The Other Side of the Glass

Part One was officially released June 2013 in digital distribution format. To purchase to to If you were a donor and want to download your copy send an email to

The trailer

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Melodramatic Women

On the blogger, a non-practicing obstetrician responds to a post from a women after her numerous responses denying the physical and emotional responses of women (ie., anger, PTSD and depression) to cesarean birth and referring to women as melodramatic.

A woman asks:
"Do you really still believe that stating that a birth was traumatic is nothing but sheer melodrama?"

Dr. Amy:

"Yes, I do. Let's consider the many kinds of losses that people can have. What kind of loss does a C-section represent? It's the loss of an experience, that's all. It's not the loss of a life, of a body part, of a loved one, etc. It's the loss of an experience. Elevating it to the same level as these other experiences is melodramatic."

She also stated in another posting, " Pehaps the true figure is that C-sections do NOT increase the risk of neonatal mortality. Perhaps the true figure is that C-sections are life saving on a grand scale."

Perhaps, NOT. "Life saving on a grand scale" is not what the current scientific research indicates. And, cesarean birth is often about the loss of a body part and/or a life. The mother's as well as the baby's.

"The neonatal death rate for Caesarean birth among low-risk women was 1.77 deaths per 1,000 live births. The comparable rate among vaginal births was 0.62. Babies are up to three times more likely to die soon after delivery if their mothers choose a Caesarean section rather than a normal birth, a big American study has shown.",,8122-2346344,00.html.

It is one thing to blatantly use cesarean section as a means of controlling one's time and one's liability, it is quite another to disregard the impact of that surgical birth on the mother and the baby. It's called "adding insult to injury." In fact, to me, it's unthinkable. If the woman tells me HER EXPERIENCE of cesearan IS the loss of an experience that I know is a PHYSIOLOGICAL, God-given need in a woman's body, mind, and soul that profoundly affects her connection with her baby, etc, I believe her. The denial of this by physicians and society is what makes one "melodramatic.'" The deep wounding and pain is very real. Why would obstetrics and every aspect of health care, psychology, and religious care NOT believe a woman who gave birth surgically? Why do our social structures not provide the appropriate after care for our mothers and babies?
Call me crazy, but it LOOKS traumatic and dramatic for mother and baby. Research looking at post-partum depression and PTSD after cesearn birth at

Wouldn't anyone have a physiological and emotional response to this surgery, particularly if it was unnecessary and if they felt manipulated, forced, or cheated? Isn't just the physical aspect enough to warrant acknowledgement? If birth is a naturally occuring way to give birth -- and eons of history and low cesarean rates everywhere else in the world today would indicate it is -- would this not be a hugely defining experience of loss -- to put it so mildly? Is the loss not deeper when anyone, but particularly an obstetrician is unable to be humane and compassionate towards these women? The one who does the wounding to another for whatever reason is still the wounder. Isn't the abuse and the violation (the rape) a woman expresses really due to the lack of compassion and regard -- before, during, and after the surgury (or intervention)? Wouldn't true heroics and life-saving also include compassion and embracing those who experienced birthing in this way?

"The estimated risk of a woman dying after a cesarean birth is less than one in 2,500 (the risk of death after a vaginal birth is less than one in 10,000)." A woman is four times more likely to die having surgical birth than giving birth vaginally. Induction and epidural use are shown to lead to unnecessary cesarean. (Obstetrics & Gynecology 2005; 105: 974-82).

"The US cesarean section rate is now 30% - the highest ever - and the highest in the world. In the US nearly one of every four babies is delivered by cesection. That is more than 900,000 babies each year."
Aside from an alarmingly high neonatal death rate (first 28 days of life) and infant mortality (first year of life)rate in the US (28th of industrialized nations), it stands to reason that cesarean birth is traumatic for the baby that survives such a dangerous experience, even though the former obstetrician denies this. What do you think? The anguish and helplessness on this baby's face is not real? He is being melodramatic? He is not really feeling anything? Magically goes away? How is that?

The truth is that this child IS EXPERIENCING terror and violation, and his brain is recording it. He is likely to struggle his entire life with issues of boundary violations -- perceiving it from others or pushing the boundaries of others, and with issues of trust, frustration, unexplained helplessness, abandonment, and isolation. Thirty percent of our population is being born this way.

A human being born vaginally and placed immediately and gently into his mother's loving arms, hearing her quiet voice, feeling her loving, soft touch will know in his brain, body, and psyche what it is to be safe, supported, and held with love and dignity. One percent of our population is being born this way.

The baby here was born at home attended by family practice physicians from Home First in Chicagoland. This was twenty minutes after his birth. The reality is these women who give birth at home are likely to be up fixing dinner that day and women who deliver surgically face weeks and months of recovery. Half return to the hospital for care from complications -- again being separated from their baby.
What is this society creating here? What makes women betray other women in this profound experience of bringing our babies into the world?


Another Mummy said...

That woman was me! I must admit that I was shocked but not surprised by the good "doctor's" response. With attitudes like that in the medical community, no wonder the section rates are sky rocketing.

Safe Baby Partners said...

And, no wonder we have the social numbness, denial, and lack of acknowledgement of the total impact on mother and baby, so that we do not have a social will to insure only necessary cesareans are done but also the adequate after care is provided. AND, I DON'T mean ANTI-DEPRESSANTS and "talk therapy" neither of which are effective for PTSD and depression.

Housefairy said...

Sickly, I was really glad to get to see the photographs of the actual c-section. Having suffered through two of them, a major part of the disturbing nature of the surgery itself was not knowing exactly what was done to me...this actually makes me feel "better" somehow, more justified in how long it took me to recover physically, and how much pain and disability I have endured due to these surgeries. I wish all women could see just what it is all about, and that certain people, who basically poo-poo'ed me after the birth(s), implying that I shouldnt be that sore, or they knew such-and-such lady who popped right out to the stores after her c-section...I wish they could see exactly what was done to me...but then thye will just start in with how I shouldnt have a baby...keep up the excellent blog.

