On Being Born: A Mother's View

I invited three women, Sandie, Oona, Arlayne, all mothers, and Jackie, whose career it has been to deliver babies, to watch Suzanne Arms' film, 5 Women -- 5 Births. My idea was to use the film to stimulate a discussion about our own births and the births of our children. David was there to photograph but soon became a valuable part of the discussion. I want very much to give some support to the National Birthing movement and at the same time make a statement (in the form of this interview) about what we have learned from re-experiencing our own births. -- Gloria

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Jackie: What you describe goes on eternally in labor areas, because the people - this is a gross generalization - but the people who work in labor rooms have so much pain about their own births, and they don't want women to cry, they don't want women to make any noise when they're in labor. They'll say, "Stop man! You know, I can hear you all the way down the hall, now you're disturbing everyone!" They don't say what's really going on, which is, "You're disturbing me!"

Arlayne: I remember how great it would have been with Denise, when everything was so great, if I could have screamed...just let out...you know, OH! All that was exploding inside!

Gloria: When I was delivering babies, I worked in a multi-racial neighborhood. Talk about racism! The midwives would say, "You can hear the Italian one, you can hear the Greeks, because they were the women who'd go, UHHHHHHHHH!, like that." And the white middle class. . . .

Oona: Would ooh and ahh, didn't they?

Gloria: Did not even do ooh and ahh.

Arlayne: They did it properly.

Gloria: They did it properly. I remember one of the most incredible births I'd ever seen was a Greek woman, from a strange little Greek island. I say strange because even the Greek interpreters in the hospital couldn't understand her unusual dialect. She arrived in the emergency room, came in and she started going around and around in circles like a dog when it's about to shit. And they of course wanted to put her on the trolley, but she kept pushing the trolley away. She was going to have the baby squatting, Eventually she had it on the trolley, squatting. They put the baby, in the nursery, of course. She would go get the baby, grab him, take him back with her, and say, "The baby's . . . MINE!" For her there was no separation between the baby and its mother. The dump from the nurses was awful. . .

"Peasant . . . illiterate . . . stupid . . ." and that woman was one of the most intelligent women, knowing what was right for her baby, and herself. But there was another quality that woman had which was rare, I find. There was an "I'm in control" attitude. For example, she would get up and make her own bed. She wasn't lying back, waiting for the world to look after her and her baby. This was hers, and she was totally in charge of it. Every detail!

Jackie: I'm sure that came through her culture . . .

Gloria: . . . We see a definite relationship between the manner in which the mother was born and the way she will give birth to her offspring. It appears that there are patterns of behavior and physical responses that repeat themselves from generation to generation.

Sandie: With the birth of my first child my body was very dead, in the same way my mother's body was dead when I was born. There was no response from her. My biggest feeling about it- is that everything around me goes dull, dead; There's no life that feeds back to me. I don't feel a response from her. I don't feel help from her. I'm fighting and it feels overwhelming. There's nothing happening that makes it easier for me to come out; I'm hitting her pelvic bones over and over and over, and there's no let-up, no give, no let-up in her body. She's dead-end tight.

Arlayne: I went through a long, hard labor with my first child. It was total terror for me. There was this blank blackness right in front of my nose. Each moment I went through, the blank blackness was still right there, and every inch forward was stepping into an abyss. Every time you lift your foot, it seems like you're not going to land. And that feels like more connection of how I felt being born. . . constant terror, and pressure. I called my mother during the night. I called her and asked her to come. She said, "I can't, dear. I know too many people." She was a counselor that had worked with a lot of delinquents in that hospital, so she was well known by the staff. The medication I had during the labor was triggering in me all the feelings of terror from my own birth. The tighter, the harder, I became, the closer I got to having a heart attack, which is what happened to me in the womb. Because of the pressure, everything got so bad that finally, my heart gave out and I was born dead... all but some little breath of life somewhere. The spinal was terrible. I had terrific migraine headaches that went on for days afterwards. I couldn't get out of bed for days. I laid in that little room all by myself, sick with pain, pain, pain. It was so bad. Down my back, that's where I felt it . . . hard to get out of bed.

