The Other Side of the Glass

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The trailer

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fetal and Newborn Memories (Learning)

A study of adult behaviour without consideration of its origin before birth is as incomplete as . . . the study of adult anatomy without reference to the embryology of the structures considered.
-- Carmichael (1954)
In a debate against fetal memories, a female OB poses the question on her blog:

What makes you think that the brain starts recording memories at birth or before?"

The question was posed after the blogger posted comments by a neonatal doctor on his blog who blasted my post/statements about babies being aware and conscious and that no matter what happens in birth the caregiver can treat the baby with respect and regard -- because the baby remembers the experience of labor and birth.
And, a poster replies:
.. isn't this common sense? I think what Diane was trying to get at is absolutely correct. Babies don't have "memories" per se, but clearly EXPERIENCES do impact the developing infant. For example, one of the strongest needs of infants is physical bonding. A baby doesn't remember being cuddled by his mother, but clearly that bonding matters in his development. Babies will actually die from lack of physical connection. What makes you think that experiences DON'T have an effect as early as birth? At what age do experiences start to matter for an infant?

Good question. When DOES the human experience start to matter -- pun intended!? When IS IT that a woman should BEGIN to act as if her behavior -- good, bad, or indifferent -- impacts her baby? When does the love, the joy, the nurturing, the conscientious diet, and elimination of stress and toxins matter? What about the science that shows us that the baby in the womb is learning language and taste, shows emotions, and responds to the mother and other outside stimulus? Based on "defensive" caregivers denial should a mother no longer hug her pregnant belly and talk to her unborn baby? Why bother if the baby doesn't RECEIVE it and KNOW it?
The neonatal doc trashed his own colleague (but they won't buck their own system) who retired from neonatal medicine and is an author who has written about the need for prenatal preparation for preventing one's baby from being in NICU. Dr. Fredrick Wirth ( describes the well-known and accepted science that supports fetal learning and he teaches mothers and fathers to take "fetal love breaks." (Hint: we are hormonal beings.) If the neonatal doc blogger is correct -- that there is no fetal, birthing baby, or newborn learning, why bother with all that love crap? Eat, drink, and be merry, (and smoke weed, too) for it won't affect your child until, oh, say, about three? Isn't that when the child LEARNS to TALK, THINK, EXPRESS EMOTIONS? Put away the cigs and quit yer cussin' cuz at age three -- the kid will hear you then. And, no more violence and spanking. Oops, or doesn’t science clearly shows us the foundational brain has developed BY AGE THREE? Hmmmm.... oh, heck, where is that picture of me glazed-eyed, looking off, rubbing my chin, contemplating?

Lord o' mercy and Oh, Mama -- the science is pretty clear -- even if those you'd expect to know and behave accordingly don't know it or believe it --- the human being from conception forward is EXPERIENCING, INTERACTING, RESPONDING, and LEARNING. Psst.. it's about cells!

The discussion on the OB's blog occurred in support of her neonatal buddy who took a spin on the tired old media driven spin-machine, using the media slander of Scientology's "Silent Birth" to debunk me and his own colleagues with pictures and narrative about Tom Cruise. Yaaaawn. You forgot to mention Brittney. The docs got so ruffled by the possibility of babies REMEMBERING the treatment by doctors and nurses during birth that they immediately jumped where docs always do -- blame and litigation avoidance (and turf and income protection). And, if you and I believe the scientists they lump into the tired PSEUDO SCIENCE defense, damn it, isn't the worst thing that would happen is the OB's, neonatalogists, nurse, and pediatricians will have to learn and change, too. And, we'll all treat pregnant women, birthing women and babies, and newborns in a more respectful, loving way?
Keep this in mind as you meander through the research below and wonder with me, why don't these highly educated and professional "scientists" embrace the science and follow it through? How do the people who actually work every day with newborns not incorporate the science into their own work? Why don't they know that the science that supports the understanding of fetal programming and infant ability and learning also applies to the laboring and birthing and NICU babies? I mean, how ignorant to believe the laboring and birthing baby's brain ceases to function and to interact with the mother and her environment.

