight as there is in being underweight during pregnancy. A normal adult diet, but an unselfish diet, considering the development of the child, is the one to be followed!
Sleep and Exercise
A normal amount of sleep, such as eight full hours of good sleep per night, and a normal amount of exercise, such as mid-morning and mid-afternoon walks, are certainly advisable. Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, in his book, Child-birth Without Fear discusses certain special exercises which are highly recommended in the event the expectant mother chooses to give birth to her child naturally without the use of anesthetics. The following outline of sleep and exercise is helpful: Any pregnant woman needs at least eight hours of sleep each night, and a rest period during the daytime. The rest period during the day need not even be a total sleep, but it is recommended by doctors that expectant mothers learn to relax, to ease the tensions during the day, and become refreshed by frequent stops. Exercise is vitally important — and especially for a pregnant woman. WALKS out of doors, but without becoming overly tired, are vitally necessary. Today, most Americans are becoming mere spectators — taking their sports sitting down! Of course, a pregnant woman can't play volleyball or swim, hut she can and must get proper exercise. By obtaining the book already mentioned, Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, an expectant mother may read of many helpful exercises which not only accomplish the purpose of keeping her bloodstream moving and the body free from poisons, but also form an important part of training toward having natural childbirth! Try to spend a certain period of time out of doors each day. If you have a garden, a limited amount of light work in it will be helpful. It's important to remember again, as has been repeated several times, that a pregnant woman is not a SICK woman! At least, she SHOULDN'T be! So don't consider yourself an invalid — take walks, do normal housework without overdoing it or tiring yourself too much, take frequent stops during your routines, and ENJOY your role in life! To summarize some of the important points: Husband and wife should study together some of the basic physiological factors concerning conception, development of the fetus and childbirth. Know about it, don't simply swallow old wives' fables, and the ideas of others. Obtain a handbook of basic information, such as one of those already mentioned, riot swallowing everything you read, but attempting to get at the truth of the matter, using such a book as a guide, not a panacea for all situations. Get plenty of the right foods, and exercise. Above all things, realize the deep spiritual implications in pregnancy, look forward to it expectantly, eagerly, share it together as husband and wife, know about it, understand it and ENJOY it — you'll always be glad you did!
A Vital Question
Here is a vital question which must be answered by every expectant couple: How and where is your baby to be born? Surprisingly enough, many couples give little, if any, thought to this all-important question. Perhaps it is merely environmental pressure, the experience of others, and the commonly accepted practice of today that leads the average young couple to assume they will simply contact an obstetrician at pregnancy, go to the hospital to have the baby, and come home after a few days with a newly born child. However, there is now available sufficient information from many documented sources to indicate this might not, under every circumstance, be the wisest choice! Is it always necessary to go to the hospital for childbirth? Here are some surprising facts!
Cruelty in Maternity Wards
Millions of women were electrified by a series of startling articles appearing in the Ladies' Home Journal concerning the practices of some hospitals in the United States. The article did not question that the overwhelming majority of both obstetricians and maternity hospitals resent unethical and cruel practices fully as much as the victimized mothers. However, the facts were starkly evident, and attested to by dozens of doctors, nurses and mothers who had had horrifying personal experience that there truly ARE, in many instances, literal atrocities committed in some maternity wards. Let us hope this national attention called to such malpractices has since resulted in a complete reform of the "tortures that go on in modern delivery rooms." The series of articles which gained such national aplomb were precipitated by a letter published in the mail column of the Journal in November, 1957. The Journal "hopefully" assumed such cruelties were extremely rare! However, the avalanche of mail they received certainly proved otherwise. Obviously, due to lack of space, it will be impossible for us to reprint the complete testimony of such cruelties here. However, a few of the most striking letters should serve to illustrate the true seriousness of such practices. One woman, from Elkhart, Indiana, said so many women especially first mothers, who are frightened to start out with, received such brutal inconsiderate treatment that the whole thing is a horrible nightmare. She said:
"They give you drugs, whether you want them or not, strap you down like an animal. Many times the doctor feels too much time is being taken up and he either forces the baby with forceps or slows things up. I know, because the former happened in my own case. Please, can't something be done?" (p. 44, Ladies' Home Journal, May, 1958).
