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

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fetal Psychology

Psychology Today, October 1998
Source: Psychology Today, Sep/Oct98, Vol. 31 Issue 5, p44, 6p, 4c.
by Janet L. Hopson

Behaviorally speaking, there's little difference between a newborn baby and a 32-week-old fetus. A new wave of research suggests that the fetus can feel, dream, even enjoy The Cat in the Hat. The abortion debate may never be the same.

The scene never fails to give goose bumps: the baby, just seconds old and still dewy from the womb, is lifted into the arms of its exhausted but blissful parents. They gaze adoringly as their new child stretches and squirms, scrunches its mouth and opens its eyes. To anyone watching this tender vignette, the message is unmistakable. Birth is the beginning of it all, ground zero, the moment from which the clock starts ticking.

Not so, declares Janet DiPietro. Birth may be a grand occasion, says the Johns Hopkins University psychologist, but "it is a trivial event in development. Nothing neurologically interesting happens." Armed with highly sensitive and sophisticated monitoring gear, DiPietro and other researchers today are discovering that the real action starts weeks earlier. At 32 weeks of gestation - two months before a baby is considered fully prepared for the world, or "at term" - a fetus is behaving almost exactly as a newborn. And it continues to do so for the next 12 weeks.

Dr. DiPietro's work is cutting-edge and contributes signficantly to the field of fetal programming and prenatal psychology. She highlightsthe sentience of the gestating baby and provides evidence for the prenatal period being the most critical period of development in the history of the human being. I am, however, surprised that she would then say, "Birth may be a grand occasion, but it is a trivial event in development. Nothing interesting happens." Say, what? Just when ya think someone is brilliant -- but that is the nature of most of scientists who bring us great findings. They are single-minded, focused on their passion and piece of the puzzle -- often unable to see or fit the other pieces together to make a whole picture. Some of us, non-doctors and natural birth advocates and homebirthers, are able to see from a wider perspective and quite capable of putting pieces together. In fact, it is often the inexperienced, young researcher who has the broader scope and asks the most crucial questions that lead to deeper understandings. Listen to Candace Pert's story. "Molecules of Emotion" as a young, female researcher and her discovery of receptor sites that has lead to many advancements.

Back to my point, birth is the journey OF THE BABY'S that transforms one from total dependence upon the mother to being a separate and individual being - physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually - and, yet it is medically and scientifically trivial? And, that folks, is a problem in our society today. As we observe the manifestation of ACOG's seventy-seven years of promotion of birth as dangerous and deathly we see a society of women who are bought into believing that their bodies are dysfunctional and incapable of birthing without interventions. They now buy into the belief that birth is about the woman, about their needs and rights to pain relief - above the logical, physiological knowledge and need of the baby's to be not be born "under the influence" of drugs. Womens' perspective is that the birth is her birth and about her and her needs -- mostly about being "painfree." This is seen in home and hospital births -- the insistence on a homebirth when mother is high-risk or indications are it is not right AND the insistence on having a planned cesarean. Neither necessarily fully consider what is best for the baby. Considering the focus on the mother's experience and her need for easy, painfree birth only gifted by obstetrics and the prenatal 32 week baby being behaviorally similar to the newborn, how is it that birth for the baby, as reported by ascientist, is "trivial?"

Birth is a wondrous experience of both the completion and the beginning of the Baby. In that brief, but perhaps most defining experience of life one does the monumental task of separating from the Mother’s womb and into her arms and to her breasts, in relationship with the Father. Within seconds of this monumental, not at all trival, passage from the womb to the world, the baby's body is transitioning from being a water breathing being to being an air breathing being. Heart valves are transitioning. Every body and organ function done by the mother's body for the baby is now the baby's -- within seconds and minutes these baby previously symbiotic with the mother is now a totally, physiologically independent human. That process has no bearing on the emotions, psychology, physiology, or spiritually of the baby? And, it's not life long? HOW crazy is this thinking that birth is trival and that whatever happens it doesn't matter --- since the belief is that the brain is not functioning and recording during this experience?