And now, of course, I've connected all that. What can you say about getting born without help! The feelings I've had about my own birth often reminded me of being in that little, tiny room, wiped out, couldn't eat, get up, for days. It's like, that was the natural result of birth for me, total wipeout.

Gloria: It took me a lot of time, feeling my own birth, to know that I could actually ask for help. I have so many gaps in my brain; I cannot ask for help; I don't need support; I don't need the care and love of other people. I know that this same thing is operating with some women when they go into the hospital to give birth. "I can do this all by myself, I don't need help." You know it's their body remembering from their own birth. It's what's laid down from their own mothers. One of the things that I appreciate about Suzanne Arms is that she's raising the consciousness of women, saying, you don't have to go through it alone. You can have help. It can be a loving, orgasmic experience. You can have support...you can do it the way you want!

David: My mother described giving birth to me as being locked in some king of padded cell. She said she just felt like a wild animal, as though she was going to go crazy. . . . It was practically pitch black in her room, and the nurses didn't come when she called. They would come when they felt like it. It had nothing to do with what she needed. She had no idea what to expect with her first born. She just became like a wild animal, alternating between wishing she could die to have the pain over, or wishing to kill me. She's actually told me that; that it got so bad, that she just wanted it to end, any way. . . .

Gloria: Can you say something about what you felt from inside your mother!

David: Well, the way my mother describes what it was like for her, is exactly like it feels to me. She would have rushes of loving, at different times in my life she'd have rushes, very strong feelings of wanting me, and then the terror would come up so strong, and there would be nothing. So it feels like a constant alternation between trying to love, the body trying to give, and then the terror taking over and she clamps down.

Arlayne: I have felt a lot about being in a warm, loving, accepting environment, where the feelings were wonderful, orgasmic feelings of giving. Of course, my mother always says warm, loving, wonderful things anyway, about everything. She often told me that she was in bed for practically the whole pregnancy, she wasn't able to give off fluids. One kidney had failed. She was well over two hundred fifty pounds when I was born, and hadn't really been out of bed. So it had me in a lot of feelings about it being in a sewer.

But there are also warm feelings about being in a very accepting place. She said she wrote me a lot of letters during her pregnancy, and I can connect to that. Only very recently can I let any of these good things she said to me come in at all. I started therapy seeing the terrible things she does, manipulating me, and now I'm able to start letting in some of the wonderful things too. My mother always tried very hard to do the right and correct thing. Being a psychologist, her mind always worked in that way. She has always managed to say the proper thing even if it had nothing to do with how she was feeling. And so she always comes out with wonderful little off-the-wall comments about God's love, when you know she wants to explode in anger.

Then there's some times you can feel the warm, loving things come right out of her guts. Sometimes I got flooded and immersed in the warmth that came from her. I'm sure she felt that way quite often, when she was in bed, carrying me inside her.

I was artificially conceived, so that's the one thing I've heard all my life. . . "you were wanted so much. We made many special appointments to try and get you." She knew what she was doing. She had my older sister that way, and was told that there was a 50/50 chance she may not pull through the second pregnancy. But she made the choice to become pregnant again, knowing the odds. And my body does remember that. Sometimes I was very much wanted.

Gloria: I can remember when I was carrying Antony, I wanted him very, very much. I knew when he was conceived. I would talk to him. I would rub my big, fat belly and talk to him. There really was a person in there. And the contrast between Antony and Jesse. . . . Jesse was inside me when my mother was dying of cancer, and I nursed her for two months before she died. All my focus at the time was totally on her. The amount of pushing down feelings. We couldn't even talk about death. I wasn't able to express anything that I felt.

"Mummy, Mummy! Please don't die! Please!" So of course, Jesse is in there, feeling all this. I see the contrast between Anthony and Jesse. Look at them now. Antony is rosy and vibrant and loose, and Jesse is small, defensive and tight. What this says is that there is a direct relationship between experiences in the womb and later personality development.

David, can you be more specific about how your birth experience has affected your life?

