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, April 21, 2007

The Children of Iraq

A few weeks ago a US soldier was killed in Iraq when he jumped out of his Humvee to give an Iraqi child candy. How sad is that? And, there was no word on if the child was killed. If the child survived s/he will be forever scared by that image and experience. I am so sad about the children living in Iraq and those of our soldiers. I am very concerned for the children of our soldiers -- those being conceived and born during deployments and those who are of all ages. I know several teenagers whose parents are deployed. We certainly don't hear much in our media about the families and especially the children of our soldiers. And, we sure don't hear much about the impact of war on the Iraqi children.

Because I am a bit bored with a lot of things going on in our country -- the latest models of cars, the tragic blackberry debacle, the menu at McDonald's to help reduced obesity of Americans, and, oh, yeah ... American women trashing each other over their choice of home or hospital birth while the hospital and OB's cha-ching all the way to the bank, and because my heart is so heavy over how 90% of the world is just trying to really survive and over the impact of war on our soldier's children and the people of Iraq, I decided to check out stories about birthing women and babies and children in Iraqi.

Operation Iraqi Children
Operation Iraqi Children co-founder Gary Sinise was invited to meet with President Bush at the White House on June 26, 2006. Sinise sat down with representatives from other grassroots troop support groups to discuss efforts to support U.S. servicemembers. The meeting was also an opportunity to bring up concerns such as the difficulty of shipping items overseas.

On March 21, 2006,Operation Iraqi Children co-founder Laura Hillenbrand and past OIC managing director Liz Wegman visited the White House to meet with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Personally invited by White House officials, Hillenbrand and Wegman joined a small group of representatives of non-governmental organizations serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an hour long meeting in the West Wing's famed Roosevelt Room, the President and First Lady expressed their gratitude for the efforts of the groups attending and solicited comments on how the administration can better support their work.

See pictures of the troops rebuilding and assisting the children of Iraq

How much can a small number of people and troops accomplish when the need is so great?

The Women and Children of Iraq Are Under Siege
by Rania Masri

The war against the Iraqi people did not end in 1991 with George Bush's cease-fire declaration; instead, the war against the Iraqi people-against the Iraqi men, women, and children - is continuing with savage intensity to this very day. It has only changed in form from the thunder of bombs to the eerie silence of a militarily-enforced blockade.

More than 300,000 Iraqis were killed in the 43-day military war in 1991. Since then, more than one million people-mainly young children-have died as a direct result of the US-led blockade on this small country. The lack of food and medicine, along with the deteriorating sanitary conditions in Iraq, have caused far more harm and suffering than the military war itself-despite the use of more than 142,000 tons of bombs and 350 tons of depleted uranium shells during the bombing campaigns. From a legal perspective, the maritime blockade, coupled with the air blockade, amounts to an act of war, thereby making the economic sanctions a continuation of the war that supposedly ended in March 1991.

What have been the effects of this continuing war, euphemistically referred to as sanctions, on the people of Iraq? Four million people, one-fifth of the population, are currently starving to death in Iraq (UN FAO report, 1995). The general human situation is deteriorating everyday, while the situation for women in Iraq is even more precarious. Up to 95% of all pregnant women in Iraq suffer from anemia, and thus will give birth to weak, malnourished infants. Most of these infants will either die before reaching the age of five due to the lack of food and basic medicines or will be permanently scarred, either physically or mentally. Furthermore, many mothers, due to their own weak bodies, are unable to breast-feed their children. Due to the runaway inflation caused by the blockade, these families lack the means to feed their children. The mothers often bring their children to the hospital to die.

Continued at

That was written in 1997. We've come a long way, eh? So, here's the news of the current war in Iraq.

Independent News From the MidEast
In late 2003, Weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for the Iraqi people and US soldiers, Dahr Jamail went to Iraq to report on the war himself.

View this site for images of war.

Iraq's Dispensable Children
by Dahr Jamail

Children of Iraq: A Face of Grief as War Takes Toll
by C├ęsar Chelala
According to Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food, the rate of malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since Saddam Hussein's ouster in April 2003. Today, at 7.7 percent, Iraq's child malnutrition rate is now roughly equal to that of Burundi, an African nation ravaged by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than the rates in Uganda and Haiti, countries also devastated by unrelenting violence.

Giving Birth in Iraq
The Washington Post has a lengthy article on the perils of childbirth in Iraq, "Iraq's Woes Are Adding Major Risks To Childbirth."

NPR's Morning Edition ran a piece this morning giving the perspective of one of their reporters whose wife gave birth in Iraq in December. It includes details on what the parents-to-be had to bring to the hospital because it lacked supplies (including antibiotics, clean water, and blankets), generators that are shut off at midnight, and bribing hospital staff to prevent the men of the family being rounded up and abducted after dark. Listen to the piece online

Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos
Malnutrition Nearly Double What It Was Before Invasion
By Karl VickWashington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page A01
BAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

Children 'starving' in new Iraq
Increasing numbers of children in Iraq do not have enough food to eat and more than a quarter are chronically undernourished, a UN report says.
Malnutrition rates in children under five have almost doubled since the US-led invasion - to nearly 8% by the end of last year, it says.

Why the Children in Iraq Make No Sound When They Fall
My own reaction to the CNN report was not nearly as elevated. "Why would God behave like Don Rumsfeld?" I wondered. As the crippled child writhed in agony, I pictured God murmuring "Stuff happens."

Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on U.S. depleted uranium

There are many more sites with sad stories of the Iraq children, but I'll leave you with this upbeat blog post by a photo journalist, Michael Yon with pictures of children and fathers in Iraq.

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