I’m not usually one to keep up with Hollywood gossip. I don’t watch Entertainment Tonight nor do I read magazines like People or any other of the myriad publications and television shows dedicated to tracking the lives of celebrities. As a matter fact, when I gather ‘round the local watering hole and start shooting the shit with some of my friends, I’m often amazed that they somehow manage to keep track of all these people and what they’re doing with their lives. I often like to pride myself on the fact that if most of those folks sat down next to me, I wouldn’t know them from Adam. (Jennifer Aniston, are you listening?)

Anyhoo, I think it was during a lull in ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker when one of my buddies took the bold move and grabbed the remote off the bar and started to switch around the channels. After the obligatory stop at CNN to glance at the headlines of the day, he kept surfing around the dials looking for something to relieve our boredom. After some minor protestations from the rest of us sports junkies, he happened to settle on one of those gossip kinda shows and they got to talking about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and their weird dedication to the new star studded religion of Scientology.

Far be it from me to criticize anybody for his or her beliefs. I’m more of a “whatever floats your boat” kinda guy and would rather have a root canal than debate somebody’s faith. But, after listening for a bit they starting talking about something called a “silent birth” and my ears perked up. Apparently these kooks believe that in order to make little Tommie or Katie junior's first appearance into the world less traumatic, they want absolute silence in the delivery room. Some moaning on the part of the mom is okay but frowned up on but most importantly, no words are to be spoken during the entire procedure. There's even a rumor making the rounds that Cruise has commissioned the construction of an adult sized "binky" for Katie to chew on and to help her keep quiet through the ordeal.

That means no doctors or nurses chatting about the health of the mom or the baby, no soothing music playing in the back round, no exhortations to “push” and no cries of pain or relief when the baby makes his or her long awaited appearance into the world. Hard core Scientologists also believe that the baby should spend up to as long as one week after they popped out of the womb in total silence. (Mr. Cruise, kindly take note). That means no baby talk or cooing about how cute they are or showing the youngster off to proud grandparents or other family members and friends. The only stimulus the baby should have is to be fed, held and changed.

Not fer nuthin’ but can somebody please get Dr. Phil on the line because all of these folks are in need of some serious help.

I’ve been in the delivery room four times and while I wouldn’t encourage the use of strobe lights or blasting out Metallica’s greatest hits or anything like that, I thought it sure was nice to help my loved one through get through the pain and the fear that goes along with childbirth and the whole labor process.

As for the babies themselves, I don’t think they gave a shit at all. Going from total darkness and the warmth of a mother’s womb into bright lights and a chilly atmosphere was probably enough of a shock. If you were to ask me, being re-assured in a calm voice that everything was going to be ok and that you’re not out here on your own is not only a good thing, it’s one of the best things that you can do. I don’t care how old you are, everybody likes to feel safe.

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