David: The simplest kind of explanation is in terms of body patterns. In any kind of stress situation, particularly with a woman, my body responds now, in the same basic pattern as it did when I was getting born. My chest tightens, my shoulders come around, neck crunches down, my legs want to come up, trying to protect my guts, everything clenches up. . . my throat closes. Things work in opposites, throat closing but trying to vomit at the same time. Choking, vomiting, screaming, all at once. . . All the muscles working in opposites. . . Go this way, and that way, at the same time. Basically my body behaves now as if the birth experience was still happening.

Oona: I can feel, that still, my pattern is very much controlled by my birth. I felt like I was alone, in this dead chunk of meat, having to fight my way out. Whenever I get in a stress situation, even if there are people around helping me, I don't even see them. I'm somehow back in that place where I'm alone. . .it has to be my struggle, and if I'm going to survive, I've got to do it. There's no one there to help me.

Sandie: Having everything dead around you, and being by yourself, fighting, doing it by yourself, that sense of separation is something that's bothered me through my whole life. I don't ever let people in to me. It feels like I've been looking my whole life to attach someplace, but yet nobody ever gets close to me. I keep people at a distance. I sense that with my own kids. It's just been recently where I can start to let them in, and they're fifteen years old! I've gone through my life thinking that I'm close to people, but never is anyone really touching the heart of me because, I don't have it. I don't have any connection to that part of myself that can allow contact back and forth between other human beings. And it's so much the way I started life, the way I've lived my life.

Arlayne: The strongest pattern in my life is, I give up. Total panic throws me into inability to do anything. That's a real carry-over from my birth. . . out of control, no way to influence anything. I feel like I hammered that to death in therapy to the point that I don't have to do that anymore in my life. I want to tell you REALLY LOUD, that'll never happen to me again! It just is amazing to think how much the whole intrauterine experience of birth affects every day of everybody's life.

David: Gloria and I are in the process of getting two houses to live in, and it is such an incredible re-enactment of the whole hospital routine of being separated from my mother. . . being put in another room, not knowing whether she s alive, and if I'm going to be alive. All I have is a sense of myself as a dead baby. I have almost no sense of her responding to the life in me. She's in another room, she can't do anything about it, she doesn't even know. What that's done to me, immediately following birth, as it did, is completely undermined my sense of identity, to the point where, living in the same house with Gloria, is almost like I don't have a reality. All I am is a set of reactions to what she does. She does things, and I react. I've been trying now for months to break that pattern, to hang on to what I sense is right for me. But what was laid down in the hospital, separated from my mother, is so strong, that I have to get a separate house to do it. I have to get a separate place, and I have to actually establish, now, in the present, a sense of, i can have my own house, I can pay for my own food. I can do those things and not die. I have to physically do it, to build up that sense in myself.

Oona: That sounds so much like where Larry is, too. Except that he also had added to the hospital separation an additional trauma. He was put in a satchel - you've got to see the satchel to believe what he was in - and carried in the car with his dead brother wrapped up in newspapers next to him, to a hospital two and a half hours by car, and put in an incubator. So he's got that added on top of just what you're saying.

David: Gloria and I really do have something special between us. Sometimes the pain gets so bad, the crazy things she does, and the crazy things I do get so bad, that it gets to the point where we almost lose the fact that we have got something to share. Every now and then, I get enough clarity to see, "Oh, it doesn't matter all that much." If we have to separate out money, and live in different houses for a while, that we can actually separate all those things that are a problem, and just have the loving that's between us. Take all those things out of the way. You know they don't matter all that much. They come from the patterns of the pain from the birth, and the separation after. But when you get to a point of seeing it clearly, you can just take it out of the way, and concentrate on what good there is between you.

David: I want to add something about a man's perspective, a man's role in the birth process. As I talk about what my mother went through when I was getting born, I was also thinking about what my dad was doing all that time. He was a very dutiful man, he would really try hard to do what he thought he had to do. But, he didn't want us kids. We were a real threat to him. We were getting in there between him and mum. He needed her so desperately. So, he would try to do what was right, essentially to protect her, to keep her alive. I know that when I came from the hospital, my mum's body had a real sense of what to do for me. She's described times when she and my dad would be in the kitchen together, and I would be screaming for her in the bedroom.

