Our own child was blessed with a perfect birth. Dr. Leboyer’s work had not been published in 1973 when Manju was born. We didn’t expect our child to be so totally aware. We thought she’d be like a baby kitten, eyes closed, isolated in her own little world.
However, we did think she should be born at home in a calm and loving atmosphere. We knew a doctor, Hector Prestera, a gentle and sensitive man. He agreed to help us. He said “I’m not an expert,” but we knew he had delivered 20 healthy babies at home and never had a woman tear.
It was time for Manju to be born. A few friends who had been singing quietly for hours sat in the room. Hector asked everyone to be still and perfectly quiet.
Her head came out. She was showered by silent vibrations of love from her father, her mother, her doctor, her friends. Hector cleaned her nose and throat. She whimpered and then gurgled. Perfectly healthy, yet without even one cry, she was born.
Her body slithered out. Hector held her to his ear. She was silent. He whispered a mantra in her ear. She listened. Then she was placed in my arms. Even before the cord was cut she looked, eyes wide open, directly into my eyes for several minutes. Then she continued to drink in her new environment. She looked at her dad. Then she looked directly at nearly every person in the room. The cord had now stopped pulsating. She had been born for five to ten minutes. Hector placed her on my stomach and cut the cord. She made only cooing sounds. He placed her back in my arms, and she began to nurse.
It occurred to us then that she was the strongest, most conscious, most mature person in the room. Perhaps it was because she was so new, perhaps because she had become so strong through birth. From that moment, it seems she grew younger, rather than older. She seemed to grow from a silent sage into a baby. For months people would tell her, “Little person, you have the face of a wise old man.”
Her birth and her being were not an oddity. It’s natural for a baby to calmly accept life. All normal infants are strong and clear and conscious. Through the practice of yoga, we can restore our own sense of strength, clarity and consciousness. Thus we are able to share with our newborn child a simple and perfect joy.
Nina and Michael Shandler