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

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Getting it off my chest ....

I am tired of hearing natural birth, homebirth, and midwivery advocates (when attacked for their beliefs) saying things like, "I never said a woman can't make her own choices." We are so afraid of taking away choice from another woman. And, yet, the medical machine is the manufacturing place of taking away choice from a woman - under the guise of choice. Narcotic drugs are disempowering -- no matter when they are used, but especially during a woman's process of giving birth. I challenge you to consider how we collaborate with the establishment to disempower women and to create a warrior society by being permissive about the use of drugs and control in birth.

"You've come a long way, baby" ... some of you will remember the old Virginia Slims commercials in the seventies that touched our needs to be our own person (when we were being sold the notion that we "could have it all" and "if it makes mama happy, baby is happy." Thirty year olds who spent ten hours a day in day care tell us otherwise now. ) We've also been sold that horribly wrong "bill of goods" that drugs are safe, our body can't birth without a man's help, and that labor and birth is not THE critically definining time for our mother-baby "personality" (relationship) because newborns don't feel or remember. Have you noticed you have a "personality" with each of your children? Any mother who birthed surgically and then vaginally can attest to this. We have been the proverbial frog in the ever increasing temperatures and we are boiling. Too many are disabled so as not to be able to hop out -- they didn't realize that the heat was disabling them. THAT is the nature of narcotic drug use, Sisters. (And, brothers born to women "under the influence.")

THIRTY YEARS later, with NO RESEARCH to show drugs are safe for the baby, I believe a woman does not have the basic "right" to choose to use drugs in labor and birth. Certainly, the medical profession does not have the right to promote drugs as safe and to denigrate the decades of research indicating the need for trauma healing after birth. We don't have to cajole women who "choose" (go along with) drugs nor do we have to defend our beliefs to the status quo - drug dealers (OB's). Someone has to demand that science and doctor's feet "be held to the fire" -- and do the right thing. Drugs are not safe for the birthing woman and baby. Let it be consumers -- WOMEN who will no longer be mislead and drugged during the most powerful experience her body can do -- conceive, build, and birth another human being. Doctors are misguided in their "scientific beliefs" about the safety of epidural. It's about control, not choice.

The growing cultural language in birth is about “maternal choice” and “maternal satisfaction” in the medical propagation of drugs as safe, and interventions as lifesaving without consequence to her to her baby. Most of this is done under the guise of “pain relief” for the mother without regard to the baby. How did it come to be that the woman’s rights supercede those of her baby’s? Even when life saving and necessary, drugs and interventions leave a life long impact and physical, emotional, and psychological consequences. We don't do ourselves or our society any favors by denying this.

Please don’t yell at me, but I wonder if the cultural evolution from women having the right over their bodies and to choose to end or keep a pregnancy has lead us to a woman having the right to drugs for pain relief without regard for the effect on the baby. Without getting into a debate about abortion, all I am saying is, once she makes the choice to carry the baby and give birth does she not forego some of her "rights"? Does she still have the right to do and consume whatever she wants during pregnancy? No, society exerts some “control” via “science” and “nutrition” about what is expected to create a healthy baby. Why not during labor and birth as well? And, when she does not forego some of her needs (i.e., alcohol and nicotine) does she not set herself up for a lifetime of mother's guilt? A woman can not lie to deepest inner self and her body. Mother's guilt is real and all the social and pscyho babble we can find doesn't change the inner truth.

A woman can justify in her head the use of narcotics and being told it was safe, but her body and inner knowing will scream the truth throughout her lifetime. Drugs used in obstetrics, narcotics, are not shown to be safe for the birthing baby before using. Narcotics are known to affect every aspect of the user’s life and are a “controlled substance.” Why is it “fine” for a woman to have the right to choose narcotics (and interventions) that are dangerous for no other reason than for her own convenience and needs? Pain relief? There are healthy alternatives to pain relief. She gives up alcohol for ten months, doesn't she? Women also have ability to birth without drugs. And, why is it “fine” for obstetricians to support and allow drug use in birth, even whilst they will bear the financial responsibility for “bad outcomes” often associated with interventionist births (induction and epidural anesthesia)?

Lest you think I am too harsh, I am profoundly concerned for the women and babies who must live their most significant relationship impaired and harmed. They will live life with their core needs disrupted, disresprected, and wounded. I did so for decades -- tried to muddle through mothering and parenting "the best I could" and even doing "attachment parenting" before it had a name. Yeah, I had a good relationship with my baby and still do -- so for twenty-five years I went along with, if not defended medicalized birth. My oldest was twenty-five when I set upon the course of healing my deepest woundings -- my birth and theirs, drugs, interventions, violations, disempowerment, disregard of my self and body as a birthing woman. This was the root. I came to acknowledge that the deepest woundings from our birth experience were the "issues" in our relationship. We were trauma bonded. We were both "impaired" by drugs and interruptions and demands of others. As a woman I had been deeply violated in my most vulnerable time. WHY!?! to serve our doctor and hospital needs. That's BS. Without the understanding of society for this wounding it goes unrecognized and unhealed in the majority of women and their babies. I will no longer be silent about it. We have the technology and know how to heal us heal our past experience and to participate in changing it for women. Women have the "right" to be treated fairly, gently, and responsibly by those who care for her in birth.

For women and babies who must utilize drugs and interventions the field of pre and perinatal psychology shows us how to MEDIATE the EFFECTS, how to be conscious and mindful, and how to engage the baby. And, SO IMPORTANTLY, we know that in the first hours, days, and weeks of life we can heal the effects of the drugs and interventions. What's so hard or unscientific about that? How could one not see the value in supporting the newborn after birth?

Why am on a tear today? I was nearly harrassed to take drugs during my third child's birth. I finally gave in to a "little Demerol" at the end. That baby is now in Iraq. He and I have talked about the effects of this on him on the Five Stages of Birth on the baby's brain (Emerson and Castellino) --- zoning out at the ending/finishing part of a project. I am lamenting this today --- as I see three young soldiers were blown up today in Iraq. I pray that what I have come to learn in birth trauma healing -- and wrote about in response to a post yesterday -- that when we acknowledge our baby's experience we support him or her to heal, to transcend it.


Housefairy said...

My deepest respect and encouragement are with you on your healing journey. My favorite blog in the world is this one.

Baby Keeper said...

And,also with you, housefairy - deepest respect and encouragment are with you on your healing journey. I just read your blog -- so touched by your story of birthing your son, Mickey.

I also read your current one --- sounds to me like you are finding your voice. Some of us believe one can not reach the levels one wishes until one really deals with, embrace, and heal our origin (father-sperm and mother-egg)of whome we are from, no way of out it. It often comes with some moments like you recently had.

I hear ya. aaahhyyaayyaa yyaaayyyaaa.

"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