"Soft is the heart of a child. Do not harden it."

A public awareness reminder that things that happen behind the scenes, out of our sight, aren't always as rosy as we might think them to be. Perhaps its a restaurant cook who accidentally drops your burger on the floor before placing it on the bun and serving it to you. Here it's an overworked apathetic (pathetic) nurse giving my newborn daughter her first bath. Please comment and rate this video, so as to insure that it is viewed as widely as possible, perhaps to prevent other such abuse. -- The mother who posted this YouTube. How NOT to wash a baby on YouTube Are you going to try to tell me that "babies don't remember?" There is no difference to this baby's experience and the imprinting of her nervous system/brain and one that is held and cleaned by the mother or father either at the hospital or at home? By the way, this is probably NOT the baby's first bath. The nurse is ungloved. Medical staff protocol is that they can't handle a baby ungloved until is has been bathed (scrubbed if you've seen it) because the baby is a BIO-HAZARD -- for them. Never mind that the bio-hazard IS the baby's first line of defense against hospital germs.

Missouri Senator Louden Speaks

Finally, A Birth Film for Fathers

Part One of the "The Other Side of the Glass: Finally, A Birth Film for and about Men" was released June, 2013.

Through presentation of the current research and stories of fathers, the routine use of interventions are questioned. How we protect and support the physiological need of the human newborn attachment sequence is the foundation for creating safe birth wherever birth happens.

Based on knowing that babies are sentient beings and the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby and to prepare to protect their baby.

The film is designed for midwives, doulas, and couples, particularly fathers to work with their caregivers. Doctors and nurses in the medical environment are asked to "be kind" to the laboring, birthing baby, and newborn. They are called to be accountable for doing what science has been so clear about for decades. The mother-baby relationship is core for life. Doctors and nurses and hospital caregivers and administrators are asked to create protocols that protect the mother-baby relationship.

Men are asked to join together to address the vagaries of the medical system that harm their partner, baby and self in the process of the most defining moments of their lives. Men are asked to begin to challenge the system BEFORE they even conceive babies as there is no way to be assured of being able to protect his loved ones once they are in the medical machine, the war zone, on the conveyor belt -- some of the ways that men describe their journey into fatherhood in the medicine culture.

Donors can email to get a digital copy.
Buy the film at

The film focuses on the male baby, his journey from the womb to the world and reveals healing and integrating the mother, father, and baby's wounded birth experience. The film is about the restoring of our families, society, and world through birthing loved, protected, and nurtured males (and females, of course). It's about empowering males to support the females to birth humanity safely, lovingly, and consciously.

Finally, a birth film for fathers.

What People Are Saying About the FIlm

Well, I finally had a chance to check out the trailer and .. wow! It's nice that they're acknowledging the father has more than just cursory rights (of course mom's rights are rarely acknowledged either) and it's great that they're bringing out the impact of the experience on the newborn, but I'm really impressed that they're not shying away from the political side.

They are rightly calling what happens in every American maternity unit, every day, by its rightful name - abuse. Abuse of the newborn, abuse of the parents and their rights, abuse of the supposedly sacrosanct ethical principal of patient autonomy and the medico-legal doctrine of informed consent, which has been long ago discarded in all but name. I love it!

In the immortal words of the "shrub", "bring it on!" This film needs to be shown and if I can help facilitate or promote it, let me know.

Father in Asheville, NC

OMG'ess, I just saw the trailer and am in tears. This is so needed. I watch over and over and over as fathers get swallowed in the fear of hospitals birth practice. I need a tool like this to help fathers see how very vital it is for them to protect their partner and baby. I am torn apart every time I see a father stand back and chew his knuckle while his wife is essentially assaulted or his baby is left to lie there screaming.
Please send me more info!!!!
Carrie Hankins
CD(DONA), CCCE, Aspiring Midwife

Thanks for sharing this. It was very touching to me. I thought of my brother-in-law standing on the other side of the glass when my sister had to have a C-section with her first child because the doctor was missing his golf date. I'll never forget his pacing back and forth and my realizing that he was already a father, even though he hadn't been allowed to be with his son yet.

Margaret, Columbia, MO

In case you don't find me here

Soon, I'll be back to heavy-duty editing and it will be quiet here again. I keep thinking this blog is winding down, and then it revives. It is so important to me.

I wish I'd kept a blog of my journey with this film this past 10 months. It's been amazing.

I have a new blog address for the film, and will keep a journal of simple reporting of the journey for the rest of the film.

I'll be heading east this week to meet with a group of men. I plan to post pictures and clips on the film blog.

I'll keep up here when I can -- when I learn something juicy, outrageous, or inspiring related to making birth safer for the birthing baby.

Review of the film

Most of us were born surrounded by people who had no clue about how aware and feeling we were. This trailer triggers a lot of emotions for people if they have not considered the baby's needs and were not considered as a baby. Most of us born in the US were not. The final film will include detailed and profound information about the science-based, cutting-edge therapies for healing birth trauma.

The full film will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.

The final version will feature OBs, RNs, CNMs, LM, CPM, Doulas, childbirth educators, pre and perinatal psychologists and trauma healing therapists, physiologists, neurologists, speech therapists and lots and lots of fathers -- will hopefully be done in early 2009.

The final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.

The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.

Birth Trauma Healing

Ani DeFranco Speaks About Her Homebirth

"Self-Evident" by Ani DeFranco

Patrick Houser at

Colin speaks out about interventions at birth