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

Monday, February 05, 2007

From the Womb to the World -- A Template for Living

L. Janel Martin-Miranda

We now know that the prenatal period is the foundation for health and wellness -- or pathology and pain. Personality, behavior, and health (i.e., blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, etc.) are all expressions of early uterine life. Evidence-based, peer-reviewed research in the last decade confirms this -- what we have intuitively known (and yet denied.) Conception and prenatal experiences determine the architecture of the brain and all body systems for the lifetime. We are concieved, gestated, and birthed in the biology of our mother's hormones, based on her experience and environment.

Simple logical - if one allows himself to consider the magnitude of this - tells us that the human being is built during the prenatal period and that this time must be pretty important, if not downright defining. The prenatal and birth experiences as DEFINING is what investigators and theorists in all aspects of science -- medicine and psychology -- are exploring and finding true. Scientists in physics, cellular biology,physiology, epidemology, ethology, fetal programming, animal research, medicine, psychology, and brain studies are all coming together to form the picture of the importance of the experience of the human being from conception, and earlier. (The mother's egg and father's sperm are each a living cell and has history and memory. We are the never-ending cellular tissue of our ancestors).

Everything the mother experiences is experienced by the conceiving, gestating, laboring, and birthing baby and is imprinted in the on the newborn baby's brain.

Labor and birth is the first physical, independent experience of the human being. As one transitions from the womb to the world this just might be the single, most significant and defining experience in the human's life. Labor and birth establishes a set of survival skills in the brain and body of the laboring and birthing baby. What happens here is critical for the human being for the lifetime -- are the mother and baby drugged, is it bright and noisy, with strangers and their time frames, rough treatment or is the woman in power of her own body, following and allowing hers and her baby's physiology to happen, quiet, dark, surrounded only by people who love her? This all matters -- every second -- in the experience of transitioning from uterine life in symbiotic connection with the mother to being an independently functioning being. It is critical for the human body-brain-soul still hormonally connected to the mother. Within seconds every system must work efficiently at birth.

At the moment of birth, we visually see and physically hold a completely separate, functioning human being -- one whose body AND brain has just completed a critical, monumental, development task. This is a being - a live and sacred being is not a blob impervious to drugs, boundary violations, separation, fear, and pain. How absurd this belief is -- that we can do whatever to babies and they don't feel or remember it. This human was a totally functional human being in the womb for months and his brain has a billion or so neurons at birth, already wiring up this experience. He knows his mother and families' voices and he knows language (having heard it over nine months) and the baby is known in science to be a SENSORY being. He is taking in whatever is happening via his senses. It is preverbal learning.

His or his body was and will continue to be regulated by the mother -- her heart, her nervous system, and her voice and touch will continue to support the survival of this new being. For months and years. My voice at the other end of the phone is still a source of safety and comfort to my adult child in need -- a calming to their nervous system. (It can work the other direction as well.) My heart and inner knowing often "feel" the need to connect across miles and oceans.

During birth how the mother and baby are cared for will be expressed in their lifelong relationship. Trauma to the head, neck, shoulders, and hips during the birth experience is the first physical experience, but especially to those born in the hospital. Unresolved and unacknowledged, the first traumas during birth is the cause of infant, child, and adult issues, including chronic pain and physical and emotional dysfunctions. Adult trips to physicians, chiropractors, and therapists are rooted in their very first physical and emotional experience. Birth. What keeps society from embracing and applying basic biology and physiology to birth -- so that we must reform how babies are born in hospitals? So that we make birth more gentle, more peaceful, more baby-centered, and support mother-child attachment?

What keeps one from observing simple physiological fact that babies remember birth? Most of us have been birthed "under the influence" of drugs and experienced a very violating transition from the womb to the world. Our own births create the template for both needing and fearing medical interventions. The denial of our own birth by previous generations who didn't know the impact of their actions feeds the politics (of medicine, the drug companies' influence, and insurance companies), denial (of a society who does not know how to forgive and change directions), and fear (of malpractice for doctors and guilt and shame for mothers and fathers).

