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, April 10, 2007

One of those Days

I am feeling existentially tired this week. And, I felt someone pray for me. Thanks.

I want to surrender, to give up this fight to make birth safe, to make the world harmonious and gentle. I want to take my oils and canvas' out to a secret place nestled in the woods by water and just paint beautiful portraits of babies, goddesses, and nature. I want to live gently and harmoniously. I want to take my last child, my baby girl, to a safe, loving place and hold her tight. I want to cherish every moment of watching her play and laugh and grow, but I never want to let her go. I am tired of the images of war and the pain I see and feel everywhere I look. While I lament lost moments with my son, moments with my daughter tick by.

I am barely walking upright most of the time -- still acclimating to my son being in a war, trying to find the "groove" and to stay in it, but slipping, like the fifty year-old that I am, trying to stay balanced and afloat a log going down stream. I am unable to find a place to put this powerlessness that pulses through my numbness to find tears whenever it sees fit. No more holding back -- my truth must rush forward these days.

Tears suddenly appear in places and times I would have never let my grief be shown. But now there are too many tears. Easter Sunday was hard. I went to my African Dance group and plopped myself in the front row in front of the leader. She had a shirt on that had rows and rows of soldier's boots reminiscent of Arlington cemetery with the saying, "War is costly." The stealing of my breath, the stinging in my chest started and immediately the lump in my throat pushed out too many tears to hold back. Sometimes they're controllable. Sometimes not. More and more, as I find my center in the midst of this unbelievably painful situation, I just let myself be real. Be genuine. My son is Iraq (like the song, it's my party) and I'll cry if I want to. What a wonderful place to let the rivers flow -- with other women as we danced to live drummers in the energy of the West African language. There is a felt-connection to these people in dancing their dances - the stories of their lives.

I felt a soldier's mother getting the news of her child's death today. How to stay in my body and be present when I feel so much? How to embrace and cherish my lost girlhood gift of empathy that I just regained? I embraced the wounding of the sisterhood and motherhood. Dancing, moving, writing, breeeeeeeeeeathing. All I can do is feel and cry for her so maybe she can cry a few less, and selfishly hope it is never my turn.

I am outraged at the warring ways of America. War of Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Child Abuse, War on Cancer. Wars that waged on the very people we should support. I have been a soldier in the war to help women be empowered to care for her children --fighting the systems. Since the miraculous moment that I was somehow blessed to become UNnumb and to see and feel what happened to me as a birthing woman and then myself as a baby, I am outraged that obstetric medicine is able to continue to manufacture every war we wage. I am outraged that they splay women out on their backs hooked up to narcotics because they have brainwashed her into believing it's her "right" to "choice" and "pain relief". She is liberated, no longer confined now, you know. She can choose to be cut open. She's an American. I am outraged that she, and I, laid there while they stole my baby's blood and breath, forever more to be dependent upon the medical man and his machines, and the "wars" to undo the damage. God, help us.

Wow, that's a lot of outrage --- finally. Out rage. Out! You hear me? Out. Rage at the outer, not my self. Rage, out. Letting the rage out, the truth of my wounding out. I feel blown around in this eye of the tornado where all around me spins the bodies and faces of women and babies harmed in birth, thrown on to the conveyer belt of birth to be made from perfection into defective products forever intended to be resources of commodity for a selfish, rich country and world.

What has me so angst'd? Besides the ten soldiers who died over Easter and their families, and the deaths of more people of Iraq? And Afghanistan and Sierra Leone women and babies who are dying for one healthy meal, a drink of clean water, a skilled midwife, and an antibiotic while American women drive their SUV to Star Bucks for a $5 cup of coffee en route to the hospital fifteen minutes away to lie down and let drugs control her mind and body while doctors pull or cut out her precious baby. Oh, baby, she is so empowered, isn't she? Three days later she is at the mall -- a badge of honor with no regard for the needs of a baby's brain and soul. Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone there are no doctors or hospitals or epidurals -- only women who die a dozen times more often than American women (unless she is an African-American women in America for she too is more likely to die in childbirth. Why is that?) A woman in one village in Sierra Leone must walk or be carried by others four hours to the river, take a rickety boat to the dilapidated car on the other side and then ride nineteen miles on a rough dirt road to get to the hospital. She can't, so she dies and so does her baby. How do we live as we do in with no regard for the world?

