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, May 01, 2007

Let's Get Real About the Sentience of the Human Baby

“You are your brain.”

Dick Swaab, Dir. of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research

I like to say, "You are your PRENATAL brain."

.... brain function and behavior are critically influenced, even permanently modified in major ways, by the environmental condition that exist during development. How we think, reason and see are not just inherited characteristics. Brain function, behavior, mood, IQ, and emotional stability are not solely a product of our genes.

—Peter Nathanielsz, MD (OB), PhD (Vet) in “Life in the Womb

On the left is the adult version of the twelve week old fetus -- everything in the adult was formed by twelve weeks.

It is scientific and logical that physiologically the structures begun at conception and completed by the end of the second month of gestation DO establish the biological, hormonal, emotional, and mental foundation for who we are to be our entire life. Every experience thereafter, whether in the womb, laboring and birthing, or life long is part of one long continuum of brain development. YOU are YOUR prenatal brain.

From conception forward, the baby (brain and body) has developed in the maternal relationship and response to the environment. The human baby's experience and feelings of safety, love, support, worth, being wanted, etc are established prenatally through infancy. From before conception, in the sperm and the egg, we are fully living tissues of our parents and influenced on a cellular level by their lives. Every system and brain is literally built according to mother's physiology, her life experiences, and her perceptions of herself, the baby's father, and the world. During gestation there is not one second of time that is not critical in building the baby's brain and body. It is recorded (imprinted, remembered) in the cells. Nor, is there one second of time during labor and birth that is not critical to the baby's billion neurons and so, to his brain and to his experience.

L. Janel Martin (Miranda), MA,

The human newborn is the most amazing creature on the planet. The baby is a fully sentient being. The first neurons fired in the prenatal brain by day forty-two. It grew from the developing neural tube that developed from the zygote that formed with the union of two live cells, the egg and the sperm. From prior to conception sperm and egg cells are fully functioning within the parent bodies and they are live cellular tissue experiencing and responding to the everything that happens. Was conception consensual, welcoming, chemical-free, loving? We know it matters, but did you know it matters on a cellular level? Picture to right is of conception.

The picture to the left below is the embryonic spinal cord at 14 days. Everything the mother has experienced, felt, and ingested is already a part of this baby's basic structural, cellular, and emotional development. The heart is almost ready to take it's first beat. Ever wonder about that moment? When yours or you baby's heart took that first beat?

While "scientific research" clearly shows us the sensate world of the prenate who is responding to the outer environment medical practice does not honor this. We already "know" on one level how amazing the newborn human is -- even though most of humanity treats the human baby as if the brain and other systems hit the "pause" button during labor and birth. The facts are ignored -- that birth is the baby's birth and s/he is brilliant, aware, and she is experiencing birth and learning and wiring her brain. How can it be that modern obstetric medice is so barbaric to the baby? And, gets by with it?

Last week I posted a long entry that included many, many links to scientists who study the role of the prenatal period. It is well know and well-established science -- it permeates obstetric medicine and their demand for "prenatal care." Our society expects, though we can't seem to enforce this, that women do not smoke, drink alcohol, partake of "illicit" drugs (though prescription drugs have squeaked by our rational meters so that doctors promote and women believe that many of the depression and bi-polar meds are safe -- and the research is in. They're damaging. Such a surprise.) We also hold a woman to certain expectations for parenting her newborn/infant.

Embryo here at right 42 days old. The nervous system (brain) has already fired it's first neurons. It is preparing to come "online" with the heart. Ever wonder about that? That moment in development when your heart and your brain began to work together? "Embryonic Rising" is the term we use. The moment that your heart and brain "fired up" together --- is a critical experience, as is the moment your mother first learned of your existence. The concept of body-mind connection or "heart-mind" connection is gaining awareness and popularity, but rarely does it involve looking at the moment of when the two connected. If you believe the statistics that more than half of all pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted so that a women is feeling and experiencing dramatic emotions around the time her baby's heart is forming and beating for the first time, her baby's brain is forming and firing it's first neurons for the first time, and the two have a moment in time where they begin to work together. It's a profoundly significant moment that will afffect the rest of development and the rest of life.

The gestating baby to the left here is twelve weeks old -- fully formed, all systems and organs are done. Baby will live with mother's lifestyle decisions and with her emotional and psychological imprints.

Baby to the left below is 8 months gestation. The caption in the book called this the Racing Mind. Researcher and technology have come together to show us conclusively that the prenate hears, particularly the mother's voice and responds, comforts himself, tastes, feels, experiences, learns, and responds to the environment.

In that post last week I included a large number of links to scientists doing research in the newborn/infant behavior, language, abilities, and learning. My point was that there is well-received scientific research to show that the PRENATAL brain is functioning as it DEVELOPS, from conception forward. The prenate EXPERIENCES, LEARNS, and REMEMBERS and this is all recorded in the brain which functions in orchestration with every other system. This is a significant part of the third trimester development.

We hold a woman to certain expectations for gestating her baby and then parenting her newborn/infant. What about our expectations for a mother and doctor to treat baby with same regard --- because it affects the baby?

