Silent birth is a practice in which sounds, particularly speech, are kept to a minimum during childbirth. The goal is to bring the newborn into as calm and quiet a situation as possible. This originates in the Scientology belief that trauma – which is inherent in the birthing process – imprints engrams that must later be removed through auditing. The spoken word is considered particularly influential in the engram-forming process.
In addition, Scientologists often avoid drugs, including epidurals, during childbirth for the same reason many doctors already attempt to limit the application of drugs: to avoid exposing the newborn to chemicals with potentially damaging side effects.
Some outsiders hold the mistaken belief that silent birth forbids all sound, including cries of pain from the mother. While the mother is encouraged to be as calm as possible (as is the common practice in hospitals), the Church of Scientology fully recognizes that childbirth can be an incredibly painful process.
Scientologists are also not encouraged to remain silent with their children during the first week of life, as is believed by some. There are conflicting stories about whether medical tests such as blood draws are resisted by Scientologist parents in order to spare the newborn engram-forming pain.
Is this required?
No. The Church of Scientology stresses that no aspect of silent birth is required of members. All decisions related to childbirth are ultimately the prerogative of the parents and their doctors and health professionals.
Tips for Practice
It is important for expectant parents to speak with the delivering doctor or midwife beforehand in order to communicate their wishes for a silent birth. They should clarify what this entails and address any concerns or questions regarding the procedure. This should be standard practice for anyone preparing to have a child, especially those who have specific requests or requirements. In addition, it should be discussed with all involved hospital personal the day of the event for the best chance of keeping everyone on the same page during what is normally a fairly chaotic event.
A series of gestures might be agreed upon beforehand for communication. Everyone should be encouraged to make gestures slowly and deliberately in order to limit anxiety and miscommunication.
Non-Scientologist doctors generally do not recognize medical benefit in silent birth. However, they generally do not see any harm in the practice. They also recognize that anything limiting stress and anxiety can be beneficial, particularly for the mother. Furthermore, silent birth eliminates the chatter common in delivery rooms, which can simplify the work of hospital personnel.