As a physician and writer in this area, I am also excited by the new neuroscience that confirms all that What Babies Want teaches: the existence of preverbal (implicit) memory; the importance of pleasure for optimal brain development; and the negative impact of stress and stress hormones on brain cell growth. We can now say, scientifically, that the happiness that we put into our babies will nurture a healthy brain life-long.
--Sarah Buckley, MD
So, to answer the poster's question about whether a baby remembers her mother's hugs --- in subconcious way, yes, we remember everything. A child who has been abused or who did not receive hugs and gentle touch will RESPOND automatically to touch in a certain way. This child grown up will continue to react to touch or lack of touch without consciously thinking of or remembering the early abuse or lack. It is the implicit learning and memory. Recoiling at touch, for example, is the subconscious body, the soma, the somatic reaction and communication. NICU babies are particiularly sensitive to touch and resist appropriate affection. THAT is the early memory or learning IN ACTION. Of course, every touch, scrub, tug, or pull of the newborn is remember somatically. So, as I quoted at the beginning of this post,
A study of adult behaviour without consideration of its origin before birth is as incomplete as . . . the study of adult anatomy without reference to the embryology of the structures considered.
-- Carmichael (1954)

Your obstetrician, nurse, neonatalogist, and pediatrician mostly will not tell you about how amazing your gestating, laboring, birthing, and connecting baby is -- and many will even deny the science that is showing us that it is imperative that we treat babies differently. Very differently than they are treated in the medical machine. YOU will have to be the one to expect and ask them to treat your baby with respect and awareness.

Read for yourself below about the scientific communities who are studying the prenatal environment as the foundation for health and wellness. You are smart enough and you are a logical, thinking, feeling, and compassionate person who can put one (prenatal brain research) and one (infant brain research) together to make TWO (labor and birth brain matters too). You don't have a couple of hundred thousand or more reasons to deny it. You know that our baby's brains are also working during labor and birth, so that we know babies are affected for life by their birthing experience.
We know babies are LEARNING in the womb and in the first moments and hours. We know from that that babies are learning during labor and birth as well. THAT is the point of this long post with lots of resources for you to come to your own conclusion. YOU and YOUR BABY were/are brilliantly aware, interactive, and learning (everything from fear to joy and love to hate) during labor and birth as well as every other moment of your life. Can I roll my eyes now and say sheesh? For emphasis.

Prenatal/Fetal Programming (Learning, Imprinting)
Gerald Vind, PhD, Neurobiologist
During pregnancy, your mother's neurochemicals are passed through the placenta and influence your development. At any stage of a developing brain, the depletion of norepinephrine, and release of the brain's natural opiates, along with excessive activation of a part of the limbic system called the amygdala, can lead to permanent structural and functional alterations. This affects brain interconnections, synaptic size and densities, as well as their responsiveness. With severe stress, an abnormal form of neuronal interconnection can develop along with a reduced response threshold. In other words, if your mom is severely stressed while you are inside her womb, her stress reaction can negatively affect the way your brain is "wired."

Peter Nathanielzs, MD (OB), PhD (vet)
Nathanielsz points out by the time of birth the infants have already passed through more developmental milestones than they will pass through in the remainder of their years, and their brains have achieved most of their development.

Ten Principles of Fetal Programming
From Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease by Nathanielsz

1.) During development, there are critical periods of vulnerability to "suboptimal" conditions. Vulnerable periods occur at different times for different tissues. Cells dividing rapidly are at greatest risk.

2.) Programming has permanent effects that alter responses in later life and can modify susceptibility to disease.

3.) Fetal development is activity dependent. Normal development is dependent on continuing normal activity. Each phase of development provides required conditions to subsequent development.

4.) Programming involves structural changes to important organs.

5.) The placenta plays a key role in programming.

6.) The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb. But that compensation carries a price in later life.

7.) Attempts made after birth to reverse the consequences of programming might have their own unwanted consequences.

8.) Fetal cellular mechanisms often differ from adult processes.

9.) The effects of programming might pass across generations by mechanisms that do not involve changes in the genes.

10.) Programming often has different effects in males and females.

