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, March 05, 2007

Mother's Guilt

Last night I was speaking with a mother of a twenty-month old who was born at home in water. She was telling me about having several gall bladder episodes or "attacks" as anyone who has experienced one will tell you. During a visit to the hospital a perinatologist was consulting with her and suggested that she induce by gestational age of thirty-eight weeks. She had described this fellow as a wonderful, compassionate man and said she was nearly convinced of the need to do so. Her husband intervened and reminded her of what she really wanted and asked, "Are you sure?" Yeah, for protective, aware, involved dads!! AND, this helped to get out of fear and to remember how strongly she was for having a natural, home, waterbirth. She was "willing to eat chicken broth for however long it took" for her baby to be ready. "Waiting for BABY to be ready" -- oh, how I love those words from a mother. This mother was willing to be in pain, and be uncomfortable and inconvenienced so that her baby had optimal time and importantly, so he was able to begin HIS labor and birth process.

I am so very tired of the conversations about how mother's who choose hospital birth (inducing, narcotic drugs in their spine, surgical birth) have their baby's best interest in mind and those who chose homebirth or natural birth are thinking of themselves. What about best interest in heart? Anyway, most women are seduced by the misrepresentation of birth in the hospital, or they are maniuplated and tricked. I bow to the midwives who have brought midwifery back and the focus of being "with women" in labor and birth. AND, my mission is to stretch even theirs and society's minds (and hearts) just a liiiiittle -- no a lot more -- by challenging you all to consider whose birth it actually is. It's the baby's birth, not the mother's.

Mother and baby are BOTH laboring and it is the BABY'S birth, not the mother's. She had her birth --- when she entered this world. The mother's uterus is working, of course, but the baby is not a blob being forced out. The baby is fully aware and working with the mother. The baby is often referred to as the "passenger" in ob, rn, and midwifery textbooks. However, truly, the baby is the DRIVER -- very little of labor and birth is within the mental, neocortex control of the mother. Her body takes over and she can only surrender and go within to the ancient part of her who knows what to do. The mother is the vehicle -- the baby is the driver. No passengers here, baby. The baby's physiology is very much in the lead position. Induction is inducing the BABY's labor and process. Baby indicates to mother hormonally when s/he is ready and mother's body RESPONDS. This dynamic continues throughout labor and birth. The baby's feet work with the mother's uterus --- communicating during labor and birth. "Whoa, whoa ... back off a little while I negotiate this tight musculature and liagments," as his feet stop stimulating the uterus. An induced uterus can't respond. It continues forcing and ramming the baby on through. Baby's feel this and it harms their relationship with their mother.

When a woman's uterus is forced to begin contracting with artificial hormones her uterus is no longer working with her WHOLE SELF and her consciousness and her body are no longer able to work with and communicate with her baby. This felt throughout her body. It is a disruption and a loss that is often without words. It runs her life though. Her hormones -- the ones creating labor and birth for eons -- are disrupted. Anyone who has had both natural and induced labor will attest to the fact that induced labor is horrific. Natural labor can be difficult but it is manageable. A woman builds up to the intensity. Induced is intense from the onset and never backs off. Almost always, baby is not in the position best for birthing when not his time, nor prepared, nor likely in the correst position. Whatever position baby is in -- like a square peg forced through a round hole -- that is the route the baby must take. Supine position means her pelvis is not going to be able to adapt.

Induced labor is so unmanageable that few women can do it without epidural anesthesia. Women today do not know what non-induced labor is like -- stories about induced labor have created a social climate of fear around ANY labor. The medical answer and miracle -- epidural anesthesia with narcotic and opiod fentanyl is equally promoted as safe though not shown to be so, and the effect on mother and baby is denied.

What effect?? Physiologically, for the lifetime, who really knows??? Emotionally and psychologically, a baby and the mother are NOT able to work together during induced and drugged labor and birth. This process of leaving the mother's body -- labor and birth -- is a critical time and experience physiologically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The experience of labor and birth establishes the TEMPLATE for the mother-baby relationship. Once one knows it, one can observe the very dynamics of induction and labor without connection in the mother-child relationship, no matter how old the child is. In healing of induced birth babies kick and kick showing their fear and frustration at mother's disconnect and their inability to manage their own birth. They are pushed and forced from the womb from induction to coached pushing. How does this affect the mother and baby relationship? Think about it.