The first charge made by many indignant mothers was of the "common practice to take the mother right into the delivery room as soon as she is 'prepared.' Often she is strapped in the lithotomy position, with the knees pulled far apart, for as long as eight hours." This practice was attested to by the Ladies' Home Journal, in reprinting letters which were received from women in all walks of life, from various points in the United States. Another major charge was that obstetricians have informed the nurses on duty that they are going to dinner, or some other "logical" reason for being late, and that the nurse should "slow up things." The Journal carefully noted this particular charge — that babies are held back from being born in order to suit the doctor's convenience — drew few denials from nurses and doctors. Obviously, there were voices lifted on both sides — and obviously again, those lifted in defense of the practices of hospitals were those in the hospitals themselves. The Journal reported:
"Fully half of our mother correspondents wrote us that they had endured the ordeal of having their babies artificially held back from birth because the doctor was not on hand' (Ladies' Home Journal, p. 153, May, 1958).
One woman from Georgia reported:
"I was strapped on the delivery table. My doctor had not arrived and the nurses held my legs together. I was helpless and at their mercy. They held my baby back until die doctor came into the room. She was born while he was washing his hands."
Another from Wisconsin said:
"One of my babies lowered before the nurses were expecting her (I was just put on the delivery table with no attendants). When the nurse finally examined me she called for another nurse to call a doctor immediately while she strapped my legs together and gave me ether to hold the baby until the doctor arrived. The doctor had to come eight miles, and by the time he arrived and prepared for the delivery it was a miracle the baby was still alive."
Said one letter from Phoenix, Arizona: "The granddaughter of a neighbor is hopelessly brain-injured because nurses tied the mother's legs together to slow down the birth until the doctor arrived." A similarly heart-wrenching story appeared in the December, 1958 issue of the Ladies' Home Journal on p. 158. Excerpts from a rather lengthy letter said:
"Danny is the victim of a delayed delivery. He suffered a brain injury from lack of oxygen at birth. Now, nine long years later, we are learning to accept the results of imprudent, thoughtlessly administered anesthetic while nurses waited for a doctor who took too long to come.... "I still cringe when I remember the night Danny was born. At 1030, a y e to ld me that my baby had crowned' and that he had black hair.... I was given anesthesia. The time of delivery on the birth record is 2:30 a.m.... "From my heart, I appeal to all parents: The responsibility for careful delivery of your unborn child rests on you. Request, and if necessary, demand, the best attention obtainable. Let us not produce more children who, for the sake of a few hours' convenience, must travel through life with a part of their mind unresponsive."
As has previously been stated, a basic round-minded approach to the modern problems surrounding childbirth, a mutual understanding on the part of husband and wife, and careful Preparation for the method of birth and the place where the baby is to be born are of utmost importance. Certainly the parents wish to avoid having the mother take the possible risk of being treated like an animal in a slaughterhouse, rather than a woman going through the supreme physical and emotional experience of her life.
What Some Doctors Say
As a result of the veritable landslide of letters from indignant mothers and parents of malformed, demented children, various answers were given by those in the medical profession. Dr. Herman N. Bundesen, President, Board of Health, Chicago, Ill. said:
"We do not believe that mothers should be strapped to the delivery table, except as is necessary to keep the patient from contaminating the sterile area. Further, we do not believe that the mother's legs should be strapped together to keep the baby from delivering, nor do we believe that general anesthesia should be used to prevent the patient from delivery....
