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

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Everything You Feel Is Being Recorded

By Janel

My thirteen year-old daughter and I were watching a birth in a movie recently. After the baby was born a medical person said to the grandmother, "You're a grandmother!" My daughter turned me and said, with a disbelieving eye roll, "Jeesh, like she wasn't before the baby was born?" Out of the mouths of babes, as they say. Of course, the woman was a grandmother from the "moment of conception" if you are pro-life; or if you are pro-choice, from the moment the woman decided to keep her baby. For me, I was a grandmother before my grandsons were conceived, before I even knew it.

At birth a baby will already know the voices of his mother and father and others in their environment. It is odd that our society acts as if the life of the baby, and his or her relationships, only begin at that moment when we first SEE them. Some say the relationship between mother, father and baby began even before conception, but certainly from that moment on. A mother knows this as she can feel how her baby responds to her within her. Yet, during labor and birth talking to the baby can raise many eyebrows.

I connected with my grandson in utero even though we were fifteen hundred miles apart during his gestation and I physically spent only one week with them during that time. I did so most easily through talking with my daughter, supporting her, laughing with her almost daily, always talking to and acknowledging him. Miles away I would quiet myself and connect to him and talk to him. His mother desperately wanted me there for his birth, a VBAC. I am aware that babies know who they want there as well. I talked to him all of the time about if he didn't want me there, if that's not what he wants and needs, it's ok. Just like I do with a mother and baby I support during pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum.

I was there, with days to spare, and I talked to him throughout labor, telling him who was in the room and why, telling him how much I loved him and his mommy. I told him how it would feel when the epidural came on, but that mommy was right there. She'd be sleeping. I held her during the procedure that was botched and she had two entry wounds. I held her like a mother holds a baby. I was holding him as well. I was the first human to speak TO him after his birth as I shielded him, barely touching him, as long as I could from the neonatalogist and his nurse's brutal resuscitation. "Andrew, it's Granny. I am so happy you are here." Have you ever noticed how mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc. will just barely touch a newborn baby - as if, in a knowing of just how gentle the touch is that a baby needs?

How my daughter felt in response to me created hormones that created more emotions. That's how we humans work. This was part of programming her child, and in particular, how my grandson will feel about me in a core way has to do with how his mother felt about me DURING pregnancy, labor and birth. Every billion cells in his newborn brain knows I love him, saw him, protected him, supported him. It is possible, I believe, for his mother to hate me some day and HE will not, because of his early fetal programming. Sadly, for many, it could work the other way. The mother hates or is angry with her spouse, her mother, etc during pregnancy, labor and birth, and later in life they reconcile, but will the child's brain be able to make that shift as well? I wonder. I wonder about all of the fascinating possibilities. Will the baby of a pregnant woman fighting with Dr. Amy have a neural connection for the name Amy, for doctors, for homebirth? I wonder.

When my daughter spoke to me during gestation she had a different emotional experience than when she was at work with seventh graders all day long, or in rush hour city traffic, or towards her live-in mother-in-law. My daughter's hormonal, physiological responses created by her emotions and relationship with me are a part of my grandson's experience. So is every the pregnant woman I treat compassionately, respectfully, and kindly. I am very conscious of the baby of every pregnant women I meet -- even at the store. I treat her as if she is doing the most important thing a woman can do on this planet. I am aware and regardful of the baby of the woman who has posted here.

Whether it is the first or fifth pregnancy, or a vaginal, cesarean, or a VBAC, it is important for mother's to consciously begin to create the relationship she wants with her baby during pregnancy. A woman builds a baby that is structured to live in that particular environment. The only way a developing fetus and unborn knows the outside world is through the mother's physiology , thoughts, emotions, and voice. A baby experiences it whether mother communicates directly with him or her or not. She can learn to differentiate for her baby what SHE feels that she does not want her baby to feel or be stressed by. For example, "My sweet baby, I am feeling very sad and abandoned because your father has decided not to be a part of my life and your birth, but that is my feeling about him, NOT YOU. I want you and I love you. I will do my best to care for you." A woman who can develop the relationship with her unborn, regardless of their circumstances, will have a better awareness of her baby and his or her needs and plan for birth. She'll be able to stay connected with her baby during labor and birth.

