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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prenatal Stress

Prenatal Stress -- The "bad news" and the "good news"

Clinicians must recognize stress during pregnancy

Source: Royal Society of MedicineVivette Glover speaks about her work on the effects the psychopathology of pregnant women has on the developing fetus. An expert speaking at the Royal Society of Medicine's conference on Reproductive Psychiatry this week called for increased recognition of the effect stress during pregnancy has on the unborn child.

Vivette Glover, from Imperial College London in the UK, commented that maternal stress during pregnancy might predispose babies to emotional, behavioral, and cognitive problems in later life. "We need to recognize stress early in pregnancy and we need to provide greater help for each woman affected by it," she said.

Glover's study "Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children" shows that women who are overly anxious while pregnant can double their infant's risk of behavioral problems in later life. This translates into 15% of the UK's population with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder being attributable to prenatal stress. Glover also mentioned a study due to be published this year by Bergman which demonstrates that mothers who experience more than three "life events" while pregnant deliver babies with an average IQ of 90 instead of the population's average of 100. Life events included mental illness, divorce, and arguing with a partner.

Glover suggests that stressed mothers may suffer an increase in cortisol levels which then crosses the transplacental passage and affects the baby. She concluded: "Stress has a broad spectrum of adverse effects on the developing fetus and the future child. Its effects may be modified by sensitive postnatal care or made worse by insensitive or harsh parenting."

Ms. Glover's work calls for recognition of the effects of prental stress. This is great news to me, and then I have to wonder, so what will the clinicians (I presume that is the obstetrician, midwife) do when they recognize it? They aren't trained to deal with it. They aren't even trained that they are participating in programming this being and in preparing for birth. Speaking of birth, clinicians are zero aware of the impact of their stress-causing practices and behavior on the mother and baby. This is often the "bad news" as those of us who have already birthed and parented learn of this and what we didn't know. I like to extend it to be the "bad news" for obstetrics and their believers as they all begin to extend the knowledge of how stress effects the prenate to how stress affects the laboring and birthing baby. All of the "bad news" can be mediated by the "good news" of the technology and techniques in energy psychology and medicine, the foundations for the healing modalities of prenatal and birth trauma healing.

Clinicians unaware of their stressful impact and consequences on the baby. Effects can be modified by senistive post natal care or made worse by insensitive or harsh parenting. Sigh. Breathing. I am self-regulating my emotions and reactions to this. Uhhhhhh. I didn't want to swear. Prenatal and postnatal stress (and care) but what about labor and birth?!?!?! I would like to point out the "black-hole" in research and scientific findings about the development of the human being. Our language is always prenatal or postnatal when we speak of what affects a human being. What is up with that!? Inevitably, researchers of all ranks will omit LABOR AND BIRTH from these statements. Even my hero, Peter Nathanielsz, PhD and MD (OB), author of Life in the Womb: the Origin of Health and Disease does it. He speaks eloquently and magnificently of the prenatal development and how the human being's pituitary led stress axis is being established in utero. He shares decades of epidemiological and laboratory research to show how the human being is being developed to live and thrive in a particular environment -- whatever the prenatal life is. He makes the case for prenatal development dependent upon the mother and her choices and explains how the baby begins labor and the hormones between them work. Duh. Makes sense to me. But, his references to medical caregivers are "pre and postnatal". What is up with that, I ask you again? Frederick Wirth, MD, a neonatologist, wrote, Prenatal Parenting an extraordinary book about how the mother's emotional and mental states affect and create her baby's personality, temperament, IQ, as well as physical heath. His work draws upon his decades caring for premature babies. He also excludes the experience of LABOR AND BIRTH in his book. He recognizes this now and is now a member of the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH at

Cellular biologist, Bruce Lipton, PhD, also a member of APPPAH, is an advocate of aware, safe, and gentle birth. He describes how the cell, whether the first one of us, the zygote, or the collective trillions of us at six months gestation or during labor and birth, is either in GROWTH or PROTECTION. He gives us a scientific understanding of the PERCEPTION of the first physical experience of the human -- conception -- via a hormonal experience. Was the conception during a situation of fear or love? His book is The Biology of Belief. Michel Odent, MD, obviously is an advocate for gentle labor and birth and minimal intrusions by other persons. In his book, Primal Health he also discusses in depth the physiology of the human being and how critical the prenatal, labor and birth, and early infancy period is for the lifetime.