Dr. John Whitridge, Jr., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, John Hopkins University wrote:
"Services of nurse-midwives have been accepted readily by hundreds of mothers who came into the Johns Hopkins Hospital expecting originally to be delivered by a physician. The fact that these mothers received highly personalized service from a group of sympathetic, competent young women has made the nurse-midwife more than acceptable to the mothers....Do not overlook the fact that the cornerstone of the program is that under nurse-midwives, women in labor are constantly attended and are never left alone. "I can think of no addition to our present system that could do more to promote high quality obstetric care than for physicians to begin employing nurse-midwives."
It must be emphasized here that by no means is a blanket charge against the practices of all hospitals and doctors being made. However, let it again be clearly understood and strongly emphasized that there truly are hundreds of horrifying, brutal, inhumane ATROCITIES committed in SOME maternity wards in our nation. This startlingly clear fact, echoing from the outraged cries of thousands of mothers, is too poignant, too striking to be left unnoticed, or merely "dismissed" by official-sounding arguments to the contrary! Obviously, the American Medical Association, any medical organization, or, for that matter, any doctor in his right mind would be nearing abject insanity to condone such practices. Notwithstanding, the unalterable fact remains that such practices DO OCCUR. Perhaps the chances YOU will enter such a maternity ward are slim. The question to you is: No matter HOW SLIM the chance — IF there is a perfectly sale, medically advisable ALTERNATIVE — do you wish to TAKE the chance? In whose hands are you placing your life? If you wish to take your life, and the life of your unborn child and place them in the hands of other human beings, behind locked doors, where your husband is denied access, then — it is your life, and you are free to do with it as you choose. On the other hand, you are free to request — even DEMAND — the kind of treatment and consideration that should be yours in childbirth.
How Childbirth Can Be a Joy
Since the doctors and hospital staffs themselves admittedly WANT to make motherhood a truly happy and reassuring experience, it should be obvious that many of them are perfectly ready to alter some of their heretofore unchallenged practices. Along with the many letters flooding into the offices of Ladies' Home Journal reporting the cruelties and torments suffered through negligent, indifferent doctors and nurses came other letters with an urgent appeal to make childbirth a real joy for mothers. Said a former teacher, from Detroit, Michigan: "Just let a few husbands into the delivery rooms and let them watch what goes on there. That's all it will take — they'll change it!" A Registered Nurse from Urbana, Illinois, said:
"Recently I had the most delightful time giving birth to a son with the aid of natural childbirth. My husband was allowed to be with me during labor and was made to feel a part of the whole process."
Said a woman from Marietta, Ga.:
"If I have another baby, I would rather have my husband with me than any specialist. A loving husband's hand in yours is by far the best sedative in the world."
One woman, who had been through childbirth several times, wrote:
"I had one of the best doctors in the city of Buffalo. Pain? Yes. My legs strapped up? Yes. Drugs? Yes. Pain is necessary. I was always glad for the hard pains because then I knew the end was nearing. My legs were elevated only at the last minute while repair work was being done" (Ladies' Home Journal, p. 135, Dec., 1958).
The Journal reported the sixth baby of this particular woman was an entirely different story. The woman was rushed from her house late one night while her husband was away, leaving the children in the care of a neighbor. Because of hemorrhaging, she was rushed to the nearest hospital. After arriving, and too late to change it, she learned that her own doctor refused to deliver patients in this particular hospital. She soon found one of the reasons why. It was only after much bleeding that she could get the nurses to call her husband, so that she might plan with him for the care of the children. She says:
"I saw him about two minutes. In the other hospitals he was allowed to stay until I was ready to deliver. I didn't see him again that night, nor all the next day. I was alone with strangers, not one person there that I could trust. It came time for delivery. I had had five, so I knew. I begged the nurses to call the doctor. They told me to shut up, and one of them snapped that I was giving her a headache. "Finally they looked, and at that late minute began to rush telephone calls to the doctor, who had gone golfing. I felt like a trapped animal — thank God it was not my first baby. They put an ether cone over my nose and forced my legs together amid shouts of 'bear down' and 'don't bear down' which were ridiculous at the stage which I had reached. I did not hear the baby's first cry — there is no moment in a woman's life more rewarding than that. I have been furious ever since...." (Ladies' Home Journal, p. 135, Dec., '58).