She would start to get up to go, she just felt that was right, and my dad would say,'Hold it, now, hold it. If you go every time he cries, then you're never going to see the end of it. You'll just be looking after him day and night." And so she would sit there, she has told me, with her knuckles clenching the table, till her knuckles were white, she was clenching so hard, to hang on and not go. She knew what was right, and her body wanted to do it. But my dad, with his needs was totally the opposite of support, totally the opposite of helping her to do what was right for her, and me, the baby. All he could handle was his own needs, and almost everything that came from him was negative and unsupportive to her. The only kind of support that she got from my dad was for her to rest, to look after her, but as for having any kind of relationship with the babies, or giving support for what her body sensed was right, absolutely no support from my dad whatsoever. And I know that I have given very little support to you, Gloria.

Oona: And yet, do you give it to the kids?

David: Yes. I can give directly to them, but it's terribly hard to support the relationship between Gloria and the kids. I can do something directly with them, because that's my relationship with them.

Oona: I wonder if it would have been different if your father could have participated in your birth!

David: Maybe.

Oona: You participated in the births of both of your kids, didn't you?

David: Yes.

Oona: And yet, it hasn't helped the whole family bond, just your bond with the kids.

David: Yes.

Gloria: David has a very strong bond with Antony and Jesse. David said to me recently, "I realize now that what I should have given you was support and security, so that you could be in your nest, and just give all your energy, totally, to the babies."

David: Yes. I remember I was thinking particularly, when you were feeding Jesse, I had a strong sense of what he needed. I wanted him to get it, but I really had no sense of how to support, how to make that possible for you. Somewhere I had read in books that men are supposed to provide that kind of atmosphere, a supportive environment, but I had no knowing in my body of how to do that. I had no sense of how to say, "I'll do all the things that you normally do around the place. Why don't you just lie down and be with Jesse, and just be?" I had no idea of how to say that.

Oona: Were you threatened!

David: Oh, I'm sure. Yes. Especially by his closeness to Gloria. It just brought up so much . . .

Oona: Especially because your father couldn't allow your mother to have that with you.

David: Yes.

Oona: My husband had a very strong bond with his kids even though he wasn't present at the birth. But he really wanted to be the mother. He wanted to do the nursing, and the nurturing. It was hard for him to let me do it. He was constantly snatching the baby, to go rock him or do things with him, when the baby needed to be nursing. He pushed me to put the kid on the bottle. That did happen with the first one after six weeks. I had no milk and had to put him on the bottle. My husband, John, was very happy about it, because he could get to do some of the feeding. In a way it took away from my relationship with him.

I didn't let that happen so much with the second, but, there is now, not really a bond between John and Jason. He sort of abandoned Jason.

That's strange . . . because as soon as the kids were born I had no more relationship with him. It sort of disintegrated between us, everything went into the kids. After the first one was born it started, and by the time the second one was born there was nothing.

Arlayne: Whatever happened to that wonderful image of this mother and father loving each other, and together, with their arms around each other, pouring everything out to the kids.

Oona: They made it into a TV series called "The Waltons."

Gloria: I've realized that giving birth should be an extension of making love. Two people come together in an orgasmic, loving experience, and then that can eventually culminate in the birth experience. I have a sense that pain shouldn't even be a part of it.

Jackie: It's the same guys I'm talking about, that strap their ladies down. A couple of years ago, when I was really trying so not going to be forced into regressing as far as our knowledge is concerned. We're not going to cater to the whims of these selfish women, and on and on and on. And what's happened is, the number of deliveries has gone down to the point where they're not making as much money as they want to. So what are they doing?

They're bringing in a birthing room. Okay, so they have a birthing room. But they don't have the knowledge to know what to do with a birthing room. For economic reasons they're bringing in a birthing room. But...what are they going to do with it? The same thing they've done with the women they allowed to deliver on the delivery table. I mean, they're not changing because they think it's right, or because they think there's a reason to have a birthing room. They're changing it because they aren't making as much money.