Meanwhile, modern life is very stressful. How could stressed out parents and stressed out doctors and nurses NOT stress a birthing baby?? Life is stressful. Manybabies are being conceived while their parents are soldiers at war. Many, many babies are being conceived by women who are not emotionally, physically, and/or financially prepared for motherhood - even if they may want a baby. We can not take away the rights of a woman to conceive a child in this country. I ponder this A LOT. As a teenage mother myself, I would be the first against it. But, what about the HUMAN being's right to be born wanted, love, and healthy at least, even if a woman is not capable of finanically supporting a baby on her own. My thirteen year old daughter and I just had an interesting conversation yesterday. Her best friend is Chinese. I was telling her I had viewers in China. We began to wonder -- well, I wondered to her and she is used to my wonderings-out-loud, about how it is that people in China actually limit their childbearing to one. And, what is that like for them? And, is there a high abortion rate? People are highly motivated to not conceive? How? We need that in America where no one may intefere with a woman's reproductive rights. Many things, I supposed, work to enforce the mandated one child law. Meanwhile, here in the US where "a woman's right" to reproduce is premo, her baby who is literally at her mercy, has few to none. As a society, if we can't say that a sixteen year old may not have a child how can we ensure that she is the best prepared for motherhood --- without making her dependent upon systems? My head has been spinning this one for years.

Birth is seen as the woman's experience, not the baby's. The focus is not on quality for the baby. Sacrificing one's needs temporarily for one's baby is really not seen as a virtue. Teenager and young adults aren't equipped to do so yet. In the US we have the greatest access to all means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, yet fifty percent are said to be unwanted. That is a lot of unwanted humans in this great country. There are a lot of motivations to have babies, unwanted or not, and a lot of psychological issues that lead women to conceive when unprepared for the parenting that a human baby needs to be a truly, fully functioning human being -- on any of the necessary levels of psychological, emotional, physical, and financial. For some reason, quite odd to me, the woman's rights supercede the rights of the human baby. I think this contributes to future serious consequences for the baby who will have to literally with with the choices of the woman. I think it provides a lack of support and care for the woman that contributes unnecessary, preventable future guilt.

So young women are exerting their rights and freedoms -- the right to bear children. Our abstinence programs conflict with our media bombardment of sexual images. Our legislative and political agendas (ie, getting women off welfare, tort reform in OB that merely caps the award limits with ZERO contemplation of the serious, serious issues in OB that harm a large percent of all babies and women) conflict with an industry of social programs to help but that provide a significant strata of employed women. I have said it before, I believe obstetric medicine is the manufacturing place of deficits that supports mulitple human services to maintain their existence. In other words, a significant number of women are either on the welfare rolls or employed in low paying employment (even with MA degrees) to help women get, keep, get off services, and to help with the myriad of emotional, physical, educational, and parenting needs --- addiction programs, work programs, counseling, training, etc., etc., etc.

Twenty-five years ago being a single pregnant woman was no so socially acceptable. There were some good things about that in my opinion. A woman did not have to work and care for herself and her baby alone - even if she was on welfare. Today, many young women are having babies on their own and I find it very sad. To clarify my perspective, before I get blasted, first, let me say that in my work of healing it has become clear that the journey to full acceptance of the self requires the embracing of who one is in the conception of genetics and all that is from both the sperm and egg. Many, many babies now have quite a journey before them. Secondly, let me tell you I had my first child at age 18. I started college at age 22 -- my life and my children's lives have never been easy because of this. I love my son dearly and he is an amazing person, "inspite of me" I tell him. But, he and I deserved better than the brutality that we experienced in his birth -- when we needed more as much as anyone to be treated with respect and gentleness. I have written recently about this. My life has been spent focusing on trying to find the answer to the social welfare problems and it lead me personally and professionally to the healing of the birth experience.