Here, a woman whose husband was, by most hospitals, allowed to be with her, up to the time of delivery, was even denied this privilege at the birth of her sixth child! This woman was experienced — she had been through it many times before — she was not a high-strung, innocent "first-timer" who was not familiar with hospital procedures, and was going to give the nurses and doctor a difficult time. Rather, she was a mature woman, giving birth for the sixtli time (surely somewhat of a rarity in this modern generation) and knew, through personal experience, the phases of birth. Her testimony, therefore, carries considerable weight.
Should the Husband Be Present?
From all sides come the pitious cries of mothers to let their husbands stay with them, not up to the birth — but throughout the entire experience! One woman who wrote to the Journal said:
"I was strapped to the delivery table on Saturday morning and lay there until I was delivered on Sunday afternoon; with the exception of a period early Sunday morning when they needed the delivery table for an unexpected birth. When I slipped my hand from the strap to wipe sweat from my face (this was in July) I was severely reprimanded by the nurse. If it had not been for a kind old lady who used to be a midwife in Germany, I doubt if I would have come out sane.... For thirty-six hours my husband didn't know whether I was living or dead. I would have given anything if I could just have held his hand" (Ladies' Home Journal, p. 159, Dec., 1958).
And why shouldn't husband and wife share this experience together? Think of it! It is God who has made them "male and female" and who said "they twain shall become one flesh!" Surely, at the supreme moment of hearing the first cry of a newly born infant, a reproduction from their own bodies — a new member of their family, bearing their name, with their appearance, their abilities, their inherent talents, and as a result of the careful planning, the studying, all the expectancy and mutual sharing of one of life's most wonderful experiences — is it not understandable that they should want to share it together? There may be very few, and rare cases where the wife actually does not want the husband to be present, or where the husband feels so inadequate that he may truly be a "bother" and perhaps, through emotional and mental maladjustment, could, conceivably, be a barrier to proper procedure. However, it is the serious and studied opinion of the author that such husbands are in the rare minority, rather than the average! So, husband and wife should plan to be together at the birth of their child. They should study the details of childbirth from some of the books recommended. They should either plan to have their baby delivered at home, or in a small hospital or clinic where they are assured of cooperative help and attention in sharing one of the supreme moments of their lives together.
Lurking Killers in Maternity Wards
Recently, as a result of some of the sensational outbreaks of various infectious diseases in the large clinics and hospitals of some of our cities, unusual attention was called to some maternity ward practices, with the spotlight especially on drugs and disinfectants. Sensational articles appeared, calling the staphylococcus infections "super germs that menace hospitals." One article reported:
"Some tough, vicious descendants of a sinister old germ family called staphylococci — staph for short — are invading supposedly germ-free U. S. hospitals and spreading definite disease at a frightening rate. These lurking killers attack newborn babies and set up raging blood infections that are alarmingly immune to conventional antibiotics. When sixteen infants died in staph outbreak at City-County Hospital in Houston, health authorities closed nursery, disposed of all furnishings that stubborn staph might cling to, and drenched infected areas with powerful germicides" (Sunday News, p. 24, July 13, 1958).
Similar deaths by staphylococcus infections were reported from Dallas, where nine infants died; Ridgewood, N. J., where six had died; and also Buffalo, Seattle, Iowa City, and dozens of other communities. U. S. medical leaders were frankly alarmed. It must be noted that most articles concerned with the subject informed the public that such staphylococci (which get their Greek name because they gather in clusters like grapes on a vine, and are tough, pus-forming germs that cause boils, abcesses and a wide variety of kidney, bone and other diseases) are very definitely powerfully drug and antiseptic resistant. It was said that the staph infections have "survived the onslaught of community sanitation, immunization, and the antibiotics to emerge from our hospitals as probably the foremost parasitic cause of death in many modern communities." (Sunday News, p. 24, July 13, 1958.) In the light of this statistical information — let us come to a definite conclusion: While hospitals and the medical societies have no doubt taken every precaution, and even launched a special $1.5 million appropriation, to help finance the fight against the dread disease, there still remains a CHANCE that such outbreaks of the staphylococci infections could occur again! Regardless of how slim that chance may seem to be, there still remains the fact that THERE IS A CHANCE! Strangely, the staphylococci infections seem to be peculiarly a hospital-confined scourge.
