The phrase “Silent Birth” brings to mind a cadre of white robed Scientologists standing around a woman while she pushes a baby out of her body without uttering a word, but what is a silent birth really? Facts about scientology births are hard to come by and they’re a vague mix of pseudoscience and science fiction, but the information that is online is fascinating. When Leah Remini left Scientology and began openly discussing the secret stories of the strange religion, she had plenty of Scientology escape stories and tales of intimidation tactics, but some of the juiciest parts of the scientology story are their rules about childbirth.
The harsh Scientology policies about giving birth stem from L. Ron Hubbard’s early 20th century view of women and poor understanding of how negative memories are formed - it’s unfortunate that modern Scientologists are still living by his words so long after his weird policies were formed.
A Birth Free From Words, Positive Or Otherwise
The concept of a silent birth was first thought up by L. Ron Hubbard who felt that if a baby heard a specific word during childbirth, they could then connect a negative emotion to that word or words and their entire life would be ruined. In his writings on the idea of silent birth, he explained that "everyone attending the birth should refrain from spoken words as much as possible." And that there shouldn't be any "chatty doctors and nurses, [shouting] to 'PUSH, PUSH' [or making] loud or laughing remarks to 'encourage'" the woman giving birth. It seems that even a positive affirmation could do more harm than good.
Silent Births Aren't Actually All That Silent
As much as L. Ron Hubbard wanted to pretend that he could tell a woman to be silent while giving birth and that she would follow these instructions, it seems ridiculous that anyone would actually think this is possible. Women giving birth are literally pushing human beings out of their bodies, it's not something that seems easy. After giving birth to her son Ben, Kelly Preston - John Travolta's wife and Scientologist - said that during a silent birth you can make plenty of noise. This is likely because no one expects anyone to be silent while doing the most painful thing imaginable. She told Today that silent birth is "just no words as much as possible. If you need to moan, if you cry out or all of that, of course, is normal. But just bringing them in as peaceful and gentle a way as possible."
Scientologists Don't Have To Have A Silent Birth
The biggest misconception about silent births is that Scientologists are forced to have them. While L. Ron Hubbard taught that any words could cause a negative impact on the mental state of a child, he never said that someone has to give birth in the way that he said. In a rare instance of leniency, he actually notes that the most important part of a birth depends on what a woman and her doctor agree on.
While Scientologists push for a woman to have a natural, silent birth, they also seem to be aware of the fact that it's impossible to give birth without feeling pain. A post Tom and Katie silent birth Q&A stated, "The Church has no policy against the use of medicines to help a person with a physical situation. When it is a medical problem, it is up to the doctor and the patient." The same Q&A also noted that doctors were totally into the concept of a silent birth, which seems dubious.
The Silent Birthing Process
Most Scientology sites that discuss silent birth make it sound like a pretty normal thing, which it could be. There is one clue that points to silent birth being kind of weird. Before Katie Holmes gave birth to the daughter she definitely created with Tom Cruise, photos were taken of large placards being delivered to the TomKat home with instructions that read: "Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable." There's definitely nothing super weird about that.