Amazing Capacities & Self-Inflicted Limitations: An Interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce - Page 3
|Amazing Capacities & Self-Inflicted Limitations: An Interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce|
Michael: What other factors have impacted the development of intelligence in our children?
Joe: The breakdown of the extended family was another key factor. Michael Odent once said that our attempt to sanctify a “nuclear family,” made of a separate social unit of mother, father and child, is untenable. Strip away the extension of family, kinfolk, grandmothers and so on, the backbone of all societies, and the nucleus implodes.
For largely economic reasons, the extended family disappeared by 1950. By that time, through medical maneuvering, birth shifted from home to hospital and delivery practices underwent radical change, with massive medical interventions culminating in that critical separation of mother and infant. Hospital stays were lengthy affairs since the injured mother required a long convalescence.
Once at home, mothers followed the pattern established in hospital, having infants in the crib, even for bottle feeding, picking them up as little as possible, and all that. Home was a single-family sealed unit, where the new mother had little access to advice or relief. And since bonding hadn’t taken place, no intelligences for nurturing the child had been awakened in her and she was generally unsure and confused about how to handle the infant.
The infant— in his or her separation anxiety, colic from incorrect diet, and general lack of stimuli—cried, day and night. Serious increases of actual physical child abuse began at that point, although the greatest abuse was emotional deprivation.
Michael: Can we recoup these nurturing instincts in mothers after a half-century of disruption, and on a large enough scale to save an endangered species?
Joe: A century is nothing in evolutionary time, and the intelligences at stake are ancient and powerful. Regardless of her personal birth history and childhood, any woman allowed to bond with her infant will respond according to those genetically encoded “species survival” skills.
A 35-year-old woman I know, a professional person with graduate degree, decided to have a child, her first. Thirtyfive is considered a high-risk period by medicine men.
This woman had a typically disastrous birth and childhood history herself, with her share of resultant anxieties and neuroses. But she was informed, and brave enough to withstand the great brainwash. She avoided medical people entirely and entered into pregnancy and birth with intelligent planning, careful midwife assistance, total confidence and genuine excitement.
At the time of delivery she felt competent and in charge. She delivered in her family bed with no visible signs of discomfort, and so rapidly that the midwife arrived too late for anything except the clean-up. This mother was up and about the house immediately, infant at her breast—even drove to town that day. She breastfed her child for three years— the last year or so, “token” feedings as needed for emotional nurturing—and scorned the library of how-to-parent books written by all the male specialists. Her own patterns of behavior and attitude changed from timorous uncertainty to ongoing energetic, secure confidence. She had come into her own through her child, and of course was, in turn, helping that child come into its own. The infant unlocks the true nature of the mother, even as she unlocks the infant’s.
Michael: The obstetrical-hospital complex is a multi-billion dollar industry, with enormous prestige and political clout, and “archetypal” mythical imagery of grim necessity burned into the nation’s psyche. How can such a structure be turned around?
Joe: I’ve given up on that. Women have undergone a stringent and specific brainwashing throughout the twentieth century to convince them that birth is the most dangerous and painful experience life inflicts on us, that they are themselves incompetent to deal with either pregnancy or birth. Common sense thus dictates that they should surrender their lives to male surgeons, at vast expense on every level, and few ever stop to question this.
Those who do face enormous social and legal opposition should they run counter to such propaganda. Fear is a powerful weapon, used to full effect in this case. Husbands are as terrified of home birth as wives, both are quite willing to buy their way out of responsibility. That hospital births have a 600 percent higher mortality rate than home births, regardless of conditions in the home, is an unsung irony.
Further, to be politically incorrect, note this century’s remarkable rise in women’s enmity towards men, and men’s rage toward women. The age-old “battle of the sexes” has given rise to endless literature and humor, but it has now turned deadly. Many women are unconsciously angry at men because male surgeons literally robbed them of their power and their place in the universe, turned their breasts from the fountainhead of life to an advertising gimmick, and denied them any rights to their own reproductive functions. They know “something tremendous was supposed to happen” at birth and didn’t, and intuitively know those lost or aborted functions were of universal significance. Women rigorously deny the source of the wound within, but it often surfaces as anger, both at husbands and even their children, making the pair-bonding on which life and family rests divided.
On the other hand, males harbor an equally deep resentment against women, since at their own birth, the time of their greatest venerability and need, that need was denied them. Males carry a rift within their core as great or greater than women. That betrayal at birth was by a woman, the mother, an episode seen only as rejection by the infant, and one that harbors so much pain he will never risk himself to such intimate openness. He wears various forms of armor and must deal with his frustration and rage as best he can. The rest of this mess is a fallout of such magnitude that few of us, overwhelmed as we are with the immediate crises engineered, have the time or energy to trace out the root cause and address it. So the chance of changing either hospital practices or women submitting to it wholesale is probably nil. The most we can hope for is “operation lifeboat”—a few women who sense the nature of this largest betrayal of modern times and no longer buy into it. They will be the vehicle for a saving remnant perhaps, and we can only work to increase their number.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #28.
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