We all know nutrition is needed to create a physically healthy baby. We all know that a happy and calm mother is important. Whatever a mom feels and thinks -- joys, fear, worries, and hopes -- are a part of the prenatal programming of her baby's physiology, emotions, perspectives of the self and world, and personality. How else can a person be but how they were built? Want a peaceful baby? Have a peaceful gestation, labor, and birth. What a baby who feels loved, nurtured, and safe on the planet? Start in the womb to nurture, love, and protect. Do so in labor and birth and first days of life.

Somehow we know the prenate takes in everything that is good and loving, and even when there is a tragedy in a woman's life during her pregnancy; but, rarely does one fully engage the logic and science of fetal programming for every baby and every experience in utero. The science and knowing doesn't yet translate into a social agreement that we must treat every pregnant mom and baby with the utmost care and respect, knowing what we do to her and for her, we do to and for the baby as well. The baby is flooded and programmed, during his or her development, with whatever hormones the mother's experience create in her body. A mother ought to protect her unborn from people and situations that create negative emotions, thoughts, and worries -- including those who would disrespect her feelings about the baby and her birth choices.

We humans like to think unborn babies will remember the good stuff and forget the bad stuff. Sometimes the pregnancy is unplanned and an unwanted surprise, or the father leaves the relationship, or work and finances are stressful. Worry with unresolved fears and anger from previous cesareans can affect mother and baby during pregnancy. A mother-to-be who gave birth by Cesarean, especially emergency or unwanted, will have many emotions and worries come up during pregnancy. All of these issues and worries can be mediated anytime during pregnancy or after, by the mother having loving support, being aware of her emotions, and by communication with the baby.

Dr. Frederick Wirth, a neonatalogist explains scientifically how the communication between mother and baby happens and how to create conscious, nurturing communication prenatally. Two other leaders in the field have also written excellent books for parents-to-be that are scientifically grounded and excellent resources.

Prenatal Parenting by Frederick Wirth, MD -

Prenatal Prescription by Peter Nathaniels, MD (OB), PhD (Vet) (for parents-to-be)(Also author of Life Before Birth: The Challenges of Fetal Development and Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease - MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BOOKS. As an obstetrician and animal researcher, Dr. Nathanielsz has compiled his own research findings as well as those from the field of fetal programming. The last two are very science oriented and are must reads for anyone who wants to know about the physiological processes of pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Secret Life of the Unborn Baby, Parenting Your Unborn Child, and Nurturing The Unborn Child (with Pamela Weintraub). All three by Thomas Verney, MD at He is co-founder of the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology

I can't believe I forgot my dear colleague's site. Gerald Vind, PhD, neurobiology, developer of Prental ReImprinting at Amazing information for pregnant women on his site.


Niamh said...

Oh Janel, you speak such truth. Sometimes, when I'm feeling nervous or regretful or whatever about the effect my traumatic previous birth attempt is having on this pregnancy, it is so easy to slide into toxic interaction with a hard, unflinching, harmful person by deluding myself into thinking it will be healing.

But I never feel better when I interact with such obviously harmful people. I feel sick. (Although needling them until they lose it and really show their true colors is slightly satisfying : )

Thank heavens at the end of the day I sit with my warm, sweet husband and the hurt disolves and I feel safe and loved and blissfully pregnant again and I think WHAT THE HECK WAS I DOING?!? This baby needs peace and love! Good hormones! Fight later, you ninny!!

It is good to know I'm not just coping out of the hard stuff by thinking in these terms. Next time I'm tempted I'll go cuddle my dd and breath in her wonderful scent and float off into happy mommy lang instead.

Thanks for your words!


Niamh said...

That would be happy mommy land.

Must learn to spell. At least a little.


Sage Femme said...

this was a beautiful post!

"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