How do we, the greatest country in the world take so much and misuse it so excessively in the name of medicine and safety and science? Billions of dollars of unnecessary cesarean sections, and prematurity, caused by inductions because no one has the balls to look at what doctors do and how they practice "defensive" not "evidence-based medicine --- outrage --- while the world goes hungry and lives in cardboard or plywood shantees -- if they're lucky. I hate what we do to women and babies in this country, and I try not to hate those who do it and benefit (socially and financially, but not spiritually) from it.

Four hundred and fifteen BILLION dollars have spent to fight terrorism and protect America (our way of life) while a child dies every three seconds from extreme poverty. That doesn't include the children dying in Iraq because we are bringing them peace, and there is no end in sight. It doesn't include the four million newborns who die every year world wide -- not because there's no friggin' doctor or scapel, or epidural handy. (Even the Gates Foundation claims 700,000 lives could be saved without building one hospital. Surely, women in the US in rural areas, like Missouri where I live, could be saved too. ) According to Save the Children, African and women die because of malnutrition, disease, and contaminated water and a lack of MIDWIFERY care. What is happening to those birthing mothers and babies and children in Iraq? My heart breaks for them. What is my son -- and all of our soldiers and their families, their spouses and babies -- for what are they sacrificing so much? My son will never be the same and it's up to America to make it worth it. Damn it, I don't see it happening.

I am so aware this year and in moments like this week and today that I have overspent my energy in trying to be the American woman -- educated, career, working mom, and wife to a violent man. All of my life --- trying to stop violence, addiction, and family's pain, and especially in the last five years, trying to make birth safer and more gentle. All I wanted was to make the world a better place for children -- in a culture where what a child truly needs is so devalued. So, I gave up the paycheck attached to being "middle class" (controlled and expected to perpetuate the system and look wealthy) in order to do my heart's work. I embarked upon healing thyself. Now, one of those weeks where too much comes together --- I am so sickened right now to see all of the resources go to the gluttons -- those who abuse women, babies, and children. Obstetrics, pediatrics, and the myriad of educational, therapeutic, and support programs in social services.

How many friggin' new diaper, mop, and plastic wrap designs do we really need when most of the world doesn't even have cloth for diapers, floors to scrub, or food to wrap? Everything we do serves to feed a middle upper class American way of life and the children and their needs be damned -- beginning at birth. Promotion of the induction, epidural with narcotics and fentanyl, never shown to be safe for the baby before using but show since then to be damaging continuing to be shown to be dangerous for mother and baby. Modern birth in America is about money and control. Layer of society from physicians to the myriad of services needed because of the disruption of our physiology reap from the abuse of women and babies in birth. When is enough stuff enough? Why isn't motherhood enough?

Two master degrees and twenty years of working in systems to help women and children in the US ... what a loss it feels like this week as I fight once again for one little child in the system -- a "poster child" for the victims of the medical and social welfare systems in the US. He represents on what I seem to have exhausted too much of my precious life energy when I could have been home with my own children - rather than doing what John Knight calls "worthless work" in the Careless Society. Little Jonathan represents, for me, a system with generations of victims of state aid for children --- wounded women with wounded children doing "worthless work" with wounded women with wounded children in social programs. Paying the bills. Livin' the American Dream. I am all too aware this week of how quickly children grow and the moments are gone. Hold your babies close.

I am tired .... but I'll be back .... as Jewel sings in one of favorite songs, A Life Uncommon that I listen to when I need perspective on the systems that try to run our lives as women, "We am weary, but we're not worn out."

So, to answer the question, why am I so angst'd? Why this gut-wrenching naval-gazing tear jerking? My little friend, Jonathan, has been wrongly taken from his grandmother, his primary caretaker. Their story is at What is she guilty of? She is guilty only of being poor, and she is guilty of being a woman with pride for her intelligence and ability to know what she and her child needs. SHE IS A GRANDMOTHER. She is one of those who the Amy Tutuer's of the world would retort, "she's just being anti-system." Well, YEEAAHHH! DUH.

Jonathan's plight breaks my heart. There's not a thing I can do now. His grandmother can not afford an attorney. Life in America for our poor is so hard and when we consider that America's poor is still the richest of the world, what are we doing here? So, now, in the middle of the tornado, I see again the women and children of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Venezuela ... how far can my heart go?

Yep, it's one of those days .... no, weeks. I am in the eye of the storm. And, when the clouds part and the sun shines again, I know I'll be awed by the fresh growth in my life. Ah, the sweet, spring rains.

Thanks for listening .....

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