What do infant mortality and elephant poaching in Africa have in common?

Life on Earth is richly complex and interdependent, and all of the suffering and destruction we see in the world is more linked together than we might realize. It’s time to break the cycle of suffering and trauma, and to wake up to who we really are as human beings. According to Suzanne Arms, we must begin this transformation through childbirth and the Primal Period.

What do infant mortality and elephant poaching in Africa have in common? Plenty.

Researchers have, for the first time, observed a direct connection between elephant poaching in Africa, and poverty, as expressed in high rates of mother and baby deaths in humans.

This is just one of many examples of how life on this earth is so richly complex and interdependent. It’s awe-inspiring. This year, my focus overall is to get as many people and organizations as possible to understood that birth and the Primal Period (pre-conception to the child’s 1st birthday) is the nexus point, or center, of everything…whether or not we understand it to be so. Why? Because the problems facing humanity and this earth require a good number of people actively involved in finding solutions for humanity’s heavy footprint.  Shall I list the big ones: climate change; environmental toxins (which are killing off whole species and even found at high levels in breastmilk and the cord blood of newborns); the ongoing abuses of women and children and vulnerable populations; and overpopulation.

I’m always on the look out for good news, to counter my tendency to see the underbelly. Here’s a piece of good news I came across: If every woman alive today was to have just one child, the population of the world would drop to a mere 1.9 billion by the turn of the next century. Think of it, and of how many of our problems would be lessened if there were just a lot fewer humans.

So, back to my main point, that it all begins with birth. Making it possible for people to be healthy happy, creative and involved – in short, thriving, means they start life and brain/body development off on the right foot, getting all of their needs met. We need young people, adults and elders who are not so pre-occupied with coping that they have no energy or time to get involved. And that leads us back to birth, because we need a good number of babies and mothers whose bond has not been damaged by high levels of stress and/or trauma. This is what it takes for babies to develop fully in the primal period and for mothers to parent with a sense of confidence and ease. I’m wanting to see thriving, not coping.

I feel happy that more and more people and organizations are using the term “mother-baby” rather than mother and baby. Because they really are one, symbiotic and inter-dependent system. What we do – or fail to do for one of them – we are also doing to the other. Here lies brain development and consciousness of the next generation:  in how we treat women as mothers.

I believe it’s time to get everyone in this loose-knit international grassroots “birth movement” to transform birth to understand that this primal period literally is the key to whether or not we human beings develop and live out of a core senses of fear and defense … or love and trust. It’s that basic, because how the baby in the womb (pre-nate, if you will) senses the world to be – safe or unsafe – determines how it organizes it’s billions of cells, organs and entire body and mind for its lifetime.

I maintain, and my whole life affirms this to be a truth, that we humans have been the aggressive, anxious, and destructive (and increasingly self-destructive) creatures that we are, because we and our history are rooted in trauma. Unresolved trauma… Lots of it.

Think of it: from conceptions that are unplanned or unwanted, and our mothers being under great stress when we were growing inside them, to being born in traumatic ways and then separated from our mother, not breastfed (or not for long enough), not picked up when we cried, nor held and slept with and “worn” long enough…to living in families full of secrets and lies and un-grieved griefs, and often raised to feel shame about ourselves and our natural feelings and instincts. Then there is the history so many families the world over, have…generations of unhealed historical trauma (famine, war, slavery, annihilation, dislocation from homeland …).

I say it’s time to break the long chain and cycles of suffering and trauma and wake up into who we really are. We humans are really amazing creatures, capable of so much more. Think about all that humans have accomplished despite carrying anguish in their hearts. How much more could we be, if we had the chance to grow (develop) fully, as nature/God/Allah intended! Wow!

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick-to-death of war and making enemies of people and seeing good midwives arrested and babies and young girls and boys having their genitals mutilated, or kids and girls being treated badly or sold into slavery or abused in other ways, including by their family.

I’m so excited about the various movements on the planet… grassroots movements all of them… to bring about equality and justice and compassion and end greed and domination.

Suzanne Arms is a familiar name to many from her seven groundbreaking books (on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and adoption), films, photographs, and the hundreds of talks she has given at conferences worldwide since 1975.  She has been an inspiration behind the Birth Movement.  Her second book, Immaculate Deception, was named a New York Times Best Book of the Year and inspired thousands of midwives, nurses and physicians, as well as parents-to-be.  Arms is an advocate for holistic, sustainable health policies and practices and conscious parenting.  Her focus – and the focus of Birthing The Future, the U.S. non-profit she founded and directs – is birth and the mother-baby connection, which lays the foundation for love and trust, health and resiliency, cooperation and community.