I was working in AZ on the state Empowerment program (changing the system from within to facilitate changes to support empowerment of women) just when the 1994 Contract with (on) America began to lead a revamping of the state welfare program requiring women to go to to work. Headstart expanded to infancy programs, despite the research that shows that a human baby needs to be in the care of his or her mother for at least two years. Feminists are fighting for work, career, and quality child care issues again, but zero for the science-based care of pregnant and birthing women and more importantly, they are zero aware of what the human being needs during the primal period.

Millions of babies and women are worse off now that -- and I suspect that zero focus on the BABY and more so on a "woman's rights" contributes to high stress and guilt for most women who "want it all". This maternal stress is evident in the ever-increasing issues of childhood. Teachers see the consequences of stress during early years and the impact of poor attachment at birth. Teachers are expected to be the miracle workers and teach troubled children without regard to the child's deepest needs and programming. Feminists argue that attachment is not scientific -- the book Mother's Guilt is seething. It does women zero good to deny the basic need of a the human baby. Feminists does realize that the healthy attachment prenatally and during birth is exactly what the dyad needs so that the mother and baby can negotiate separation lately. Babies are being born more and more by cesarean to career women who choose it without the understanding of the long term affects to them.

Society must become truly accountable to these children we are bringing into this world. And, stop the manufacturing of deficient in humans in the medical machine. From 1985 to 1999 I worked in multiple areas -- education, counseling, grassroots organization, systems change, program management -- in four states. More and more programs, workers, and buildings for the professionals, but all of the social and personal issues keep rising. Everything lead me to deeper inquiry about the "roots" of what is happening. It lead me to the pre and perinatal psychology and a new level of self-exploration, healing, and education. According to the scientists and authors I have mentioned, Nathaniesz, Odent, Wirth, and Lipton the answer to the problems is really quite simple. I boil it down to one thing -- focus on the needs of the human baby from pre-conception through infancy. Put our financial resources and our individual and collective focus of care and compassion on bringing in human beings in an optimal way --- and INCLUDE THE LABOR AND BIRTH AND EARLY DAYS OF LIFE in this CRITICAL PERIOD of DEVELOPMENT (experience).

What can we do?? The social welfare and treatment systems, as well as obstetrics is a disaster. Politics keep going what serves the organizations and state, not the mother and baby. Individually, we can conceive, gestate, labor and birth in an aware, safe, and gentle environment. Parents-to-be can prepare for parenting by activity resolving their own emotional and physical issues. Based on science, religion, and psychology, our three-legged social system, we can promote what is necessary and right for the human being. The currents systems and programs are not achieving the desired results because the root of the problems are not being addressed. How could they be? The conception, gestation, labor, birth, and early infancy is the last thing on America's list of priorities -- at every level, medicine, psychology, religion, education.

The Safe Baby Resolution being introduced in Hawaii this legislative session is an attempt to create the dialog and actions at the legislative level. We are asking the Hawaii legislators to look at the prenatal period where many babies are gestated in violent homes, with mothers in poverty and alone, and maybe with mothers who are using toxic substances, whether legal or illegal. Please check out the resolution at and send a letter of support to the legislators.

So, to quote the author above, the effects may be modified by sensitive LABOR AND BIRTH or made worse by insensitive or harsh birthing --- induction, drugs, interventions, surgery, but ALSO by the very people in the room, the sounds, the smells, the lack of privacy, their fear, their manipulation of the process and timing.

We need to focus our resources on supporting healthy, harmonious, and gentle prenatal life experiences, labor and birth, and early infancy. Despite the political and financial needs of the obstetricians and pediatricians and psychologists, that is what the research and our LOGIC, and our heart's knowing tell us. So the "good news" is you can heal your own earliest woundings and make a difference for future human beings coming. Heal birth.

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