Nathanielsz' work lays out the foundations of fetal programming -- the process by which the prental enviornment interacts with genetic and other factors to produce an individual human constitution. This is parallel to the cellular biology work of Bruce Lipton whose work supports the changing paradigm of the Newtonian science upon which medicine is built. We are not pre-destined and pre-determined merely by our DNA. From before the union of our sperm and our egg we are cellularly INTERACTING with the world. Forever more.
Rather than being genetically predetermined, organisms develop in balance with their environment and purposively select, or if necessary rewrite, what they perceive to be appropriate gene programs to ensure their survival.
It is well-known and well-accepted that the prenatal period is significant for development - and research in the last twenty years tell us even more so how critical this is for the lifetime. Prenatal care and medical visits are considered necessary for optimal growth and development and criminal if a woman doesn't. EVEN SO, society -- especially doctors and nurses who are held responsible after using non-medically necessary interventions routinely -- does not fully embrace the logic that the laboring and birthing baby is also affected by interventions, rough touch, pokes, probes as well as the stress, poor nutrition, disruption in the environment, isolation, and disempowerment of the mother that is "normal" during hospital birth.
So, a cultural, collective BLACK OUT exists about the science showing the impact on the laboring and birthing brain. We skip, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah over the abusive treatment of babies "in the name of medicine" by educated professionals and pick up again our scientific sword of truth after birth and after the family is at home. Babies don't remember anything abusive if it happens in the hospital.
Other researchers have also been studying the postnatal, infancy period and development. Infants are being studied to learn about vision, interactions with parents and environment, reactions to strangers, foreign language. Researchers have found that infants express their preference (communicate) by their suck.
So, all of this research about the prenatal life of the baby and the infant's learning proliferates the PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC literature. WHAT ABOUT THE BABY'S EXPERIENCE OF LABOR AND BIRTH??? WHAT ABOUT THE NEWBORN'S EXPERIENCE OF THE FIRST HOURS AND DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL OR MONTHS IN NICU?? Am I to believe that the little girl I worked with, born at 25 weeks and weighting less than a pound who was in the NICU for four months has no memory of her experience, and therefore is UNAFFECTED? How could a neonatologist even think his colleagues' work is psuedoscience? Kangaroo care was implemented after decades of children of NICU experiencing child abuse, not because the parents are bad people, but because of the trauma to the maternal-newborn/infant attachment and bonding -- that happens in the brain.

Fetal Memories/Learning

Why do seemingly very intelligent doctors and nurses, for example a neonatalogist from www.talesfromthe, deny the obvious -- the human being's brain does not shut off during labor and birth so that they can do whatever they want without consequence. And, really ... a blogger with that title who doesn't believe in infant memory (LEARNING!) when clearly, for decades we've known that prenates and newborns learn? It's downright scary what some will call psuedo science just to keep from learning themselves.

Peter Hepper, PhD, Fetal Memories Researcher, Belfast, has been studying the embryonic study of fetal psychology for over two decades. If you google his name you'll find many scientific articles. Ultrasound technology has allowed significant advancements in observing fetal behavior.

Published in 2005 --

Perinatal Olfactory Learning in the Domestic Dog

Janet DiPietro, PhD, John Hopkins, Obstetrics Department

Research and Professional Experience
As a developmental psychologist, my research centers on methods of assessment of risk in infants and young children and their efficacy as predictors of outcome. Specifically, my interest lies in the underlying physiological basis for individual differences in cognition, socioemotional behavior, and temperament. I have explored these relations in early infancy and in the neonatal period, in samples of full-term and preterm infants. My current research program, which has been ongoing for the last 15 years, extends this interest to the human fetus. I have developed computerized assessment methods of measuring fetal neurobehavioral functioning in order to investigate the ontogeny of development with the ultimate goal of predicting clinical and developmental outcome from the fetal period. Within this context, I am further exploring the role of maternal factors, including poverty and psychologic stress, in mediating fetal development. Application of principles of developmental psychology and psychophysiology to the antenatal period represents a new frontier that manifests unlimited potential for uncovering new knowledge about the origins of human behavior and development.

