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Silent Birth Doesn't Mean Mom Can't Scream

Is a silent birth for you?

Is a silent birth for you?

Kelly Preston and John Travolta are getting ready to have their baby, and apparently they’re planning a silent birth. That’s right: silent.

When I started seeing the headlines about this, I was appalled. I’ve given birth twice, and there was nothing silent about it. What woman could labor in complete silence? Who would dare ask her to?

It turns out, that’s not what silent birth means at all. It’s not the mother who has to be quiet. It’s everyone else. No doctors urging you to push. No “helpful” advice from your mom or your sister. No one reminding you of the rules.

Silent birth is a Scientology thing, which sort of suggests it might be creepy. But in fact it sounds kind of cool. There was a lot of chatter during my labors, and I could have lived with less.

Cerridwen over on Being Pregnant says she wouldn’t want a totally silent atmosphere. There’s a place for spoken encouragement and words of love. But it’s so easy to get that wrong. My midwives said things to me during my labors that were meant to be encouraging but in fact made me feel bad, or were just annoying and distracting. Double that for my mom and husband, who were both totally there to help.

If talking in the labor room had to be a purely yes or no thing, I think I’d go with “no”. Though what I really love is Cerridwen’s suggestion: let the mom lead the way. She wants to chat, go ahead and chat with her. If she’s quiet, keep quiet. A laboring mom should be the queen of the labor room.

Photo: jaredandmelanie

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