Arlayne: That must be really hard for you 'to work in. . . something you can't change . . . very frustrating.

Jackie: Yes. and that's one of the reasons I left obstetrics. It was very frustrating. Once you have the knowledge of the importance of what goes on in the delivery room, it can make no headway. In fact, they make fun of me when I try to talk to them. Very, very difficult.

Sandie: I cried and cried with Michael and never knew why . . . I'd just hold him and cry. I wanted to nurse him but my family was against breast feeding. I'd pick him up and be told I was spoiling the baby. It got so I'd just hold him and cry, and I didn't know why. I didn't have any connection to what was going on. But you know, it hurt. It hurt.

Oona: I think that most people really try hard to separate the mother from the baby. The whole world is against bonding, somehow. I can see that it comes from the pain, everybody's pain of not having had the bond for themselves. They don't want to see it happen for somebody else - it's too painful.

David: I'd be interested to hear how you can see that, when you say the whole world is against the bonding and it's trying to separate mother and baby, and you can see that comes from the pain. Do you have some way to describe how you can see that happens to you!

Oona: I can see it in myself in my reaction, for instance, to a healthy relationship between the mother and child, or a good relationship between a man and a woman. It does something to me, it makes me uncomfortable. I can see that the discomfort comes from not having had it myself. I see that same discomfort in my mother...how much she tried to turn me off to baby things . . . "Birth is disgusting, let the baby cry. I don't want to be reminded of what's wrong with me. I don't want to be reminded of what I never had." I can see in myself that had I not some connection to my pain, I would be the same way. I would be very negative too. If I didn't have Primal I would probably react the same way as the nurses, or as the doctors.

Gloria: How has Primal changed you in this regard?

Oona: It simply made me have to face that that's in me, the hurt is in me, and to accept that it's there. I can't make it better by not letting anybody else have it either.

Arlayne: My youngest daughter, Therese, triggers enormous rage in me. I can feel that urge to want to crush her. Sometimes I'm able to close my eyes and in my mind, go back and feel terrible rage at being crushed inside my mother. It's a chain reaction, once any little thing is wrong, even if I bite my tongue and don't say anything, her complaining gets worse and worse and worse . . . She picks it up from my body.

Sandie: She picks up what's happening and then starts pulling on it - kids are incredible that way.

Arlayne: I took Therese to my mother's today. She was whining and complaining every minute and I just couldn't take it. The crushing reaction started in my body. We walked in and Therese said, "Oh, it's terribly cold out," and my mother smiled and said, "Did you notice the blue sky?" She has a wonderful winning way about her and Therese was shut off right there, she didn't complain anymore. There's no way my brain can go into gear and think of a nice way to divert her. I'm faced with nothing but the raw feeling reaction coming back. It's all birth and it's all connected with how my anger is channeled. I feel enraged trying to be born with everything against me. I can't do it. I can't initiate any response to my situation. I can only initiate further crushing. So while I'm trying to be born and have all of this coming against me, terrible rage comes up and I get crushed more, and more.

Gloria: Is that the part that Therese plays. . . . that she becomes the thing against you?

Arlayne: Yes, any little complaint. All she has to say is, "I don't want to eat this," and the need to crush her comes up. Since experiencing my own birth feelings, I know that my mother's lower abdomen crushed me and that's the same place I'm experiencing rage with Therese, right down into my abdomen. It's almost every time she complains that my body reacts as though I'm giving birth to her. I know where my mother's angry energy went, or at least I interpret it as her reaction to my anger. And I'm just doing the same thing . . . I can feel it in the lower part of my body.

Gloria: Against Therese.

Arlayne: It's obvious to me that she's absolutely furious that she never got what she needed, so nothing I hand her is good enough, and she's saying it right out. There's something wrong with anything I lay out to wear, there's something wrong with all the clothes in her drawer, and somehow I've done it to her. And in return she's saying, "I'm angry. You know I don't like these socks.". . . "Well, put them back in your drawer and get another pair." "There are no other socks," or, "There's only those stupid ones that you buy."