Infant Memory and Learning

From Kids -- about as mainstream as you can get.
During this time, you will see your baby's personality emerge. In the first month or two of life, the baby depends on you to initiate any interaction. But by the end of the third month you will find your baby engaging you with his or her expressions, vocalizations, and gestures. Your infant's eyesight will be improving, and your child is better able to distinguish between different sights and sounds. Your baby will be carefully watching your facial expressions and listening to your voice, responding to you with coos and gurgles, and around 2 months, respond to your smile with a smile. Between 3 and 4 months, most infants can squeal with delight and laugh out loud.
The miracle of the fertilized egg becoming a human infant in only 9 months is followed by another astonishing miracle. In a mere 36 months, completely dependent human newborns become remarkably complex creatures who understand that they can share thoughts, feelings, and intentions with others, who come and go as they please, who express themselves abstractly using symbols, who empathize with others, and who read and understand subtle social signals from others.
The first neurons fire in the prenatal brain by day forty and the neurologists will tell us the that most significant development of the lifetimes happens in utero. The brain is definitely "on" and then the time for labor and birth comes and the belief promoted by obstetricians, nurses, neonatologists, pediatricians, and even mothers is that the baby won't "remember" birth. The brain is switched to "off"? So as to avoid the induction, drugs, dragging over mother's sacral prominence as she is numb and supine. Monitoring, strangers, having their heads touched and squeezed by strange, adult hands, vacuums, forceps, mother cut open to be pulled out, rough handling, and resuscitation is not really experienced and felt, so therefore, it is also not remembered? Nothing in the brain and body PERCEIVES or EXPERIENCES this?
From the very first days of life infants demonstrate awareness of their environment and evidence of learning, confirming that different family experiences likely affect infant development far earlier than once thought possible.
--- Charles Zeanah, Director of Tulane University's Infant Institute
Mother is fully aware of her child's personality throughout the third trimester, science tells us all about fetal learning in the womb, BABY'S brain switches to "off" for labor and birth and then science tells us that ...
Newborns come into the world with sophisticated brains that are phenomenally wired for intellectual growth. During the first year of life, they are more impressionable and able to develop than at any other time in life. This cognitive development affects them for the rest of their lives. Thus parents have a tremendous responsibility and a sacred obligation to nurture their children in love and train them in the Lord’s paths.

Research shows that a baby’s brain is designed to be extremely receptive to experience. With each experience, babies gain a broader understanding of their world. They use the same parts of their brains as adults do, though their brains are less mature. By one year of age, so much development has already occurred that a baby’s brain will more closely resemble an adult brain than the brain of a newborn.

Many US universities and researchers now have infant mental health, communication, and behavior labs.
So, prenatal programming and infant psychiatry are well-established. Post-natally, the brain has magically turned back to "on" and is capable of engaging once more with the mother? Learning again?

University of Missouri
Infant Cognition Lab

Tulane University
The Infant Institute

Center for Infant Studies

University of Wisconsin
Infant Learning Laboratory

Northwestern University, Chicago
Early Learning Laboratory

University of Maryland
Maryland Infant Studies Laboratory

New York University
Infant Cognition Center

University of Texas -Dallas
Babies learn rapidly about the sights and sounds of their environment, and how to affect the people and objects that make up their worlds. Consider the following accomplishments in the infant's life:

  • Within just 2 days after birth infants recognize their mother's voice, and prefer it over other voices. **
  • Three-month-olds can detect primary colors, and prefer red and yellow over blue and green.
  • Seven-month-olds can match an angry or happy face to a voice expressing the same emotion.
  • Nine-month-olds can watch simple actions and remember and imitate them one week later.

** Ninety-nine of the babies in these research projects were born in hospitals with up to 80% or more born under the influence of drugs while their mother's were supine closing in her pelvis up to 30%, making birth much more traumatic. Research has not been conducted to determine infant or human potential on non-drugged, non-traumatized humans -- in infant memory, or any field. Once one has witnessed the uninterupted, stress-free, intervention-free, and drug-free birth and has personally seen that these baby's respond to their mother's voice within minutes, one can not help but explore the wonder of the prenate, laboring and birthing baby, and newborn as fully sentient.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

The Infant Institute --

Infant Communication

Early Learning Laboratory

Infant Mental Health

Infant mental health may be defined as the state of emotional and social competence in young children who are developing appropriately within the interrelated contexts of biology, relationships and culture.

--Zeanah, Charles in Zero to Three, August/September, 2001

The Infant-Parent Institute, Champaign, IL, Michael Trout, Director. --

Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health -

Austrailan Association for Infant Mental Health -

Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health -

Just google to find your state.