One of the most obvious effects is the baby's feeling that mother is pushing him or her against her own wishes -- babies have an intention for birth and their physiological process is ignored. Sometimes in labor this is dangerous -- and when a baby is in trouble in utero and the mother's uterus does not stop ramming him into danger or oxygen deprivation, it can be very tragic. Some of us are very lucky. I am convinced, as I have observed labor and this phenomenon of "failure to progress" at 5-7 cm that first, this is a transition the "hard part" of labor and birth, and this is where unresolved emotional issues come up for the mother. Second, and importantly when a mother is NOT medicated, when she feels safe and nurtured, nourished and hydrated, and not rushed, she CAN resolve them, and thirdly -- and THIS IS IMPORTANT --- when UNmedicated a woman's body will NEVER harm her baby. A woman's body will NOT force her baby into a dangerous spot. This time, though, is when doctors and anesthesiologists become the miracle for the mother. She doesn't have to deal with her emotional stuff OR her body, or her baby's labor. HOWEVER, the emotional or structural issues STILL EXIST and NOW it exists IN THE MOTHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC, usually with more consequences from the drugs and interventions, violations, and feelings of failure. Now coupled with mother's emotions. Big stuff, eh?

Situations happen in homebirth as well as hospital birth, but the difference is the mother has the time to work them through. I read a wonderful birth story on-line yesterday --- homebirth and in the water, with long delays in the labor. The mother reported that as the head emerged the cord was wrapped and short. Her mother unwrapped the cord and the baby was born. The cord was, the mother wrote, "no big deal." EXCUSE ME?! The cord around any baby's neck is a HUGE deal. Let me ask you, dear adult reader, if you know you had the cord around your neck, do you often feel "held back" or like no matter what you do you can't quite get there? Do you feel like you can never win? There is always a but or an obstacle? Are you driven to succeed and quite often are successful, but still feel like a failure or the effort it takes is exhausting, if not downright death defying??? Dr. William Emerson, grandfather of the pre and perinatal psychology field has name the psychological dynamic of cord trauma as "completion ambivalence." The action of the mother's uterus pushes the baby forward. Oxygen may be compromised. This is MORE likely to happen with induction and when hospital caregivers expect a regular, never-changing pattern in labor. The baby pulls back and this dynamic as people in the "surround" are saying things like "failure to progress". Remember, everything is imprinted on the baby's brain during labor and birth because is it part of the baby's experience. If this sounds a little far fetched, remember that we scientifically know nowt that babies are hearing in the womb from six months gestation and that they learn in the womb, so please consider the LOGIC that the baby is also learning from the birth experience. Did I digress? Darn. HOW could a laboring and birthing baby NOT BE hearing, feeling, sensing everything going on in the "womb surround" -- the environment his mother is in.

Let me repeat --- I believe that when a mother is NON-medicated HER BODY KNOWS what is going on with the baby, just as HER BODY knew how to conceive, build, and support her baby without her NEOCORTEX knowing. When she is NOT drugged her body simply will not do anything to harm her baby. Midwives, especially homebirth midwives who are "hands-off" and allow the mother's process to guide know this. Medwives don't. Midwives who who spend a lot of time and effort with the mother -- hours and days of trying this and that, may I suggest you engage the baby prenatally and include the baby in the planning of birth, the laboring progress, and the birthing? Rather than inducing with herbs and castor oil, or accupuncture, talk to the baby, support the mother's body to clear what she needs to.

Several examples of how the mother's body and the baby knows what is happening and when NOT medicated the mother's body WILL NOT FORCE or HARM her BABY:

I know a woman who labored for eight hours without progressing. Her doctor was out of town and the on-call doctor ignored her -- thankfully, except to pull the placenta out too roughly. After eight hours of laboring at 3 cm, the mother's uterus went from 3cm to full in very short time and baby was born -- with cord around his neck. HIS dynamic with his mother is that he and his mother work together steadily, calmly, and with respect to HIS timing, and when he is ready he does it. Amazing things. As Dr. William Emerson says, a baby with a traumatic birth and the opportunity to heal is an amazing human. He learned to walk and talk with this dynamic -- quietly figuring it out, working and practicing and then suddenly he has it all down and he just does it. Understanding the birth template helps mother and child throughout life. A mother is better able to advocate for her child in school and other settings.

