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, January 11, 2007

It's time for the care of newborns to join the 21st Century

"Spare the rod; spoil the child" was the way of life for generations and in the sixties was very challenged. Our society acknowledged that the abuse and neglect of children was wrong long before we had "hard scientific data" to prove it. We used our heads and our hearts to know. Society began to build social, political, and legal structures to stop the abuse of children and to support parents -- or legally punish the parents (who don't stop because of a myriad of problems, such as addiction and because they have lived generations of abuse).

Since the eighties, Oprah just might have done more than anyone to bring to light the consequences of abuse and neglect of our children. Meanwhile, in the nineties, the brain research began to enlighten and confirm what we knew. Abuse causes the brain of the child to be wired to behave in a certain way, so of course, children abused, neglected, and violated struggle their lifetimes to change and overcome early experiences.

Every state, every county, every city, every school now has systems in place to observe, identify, protect, and report any abuse of a child. Some of us are even mandatory reporters. We can be held accountable if we DON'T report abuse. Have you observed the treatment of a baby in the hospital in his first hours of life? Lord o' mercy, as a wounded and then violated baby myself and now a mandatory reporter of child abuse it is sometimes unbearable to me to watch the treatment of a newborn. The treatment I have seen of babies in the hospital birthing room and in the newborn nursery is the same behavior that three days later at home if done by the parents would be hotlined to the state protective services. This treatment does not happen at homebirth.
Like watching the nurse holding down my flailing and angrily crying grandson while she put tubing down his throat (not necessary, but as a precautionary method for the hospital's liability benefit. ) The LD nurse who refused to allow him to be held in his mama's arms refuted what I know to be "scientific knowledge" -- from NICU care -- that regardless of the intervention, babies do better in their mother's arms. I know from my pre and perinatal work that babies will respond to kindness and being told what is happening and when asked permission from the caregivers. After all, this baby has been learning language for almost ten months. Babies know language and respond to the environment with pretty clear non-verbal language and cries.

We hold, support, protect, and comfort our infant or child during medical interventions or other frightening events. Why not our newborn? And, who as an adult, doesn't feel safer when being supported by a family or friend during medical interventions?

"It's myyy license," snapped the LD nurse when I advocated for my grandson to be in his mama's arms and I had mentioned the research when she had told me my grandson would have to be resuscitated in the cart. Later when my daughter's pleas to have him or even see him were ignored, I asked the nurse if she could move the cart (with wheels) near the bed so his mama could see him and talk to him. She said, "Weeell, I've never done that before." I asked, "Could you please do it now?"

So, this was after, as I shared in an earlier post, the neonatal nurse held my grandson down -- fighting and flailing -- ramming tubing down his throast and suctioning while laughing and loudly saying to him more than once, "You can ruuuuun from the doctor, butcha can't run from the nurse." We know in my field that a connection of some sort was made in his brain. Maybe he will run from doctors and be afraid of nurses?
How babies are treated -- from being research Guinea pigs to the brutality of the first hour of life -- is my biggest concern in obstetric medicine. I am also concerned about how we, as a society, came to be complacent and accepting of this and how the caregivers are always harmed in their training and social approval of their behavior towards babies.

How many loved ones of a baby watch powerlessly, helplessly while medical caregivers take over the baby and do rough and shocking treatment of the baby? We are conditioned, whether mother, father, grandmother, nurse or doctor -- through the drugging and violation of our own births to stand there and watch. No where else do I feel that I have to go along with this treatment of my new grandson or be at risk to be "kicked out" or in fear that the nurse would really show us who is "boss/" What I wanted to do is make that call. Yeah, you know the one -- "Hello, Arizona Department of Child Protective Services? I am reporting the abuse of my two-minute old grandson by female betrayers of the feminine -- nurses at Good Sam's. Yes, yes ... I can get you the scientific evidence."

While I write about the women caregivers who abuse us and our babies, my cry is for a social outcry to address the political systems that perpetuate it through victimizing them. How can we support the medical profession to see what harms babies while in their care and build new systems? (

Pictures showing the treatment of babies are from my cute little book of propaganda promoting hospital birth as safe in the early sixties, Adventure in Motherhood. Why has nothing changed since then, regarding the abuse of babies at birth?