The baby to the right is in the second stage of labor/birthing. There is NOTHING in the scientific literature to suggest or confirm that the laboring and birthing baby is UNAFFECTED by her experienced. Everything leads us to the obvious conclusion and understanding that the birthing baby does feel and experience labor and birth. The human baby's brain is recording and remembers birth. There is no "OFF" or "PAUSE" switch. Drugs numb the mind, but the body remembers. Or, in other words, the laboring and birthing brain/baby is jsut as capable of learning or being affected by sounds, substances, experiences of the mother, etc. than the prenatal brain/baby. EVERYTHING suggests that the laboring and birthing baby's brain is "ON" in record mode, and functioning as the gestating baby's brain is known to do. When you add to that the PHYSICAL experience of birth, either through the pelvis or being pulled out, it's logical that our FIRST injuries of our head, neck, shoulders, and hips occur during birth. The TISSUES remember. Science proves that now.

The newborn below is thirteen hours old. She clearly experienced a violent birth -- induced, epidural, malpositioned. Her face obviously rammed again a hard, bony part of the mother. Both their bodies remember this -- even when disregarded by medcine. This baby's brain, sensations, and awareness was never "OFF" or on "PAUSE" to accommodate doctor's schedules and malpractice avoidance. She may have been "numbed" by narcotics, but her brain recorded that to. It's part of her brain development now -- thanks to doctors and the med-wives/CNM who used their wares on a healthy mother and baby. The baby experienced her birth and her brain processed the experience as it does everything other moment of life.

If this baby had gone home normal - without this bruised face -- and returned the next week with the same condition, the medical establishment would contact child protective services and she would have been taken from her parents. It would have been all over the news. However, when this abuse occurs because of medical caregivers in the hospital it is totally ignored -- because THEY promote the MIS-science that babies don't really feel it or remember. It's CRAZY. NOT A WORD was spoken BY physicians, nurses, or midwives about the bruising on this baby's face. No one dares. Parents are so disempowered, in shock, and are shy about confronting the medical machine, and yet, the obvious damage was done by the medically induced birth. Why are these people allowed to abuse babies and not subjected to the same mandatory reporting laws?

How are doctors getting by with promoting the propoganda that what they do is safe when the literature clearly shows otherwise? How are they allowed to continue to harm babies and take away women's choices and responsibility for her baby's birth?

The debate about the safety of birth at home versus hospital, sadly, ironically does not include what is actually safest for the fetus/newborn in that amazing transition being from fetus in the womb to newborn in the world. It's a relatively short period of time but it is such a profoundly significant experience that will DEFINE in the BRAIN of the HUMAN BABY HOW s/he will BE IN the world.

The laboring and birthing baby is just as alive, learning, growing, experiencing as the prenate and newborn. Good, God, let's get real. And, do the right thing. Doctors and women.

What do you suppose would have happened had someone hotlined the CNM, OB resident and attending in a Naval Hospital for the obvious trauma this baby experienced?

to be continued .... for sure ...

Pictures are used not with permission but with the greatest regard and appreciation from the book:

From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds by Alexander Tsiaras
Buy your own for $35.00


Rachael said...

It's very well established that infants who are abused, negected, or mistreated during infancy suffer many many negative long-term effects. Even though that baby will never conciously REMEMBER those things happening to them, they suffer tremendously as a result. Therefore it astonishes me that doctors (who know this to be true) will then claim that babies are not affected in any way by their experience before, during, or just after birth. It makes no logical sense. If infants have no memories, and their brains are not affected, then why is it illegal to mistreat or abuse your baby, as long as it has no long-term physical consequences?
Like you said, there is no evidence whatsoever that babies AREN'T affected by their prenatal and birth experience. What evidence is there to support that babies brains pause until after they are born, then start working again? To assume these things have no effect just sounds silly to me.

Baby Keeper said...

YEAH, I agree with you, obviously.

It is so ILLOGICAL and it is promoted by obstetric caregivers in particular and bolstered by their peers. No one confronts anyone in the medical machine -- too dangerous. The NICU person is not going to confront the high number of induced births that result in NICU babies. For many reasons, not the least of which it generates money for the hospital and self, and insures the job security for many, many doctors and specialties for the lifetime. The NICU doc I asked about these stats said I was "muddying the waters". Not a very scientific term, even here in a Missoura.

If people really stop to think about and LOOK at the pictures and the logic, they often freak out because of how they themselves were born --- that surge of emotion that is felt in the body is one's own little prenatal, laboring, and birthing brain, or the resistance to looking at one's choices and the consequences to one's own child, but we have been taught (wired) to discount it.

Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. That's certainly definitive of obstetric medicine in many ways, but to continue to develop and use drugs and technology and interventions that the science says is harmful is both insane and criminal.

We need to report criminal mistreatement of our children. (I had edited the post this morning before I saw your comment and you had brought this up.) If we were to report the abuses of our baby by medical caregivers, who will step up -- within the legislative or law enforcement and act upon the reports? No one oversees or "polices" or regulates Obstetrics. It is a case of the fox guarding the hen house and doing whatever he wants.

uhhh, it's so hard to see babies being abused to perpetuate the system's needs.

Thanks for your post.


"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