I attended a birth in the hospital where the mother was unmedicated. AGAIN, the doctor was out of town and she had the on-call doctor who never came until the very, very last moment -- actually, she was forced to wait fifteen minutes for him to arrive. When I first arrived I noted that she had a hip issue (CranioSacral perception). Most women do have unresolved structural issues with their pelvis -- women will almost ALWAYS, the laboring woman will hike a leg up on a stool, chair, or bed as helps her pelvis open. At one point the time in between her contractions went double the time it had been. I began to work structurally on her hip. As I did she recalled a severe injury to her ankle and hip as a professional volleyball player. The BODY KNOWS. Immediately, her hip softened, and we both felt the baby move down. The next contraction made up for the time between the last few and labor progressed harder, but smoothly and quickly to completion. (Until the nurse who just arrived back from a helicopter pickup of a newborn and still panicked, pushed the mother over on her back and held her down insisting she wait for the doctor.) This mother had insisted on no induction and no epidural after her birth was induced for one high BP and had been difficult because of the interventions. Had she been induced, HER UTERUS would NOT have stopped to allow the baby to maneuver through a "tight spot" from the mother's physical and/or emotional history. Induced babies are rammed through. There is no way this is safe or inconsequential for the baby. Where are the brains scans to prove it? I am also convinced that the REAL unbearable pain women have is from structural issues, not uterine contractions.

Last year I attended a birth where the mother intended to have no drugs. The baby's membranes naturally ruptured early one morning. (The membranes, fluids, and placenta belong to the baby, so what we do to them we do to the baby. An outsider rupturing the membranes is felt as a violation by the baby.) Of course, once the membranes rupture, the mom and baby are the time frames of outside authorities --- based on hospital policies, based on germs, ane not based on what the baby needs. This mother labored throughout the day and night and would not progress past seven cm. Finally, as her time "was up" she tried Pitocin. Still nothing. She and her partner "chose" a cesarean. There really was no choice. I heard the surgical suite being reserved hours before when they started the Pit. The physician's earlier guess of "baby will be here by 4:30" was pretty darn close. Imagine that. I was in the surgery and I saw the baby's cord --- it went up his front and over his shoulder and then up between his legs. First, WHAT is the purpose of sonograms if they detect that? Second, his mother's body -- BECAUSE she was NOT MEDICATED -- KNEW not to push her child, especially in the time frame they were alloted. Perhaps, this baby is actually one of those who was better served by surgical birth, rather than birthing with the obvious potential of serious compromise of the cord. Oh, and, this is the first birth in three years where I've seen the doctor before ten minutes before the birth. He was there multiple times. Restored my faith in OB's, on that count.

As the mama I spoke with last night shared her story (of triumph on many levels -- that those were seduced by the kind concern and medical scare tactics will somehow accuse these women of being rude because they talk about it) ,I was thinking of my previous post about a woman's "right" to choose non-medically necessary interventions (induction because she's tired of being pregnant, because it's socially "normal" and expected, because of her schedule, because of the doctor's schedule.) Induction almost always involves the use of narcotic epidural anesthesia (with fentanyl that the US Defense Department classifies as a "chemical weapon").
I'll say it again, a woman does not have the "right" to choose to induce and use epidural narcotics for any non-medical reason, and I have proposed before that this "socialization" by the medical field that this is about WOMEN's RIGHTS and CHOICE is BS.

Had this mother been seduced by the perinatologist with all of the "worst case scenario" playing upon her tiredness of pregnancy and her episodic gall bladder pain she would NOT have had the NON-MEDICATED, homebirth waterbirth that she had planned. Any number of possibilities could have happened. Chances are, statistically -- and the obstetric peer-reviewed literature indicates this is so --- this mother's induction would have resulted in epidural anesthesia, and very likely an "emergency cesarean", separation from her baby and many other possibilities.


The bottom line is that it is a WOMAN and her BABY who will have to LIVE WITH the CHOICES during labor and birth. Had the mother I spoke with last night been seduced into induction by the kind perinatologist, she would have to spend inordinate amounts of time "justifying" what feels like a "not so good" if not downright "bad outcome" to her later. Or, she might have "lied" to herself about it, easily done when numbed with narcotics. When she lives through an ordeal like too many women we all know and love do, it is the WOMAN who must live with her "choices". Way too often this comes out in anger at loved ones, displaced from those who inflicted the wounds. For them, the medical caregivers, a live baby is good enough, but for the woman and the baby, they must LIVE it. for both mother and baby, their BODY KNOWS, their HEAD KNOWS, their HEART KNOWS , their pituitary and hypothalamus and limbic system knows. Numb, angry, or in the process of healing, they LIVE IT, one way or another.

BIRTHING OUR BABY from our body and to our breasts, and the violations, lies, deceit, and disempowerment that disrupt this --- this is the SOURCE of MOTHER'S GUILT.

Stop it!

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