CURE AUTISM NOW - This study examines the motor and cognitive development of young infants to better understand the early signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Investigators at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Child Development Lab will observe infants between 3 and 7 months of age who could be in one of these 3 groups:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Michigan State University. The Mother-Infant Study Resources:

So, read for yourself and join me at looking at posts like at, April 22, 2007, Debunking the Pseudo Science of Infant Memory. You might want to consider becoming a very wise consumer in the obstetric medical field. They say induction, epidural with fentanyl and narcotics is safe for the baby and they say cutting through a woman's abodominal wall to pull her baby out is safe for her and doesn't harm the baby. You decide if it's scientific and logical that the science that tells amazing, indepth info about the learning environment of the womb and the first days and weeks of infant life doesn't also tell us that babies feel, respond to, learn from -- and, therefore, remember, unconciously -- what they experience in their labor and birth.


A mom of NICU gradutes. said...

Baby Keeper, perspective really changes how things are read. I don't think the author "blasted" you at all in this post.

Could he have completely smeared you personally instead of just writing about the science and the philosophy/psychology regarding those who adhere to this still unproven in a peer reviewed manner theory/pseudoscience? Yep. He didn't.

Does he disagree with you? Yes.

Did he resort to name calling as you did on your blog? No.

Did he state that you refuse to learn new things? No.

Did you? Yes.

All those links you put in mean nothing when it comes to a premature infant who still has millions of neuronal connections that will not occur as a result of normal biology--not from any treatment.

No where did he say that a mother or medical team can do whatever to a fetus, premature infant, or full term infant. Yet, you decided to make a fallacious jump of logic to that point.

If what you and others believe is true (especially Frederick Wirth), then all the blame for my child's prematurity likes solely on me. However, I have no idea what I did incorrectly. I was thrilled to be pregnant. I ate properly. I took plenty of time off from work to just exist with the two lives growing within me. I have one normal child and one not so normal child. Your theories and those of others are only trying to find some reason for why things go wrong. The truth is that sometimes it is genetics or stress from an unforeseen event or just reality.

We cannot control how everything goes in our lives. Quit slinging your lies and bogus theories. As my chosen name says, I know this doctor. He fought to have the proper care, including kangaroo care, for my children. He was a tireless advocate for them.

Baby Keeper said...

Mom of NICU graduates:

Your graditude for your NICU physician and your defense of him is understandable and admirable.

I am sure he was extraordinary in his care and advocacy. This is not about him (there was zero name calling), however, and it's not about your and your babies unless you make it so. And, then it has nothing to do with me. The science stands on it's own regardless of what you believe. (Did the info about epidural and cesarean comment at the end trip this trigger? You know, the greatest disservice to women and babies is the denial of the impact of these on them -- EVEN when needed to save their lives. If the truth of it were acknowledged a woman and her baby could get help for it rather than having to carry it around for their entire lives. There is also science and technology to support healing it.

Here's the progression -- I posted a reasonable comment in response to his blog post, and he devoted an entire post about what I said. Yes, it was derrogatory -- to MY profession and more so to a mutual colleage whom I happen to respect greatly. There was no reason to "blast" and discredit Dr. Wirth whose work is very scientifically based. Another blogger physician picked up the thread and posted your physician's on hers, with care not to mention me -- which I won't get in to here. In my post on my blog, I refered to both of them and what they wrote.

I get to express myself on my blog -- just as your physician does on his. You are right -- we don't get to control everything. He quite blatantly expresses himself towards our president -- something that some would feel as offended over as you seem to. I have an emotional, maternal connection as you do. My son is in Iraq sacrificing his life to maintain our freedoms that both physicians and I and you expressed here. You're welcome - someone's children had to be the ones. My son will never be the same. Yep, things beyond our control happen. I know. You learned it early, unfortunately. I could post to your physician calling him a liar and to quit slamming my president because MY son is there. It is happening to me!. It doesn't change the fact that your child experienced life threatening entrance into the world. It doesn't change the fact that my child is in life-threatening danger as well. Do you think that it is possible for any of our men and women to go to Iraq and not be affected by war? While the VA argues about who has PTSD -- do you think it is possible to go to war and NOT be affected? Do you know what it takes for them to prepare to go and to be in life threatening danger 24/7? They are 6,000 miles from the land of the free and the comfort and safety of home. Not one will be "ok".