From conception forward there is not moment that is not critical to the development of we are as a human. When two cells a sperm and an egg become the one and begin dividing into who one is to be, the baby never ceases to be in relationship to the Mother and the Father’s genetics, perceptions, and life experiences. Every Baby, therefore, is created and birthed in the likeness of the Mother and Father. Conception, gestation, and labor and birth, then, are the one ongoing biological and spiritual journey between three souls that continues throughout the lifetime. Some of us believe that we are unable to progress in our personal and spiritual journey until we deal with who we are at this earliest level -- until we embrace who we are as the union of the sperm and the egg. We can run away and be alienated from our parent, but we are, in essence, that sperm or egg. How they came together, how we were grown in their lives, and how we are birthed is ours. The baby can not get away from it.

A Baby’s birth belongs to this triad of Father-Baby-Mother. Their experience of birth should not be any more of a medical, legal, financial, or politically dictated event than is their conception and gestation of their little one. Birth IS the baby’s birth and she or he is the responsibility of the Mother and Father. Yes, I know fathers are absent, I acknowledge that. My perspective is one from a cellular, energetic perspective. One of the things I now know and believe strongly is that we are the union of our sperm and egg. We are connected to that genetic, ancestral history whether the parent is physically present or not.

With the birthing woman and man’s experience acknowledged, if society were to adopt the attitude that “Birth is about the Baby”, it would not only utterly and profoundly change the way our society treats babies. There would be a scientific, religious, educational, medical, and legal demand to do whatever we do with consciousness -- in vetro fertilization with sperm donor, focus of our resources on supporting mothers in harmonious and healthy gestation, we would not induce baby’s labor, nor use drugs, unless medically necessary and then we would do so with deepest regardless and awareness of how it is impacting the human baby. We would embrace birth as a defining human experience and critical time in brain development.

What about labor and birth?? Why the "black hole" or "black out?"
Every one of these fields, in their scientific literature and language refers to human birth as “pre-natal” and “post-natal. Not one, especially medicine and psychology, acknowledges the biological and scientific fact that the human baby is aware at birth and that the birth experience is a critical time in brain development. Even the most important researchers in my personal study, my academic and scientific heroes whose work provides the foundation for my work (Wirth and Nathanielsz), do not make reference to birth itself; it is pre and post. Even the Kings College of London’s Perinatal Psychiatry web page states, “The Section aims to improve knowledge and understanding about mental illness during pregnancy and postnatally.” Perinatal means the period of birth. Are they then looking at pregnancy and postpartum for answers regarding mental health? That's odd.

We need to look at our languaging -- it illuminates our beliefs and attitudes. We are looking at all sort of issues of the developing human being -- environment, toxins, nutrition, stresses during prenatal and postnatal, but not during labor and birth. First Dr. DiPeitri says the 32 week old fetus is as sentient as a newborn and then says the experience of birth isn't important. What is up with this logic? Drugs, herbs, and hormones to induce that interfere with the baby's hormonal development and initiation of labor and epidural anesthesia with fentanyl and narcotics, hurried labor, forced pushing, or surgical birth is trivial?? And the billions of neurons (most we'll have) at birth are like, what? Shut-off??

Looking at the impact of labor and birth on the baby – body, mind and soul - is a perspective whose time has come. Doctors leaving obstetrics and medicine because of malpractice issues and the United States ranking among the lowest in maternal and infant mortality. Our mental health, social, and educational systems wrangling for money for programs that apparently do not solve the problems; in fact, more children than ever are suicidal, abused, on drugs, with more physical and medical issues than ever in history. Is not time then to look at the totality of the conception through birth process?

We are culturally desensitized to the period of labor and birth. When not specified, our mind does not embrace the concept. This omission is not without a historical reason. Society is in a collective denial. Ninety percent of us of alive in the United States have been born “under the influence” of drugs -- so it is no wonder women who in any other situation would not use drugs for herself or her baby, and father’s who would in another situation be a roaring protective father stand by helpless and numb and watch others manipulate, force, and manhandle their baby.

One hundred years of birthing our babies “under the influence” of drugs, we now have a social collective “Black out” regarding what we are doing to our babies.

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