I did not know anything about the riots until 10pm on Monday night, totally missing the Tottenham incident. Today I heard youth workers talking about how we need to stop teenagers feeling disenfranchised by society how we need to open up the communication lines between society and the young illiterati of today. Another youth worker said we need to grab children at 5 and 6 and teach them a way out of the gang culture.
But why just go back to 5 and 6. At 5 and 6 the damage is already done. Criminality starts in the womb. We have to start by educating young women not to have babies unless they have the capacity to love and then we need to ensure that the care given a pregnant woman is nurturing, supportive and above all administered in a way that protects the emotional state of the mother. There are now hundreds of studies exploring the long-term consequence of how we are born. You could refer to the database at http://www.birthworks.org/primalhealth. When researchers detect what happened at birth with long-term health, it is always in the field of criminality or incapacity to love. Risk factors include ‘an incapacity to love’ others or the Self, it is a convenient term to use for self-destructive or destructive behaviour. The way we are born affects how we view the world and the Self. A violent birth may lead to self-destructive and destructive behaviour later in life. Drugs administered at birth may lead to drug dependency later in life. Forceps delivery in girls may be a risk factor for anorexia nervosa in adolescence. Forceps delivery, induction and anaesthesia may all be risk factors for autism. In 1982 Michel Odent author of the insightful book 'The Scientification Of Love' met Nikolaas 'Niko' Tinbergen an observer of animal behaviour and 1973 Noble Prize winner in the Physiology of Medicine. Tinbergen found that there is a short period of time that will never happen again after the birth in terms of mother and baby attachment. Since then many researchers and authors have found themselves in terrible bureaucratic and theoretical trouble and could not get such studies funded and published because these studies have not been considered politically correct.
We need to change the way babies are being born and question 'does how we are born affect how we live'. A new body of evidence and research brought to the foreground in Michel Odent's books shows that the most important factors to a child's physical and emotional health are pre-conception and intrauterine. The mother and father need to be fit both emotionally and physically before they conceive. Antenatal care that protects the emotional state of the mother should naturally follow. And finally there should be no disturbance of the birth process unless there is some physiological reason to do so. But we also need to look at how society treats pregnant women. There is a general lack of reverence, only the other day on Radio 4's Any Questions the one woman out of 5 panelists proclaimed that the first way to get Britain out of recession was to not make small businesses pay maternity leave - why did she pick the most vulnerable social group first? The group that is carrying the new human beings that are responsible for devolving or evolving our society? The panelist said it because like most people, including the medical professionals that 'care' for women during their pregnancy, she has a widespread lack of interest in what it takes to make an emotionally healthy new human being from the moment of conception and fails to see the role that society as a whole plays in this.
The womb mother's happiness and serenity is the key to a happy, contented self-assured child. The positive development of a baby's brain is dependent on maternal happiness. The hormones that a woman manufactures and which suffuse her body whilst pregnant are all profound love hormones; oxytocin, prolactin, seratonin and dopamine. These cross the placenta to the baby and the baby is bathed in the love hormones and from here the baby's brain develops beautifully and the baby is calm. However, if the womb mother releases cortisol and adrenaline due to anxiety and fear then these too cross the placenta and her baby's brain is directed to develop in a different way and the baby lacks self-assurance. In short the emotional state of a woman while pregnant determines the negative or positive development of the baby in the womb especially in months 3, 5 and 9 - 10. So why are we not doing all we can to insure a womb mother's protection? A study in Finland took place charting the effects of high levels of maternal cortisol on the developing foetus against high levels of maternal cortisol on a child in the first year of life. Out of the 265 men born in 1942 during the Second World War who lost their father when they were in the womb it was detected that they had an increased rate of criminality and alcoholism, etc. Those who lost their father in the first year had no detection of behavioural dysfunction later in life. 3 - Huttenen, M. and Niskanen, P. 'Perinatal loss of father and psychiatric disorders.’ Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 1978; 35: 429-31.