"London — A medical survey shows in England it's safer to have a baby at home than in a hospital. "A team of doctors found babies born in hospitals run a 3-to-1 greater risk of infection from staphylococci... The survey revealed the hospital incidence of infection was 13.6 percent, against only 4.8 per cent among the babies born at home. "Conclusions by the team were mothers should not go to hospitals for child delivery merely for convenience; that if they must go to hospitals, they should leave as soon as possible afterwards and spend convalescence at home." (Los Angeles Examiner, Wed., May 3, 1961.)
Notice! Doctors themselves are apprehensive over possible fatal infections which COULD be contracted in maternity wards. Proved statistics, resulting in research involving many hundreds of cases, firmly establish the greater risks involved when babies are born in hospitals. The numerous deaths reported in 1958 did not take place in supposed "unsanitary living rooms or bedrooms" among babies who had been born at home. They did not take place in the small, private clinics — but in the large hospitals in the large cities. Again, let it be stated, that the American Medical Association, doctors and nurses in general, and the staffs of hospitals never have, and are not at present condoning deliberate mistreatment of patients, nor are they allowing or condoning, insofar as they are able to combat it, infestations of deadly germs in hospitals. Quite the contrary — there is a widespread fight under way to combat just such occurrences. We merely wish to point out, there remains the POSSIBILITY of either mistreatment, or possible infection.
Drugs Dangerous to Childbirth
As has already been mentioned, many doctors seem unduly prejudiced toward what they consider the necessary use of anesthetics. Considering this tendency, let us note the following admission:
"Newborn mammals lack the ability to alter drugs into inactive products, as indicated by studies in animals reported in Biochemical Pharmacology, by Bernard B. Brodie and his associates of die National Heart Institute.... These results suggest that the underdeveloped central nervous system of newborn animals is extremely sensitive to the barbiturates and perhaps to other drugs as well."
This is of "'obvious importance when considering the use of drugs in childbirth and for newborn infants,' the authors commented" (Lippincott's Medical Science, June 25, 1959). The striking quotation, together with the assertion of the mother who wrote Ladies' Home Journal of the brain damage due to oxygen deficiency as a result of delayed birth and overuse of anesthetics, is, again, an indication that some risk is involved in the use of anesthetics. Any doctor familiar with anesthetics will tell you there is a definite risk involved! He will obviously minimize the risk, give you the statistics that perhaps it is less than one in one thousand or perhaps even more rare or infrequent that any person suffers death or permanent injury from the use of anesthetics. However, let it be again emphasized — THERE IS A RISK! Obviously, if no anesthetics are used, there is no risk of suffering from the lack of oxygen, or possible defects due to the overabundance of anesthetics. Are anesthetics really necessary? The qualified answer is yes — IF the mother wishes to run the RISK of permanent brain injury to her child, and IF she is in terror of and wishes to escape all knowledge of pain in childbirth! The unqualified answer is NO, if the mother understands, fully comprehends, and is prepared by mind conditioning and study to meet whatever pain is normal in childbirth.
