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, March 29, 2007

Midwives to the rescue in Sub Sahara Africa

It just so happens I spoke at length yesterday with Sudy Storm, DEM, from Global Midwives in Ashland, Oregon. Check out this site,
(new site coming soon) to read about their five year program to train midwives in Sierra Leone.

I am so glad I had this conversation before reading about the UN plan to circumcise heterosexual men in sub-Sahara, Africa to prevent HIV. This is a group that needs our support. We can DO SOMETHING. We can support groups like Global Midwives with gifts of time, talent, or treasure. MONEY.

The clinic where this midwifery team is working is a four hour walk to the river, a boat ride across the river, and then IF there is a vehicle available it is a nineteen mile drive on rough roads to the nearest hospital. Hospital birth is not a possibility. Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) are now being trained in midwifery skills to attend births in their community. Women WALK FOUR HOURS to attend prenatal and childbirth classes.

The group was there in December and is returning in June. Sudy's voice exuded love as she spoke of the women and she can't wait to get back there. She reminded me of a book I read about trusting in God's will for us -- the author said people are afraid to give their will over to God for fear they'll be sent to some remote place, but that God doesn't send us to Africa until God gives us the Love for Africans in our heart. Those of us for whom the travel is not our calling -- we can still be called to support those who do go.

The Global Midwives are working closely with the Ministry of Health to create sustainability. There are only 65 doctors in the country. Doctors and hospitals can not be the answer for them. Previous non-profits have come and built many hospitals but there are not supplies, stafff, or money for upkeep of buildings. Even in the US, doctors do not want to live in and practice in rural areas. It sickens me -- the disparity between our standard of living and those in third world countries. Rather than spending billions of dollars in Iraq or in 30%+ cesarean section rate here in the US, why are we not doing something to contribute to world poverty and to decreasing the maternal and infant mortality rates in these countries?

George Bush vetoed the legislation in 2006 (no money? or no will?) asking the US for help. the Child and Newborn Act (HR 4222) asked for a new funds and a comphrensive Us strategy for improving newborn, child, and maternal health. HA!! What a HOOT! The US leading the strategy to lower maternal and infant maternal loss? When other industrialized countries are better than the US. Maybe the US could give the money to LATVIA to develop the strategy.
05/08/mothers.index/index.html. So, while the idea of the US leadership vetoing this is maddening, it is also heartening. The US answer would be to build surgerical suites with no ability or economy to support our way of birth. The Gates Foundation says we could save 700,000 lives by spending one billion dollars to make the improvements to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in ONE African country --- WITHOUT building ONE hospital. We know how to do it here and we know how to do it there.

The Save the Children report, which analyzed data from governments, research institutions and international agencies, found higher newborn death rates among U.S. minorities and disadvantaged groups. For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole, with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births.

It's criminal negligence against women and children that the US continues upon this path of not resolving mortality rates for women here and around the world.

Sudy says that their project is meeting number four and five of the Child and Newborn Act. YOU GO, GIRLS..... what can you do to support them?

The Gates Foundation funded the SAVE THE CHILDREN to invest in improving maternal and infant mortality in the world based on the UN Millenium Development Goals:
For most children in the developing world, the most dangerous day of their lives is their birthday. (Amy Tuteur uses that line all the time to promote her agenda that midwives and homebirth is not safe. It is so arrogant to do so refering to American birth where the mortality rates are higher than industrialized nations where midwives are respected. For children in third world countries who have neither midwives or medical supplies and physicans, this is very true. It is because of nutrition, sanitation, and infection that women and babies die. It is selfish and ignorant for physicians in this country to undermine midwifery care and to ignore the plight of millions of women and babies while they manipulate (induce), drug, and chop the babies from American women. Where is the compassion for our own women and children? When obstetrics finds that perhaps then they can contribute to a more harmonious world. )

Of more than 10 million children under the age of 5 who die each year, about 1 in 5—an estimated 2 million babies—die within the first 24 hours of life, according to the seventh annual State of the World’s Mothers report issued today by Save the Children, a global independent humanitarian organisation. According to the report, an additional 1 million babies die during days 2 through 7. A total of 4 million babies die during the first month of life.

“The first hours, days and weeks of a baby’s life are critical. Yet, only a tiny minority of babies in poor countries receive proper heath care during this highly vulnerable period,” said Save the Children Australia CEO, Margaret Douglas, in issuing the report. “The most simple health measures taken for granted in Australia can mean the difference between life and death for these babies. Low-cost interventions such as immunising women against tetanus and providing a skilled attendant at birth could reduce newborn deaths by as much as 70 percent if provided universally.”

The report notes that most newborn deaths are the result of preventable or treatable causes such as infections, complications at birth and low birth weight.

“Newborn deaths are one of the world’s most neglected heath problems,” said Ms. Douglas. “While there has been significant progress in reducing deaths among children under age 5 over the past decade, we have made little progress in reducing mortality rates for babies during the first month of life. In fact, newborn deaths are so common in many parts of the developing world that parents put off naming their babies until they are a week to 3 months old.”

More about Sierra Leone, Africa


Trish said...

Midwives on Missions of Service has returned several times to Sierra Leone to support community organizing and to provide training. We've updated the website, too:

Trish said...

Midwives on Missions of Service has returned several times to Sierra Leone to support community organizing and to provide training. We've updated the website, too:

"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