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, January 12, 2007

Birth is natural

I’ve seen a few comments by posters on another blog say, "Who said I am a homebirth advocate?" or "I never said I believe childbirth is natural." Or, "none of us are saying that childbirth is natural." They are usually saying this in the midst of a huge defense of some aspect of their beliefs being attacked. I find it confusing.

I want to go on record as saying I am a homebirth advocate and I do believe that birth is totally natural.

I don’t see any way that birth is not a natural and physiological process. Even when augmented with drugs and/or alcohol birth itself is a natural process. Birth is as natural as planting a seed and having a fruit bearing plant grow and yield fruit. THE PROCESS of birth from beginning to end is a natural process. Birth is a natural process that gets interrupted and disrupted more often than not. That doesn't change the fact that birth is among the most natural and amazing events on the planet.

Sexual intercourse is a natural, physiological experience. It is estimated that fifty per cent of all pregnancies are "accidents" but they certainly were accomplished naturally, as nature intended. The act of sexual intercourse naturally leads to this amazing natural, physiological process of conception, without one feeling or even knowing it is happening. Same thing with gestation. A mother's body will, naturally without her conscious will or intent, build another human being. Her body will give up nutrients from her body to build a baby -- and not even know she is pregnant yet. When I want to see a miracle or beauty in the world all I have to do is look at one of my children.

Labor is a natural part of birth and labor always happens eventually. Babies are always born. Eventually a baby will begin the hormonal response that signals to his mother that he is ready and labor begins. Truly, rarely, does labor not happen at all. Like intercourse, labor and birth are natural processes, but can be augmented with drugs and artificial hormones, or herbs, or natural substances to facilitate or alter the process.

Birth is just simply one of those naturally occurring things – almost seemingly beyond our control sometimes when I contemplate the wonder of it. My body grew four other humans and it was pretty darned natural, and so was I. I didn’t have a scientific degree to know how to conceive or gestate them. My body just did it. Good thing. If birth (including conception and gestation) was about the thinking mind, can you image the messes we would make? How birth got so darned complicated and controlled is a point of interest. Clearly, when birth is messed with there is a ripple effect throughout one's life, just like when we mess with any aspect of nature. Our news is full of the examples of this in our world – pollution, high incidents of cancer in every age group, extinction of animals, contamination of our food and water supply, GLOBAL warming (Gore’s movie has some pretty, darn good research, by the way) as well as how we give birth today (ie., 30% of births now are cesarean surgical birth).

Surgical birth is definitely a disruption to a natural process, like hybridized grass that has taken over and is unstoppable. Too many advances in our world have been done with thought to only the moment (and money), not to the future, and not to the naturally occurring processes or what it means in the long term to interrupt them. Like removing the active substance from nature to process it into a chemical to sell. Using the real thing is considered quackery by some. A pharmacist just looked at me with a dumbfounded look recently when I repeated to her that I prefer the aloe plant to a preparation. She had said, “Why would you use the plant when you can buy an aloe cream?” Woah, when did the world get so turned around? It occurs to me that it is quite odd and sad -- that using the natural substance rather than a manufactured, chemical one is considered odd. And, I am weird because I prefer a natural substance over a chemical, with side effects, that generated pollution to make, and is not effective? My son's girlfriend found the aloe leaf I sent along with him was the best relief and healer of a serious Florida sunburn -- when prescriptions meds had done nothing.

I believe birth is as natural as the fluid from the aloe leaf for my moisturizer and as natural as the sun shining, rain pouring, grass growing, and my heart pumping. Not even my heart beat is under my conscious control. Why would the concept of letting my unconscious mind -- the body -- guide the birthing process as well be considered weird or non-scientific? Does my heart not know how to beat and my stomach, lungs, liver, and intestines to all do their jobs? And, my amazing and beautiful uterus grew four babies. A new baby, a thunder and lightening storm and the smell of rain, a hike in the woods, a botanical garden, a beautiful sunset with yellow, purple, and coral colors, or a road trip through new terrain are natural miracles. Do you know how beautiful Wyoming and Montana are? All of these natural experiences, places, and beings are also sacred to me.

I also believe birth is a sacred process of coming from the spiritual realm into a physical body and into the lives of the lovers who conceived him or her. I further believe that is birth intimate and sometimes that might even look or sound sensual or sexual to observers. Sometimes women describe birth as ecstatic or orgasmic. We all know love and hate are closely entwined, as are are ecstasy and pain. Laboring women when unmedicated sound sensual, intimate, and sometimes orgasmic. That just might be because birthing their baby they made is an expression of a couple's intimacy, requires her to let go and be in an earlier part of her brain, and can feel blissful even if painful. Birth is the culmination of gestation that began with intimacy and is about the couple’s relationship -- which in our society is usually spiritual or religious in nature. Seems pretty natural to me.