Neurobiologist Gerald Vind, PhD and cellular biologist, Bruce Lipton, PhD, neonatologist, Frederick Wirth, MD, and obestetric/veterniaran researcher, Peter Nathanelsz, PhD, MD, along with many others have taken the current scientific information in their fields and contributed to a piece of the puzzle to understanding the consequences of the primal period of life -- conception through infancy. Their work is based on the researchers of early child abuse and neglect. Yep! Research of the nineties confirmed what some of those crazy fools professed so loudly as to make changes --- early child abuse forms neural brain patterns so that all of the talk therapy in the world won't change fears, emotions, and behavior. Child abuse changes and harms the brain of the child. Ah, wouldn't early childhood logically include birth?

Do we really want to stop child abuse? If so, we need to begin with changing the way babies are treated at birth in the hospital and how parents and families members are powerless to protect their baby. Babies born in the hospital are being violently abused --- when they are not allowed to be in their mothers arms for bonding and attachment and when unnecessary interventions -- scrubbing, weighing, shots, etc are done before the baby and mother reconnect. Anything else is abusive, brutal treatment of the baby. And, the brain remembers. It is felt as abandonment and violation by the baby.

Every NECESSARY intervention done roughly when strangers scrub, poke, prod, and give injections and eye ointment in the first minutes of life, BEFORE the mother and baby have had the opportunity to re-connect is also violating to the baby who feels the fear, panic, pain, and separation from the mother. Life saving interventions can be done with awareness of the vulnerability of the baby's brain and needs. It's SCIENTIFIC, for cryin' out loud, that the baby's brain NEEDS the closeness and the eye contact of the mother to do one of those craaaaazy, natural, physiological things called TRIGGERING THE BRAIN to set off the hormones necessary for healthy mother-child attachment --- the foundation of every relationship.

Throughout labor and birth EVERYTHING that happens is taken in by the baby's brain. Strangers in and out and a mother who is modest holding back, angry or arguing staff people, sirens, telephones, the adrenalin of a rushing OB to get there to catch (and collect), unwanted friends and family (for some strange reason people feel more comfortable barging in on a hospital patient than they do sick friend at home -- same thing in labor and birth. Is it because hospital is a public place?) When a woman is birthing at home, people are more likely to respect her privacy. Caretakers who attend homebirth respect a birthing woman's body and her home. This environment is the one in which the baby was gestated so it not a new environment to negotiate. It is not one of panic, noise, and control is the world into which a baby enters.

Energy psychology (shown to be true thanks to physics and other science) tells us that the environment (or energy field) into which a baby is born imprints the baby's central nervous system functioning. The baby's brain is taking it all in - -- wiring it all in, where ever birth is, home or hospital. Strangers, rough handling, fear, abandonment, pain, noise, bright lights (I read where one in four children now wear glasses ... hmmmmm), etc. One begins to see how the woman's internal responses to people and behavior in the birth environment profoundly affect her baby. Whether homebirth is safest or not in medical terms, it is safer for the surviving baby's brain. Hospital birth is brutal for the newborn brain.

Looking at what is best for a baby, and best in relationship with his or her mama, what happens to newborns in the first minutes and hours of life is traumatizing. Being empowered from caring for and advocating for her newborn is one of the things homebirth mothers appreciate and consider when giving birth at home. She is still the primary caregiver of the child she has birth. Her caregiver does not take her baby and do multiple violating interventions and then present her with her baby, all clean and checked out, in a package as if he is presenting her with the product of his efforts. How a mother experiences labor and birth and how she feels about herself birthing her baby will affect her entire life as a mother.

From the master project of Mary Zumwalt, Early Intervention and Child Abuse, University of Illinois, Springfield is a great piece of work reviewing the literature of the researchers who brought us the proof that "Yep, sure enough, early abuse and neglect of infants and children creates brain trauma." Now we have the science to back the belief that how a mother and baby experience labor and birth, and days following profoundly affects the birthing baby and creates a template for their relationship.
Prevention of child abuse begins with prevention of abuse in labor and birth. It's time that obstetric medical and nursing care is expected to join the 21st century and treat babies as if the human brain is recording everything, and to act as if the human baby were the most important thing we have.


"Thirteenth century historian Sallimbeni, of Parma, Italy reports that Emperor Fredrik II of the Holy Roman Empire conducted an experiment to find out man’s original language. He gathered a number of babies and employed wet nurses to physically care for the children but they were strictly forbidden to talk, cuddle or sing to the babies. By not having any human contact, these children were supposed to develop as naturally as possible. The Emperor never found out about man’s original language – the children died one after another without any apparent reason. (Fahlberg, 1991, p. 18)"

How humans think and learn has always fascinated society. Scientists have questioned the intricacies of the brain and the process of early childhood development for centuries. Recently these questions have inspired even greater interest and attention, as result of new and promising technologies, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography, (PET) scans and electroencephalographs (EEG’s), that reveal clearer pictures of the brain's inner workings. These technologies have allowed new insights into early development, reflecting a growing concern across the nation about young children's overall wellbeing.

