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David & Laura Shanley
Parents of 4 children
We Believe....
That birth is inherently safe. The same loving, intelligent consciousness (All That Is, Goddess, God,
Nature) that knows how to grow an egg and a sperm into a human being, knows how to get it out.
Our job is simply to relax and trust. Birth is not a function of the conscious mind any more than
digestion is.

We Believe.....
That the problems women sometimes encounter in birth can be traced to three main causes:  
Poverty - lack of food and poor living conditions; Outside interference - doctors and sometimes
midwives poking, prodding, testing, drugging, cutting, etc.;  Inside interference - primarily fear
which triggers the fight/flight response and shuts down labor, but also shame and guilt.

When these factors are eliminated, most women can give birth easily, either alone or with friends
and family.

We Believe....
That our bodies and our babies are responsive to our thoughts. The best way to ensure a good
pregnancy and birth is to think positively, face and overcome our fears, and believe in our own
abilities.























I enjoy giving birth. I find it exhilarating and exciting, sexual and spiritual, magical and miraculous!
It is POWER in its purest form, and for me, it is the ultimate creative act.

I prefer to give birth either alone, or with my husband and children. All four of our children have
been born this way.
David caught the first one, and I caught the other three. To those who have
been raised in a culture that views birth as inherently dangerous and painful, this may sound like
absolute insanity. There was a time when I would have agreed, but that was before I knew the
truth about birth.

According to Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D., authors of the book
The Unofficial Guide to
Having a Baby
, a single orgasm is thought to be 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer.
When you add to this the fact that the average vagina widens 2" during sexual arousal, it only
makes sense to make love in labor.  Here are some examples of what is said by various researchers
and birthing couples on the subject:






































































































































































It was English physician and writer, Grantly Dick-Read, who first opened my eyes to the safety and
beauty of birth. Dick-Read, who wrote and practiced in the first half of the twentieth century, is
widely credited with being one of the fathers of natural childbirth. Simply stated, Dick-Read
believed there is a loving, intelligent consciousness that is behind and within all life. This
consciousness knows how to grow a baby inside of us. We don't have to consciously "assist" it,
figuring out how to grow fingers and toes, eyes and ears. We simply have to trust that as long as
we get fresh air and exercise, shelter and food, the fertilized egg within us will grow into a human
being. And because nature or God is efficient - it completes what it starts - that same reasoning
can be applied to the act of birth.

In other words, we are not suddenly abandoned at the end of our pregnancy. There is literally a
birth "
response" that propels our babies from womb to world with very little conscious effort on
our part. The problem is, there is something even more powerful than the birth response,
something that can override it entirely. That something is known as the fight/flight response.

Dick-Read explained it in this way: when a woman is in a state of fear, messages are sent to the
body telling it there is a danger out there that must be fought or run away from... Animals
intuitively understand this concept. This is why they seek seclusion in labor. They "know" that
when a birth is interfered with, the labor may stop or the baby may die. This is as true for
domesticated animals as it is for animals in the wild...

I am not condemning all doctors. Some of them are kind and caring people. And the sad fact is,
although there are many women who feel they have had medical intervention forced upon them,
there are many who expect and even demand it. Doctors who do not comply with a woman's
wishes may be sued if something goes wrong. [Laura is the daughter of a doctor].

However, I think it is safe to say that the majority of doctors in American hospitals believe that
birth is a dangerous ordeal that needs to be managed, controlled, and manipulated. There is also a
financial incentive to keep it this way. Giving birth is the number one reason people go to the
hospital. It is a fifty billion dollar a year industry in this country, and you can be sure there are
people who would like us to continue believing that birth is a dangerous ordeal that can only be
made safe by medical intervention.

There is no denying the fact that doctors do indeed save lives. True emergencies do exist. But
every birth is not an emergency and there is no excuse for treating it as such. As writer Jeannine
Parvati Baker so aptly stated,
"Birth is not an emergency. It is simply an emergence."


                                                                                                                                            

- The Shanleys' online bookstore, where you can find many more stories and resources is
Bornfree Books and Videos
"The Truth About Erotic Birth"
excerpts from the writings & research of
Laura Kaplan-Shanley
"Pleasure in birth may be the starting point for optimal family relationships. Our
knowledge of reproduction suggests there may be a biological reason for connecting
pleasure in birth with the best outcome for the baby."