Above all, I am an advocate for the baby. I am advocate for the baby to have an aware, safe, and gentle transition in this world, to have an intimate, spiritual experience that honors their natural physiological needs. I advocate for the humane treatment of the newborn, in an environment that is safe, natural (especially drug free), and respects the baby's process. It should not be either/or -- either you birth at home or you birth at the hospital. But, if you birth at home, don’t expect to have quality care and access to the information and life saving technology. What is wrong with a society who would promote this, at the risk of their babies’ well-being?

I believe that the birthing baby has just come from God and is as close as we'll ever naturally be while in these skins. I believe that the first person to touch that human being is charged with the most important job on the planet and with the most responsibility. When the first person to touch a baby is not the mother or the father, (or granny!) that person is both chosen and called. The calling is "to do no harm" and to touch and greet this being as if he or she is one's God. For me, that new baby is just like the Christ child. How would you treat Jesus during his birth?

I believe that how we transition from the watery world of the mother into this world is a huge spiritual transition that brings our spiritual and physical selves together. Our connection to God is our breath. In six minutes without breath, we are gone back to our spiritual world and Maker. I believe that how we are allowed to transition from watery, spiritual world to being a breathing human being is a natural, spiritual process. I believe it defines us.

How we are separated from our mother is critical. It is natural and physiological for the cord to pulse – one homebirth doctor told me that she watched a cord pulse for over thirty minutes at the birth of a struggling baby. An anti-homebirth critic would exclaim that this was wrong and that this baby needed to be resuscitated, meaning and cut off from it’s placental blood to be pumped full of chemicals and possibly other’s blood. Is that logical? What has happened to us that we don’t believe that the God who made these bodies and created this obvious and detailed plan for bringing new life (that rarely fails) in doesn’t have a way to support a struggling baby? For me, the need to let the mother’s body do the work can be explained both naturally and spiritually -- that would be mother’s natural, yet unconscious caring for her baby.

Why is the human baby’s cord cut so quickly and placenta pulled out, checked and disposed of? What kind of human would we have if we allowed the time for birth to be natural, as in allowing the baby to begin labor and allowing the mother’s body to release the placenta, and then allowing the umbilical cord to separate from the baby when ready? What do we know spiritually, physiologically, and psychologically about the baby’s need to have this ten-month womb-mate and source of life near by? It's pretty clear that most of us humans find transitions very challenging in life. How does life reflect how we experienced the transition from womb to the world? When can we expect science to begin to explore (study) the naturally occurring phenomenons (onset of labor, separation from womb) before denying, drugging, and disrupting them?

Modern life eliminates many natural processes without researching them. solving one immediate problem but creating many future ones. Birth is a number one example. It is hard to find real, unprocessed, non-engineered food now – everything is for convenience. What is so wrong with being natural? With taking your time. Smelling the roses. Letting labor start naturally. Letting the cord complete pulsing. Letting the woman's body release the placenta when her body knows it's time. I believe I am, and you are, a divine spiritual being in a human body. I personally feel best when I am nourished and supported by nature. I prefer those things that God made and that grew in it's own time. Veggies, fruits, butter, eggs, etc. How could a chemically engineered food be better for a growing child or a growing fetus (i.e., a chicken grown from hatching to slaughter in fifteen days with hormones and antibiotics rather than the natural time of eight weeks)? How can a hurried, hormonally engineered (induction) and controlled labor (drugs) be better for the human being?

My metaphysical friends have been saying for years and a few Christians are just now saying, "We humans aren't just physical beings having a spiritual experience-- we are spiritual beings having a human (physical) experience." I believe we are both -- physical and spiritual beings. Both of these are diminished in our world today that wants to control and divert what is natural, "to save time and make money" and no where is it more damaging than in the birth of a baby in the hospital.

Homebirth is an attempt to bring both spirituality and natural physiology back into our cultural norm.

Our survival depends upon it.


celine said...

Hi there ;-)

Well, I for one, make the claim that "I am not a homebirth advocate" and I mean it. It is not simply a response to feeling attacked.

What might help explain to it is that I work with women on a regular basis who are planning homebirths and women who are planning hospital births. If I was to be an advocate for one type of birth over the other I believe I would not be able to do the work I do.

I am there to support their choices.

Of course, I provide information that may be new to them and may contribute to them eventually making different choices, but if they felt that I was judging their choices or thought that I believed they were making a 'lesser' choice they would not be interested in hearing anything I had to say.

So, I hope that explains why one HBD poster makes that claim. I am tired of repeatedly being labelled something that I really am not.

On the other hand, I have never made the statement that childbirth is not natural!!!

Great post, btw.

Kara said...

I am a doula who attends births in all settings, and supports all women to make their own choices based on education and information.

I however, can proudly say that I AM a Homebirth advocate and I do believe birth is natural.

Thanks for your great 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