Gloria: And everything you do, Mum, is wrong.

Sandie: There's a point here that needs to be included, which is that your child is not your mother! After a time you become connected enough with your old feelings so that your child does not trigger the same feelings that your mother did. And you can then respond to a child just because it's your child and she needs something. It doesn't have to hit the same place every time in you where you didn't get what you needed from your mother. You're able to give her what she needs because that's real. You've said all the different dynamics except the most important part where you begin to respond to Therese as your child who needs you.

Arlayne: There have been a few fantastic moments in this past week with Therese, where I've been able to hug her, and she has turned around and melted into my body. Those minutes were frozen in time and seemed to be endless. And you know, I've never had the experience of feeling her melt into my body before. . .

Gloria: Ahhh. . . . How old is she?

Arlayne: She's ten.

Gloria: She's been waiting a long time --

David: We have had a similar thing with Jesse. He wants this and he wants that, everything's wrong....the same kind of thing you've been describing with Therese. For quite a while, I would try to give him one thing; he'd say, "That's no good." I'd try giving him something else; he'd say, "That's no good." We'd go through the whole list of things 'til he comes to the end and then it becomes something absurd, like he wants the keys I'm holding in my hand. He's got to have those keys. I can sense that it doesn't matter, there has to be an end somewhere, and he's pushing for the end of the line.

It comes to a point where I don't want to do any more and I say, "I don't want to give them to you." When that happens, he starts to go berserk. He pushes and tears and bites. He'll push against me, or burrow between my legs and push and bite and tear with his arms. I mean it was so exactly like the birth process. He would get to a stage of screaming and raging and tearing at me, so that I would have to hold his hands so that he couldn't scratch me.

He would get to the stage of almost passing out, he was screaming so hard. He would turn blue in the face. Finally he'd start to lose his breath and go pale, and then slow right down and go to sleep. It's as if he's exactly re-enacting what it was like for him to be born. He did that from when he was very, very tiny, right up until probably a year or so ago. He hasn't done it much in the last year, and something happened. I think somehow it became too much for him. I don't know whether we couldn't give him enough response to help him through that, or. . . that the pain was too much. . .

Oona: I think kids are really too little, it's too hard on them to keep going through that.

Sandie: But some of that still is assimilated in his body - he has experienced it, and it will be there for him when he's ready to go back into it, and when he's got a little more maturity it won't be as terrifying, because he's already felt some of it.

Oona: It might also have been that he figured out what was happening, and he really wasn't ready to know. That's what I think happens with my kids, with some of their feeling experiences. When they get right on the edge of being able to see what's really going on, they don't want to know it yet - they're too little.

David: That's right. Yes, I've found that same thing. Sometimes, later, when he'd calmed down, I would ask, "What was happening?" He didn't want to answer me.

Gloria: Sandie, could you say something about how feeling your feelings has helped you not to do to your children what your mother did to you?

Sandie: There are so many parts to that. I feel like I did a lot of the same things to my oldest boy, Michael, as far as birth is concerned, that was done to me. His birth was very similar to mine. But, my body is very different from my mother s body, and consequently Michael is very different from me. His reactions to things are very different. Something that I keep struggling with as I've gone through the birth struggle is that it's so hard for me to feel my way through the feelings and break them so that I can make changes that are positive in my life.

Perhaps because of his age, but partly that I was more solid, more there for him than my mother was for me, Michael is able to have a feeling, make a connection, then take positive action on it in his life. He holds on to it longer than I do. Where Arlayne is triggered by the complaints.... I'm triggered more by closeness. As my kids are getting more into their feelings, they're saying, "We really need a mother."

Michael has never been physically close to me. Now, all of a sudden he's hugging me, and I sit down with him and he snuggles up with me. Phillip has always snuggled in, and it's always been kind of uncomfortable. Now I've got two kids doing it and it's very, very uncomfortable. They have their mother and I never had my mother.

Gloria: ...and you can't give what you never got.

