11 April 2006

The TomKat Baby and Silent Birth

I read (again) last week about the TomKat baby and how it would be coming into the world via ‘Silent Birth’ (SB). What the heck is that? Apparently Scientologists believe that the natural birth experience is traumatic not only for the mother (you don’t say), but also for the baby, and what ever it experiences at the time of its birth would affect it for the duration of its stay on earth. By having an ‘SB’ the baby is less traumatized during the birth process and thus has a better chance of having a decent life (or something like that). Kelly Preston (Mrs John Travolta) who is a scientologist and has experienced ‘SB’ says that contrary to what we all believe, ‘SB’ isn’t so much about keeping mum through the whole birth experience but rather watching what you say, and yes and epidural can be administered. Hmmm … note to self: read up on scientology and ‘SB’.

I am interested in the ‘SB’ concept, because it seems Africans have been practicing it for centuries. As Africans we are way ahead of Scientology and its understanding of the power of the spoken word and how they affect a person. As a Yoruba person, I grew up acknowledging (maybe not appreciating) the power of words, specifically words as issued in a curse (Epe). Many a child has been stopped dead in his tracks, wondering if this particular mischief was worth it as he heard his mother state ‘Ma sepe fun e ti o ba kuro ni ibeyen’ (I will curse you if you don’t leave that place at once!) It is a wise child who does not provoke his mother into delivering the maternal curse. This curse is believed to be really potent owing to the fact that it is delivered by the person who gave birth to and nursed you (contrary to all that oyinbo nonsense about breast feeding pre the 80’s, African women have been breast feeding for centuries, usually till the baby was at least a year old). The curse is even more potent if your mother is sufficiently motivated to make it stark naked at the witching hour! That kind of curse will catch you before you can say, ‘I have a masters degree in journalism from Columbia, my boss loves me and if I do it her way for awhile I can write about anything I want’ (I must have seen ‘how to lose a guy in 10 days’ like a gazillion times). As a result of our (superior) understanding of the power of words, African women are encouraged to watch what they say during the birthing process. Its okay to say things like ‘Ye idi mi fe fa ya’ (Gosh my vagina is about to split open – obvious fact), but you really must avoid saying things like ‘Iwo olori buruku okurin yi ko ni da fun e’ (This ill-starred man, it will not be well with you.). It is believed that during the birthing process, a woman is that much closer to the gods and all her requests are fast tracked, regardless of the fact that she is unaware that she is actually requesting anything. So if in the middle of a contraction she yells ‘Ko ni da fun e fun inkan to se fun mi’ (it will not be well with you for what you have done to me) or ‘Ko ni da fun iwo omo yi’ (it will not be well with you this child), your instructions will be executed to the letter. In light of this fact, certain issues are best resolved before a child is born, e.g. paternity. It is believed that if a woman curses the man who impregnated her while giving birth there is no escaping it. Similarly this curse is made even more potent if she curses on the blood, which issues out with the baby or worse on the placenta itself! I have often wondered though if the opposite would be the case, i.e. if a mother’s curse is that potent would a mothers blessing be equally potent? The answer is yes, hence parents especially mothers are encouraged to bless their children at every opportunity.

The introduction of Abrahamic religion has further helped to reinforce our traditional belief in the power of words. In Christianity, we are taught to watch what we say, indeed there are several references to words, and my personal favorite is found in Ecc 5:2. Interestingly, even the Almighty is bound by the words which He has spoken Is 55:11. At the end of the day, I guess because Scientology isn’t your ‘average’ religion, the whole ‘SB’ thing looks a bit weird, the truth of the matter is though that they are really not doing anything new.

Scientology.org - News Room

Giddy romance leading Holmes to silent birth

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