Recognizing that prenatal development and labor and birth are keys to physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well being creates a monumental need for society to change how we treat women and babies in birth. It calls for an overhaul of every service we fund and provide for in our society. The effects of the prenatal and birth periods is totally unrecognized in medicine and psychology, and so solutions to the myriad of social and personal problems is ignored. For example, not even in addiction studies, autism, depression and violence or even basic parenting does our society look at the earliest brain development and birth experience (of baby and mother and father) for answers. The detrimental impact of drugs and interventions at birth is ignored, and the contribution of conscious conception (wanted children are happier), prenatal development (healthy body and brain) and natural, empowered birth (non-violent survival imprints) is overlooked.

Again, our own births and the collective denial supports the continuing denial of the importance of the prenatal and birth experiences as the foundation (cause, if you must) of the multitude of medical, emotional, psychological, educational issues in our society. To acknowledge this is to open a huge Pandora's box that require change -- PERSONAL, individual change as well as political and systemic change.

Changing how we conceive our babies, how we treat and support pregnant women, and how we treat women and babies in labor and birth. It would require looking at the science that supports the healing of trauma and the brain. It would require chaning the way we train professionals in medicine, psychology and anyone who works with birthing women, babies, and children.It requires individual awareness and consciousness of all. Doctors, nurses, midwives, and importantly, conceiving and birthing women and men.


Dylan Emrys, MA, Pre-and Perinatal Psychology said...

You said it exactly.

And for people who've ignoratly but unintentionally given birth and now have to live with knowing the impacts of their choices - or for adults who finally are coming to understand where their "issues" originate - what do we do?

Not many of us out there trained/learning to identify and address these issues in babies and adults.

I have found it very important not to give too much info to parents at once, but to dose it out so guilt and fear doesn't prevent them from moving forward...

I love all the info you post on this blog. You are a wealth of telling it like it is! Thanks.

Baby Keeper said...

"I love all the info you post on this blog. You are a wealth of telling it like it is! Thanks."

Thank you --- "You are a wealth of telling it like it is!" The world according to Janel anyway.

Absolutely, you bring up an important point. It is a challenge for us -- as mother's, father's, grandparent's, doctors, nurses, doulas and midwives -- to really embrace the truth about the sentience of the newborn and the logical and obvious understanding that the brain that is developing, laboring, and birthing is taking it all in. I include midwives here, because, frankly, I have not met many midwives, doulas, and homebirth physicians who really get how critical everything they say and do in the presence of a pregnant or birthing woman is for the baby in the brain, emotionally, psychologically, physiologically, and spiritually.

I am always saying "it is the bad news - good news thing". It is so hard to realize what was done to us or the choices we made that hurt our own child, (oooh, such a place of anger and violation that we are taught to ignore and numb) but the good news is that there is so much cutting-edge work being done to support healing and reconnecting ... at any age. I have worked with women in their seventies to heal aspects of their birth of their babies. People who want to get to the "bottom of" their "issues" and those who are on a spiritual journey always have and always will end up looking at their conception through infancy period, and who they are as the embodiment of the egg and sperm. Anyone seeking personal evolution or enlightment must embrace who they are in terms of their mother and father and their lineage.

This is good time to repeat some cutting edge techniques for healing prenatal and birth traumas. Sometimes acceptance is impeded by perceptions of earlier works -- for example, "rebirthing" has a bad rap. People have heard of children dying from rebirthing experiences. The current modalites, listed below, are not in this category. The biodynamic and upledger models of body work, polarity, and Peter Levine's trauma work which are the foundation of the work I do, are NOT about taking a person through a re-experiencing of the trauma or a catharsis. Who wants to do that?

Every birth has aspects of beauty, joy, and pain, fear, and trauma. Ignoring the dark side disallows the gifts of who we truly are.

Truly, the most valuable aspect of embracing the knowing of the human baby as a fully present and conscious being whose brain is recording every second of the experience, is the understanding that no matter what happened in birth, the traumatic aspects of and how they impacted the RELATIONSHIP between mother and child, can be healed early on. When the trauma is acknowledged, not ignored, and the relationship restored (not perpetuated through numb unknowing -- how we often hurt and disregard one another) the wounding is not likely to become dysfunction in need of meds and surgery, or even ongoing chiropractic, massage, and psychotherapy to maintain a mediocre level of life or be painfree for awhile. Babies who receive compassionate touch and acknowledgement regarding their experience of coming into the world, and who have the opportunity to reconnect with the mother and feel safe, supported, wanted, seen, etc. -- they will be the humans that most of us yearn to be.

Reviewing the resources I have previously listed:

UK has a lot of osteopathic and craniosacral practitioners who specialize in birth trauma healing.

"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