Society must try to protect the emotional state of women while pregnant. Let us believe that this is the starting point of the dissolution of fecklessness and lawlessness in our youths. Protecting the emotional state of the womb mother must be the first preoccupation of anyone who comes into contact with her including the medical profession who so often over and under- diagnosis and who are so often inadequately trained to deal with pregnant women on an emotional level. We know the brain develops in a protective or unprotective way and this all happens in the womb and in the first few months after birth. As Miriam Stoppard states in a programme I heard some time ago on Radio 4 called Aspects Of Love - 'This is one of the reasons why mother love is so crucial, it is essential to the survival of the race. It is a very natural part of our evolution'. We know that so many of the youths that carried out the looting and the violence have probably been carried by women who were very young, who may have been exposed to violence whilst they carried their baby and who probably had no mother figure themselves. They then experience a traumatic birth due to their inexperience and because they would have been shunted along in a system that so often fails to comprehend the most basic needs of a woman in pregnancy and labour - a system that so often fails to make the connection between their care and the ills of society.
A disturbance at the time of birth interrupts the flow of natural oxytocin or the love and bonding drug which is at its highest peak in the moments following birth. There is an evolutionary reason for this powerful oxytocin presence; it is to ensure a critical dependency between mother and child for the future of civilisation. Destructive behaviour and violence are so often a byproduct of a lack of maternal love, a lack of maternal love breeds in a child an incapacity to love himself and an incapacity to love his community. However, the medical profession routinely disturbs the extremely delicate time surrounding birth even in the simplest of births. They suppress the natural love hormones by administering synthetic hormones or epidural analgesia that have a mechanical effect not a behavioural effect which in turn takes the woman out of her 'maternal shell' and affects the woman's ability to 'let down' her milk 3 to 4 days after the baby is born. Or they hurry to cut the cord, weigh the baby, wipe the baby, administer syntometrine to encourage the woman to release her placenta quickly, mechanically operating the woman's body, all at a time when a woman's body has been flooded with a huge surge of oxytocin that is struggling to dominate in order for her to make that crucial first bond with her baby. In this way the atmosphere around the newborn and mother is so often panic, fear and disempowerment. The scene should be one of calm and reverence to the mother and her newborn. The scene immediately following birth should be of a newborn laying quietly on his mother's chest, the room bathed in silence and dimness, the cord still pulsating beautifully delivering vital blood, oxygen and nutrients necessary to ensure the long term good health of the baby, the woman should be wrapped in a duvet to prevent a rise in adrenaline from suppressing her love hormones, the new mother unobserved and totally absorbed by her newborn's eyes.
If a womb mother, let's call her Katie, has been deprived of love all her life, shunned education, been exposed to violence then Katie has half a chance of breaking the vicious cycle and giving her child a loving entry into the world if her emotional state is protected during pregnancy, labour and birth. But unnecessary intervention at birth caused by a widespread lack of interest in how the hormones that surround birth and the initiation of lactation is a big problem to society. When the birth process is disturbed then we can surmise that it is only the cultural milieu that informs a woman that she is supposed to love her baby. But what about Katie who has not been raised in this culture ........what chance does she or her baby have? Unnecessary intervention at birth practically cements their perpetuation of emotional destitution.
My hope is that one day all babies are born with an immense capacity to love, because their mothers showed them how to love and she was able to do this because she was given emotional protection throughout her pregnancy, labour and birth regardless of social background. The changes that need to be made are simplistic and uncostly.
I couldn't have written this article without the insights of Michel Odent who continues to be more than a mentor.
Odent, M - 'The Scientification Of Love' - hugely fascinating book about how human beings are taught to love and how intervention at birth disturbs this process.
Dick-Read, G - 'Childbirth Without Fear' - seminal text from the 1940's. His observations are valid even though his general thesis in the book is obsolete.