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

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Favorite Metaphors

By Janel Martin-Miranda, c 2006

During my years of working with women and children in various settings, I developed a lot of metaphors to explain otherwise complex human experiences. Each became a personal story and metaphor for that person. I share them in allegory form here to be helpful in the dialog about where birth is safest, home or hospital.

She said, she said. They're all perceptions.
Or, as I used to say in counseling, especially with couples, "Somewhere in the middle is a grain of absolute truth." Everything else is just perceptions.

If we were all gathered around a piano and had to describe what we see we would have a different view of the very same Piano.

If one sits in the front and describes the keyboards to those behind stating that this is what makes the music, “when I touch the keys”, those behind could argue to the end of time, “That is absolutely false.”

Those in the front could argue, most assuredly and adamantly, “It most certainly is, and I am doing it, I have done it. You cannot change my mind, because I SEE it and I FEEL it. I AM making the sound. I am doing it right now!”

Those in the back could absolutely totally deny it, “No, it’s not scientific, logical, I don’t see it, so it’s not there. THAT is not what is making the sound.”

Those in the back of the piano may be looking at a simple flat wall, or they could be viewing the internal workings of the piano. Then, they might be further arguing, “No, I see where the music is coming. I can see the parts moving. I am trained to know how this works. You can't know how it works. I am the trained piano tuner.”

The one in the front can be blue in the face, angry, or melodramatic some might say, “I DO know how it works. It is ME who is MOVING the keys here to make the music. I am the musician, and I play by ear, naturally.”

The one in the back, knowing that it takes the other touching the key board to make their own music, and knowing she can also make sounds from her side, says, “Nope, you are a liar, that’s impossible.” She continues, “In fact, I can make it stop, proving that you are wrong,” as that person reaches in to stop the music. A cacaphony of noise occurs. “See, THAT proves it. Furthermore, you can not prove that you can make music in tune without me here to make sure.”

Some others who are seated at the end of the piano, or who have aerial view can try to point out to the those in the back or front that both are right, but not perfectly. They also will likely not convince the other of their perception, that sure, the one who can get inside and tune the piano doesn’t have to do so for the other to play music. Gosh, in all parts of the world, people play the piano without the piano tuner right there with back all open.

“I may not understand how it works in there, I haven’t seen it or studied it, and I can’t fix it, but I do see that she is right, there are lots of black and white keys over here that she must move to make the music you hear. She is a musician. And, she doesn’t need you right there, with the back exposed to do so. What if you just tune it up before she plays and wait and see?”

The points of my metaphor are:

1- The only way to understand the perceptions of others is to be willing to acknowledge that you likely do not see the whole piano or every perspective. I call it acknowledging that one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know.
2- To move yourself so that you can try to see other’s perspectives of the very same thing – to learn what it is that you don’t know you don’t know.
3- One doesn't have to be a piano player to be a piano tuner and a piano tuner is not necessarily a musician.

You've been hit -- now what do you do?

This is a metaphor I used with young women who had been sexually abused and other Post-traumatic disorders.

You are driving down the road, maybe a very careful driver, maybe observing every traffic law. Maybe not. Maybe you are on the cell phone, car-dancing to your favorite tune, thinking about the fight you just had, rushing to pick up your child, or running for groceries to fix dinner. It doesn’t matter --- because suddenly from nowhere, someone runs a red light and crashes in to you.

From that moment on YOU have the responsibility for how you react to every aspect of the situation. You can get out of the car and begin screaming profanities. You can rush over (hopefully) to see if the others are ok. You can leave the scene, cry, take a nap.

Truthfully, one’s reaction will often be dependent upon our perceptions of the other driver and the judgements, assumptions, and course of personal action are often reactive depending on the other, the one who did the wrong. Was it a group of teenagers, a mother rushing her child to the ER, a little old lady who confused the gas and brake pedals, a drunk driver, or an obstetrician rushing to the hospital to deliver a baby, some we know with whom we already have a relationship (good, bad, or otherwise, like our minister, our neighbor with whom we have a conflict). Too often, we humans reaction according to the judgements we make about the other.

The bottom line is the damage is done. The one harmed has choices about how they perceive themselves, their role, the other who harmed them. YOU now have the responsibility of going through the legal aspects and the steps to fix the car. You have to contact your insurance agent, you have to get quotes to fix it, you have to take it get it fixed and do without it. Maybe you have to take time off from your schedule to do these things, or you can’t, or you don’t have transportation during the process. You choose every minute of how you decide to response. A problem is the psychophysioemotional aspects that keep coming up -- fueled by hormones, perceptions, and response of the other (PTSD).

You may have been injured – even severely and that is whole other level to what you have to DO and PROCESS as a result of someone coming along and bashing into you. Maybe your car was brand new, maybe it had been a gift, maybe the other is uninsured and you fight your insurance company. A million and one things are possible. And, it’s a pretty good chance that you were not totally observant and not being the ideal, law-biding driver. YOU could be the "other." Every day in every relationship we somehow harm or trigger another's button even if we are being totally aware, concerned, and compassionate about the other. In the commission of living our lives and woundings, we unknowingly, unwittingly can interfere with or harm the other's way of being. I call them intersections, or inner-sections -- where our woundings bump up against the woundings of others.

What is your contribution? Even if there was not a thing you could have done differently how DO you deal with the feelings of not being a good driver that COULD have contributed?

You might have been injured enough and your life altered enough that you became restricted in your life (even never walked again), or depressed for a long time. Maybe you were pregnant and your baby was born prematurely or did not live. Whatever it was, it contributed to your future life, your feelings, perceptions, and maybe your depression, rooted in the event, lead to the inability to make appropriate decisions that lead to further unwanted complications. You might have lost your job, then your apartment, and had to move in with friends or family. Or, you got addicted to painkillers, neglected your child and lost custody of that child to the other parent. Left college and became a bum.

Who is to blame? How does one get out of the cycle of victimization and out of the spin of PTSD? What if the person who hit you has a long record of such accidents? What if it were totally preventable? What if that particular intersection is a block from the hospital where there is scientifically or statistically a high number of accidents due to obstetricians rushing to the hospital? And, the city won’t do anything about it, because of pressure and money from the hospital.

Birth as a Metaphor

Birth is so about being responsible for who one is when they conceive and about where they are going in any one second of life – how one is gestating that baby nutritionally, environmentally, relationally. One’s own fears, hopes, stresses, and needs are all driving one down the road to that intersection of birth, where 90% of the time one is going to intersect with a rushing obstetrician.

How did we get here? With all of these paved roads, four lanes, lights, traffic laws, rushing obstetricians?


No comments:

"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