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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Letting go of blame and moving into the power of collective, collaborative action

The intention and care a society gives to the most precious of all human endeavors, childbearing, is a clear reflection of the healthcare the society is capable of and willing to provide.

-- Jim Berg, MD

…apparent disadvantages of the obstetric approach have such large order of magnitude, that in any clinical trial it would be considered unethical to continue with the obstetric treatment.

-- Peter F Schlenzka

Links to Schlenzka's Stanford dissertation, "Safety of Alternative Approaches to Childbirth." are at

At 3:47 AM, frumiousb said...

Something that I learned during my recent pregnancy is that doctors really have their hands tied when it comes to drugs in pregnancy. No drugs are tested on pregnant women, so no drugs are safe. There is no money for drugs and pregnant women, so virtually all medication for pregnancy is being used off-register. Our understanding of their effects is only in retrospect. When it comes to the pain killers, it is almost easy enough to say don't take them. However, when it comes to other conditions requiring medication, doctors are often forced to choose between an unknown and theoretical risk and the real risk of pregnancy loss. Unenviable.

In The Vulnerable Prenate, Emerson states, “whenever there is significant prenatal stress (trauma), there is an increasing statistical likelihood that birth complications will occur. The greater the degree of stress or trauma during the prenatal period, the greater the likelihood of birth complications and obstetrical interventions.”

The work of Emerson and Castellino show us how medical interventions contribute to birth trauma in the imprinting process. Just as significantly, perhaps even more so, is their contribution to understanding the importance of the prenatal period as creating the imprints that will be expressed at birth. Specifically, the mother’s emotional, physical, and psychological, and spiritual well-being is now documented as contributing to birth trauma. How a woman cares for herself and her unborn, how she feels about the pregnancy, how much and what kind of support she has for bringing a new life into the world, and her previous traumas and experiences all create the imprints for her baby’s birth experience. All of these create the baby’s birth experience.

Society's first reaction is that mother's are to blame mothers for the prenatal period and doctor's are to blame for anything that goes wrong during labor and birth. Doctor's have "deep pockets" and the know-how and control in labor and birth and are disproportionately held responsible for the "outcome" of a baby and his or her birth.

My intention with this series of quotes is to propose that women and medicine must become partners in birth. Women (especially expectant mothers who must claim their power and responsibility in conceiving, gestating, and birthing their babies) and medical providers (who must stop the justifying of medical management of birth as they practice “malpractice avoidance”) should know this research information. They must know the research about medical birth practices and the social consequences that weave through every aspect of our lives. Women can begin individually, in the birthing of their babies, to create partnerships with medicine and technology by claiming both their power and their responsibility for their baby’s birth. Physicians, as called for here by a physician and a colleague, must enter the political, social arena of participating to create solutions.

Civil society grappling with issues of equity and humaneness, in which health care is one of the most central concerns, desperately needs physician input and physician participation.

-- David J. Rothman, Ph.D. and Tom O’Toole, M.D.,

“Physicians and the Politic Body”

An excerpt from “Physicians and the Politic Body”by David J. Rothman, Ph.D. and Tom O’Toole, M.D. on the website, “Ideas for an Open Society.” From OSI-U.S. programs.

What is to be done?

The capacity of the medical profession to resolve these dilemmas depends on at least two considerations: responsiveness to professional values and new commitment to advocacy. Let us spell out precisely what that would mean.

Physicians know well how to take care of patients. What is required of them is a broadened definition of what that care entails. It has to include not only gaming the system for one patient but advocating this patient’s general interests. Physicians need the skills and the commitment to translate their own feelings of frustration into an agenda of greater accountability from the profession itself, insurers, and society-at-large. Physicians must challenge a system of care that is structured on behalf of shareholders and speak out setting new national health care priorities. If the medical profession is to fulfill the covenant that exists between the doctor and patient, a new order of professionalism marked by advocacy and collective action has to emerge.

To this end:
  • Medical schools and residency programs should reform the education and clinical training of physicians to incorporate advocacy and skill development and provide both a broader and more directed sense of professionalism and societal responsibility in the curriculum.
  • Physicians must transform their professional societies into organizations that advocate on behalf of patients. Medical societies should not be in the pockets of corporate interests or driven exclusively by members’ financial interests. Infusing idealism and leadership within professional organizations can bring like-minded physicians together and give them a stronger collective voice. Models do exist, as in the case of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of General Internal Medicine.
  • Consumer and general advocacy organizations should break their own insularity and seek physician participation. Doctors can be powerful allies and they should be invited into the ranks of change-minded people.
In the normal course of things, expectations for accomplishments such as an agenda would be low. But these are unusual times, which may bode well for new and necessary departures.
publications/ideas_physicians_20020101 (sorry, need to cut and paste)

If we all were to focus on the needs of the baby to have an aware and welcoming conception, a safe and loving gestation, and a gentle and peaceful labor and birth, what would a woman, and her partner, need from us as a society?

1 comment:

Baby Keeper said...

I have been thinking about this intently for a couple of years -- how to create partnerships between women and doctors in order to make birth safe for the baby, the mother, and the caregiver.

A plan I developed can be viewed at:

"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