Sandie: I can give it to a point. There's times when it's ok, and there's times when it's just too painful. Phillip went down in feelings a couple of weeks ago, and afterwards he said, "I know that everybody in Primal talks about how it's so horrible that they don't have enough air when they're inside their mother," he said, "but you know, I feel like the main thing that happened to me is that I didn't have enough food."

And - it hit me so hard, like my memory popped, and I said, "Phillip, the whole time I carried you I dieted. I only gained nine pounds while I was pregnant, because I didn't want to be too fat." It went into him, and he said, "I knew that." There's something very important about confirmation. I'd forgotten about it. It was fourteen years ago - I forgot that I had dieted. When he said that it hit my memory, it helped me, and that gave him the confirmation. He said, "Yeah," and it is a whole different relationship. It's a whole different thing between two people when you can have the truth in all the areas. "Mom, you feel cold tonight, are you mad at Mel" and, "No, I'm not mad at you, this is what's happening to me." I can say truthfully what's happening, or, "Yes, I'm mad at you because of blah, blah, blah," whatever it is.

But the constant thing ot: having the truth come back, without it meaning I'm going to leave them, or I'm going to hate them or that it's the end of our relationship, it doesn't jeopardize it in any way. In fact, it gives them the space to come back to me with, "Well, you know, we're mad at you for doing this," or, "Stop treating me this way," or, "I don't deserve this," etcetera. It makes a whole different relationship...i love it.

Oona: What about when the baby cries and you pick it up and it doesn't stop crying, and you rock it and it doesn't stop crying, and you nurse it and it doesn't stop crying, and no matter what you do, the baby won't stop crying. It's like at that point something's really wrong.

Gloria: You lost the connection inside yourself about what to do in those situations.

David: You start to then listen to the thing that everybody else is saying.

Arlayne: Why! Why is there that total loss of knowing?

David: Well, I think that it hits that same kind of place in you from own birth, where you don't know what to do, where you've tried to do all the right things in getting born, and you've been met with the kind of response that you're describing. You try to do the right thing and you get crushed more.

Gloria: The body that you're inside of also doesn't know how to give birth. . .

David: Yes - doesn't know, and is doing the wrong things to you so your own impulse action is destroyed. You get an impulse which should be right and when you try to act on it, you're crushed for it. So what should be the natural impulse becomes distorted in your brain. Then when you get back to trying to give birth yourself, you hit that same kind of point of losing everything, having no idea what to do. . .

Gloria: And then there's this total inability to respond in a right way, in a confident, knowing way.

Arlayne: I have on rare occasions seem those special people, those wonderful, wonderful people who just know from themselves, and do everything right. You watch them, and you watch how they handle the questions from their children, and you think, "My gosh, of course." That person responds with the right answer, or the right question, and it's so natural and so right. I wonder when I'll get to the point that I can learn from those people because I can't remember - I can't learn from them because they're responding with such natural responses that I can't hear it. I don't have that connecting link to be able to really learn from hearing the right thing. How can I ever get to a point where I can say the natural, right thing? How can I respond to my child. . . !

David: It's almost as if your brain is programmed to focus on the wrong things that you do, and the wrong things that you think, rather than the right things...

Arlayne: But it's also my disconnection with my own natural self. I don't think you do learn it, you just have to eliminate all the garbage.

Gloria: O.K. You're saying the only way you really can learn, or the only way you can really have this knowledge from inside of you, from a body knowledge instead of a book knowledge, is if you have been given that from the very start.

Arlayne: Yes.

David: I think it's not even so much a matter of learning. The knowing is there in us, but it's been diverted, it's been diverted into distorted actions.

Gloria: Each person has inside him the natural human response to make in all circumstances. Probably, the more the circumstances are basic to continuation of the species, mating, childbirth, child rearing and so forth, the stronger these natural impulses should be. What we see in people coming for therapy is a near absence of connection to any knowledge of these human responses. That indeed is a sad comment on our own birthing and child rearing practices. I have a little story which I think sums up everything we've talked about. I was at a doctor's the other day and was talking to his nurse who is eight months pregnant. I said to her, "When you get ready to have your baby, whatever you do, do it your way." And she said, "What does that mean!"

David: Yeah.

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