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  April 22, 2002

Welcome to the World

On April 4, 2002, my first granddaughter, Tayler Rein Dunk, was born.

At 3:00 a.m. that day, I got a call that my daughter Teri's labour was starting - almost two weeks after her proposed due date. Unfortunately, I would be leaving in a few hours to go to the IPA Spring Retreat north of New York City. During the day, I kept in touch with the "team" - Teri, her mother Ramona, husband Trevor, sister-in-law Tracey, and the two midwives.

I had not expected to feel so nervous. Until labour started, I was positive, calm, and supportive. But as the twenty-hour process continued, reality started to sink in.

As a therapist, I deal with clients who are still struggling with the heavy imprints of their traumatic births. I see people who can't move forward in their lives, people who are overly dependant, people who cannot cope with pressure, people who live with a sense of impending doom, people who always feel unwelcome and unwanted, people who feel alone even when they are with others, people who feel that something bad will always happen, people with migraines, people with breathing problems - the list goes on. Even though these symptoms can arise from other events and circumstances, a stressful, frightening, or life-threatening birth can sometimes be the root cause.

To some degree, these problems can be resolved through Primal Integration. Unfortunately, some impairment to ideal functioning can remain. Although primal can allow us to be expressive and fully engaged in life, we may still have to live within certain limitations.

Prevention is always best. A good prenatal life and a good birth are essential. By "good," I mean that the child has her needs met from conception on. It's not an impossible ideal, it's a reality experienced by trillions of plants and animals the world over - in spite of the decline in ecological conditions created by human neglect and abuse.

For baby Tayler, the prenatal conditions were just right. Her mother and father love each other and wanted to have a child. They both have supportive families and live in a relaxed, rural setting. Teri eats well and takes care of herself. Little Tayler did not have to deal with excess noise and the pressures of family anxiety. She didn't have to deal with a toxic womb infiltrated with drugs, nicotine, alcohol, and anxiety hormones. Her mother was a nurturing universe for Tayler to float in.

So far so good.

Then the labour began. The birthing team was excellent, and even though the process was slow, Teri was patient, persistent, and didn't struggle. I was a different story. Being 500 miles away, I couldn't relax. The longer the labour went, the more I got concerned about obstetrical intervention and possible trauma.

But Tayler's heart rate continued to be normal, which indicated that she was doing okay. It seemed like she and her mother were simply engaged in an extended, intimate embrace.

During the evening, I alternated between making calls and tapping my feet and fingers. I have a knack for percussion, and I was drumming up a storm.

Then late at night, the call came. Tayler had arrived, pink, and bright-eyed. She didn't cry, and she bonded with her mom right away. After the twenty-hour journey, she was relaxed. Everything seemed right for her - and it was. She was received in love and adoration - as Jean Liedloff says, "welcome and worthy." She was close to her mother's body, the body that had been her home since the beginning. She was adored for simply being herself, without having to do anything, or change herself in any way.

I was ecstatic. Not only was I happy for the new family, I felt that I had received a living gift - that everything I have struggled for was embodied by Tayler. She is living proof of what life can be like.

I drove the ten hours home to Guelph. I got up six hours later and drove four hours with my son Jesse to Teri and Trevor's. It was great to see the whole "tribe" together with a new member.

Tayler was just under seven pounds, very delicate, and even-featured. It was fascinating to hold her and appreciate her with greater clarity than I had as a young parent. It was inspiring to be with Tayler - someone who has no inner struggle, someone who simply feels what she feels and responds to that - without fear, doubt, and confusion. I was holding a little Buddha, completely connected in body and mind.

Happy Birthday Tayler. Life can be good.

photo of Tayler


Some valuable links on babies and birth:

Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH)

The Liedloff Continuum Network

Birthworks: Michael Odent, MD

Aware Parenting Institute: Aletha Solter, Ph.D.

Mother-Friendly Childbirth

International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)

Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children

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