February 14, 2013

Freedom to Choose.

“Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.” ~ Simone Weil

When discussing abortion, a highly charged political point as well as a big decision that deserves much space and time for reflection, I’m concerned that we aren’t aware of how a child is brought into the world and how they are brought up affects everyone involved.

To choose what is right for your life is, in my opinion, the key to honoring life itself.

I’m pro-choice in all aspects, however, that doesn’t mean I’m not pro-life. They are not mutually exclusive, except in the war between right and wrong. I respect everyone’s choice and individual opinions, even if I don’t agree with them nor they with me.

I choose to give my attention not to war, to fighting, and dualistic black-and-white philosophy, but to love, truth and compassion.

What is true for one is not true for another because of ideals. Ideals change; truth does not. It is through curiosity, critical observation and/or examination that we become wiser, freer and have the ability to create change for the highest good. Inquiry leads us back to ultimate, unwavering and unsellable truth—the kind that just rings.

In my experiences as a doula, supporting people through challenging circumstances and often uncomfortable questions, I’ve become a devotee of questioning, honoring and understanding well-being—with a particular interest in primal prenatal and perinatal health. Very powerful lessons have come through conversation, studies that have given light to subjects I never considered, and questions in my inbox in the middle of the night titled “Help! I’m Pregnant.”

A colleague and wise advisor of mine has been studying the story of Womb to World for upwards of 20 years as a Registered Nurse, Maternal-Child Health Nurse, Birth Consultant, Labor & Post-Partum Doula Instructor and Primal Period Educator. Her name is Anna Verwaal and she recently brought to my awareness something that I think all people should consider and reflect upon especially when politicians are in debate about Personhood Measures that will make it more difficult for people to choose whether or not to have abortions.

Photo: koadmunkee

Like Anna, I advocate for the journey that shapes our life, from womb to world.

Consider what goes into the climate of our collective womb. Consider that the emotional turmoil of not wanting to have a child has lasting effects in society.

Womb Ecology shares studies that reflect the genesis of antisocial behavior and being related to pre-labor intrauterine life.

What I found incredibly revealing and helpful to clarify my understanding in the battle of the womb was their perspective from primal health research specifically on “Deviations usually classified as criminal behavior”:

When exploring the Primal Health Research Data Base, the keyword ‘criminality’ leads to research indicating the importance of prenatal factors.

Two Finnish studies suggest that certain maternal emotional states in pregnancy are risk factors.

In one of these studies the authors identified 167 children whose fathers had died before they were born. (64) Also identified were 168 children whose fathers had died during the children’s first year of life. Then the medical records of all 335 of these children were followed for 35 years. Most of the fathers had died during the Second World War when cigarettes and alcohol were severely rationed, if they were obtainable at all. In both groups, the parents were of comparable age and from comparable social classes. All the children grew up fatherless. However, only those who lost their father while in the womb were at increased risk of criminality (plus alcoholism and mental diseases).

The results of this study suggest that the emotional state of the mother during pregnancy has more long-term effects on the child than during the year following birth. The other Finnish study researched 12,059 children born in 1966 and followed to the end of 1998. (65) The pregnant mothers were asked at the antenatal clinic if they felt themselves to be depressed. The Finnish Ministry of Justice provided information on criminal offences for all descendants. For male children of prenatally depressed mothers there was a significant increase in criminality.

Smoking in pregnancy is a well documented risk factor for criminality. (66) In one study (67), involving a cohort of 4169 male and 3943 female subjects born between 1959 and 1961, a dose-response relationship was found between the amount of maternal prenatal smoking and criminal arrest in male and female subjects.

More than 4000 male subjects born in the same hospital in Copenhagen were followed up until age 18 (68) and then assessed again at the age of 34. (69) The authors looked in particular at the interaction between birth complications and early maternal rejection.

The main risk factor found in these studies for being a violent criminal is the association of birth complications with early maternal rejection. Early maternal rejection by itself is not a risk factor. We can conclude once more that very early influences are implicated in violent criminality.

Have you ever thought about what brutal criminals often have in common? They are often unsuccessful abortions and these criminals have suffered from severe early childhood developmental trauma.

Saddam Hussein was not just an unwanted child who never knew his father but had a mother, “depressed over the death of her 13-year-old son from cancer, [who] tried very hard to have a miscarriage by hitting and bumping her stomach. In Arabic, his name means “one who confronts.”  Yeeesh!

Can you imagine what that must’ve felt like for the mother, for the baby yet to be born?

What about a child who is subject to hostile, abusive environments both in the womb and in early development?

One of the most terrifying examples of this is Adolf Hitler, a murderer of millions and a violent criminal of astronomical proportions. “There is substantial proof that child abuse has severe psychological effects that cannot be reversed. The effects include, but are not limited to anger, hatred, aggressiveness, hostility, poor school performance and poor relationships with peers and/or the opposite sex. Many victims of child abuse often become offenders in violent crimes (Dunning, 2004).”

Photo: blog.freepeople.com

Imagine being rejected by your mother, father, love, the world.

What could that do to your well-being, humanity and life?

For the record, I do not believe that once the fabric of our precious lives has been crumpled, burned or mistreated that we are incapable of healing; however, our awareness and education about the consequences of choice are paramount for our world to be treated, created and sustained wisely.

Emotional well-being and the emotional well-being of the world is dependent on freedom and learning from when it is infringed upon.

What does freedom look like to you?

I invite you to welcome life with love and consciousness.

Let that freedom ring and echo, ”Hello beautiful world, I’m here for love.

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Assistant Ed: Josie Huang / Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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