Anesthetics No Shortcut
The ultramodern theory that the use of anesthetics makes the delivery easier would, if many doctors would speak out on the subject, quickly be refuted by those in the practice of obstetrics. Anyone can tell you that the use of anesthetics completely slows down, and nearly always altogether eliminates, the normal bodily functions of the woman in childbirth, and practically necessitates (though not in every instance) delivery by use of instruments. Increasingly, many women are having their children at home. This is not a "new" innovation, but a return to a quite old practice which has been around for quite a number of years! Many of you have heard of cases of women giving birth to children on the hospital steps, in elevators, in taxicabs, on subways, or even in airplanes while flying in the air. They did it without anesthetics, and, in some cases, with only a taxicab driver for an attendant. You say these cases are rare? Certainly, but they serve to point up one significant fact! That is, the woman who is not able to be administered anesthetics is not going to be hopelessly lost, nor is her child going to die! Almighty God DESIGNED the human body! He MADE it to work a certain way! The mother giving birth is not at the point of death — in need of a complex emergency system of gleaming metallic devices, braces, medicines, drugs, straps and supposedly "sterilized" paraphernalia usually to be found in the modern hospital delivery room. Rather, she is undergoing a perfectly natural, perfectly designed function of her body — for which it was specifically built! A mother giving birth is like an airplane becoming airborne, or a ship putting to sea! It's A GREAT PURPOSE OF HER VERY BEING! WHY, then have so many merely assumed, in this supposed "enlightened" scientific age, that she is hovering between life and death, needing all the emergency equipment available? Certainly there are emergencies — there are "difficult" births — but these are not the usual case! Today, it may be exceedingly difficult in large urban areas to find a doctor who will readily agree to assist the delivery in the home of the mother. However, it should not be overly difficult for the prospective parents to find a doctor who is entirely sympathetic with the practice of natural childbirth, is understanding and patient, and who agrees that the father should be with the mother during childbirth.
Hospital, Clinic or Home?
Should you have your baby in the hospital, a clinic, or at home? You should answer this question hinging entirely upon the method of childbirth you prefer, the kind of treatment you are sure you will receive, and taking into consideration the possible risks involved in either direction. One work which we heartily recommend, while not necessarily putting an indelible stamp of approval upon every word contained therein, is Childbirth Without Pear, a comprehensive study into the emotional, physical and psychosomatic aspects of natural childbirth. It has been a veritable "guidebook" for dozens of mothers whom the author has known personally, and has given each of them invaluable help in having easy, satisfying, fearless births. Thousands of mothers have experienced childbirth in both hospital and home, and give their testimony to the tremendous physical, psychological, environmental and spiritual advantages of being in their own homes, with their husbands present, at childbirth. testimonies: Listen to just a few of these mothers'
"The experience of having a baby at home is the most wonderful and rewarding experience a husband and wife can share together. "At the time I found out we were about to become parents, my husband and I both began a study into natural childbirth and the possibility of having our baby right in our home! The doctor agreed — even giving us a list of the things we should have on hand — assisting us by sterilizing the necessary items we needed.
You'll notice the intelligent, thoughtful approach of this young couple. They were not hostile toward doctors, but sought the advice of a doctor they knew to be sympathetic with natural childbirth — requesting information on various supplies which would make the delivery more convenient for him.
"Through the months of pregnancy we planned, studied, talked and impatiently waited for that much-wanted new member of our family. My husband encouraged me all along, and was as much aware of everything (possibly even more!) as I was! "Shortly before the birth of the baby we made all the last-minute preparations — I cleaned the room we planned to use spic and span and had everything arranged and ready. "When the day arrived, I was able to have my husband right with me in our own bedroom, reassuring me — telling me to relax, holding my hand and rubbing my back.
Notice again how this couple had Studied together the miracle of childbirth! The husband knew each sign, each stage of delivery, and instead of a fearful, bumbling dolt who would need to be summarily "dismissed" into the "stork room" by a disdainful nurse, was a constant help, a source of comfort and reassurance to his wife!
"At 12:25 pm., less than four hours after my first pain, we (I say "we" because my husband did almost as much work as I did) had a fine 8 lb. 6 oz. baby boy! What a blessing it was — our first child — a boy — right in our home! "To anyone having a baby, I highly recommend having your baby at home! After all, the beginning of a new life for both you and your baby should be in circumstances you are familiar with, where there is the least nervous tension and anxiety. Your home has the familiar surroundings and love that are so necessary at such a time!" (Mrs. R. A., Omaha, Nebr.)
