Autism Treatment Center of America®

Change a Child's Life - Donate Today!
Autism Treatment Center, Celebrating Children with Autism!

Happiness Is A Choice

Chapter II Continued

We Are Belief-Making and Belief-Consuming Creatures

My wife and I felt honored to be invited to attend the home birth of one of our staff members. We tried in many different ways to assist the two attending midwives as well as the parents-to-be. A festive, yet relaxed atmosphere permeated their apartment. To be additionally useful, I photographed the evolving adventure for them, trying to capture the special moments of support and caring these two adventuresome souls shared. As Laura's contractions became more and more frequent, one midwife listened diligently to the baby's heartbeat and nodded with an approving smile. Laura's cervix began to dilate appropriately. The time of birth neared. But then, suddenly, the contractions stopped completely. The midwives tried several different noninvasive techniques to restart the process but to no avail.

Laura lifted her huge form off the bed and began pacing. One midwife, obviously concerned, suggested that if her contractions did not begin again soon it might be prudent to go to the hospital. Laura shook her head. A home birth had always been her dream. She wanted to stay; however, her general discomfort kept increasing. Neither standing, walking nor lying down eased it. Finally, she retreated to the bathroom, sat down stark naked on the toilet seat and experienced some relief. The midwives kept expressing their concern. Laura asked if I would join the three of them. I sat down between the sink and the bathtub. Laura looked absolutely elegant as she cradled her huge abdomen in her hands and smiled weakly at me.

"I'm getting scared, she whispered to me. She reached out her hand, and I held it for a few moments. "Bears, maybe you could ask me some questions, especially about the contractions."

"Sure, I said smiling. "Why do you think they stopped?"

One of the midwives began to answer by stating clinically the possible physiology involved. She also volunteered that this might be an inappropriate time to ask questions. Laura leaned toward her and said, "I want to figure this out! The questions are fine." Then, she turned to me again. "I think I know what happened," she continued, "but I'm embarrassed to say."

"Why?" I asked. The answer which followed, though particular to her own process, reminded me of my own past questions and ones that I have heard often expressed by prospective parents.

"Well, we all work with many different people at the Institute," she said, "but me, I'm being trained to work with special children. To love them. Not to judge them. And suddenly, when I was lying there and it was getting closer, I got really scared." She paused as if to catch her breath. "Suppose I have a special child like some of the children we see or like you and Samahria did. Suppose my child can't talk or see or move his legs. You know, for everyone out there, it's just a vague possibility. For me, it's very, very real. We work with kids all the time who are less than what the world calls 'perfect.'" Tears began to stream down her cheeks.

"Why are you crying?" I asked softly.

"Oh, I guess I expect more from me. I really love what I do, I love the kids, but I'm not sure it would be okay if my child had a problem," Laura admitted.

"Why wouldn't it be?"

She started itemizing every birth defect, every developmental delay and every neurological dysfunction she could imagine. We looked at the realities of each one together: Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, mental retardation, aphasia, epilepsy, nonspecific brain dysfunction and the like. One by one, she discarded her fears about these possibilities. We persisted for about twenty minutes; then she held her hand up,

"I got it," she said. "I just decided. I can be strong, very strong. I will love and treasure my baby no matter what happens! I'm not afraid anymore."

A soft, radiant smile spread across her face as her abdomen pitched upward into a pointed crown in response to a powerful contraction. Her husband came to her side and coached her breathing through the movement. As we led her back into the bedroom, Laura squeezed my hand.

Less than thirty minutes later, she delivered a healthy, sweet little boy.

We can observe our bodies and learn much about our beliefs. Physical symptoms can help make our wants and concerns more apparent. Thoughts occur body-wide; intelligence exists everywhere in our system. When we think, we create new and distinct electromagnetic impulses and chemical substances throughout our entire physical form. When we say we have changed our mind, we have made a statement of fact. Our minds as well as our bodies change physically each time we change a belief.

Chapter 2 Continued