Our highly charged experiences with our children doesn't change the science. Your child lived through a life threatening situation and gifted and skilled caregivers (is that the name calling you refer to?) took care of them. They experienced it. We owe to our birthing babies to acknowledge them and to improve the conditions -- this is why women want to birth at home.

The "bogus theory" is scientifically founded. To suggest -- yes, emphatically -- that doctors, nurses, parent, and society see the proliferation of research about 1) the prenate's experience and learning and 2) the newborn/infant experience and learning ALSO tells us that the laboring and birth baby also is reacting to the experience and that neurons are wiring up in response to that experience just as it was doing months, weeks, and days before birth, and in the weeks after.

This counters the notion that we can do whatever we wish to the mother and baby during labor and birth -- as long as it is in the hospital and we have a license and malpractice insurance. The premise that baby's aren't affected by drugs, interventions, their mother's fears and joys, noise, lights, strangers, shots, the neonatalogist rubbing his chest so hard that they skin comes off is false. The premise that AFTER they leave the hospital at some arbitrary time in infancy, they suddenly are affected by what parent's do is false.

There are zero lies. My presentation of the existing science that shows we should recognize that the laboring and birthing baby experiences, responds, and learns in response to his environment JUST as the prenate and the newborn does is based on science.

It doesn't discount your experience or anyone's -- unless you let it. Truly, the acknowledgement of the critical period of labor, birth, and days following, while undergoing medical care, can only help to enhance the baby and parent's experience. To recognize that the baby -- in his body and his brain -- will hold the memory of the experience.

It's too bad the message of my post here is lost in the perceptions you have as well.

THE POINT of it all is that yes, the baby does experience labor and birth NICU -- life saving and traumatic at the same time. Yes, the baby feels and remembers it. Just because NICU doctors and parents of NICU babies might find that discomforting, doesn't make the science go away. There is an amazing cutting-edge collective of a diverse group of professionals, including OB's, RN's, Neonatalogists, and pediatricians who are implementing the information. They have amazing information about the long term effects of the care during prenatal, LABOR AND BIRTH, and, postnatally. They have techniques for assisting mothers and babies to reconnect and heal what they didn't get to have. At least you know this now for later. My work with NICU babys afterwards has given me some good information to help understand the relationship dynamics of later life. It's out there should you ever decide it makes sense, like when your child "over reacts" to lights, beeps, and touch. The help is there -- that's all I want you to know. The baby has his or her story to tell about her experience -- when it's heard it creates and allows integration of the love the parent has and the deep compassion the staff had DURING the necessary and violating medical care.

So, I have not discounted the role of the neonatal physician and nurses. I "made fun" of the use of scientology and media BS about silent birth and Tom Cruise to discredit the obvious science that is about labor and birth as well as prental and post natal development. It's so simple and obvious to me that I am always surprised to see professionals so against it.

Neonatal physicians are advocates for the babies in their care. Often they are the ones to lead the field of obstetrics in treating babies with more respect. They will and do when they are open to the information.

no one said...

I might point out that it is a usual tactic for some one defending their belief system to post so many links to stories that no one will follow all of them to determine if the links presented are actually relevant to the post. That doesn't help your argument. Neither does making a post so long that very few people have the time to read it at all. You might reach more people if you were to tackle one subset of what you wrote at one time--say like over a week or a month.

You did actually say that the doctor in question wasn't going to learn. That is, in essence, name calling. If he were the doc to my children and had done a good job with them, then I would be offended as well.

The information you presented was broad, interesting, and made me think (although not follow all those links). I disagree with Dr. Wirth and the methods of his studies, but that doesn't mean that I disagree that babies feel something. I also don't think that the doc from Tales from the Womb would deny that either. You just don't like his politics, and that appears to have affected your reading of his posts. Demonizing everyone who follows evidence based medicine isn't a good tactic either.

And, lastly, you completely alienated me when you made this statement: they say cutting through a woman's abodominal wall to pull her baby out is safe for her and doesn't harm the baby. Good grief, lady. In some cases, this is the only way that a mother and child will not die--including me. Statements like those make reasonable women want to never read another word you write. C-sections may be over used, but they are definitely safer than dying.

"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