Recently, scientists have made many discoveries about how a child's earliest experiences affect the way the brain develops. An explosion of research in the neurobiological, behavioral and social sciences have led to a better understanding of the factors that contribute to a child’s positive or negative start in life. Researchers now confirm that the way primary caregivers interact with their children in the early years and the experiences provided or encouraged have a significant impact on emotional development and learning abilities in later life (Shore, 1997; Teicher, 2000; Cicchetti, 2002).

While experiences shape and influence brain activity throughout life, children will undergo the most rapid brain development in the first few years of life (Kotulak, 1997; Perry, 2000). During this period when the child’s brain is becoming “hard-wired”, he/she is particularly receptive to positive interactions and experiences, but also vulnerable to negative ones (Perry, 2000). For example, using the most up to date methods, researchers at the Developmental Traumatology Laboratory in Pittsburgh are studying stress and brain development of traumatized children. Through brain scans of abused children, they found evidence that the brain volume of these children is smaller, leading to long-term cognitive and emotional difficulties (Hawley, 2000). Recent research in laboratory animals has shown severe stress in early life permanently reduces brain weight and DNA content (Teicher et al., 2002). These and other studies currently underway are beginning to confirm that a child’s earliest relationships and experiences play an important role in shaping the brain.

At the same time, scientists are now learning much more about the biological processes that underlie the influence of the environment. The concept of ‘nature versus nurture’ has been replaced with ‘nature through nurture’, as the inseparable influence of genetics and environment is better understood (National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, 2000). It is clear that genetics predispose us to develop in certain ways. However our interactions with the environment has a significant impact on how our predispositions will be expressed (Teicher, 2000; Gilles, 1999; Teicher et al., 2002). These interactions organize our brain’s development and, therefore shape the person we become (Shore, 1997). Based on animal studies, scientists have long believed that early abuse and neglect lead to neurobiological abnormalities, however until recently there has been little scientific evidence of this in humans other than clinical observation.

This shift in thinking, based on emerging scientific “evidence,” has resulted in a new perspective of a child’s earliest years (Gilles, 1999). As recently as fifteen years ago, it was assumed that the first few years of life, including that of gestation, was a time when nature inherently followed a predetermined course of physical growth and maturation. As long as the child received proper nutrition and care, he/she would continue to grow and develop, eventually reaching toddler-hood where “learning” occurs. The role of experience on the developing brain was under-appreciated. However, we now know that from the moment of conception through the first few years of life, the most complex and integrative organ in the world is being built and refined. The human brain is extraordinary in its rapid growth and potential to adapt to the demands placed upon it during the first few years of life. It is during this critical time that the brain is learning how to process information; essentially learning how to learn (Karr-Morse & Wiley, 1997).

While many entrepreneurs have capitalized on this burgeoning body of information, as a society, we have barely begun to use the vast research capabilities to advance the welfare of children, particularly children at risk due to abuse and neglect. Much of this research is providing biological explanations for what practitioners have been describing in psychological, behavioral and emotional terms. We are beginning to see scientific “evidence” of altered brain functioning as result of early abuse and neglect (Shore, 1997; Teicher 2000, Gilles, 1999; Teicher et al., 2002). This emerging body of knowledge has many implications for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect – specifically - the capacity for us to favorably influence a child’s developmental outcomes through early screening and planned treatment interventions (Cicchetti, 2000).

You, dear reader, are smart and you are compassionate. You can SEE the newborn baby with your heart and your brain and look at the research and logic --that laboring and birthing baby needs the same care and treatment as the prenate baby and the infant.

Hospital birth is dangerous because of the way babies are disregarded in a multitude of ways that allows them to be abused. Beginning with the misuse of misresearched drugs to the interventions that follow that disconnect them from their mother, a baby is disregarded.

I am a Baby Keeper: One who Keeps the Baby as the focus of the soul's journey of birthing into this world. My grandson's birth taught me the way of being the Baby Keeper and in his honor, I developed my Baby Keeper training for doulas, midwives, and nurses to become skilled at supporting the baby, in relationship to his mother and father. Wherever birth is, what ever happens, a doula and a midwife can be prepared to assist the baby and parents to resolve the traumatic experiences during labor and birth.

Janel Martin-Miranda
copyright, 1-07

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"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