In early 2001 Elmer Postle and I decided to make a documentary video
about the importance of being "met" as a baby coming into life. Our
idea was that the way we are welcomed into life might make a difference
to how we are able to express ourselves as we grow and develop. We
started out with a modest budget supplied by Beginnings, Inc. and were
able to film our first four subjects, David Chamberlain, Barbara
Findeisen, Joseph Chilton Pearce, and Sobonfu Some' with the start up
The moment I realized that I was making an important film (rather than
the educational video I started out to make) was on the day we did the
welcoming ritual with Sobonfu Some`. We were filming in Nevada City and
had about 30 hours to come up with the ritual welcoming circle which
needed to include at least one pregnant person. We spent the day on the
main street of Nevada City approaching random people and asking them to
join. At the moment of the filming, we waited to see who would show up
at our remote forest location.
Amazingly, we ended up with three
pregnant women and over a dozen participants! By the time we were ready
for the ritual, people were very cranky and tired of waiting. Sobonfu
walked into this not very welcoming circle, and demonstrated to us the
power of our desire for community, welcoming, and connection. With in
minutes, we were all singing an African welcoming song, and as the
ritual unfolded, everyone felt the power of what it is to be truly
welcomed into life by a community. Everyone was moved to tears at one
point or another, and I understood more clearly than ever the reason
why this film had to be made and shown to the world.
At the first fundraising event, David Crosby of Crosby Stills and Nash
fame and Noah Wyle of ER became committed to the project.
Sometime after this, the process of creating the film got a bit
sidetracked - Elmer and I took different paths with the footage and it
was difficult to merge the two approaches. Elmer returned to England.
I struggled. It seemed overwhelming to actually live up to the
potential of what we had begun to create. I wondered sometimes if I
could really keep going ..
Finally, I found David Tarleton, a wonderful, warm and big hearted
person as well as a very talented film editor. He was deeply touched by
the material and was able to really understand the depth of the subject
and its broad implications. He was very exicited by its potential and
immediately climbed on board which helped get the project back on
At this point the project really took off again and I had to learn to
take a back seat to the creative force that seems to drive the
evolution and development of this film. I was given opportunity to film
amazing scenes of birth and welcoming, and people approached me with
footage that I needed and had been despairing of ever finding. In the
end, our efforts were informed by the power of the story we were trying
to tell, a story that seemed almost to tell itself.
About the Film - Our Intention
Our intention in making the film What Babies Want is primarily to make
a social statement about the importance of early development in
children and its effect on both individual well being and that of
society at large. Although this documentary is filled with information
about childbirth, infant development, and consciousness in infants, it
also shows how our experiences as infants form patterns that can have
repercussions that ripple throughout our entire lives. As Joseph
Chilton Pearce says, we have an opportunity to put an end to violence
simply in the way that we treat parents, particularly mothers, and
infants during pregnancy and first 3 years of an infant's life.
Research into bioneurology is converging with research into the field
of psychology. What this means is that we finally have scientific
evidence that the brain and in fact the entire body of the infant
forms, develops and grows in response to the environment. If the
environment is hostile the person forms in a defensive manner,
developing a defensive, hypervigilant nervous system and endocrine
system designed to meet the demands of the hostile environment in which
it finds itself.
If, on the other hand, an infant is born into an environment of love,
warmth and acceptance then the person has the opportunity to develop a
more flexible and creative nervous system, one less occupied with the
immediate needs of defense. To quote Joe Pearce again, at every
developmental point, the infant asks, "Can we go for more intelligence,
or do we have to defend ourselves again?" We believe that the way we
bring our babies into the world from preconception on has a signficant
impact on their ability to know and to access their authentic selves.
If infants are met with love and are acknowledged as persons with
legitimate feelings and needs, they will be more fully able to respond
in like manner, to develop a good sense of self esteem, and to care
authentically for themselves and others.
Put another way, the process of learning how to trust, not only in
others but also in oneself, begins immediately in life and a nuturing
and accepting environment is the best context in which to learn.
Before, during and after childbirth we have an opportunity to provide
that context, thereby greatly improving the chances for healthy
development of the individual and, by extension, a healthier society
with a better chance of creating real and lasting world peace.