Then read this one:
"For nine months I looked forward to having our baby at home. In my mind, there was nowhere else to have it! "I was blessed with a cooperative doctor, who not only would deliver the baby in our home, but who also agreed to allow the baby to come completely naturally. No spinals, gasses or drugs to deaden me, and the baby. (The contractions were certainly not unbearable!). No terrified screams of other women in labor (there was no screaming at my delivery). No estranged germs from unhealthy babies being given to my healthy one. And I'm sure my baby is mine — not mixed up with someone else's!!!"
This mother had also done considerable reading. She had talked to many other mothers who recounted their experiences in large hospital wards, and had noticed with alarm the news reports of staphylococcus infections in some instances. She and her husband were determined to have their baby normally, at home!
"My delivery was so smooth and fast it was over almost before I realized it had begun. Having studied the subject of natural childbirth quite thoroughly, I knew what to expect — didn't fear the unknown. Proper eating, diligent exercising and walking, and concentrated relaxing during pregnancy paid off. My husband's keen interest during pregnancy was an added help. His biggest help, though, was his calm assurance and presence at my side during delivery. No hospital should deny a mother this much needed assistance from her husband." (Mrs. C.D., Pasadena, Calif.)
These two examples certainly speak for themselves. Again remember, however, that these enthusiastic mothers are merely echoing the heartfelt sentiments of multiple thousands of mothers! Space permits printing only a limited few, however. In the next case, the prospective parents found a doctor who didn't want to be bothered with the "foolishness" of natural childbirth. He was aloof, talking to them as little children who were entering with wide-eyed innocence a sphere with which he was infinitely more familiar than they. The only error on his part was that they were both the children of registered nurses. They had heard from childhood of certain abuses in hospital deliveries. They had studied the problem thoroughly — and from intelligent sources — not merely basing their opinions on hearsay and old wives' tales!
"Due to the unfriendliness of our doctor, the cold, stern atmosphere of the hospital we were to go to, the high cost of it all and above all, the desire to have our baby without medication, we decided to see if it would be possible to have our baby in our own home. We found a willing and competent doctor and from there went on to experience the most thrilling phenomenon of our lifetime together. "We found it to be completely safe and exceedingly rewarding to have our baby in the familiar surroundings of our own home. We had suitable supplies (prepared under doctor's instructions by our own hands) and with a little ingenuity the facilities of the hospital were not greatly missed.
The expense of providing some simple supplies proved to be far less than costly hospital fees, however!
"There was no bother or expense to speak of in the preparation. The complete privacy, homey environs, friendly help, and to say nothing of our greatest pillar of security, our powerful Creator-God with us at all times, made our home the very safest, most convenient place in the world to have a baby. "My husband was with me during the entire labor and delivery. His presence gave me a feeling of calm, cheerful quietness. Since it was our first child, we both learned and shared together what it means to bear a child, and with the arrival of our son we partook as one, the joy and wonder of the miracle of birth. "By being awake and fully conscious during the time when most women are put to sleep, I was able to feel a determination and drive I had not felt before. And when it was all over, after the baby was born, all weariness left and in its place was such delight, joy, supreme happiness, for there on my breast lay our child, our son, and it wasn't so bad, after all!" (Mrs. J. H., Gladewater, Tex.)
What a difference between these testimonies and the aching, piteous cries of heartsick mothers who have had to see their children suffering from incurable brain injuries from oxygen deficiencies, or seriously retarded mentally from a careless and thoughtless instrument birth! Yes — what a difference! Instead of being sent to a "far-away dreamland by a magic pill," and knowing NOTHING during childbirth — instead of running the possible risks which have been carefully and honestly documented in these pages — these women have had the marvelous experience of giving birth in their own homes, with their own husbands present! May God grant that others, reading the facts herein presented, will also want to enjoy one of the richest experiences this human life has to offer!