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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hollywood Images of Birth

From a very interesting blog, Feminist Mormon Housewives at

The poster wondered about how common the Hollywood birth images are actually are in real life. That is one topic that neither Heather nor I have written on. One hundred forty some people responded. Here's mine:

The images we see of childbirth on television, Hollywood style, are like everything else on television …. designed to numb us, entertain us, and sell us. Rarely, does a woman go from not much happening to full transition, at the worst possible time … or most timely for entertainment. Like other forms of violence that humans watch mindlessly for hours every day, modern birth in the hospital is crammed into brains as the “normal” way, the safe way … they are selling epidural and the control of women’s bodies, minds, and souls just like they are selling the newest car, line of clothes, improved mop, and sexy shampoo. Like violence, like the sexual images our children are exposed to, the message of the horrible pain, the need for a crew of medical people pushing, probing, and coaching … all keeps us hyper aroused, over-stimulated and numbed — all at the same time. Our children hear shampoo commercials of orgasmic sounds, see women sprawled and wiggling in bras .. selling everything from cars to microwavable rice. And, they are expected to abstain — with images of sexual relationships everywhere … and, since society doesn’t question or confront this, it’s zero surprising that the images of birth — meant to draw women to the hospital where it is very lucrative — are indoctrinating our society. The walking wounded and numb make good, compliant women, consumers.

Thanks for this topic … it is one I haven’t written about on my blog … but will.

Comment by janel — November 29, 2007 @ 12:43 am

I couldn’t read all of the messages, but I did pick up on one vein of thought and posted a summary of what I wrote so extensively on last year ….

With all due respect to Janet’s husband, an anesthesiologist, apparently, I would like to ask him if he might be someone who could answer my challenge —

Throughout the history of modern birth, starting with morphine, twightlight sleep, ether and including Scopalamine, Demerol, Cytotec, and now epidural, these drugs have all been used on laboring babies and women with ZERO research to show their safety. ALL of them have been shown to be damaging and dangerous and were stopped because of the consequences … after use on millions of babies and women. Twenty years ago the choice drug was Demerol … and it is rarely used because of the impact on the baby. Since then epidural has increased in spite of the research in the late 80’s and early 90’s that shows it is dangerous. The drug, bupuvicaine that made it dangerous was counteracted by using fentanyl, an opiod … ALSO NEVER shown safe for laboring babies, but known to be extremely dangerous for adults. Mothers are encouraged and supported to give birth UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF NARCOTICS?? What a horrible contradiction. Yes, I have given birth under the influence of epidural. We are not just numb from our waist down — we are altered, drug-impaired while birthing our baby. And, this is considered normal. In the early 2000’s one study took 120 pregnant women and divided them into ten groups and each was given a different dose of fentanyl to see which dosage works best to counter the effects of narcotics. !?!?!? These babies and women are UNinformed and NON consenting subjects in a research study …. animals get better consideration. Women and babies (some who grow up to be men born “under the influence” of drugs) are one long research study. Psychology, medicine, human development, addiction studies. prevention, and treatment, and the myriad of other social and health issues, etc totally ignore the impact of birth on the lifetime of the human and certainly doesn’t consider that drug use and the resulting disruptions so well known, and the trauma form a foundation for life.

For a long time I have been looking for someone in the obstetric or anesthesiology field to give me ONE study that proves that ANY drug used EVER in modern medical birth was shown to be SAFE prior to USING on BABIES and WOMEN.

Doctors, nurses, and women will all … out of their own guilt, not imposed by others … resist the truth that drugs affect the baby ….because when we have chosen that or had it imposed upon us, or learned it was “fine” and “safe”, we face a huge journey.

There is a whole new field of understanding fetal and newborn learning, consciousness, and healing of whatever happens — whether it was truly lifesaving technology or doctor-induced for doctor convenience and malpractice avoidance (my ex is an OB), or by maternal choice. Ultimately, humanity has to begin to see that birth IS THE BABY’S experience of coming from somewhere into this physical life — and that the baby does not go to “OFF” during labor and birth. We know that the fetus is learning, responding in relationship with the mother and the environment … hearing, tasting, sensing, developing. And, we know that the newborn IMMEDIATELY is negotiating with a new environment during major physiological transition, and is interacting … LEARNING … It is clear that something very serious is amiss in medicine about the importance of labor and birth and how babies are also experiencing, responding, learning. All bundled together, that is results in memory. Prenatally, postnatally, and during labor and birth. The baby is experiencing everything. It is his or her birth. We can’t deny it away. Birth can’t just be about the mother’s need for pain relief or convenience, or the doctor’s needs.

Again, with all due respect and sincere wish for a real dialogue about what is really happening to babies in birth, I share my passion here.


I hope sometime soon, someone who is trained in anesthesiology will respond to my request for ONE research study that shows ANY of the drugs EVER used were studied BEFORE using on babies and women. The question is basically ignored by those promoting banning homebirth, and the wrong promotion of it as safe so that more women than not, now in 2007, will see it as perfectly safe. Drugs at birth is a collective consciousness that allows the cycle of dependency and drug addiction we see to be perpetuated. THAT could be a hypothesis for someone to study -- as it has never been studied. EVEN in addiction studies, with 80% of the present population born under the influence of drugs, IMPAIRED, with impaired mothers, the use of UNRESEARCHED drugs at birth has NEVER been studied as a causal or related factor.

The use of narcotics in labor and birth (while discouraged and even warred against in every other aspect of life) is disguised at giving women freedom from pain in birth … with no regard for her baby’s lifelong consequences of being born while they both are impaired “under the influence” of narcotics. In ANY other situation in life, a woman would be chastised and judged for being impaired while doing something so important, and she’d be seen as harming her child if she is impaired.

In this bi-polar society in seems daunting for anyone, especially medically trained people to see that even when they are using a substance for the right reasons, to facilitate the birth so that either or both mother and baby will survive, it STILL has consequences. Refusal to see that and to engage in ways of supporting the baby afterwards create this growing belief -- a monster that everyone ignores and denies -- that babies are unaffected by what we do, what they experience, what they have circulating in their body, and that their systems must work and struggle to adjust because of drugs and disruptions.

The research in the late eighties and 90’s were very clear about what the physiological response to epidural was for the mother and baby. This does not change just because they added ANOTHER harmful, unresearched drug to counteract (fentanyl). It doesn’t change because we deny it with the belief that women’s rights to pain relief, doctor’s time schedules, and convenience are as important, if not more, than the rights of a human baby to be born free of harmful, addictive chemicals.

It seems to me that the lack of any research and the ongoing research ON babies and mothers to find the right dosages with least complications, and the obstetric shop-talk sharing how to’s is outrageous.

Using Cyotec in the first place was done on women and babies without study and it was done between doctors and residents, in online chats, and general “shopt-talk” fashion. Dosages, complications, and responses was figured out like how we teach our young people to prepare, stuff, and cook a turkey. AND, meanwhile, simultaneously, THEN they began to research it …. THOSE who have it in their interest to continue using it. Same with epidural anesthesia …

YEAH, I AM blue in the face ....

I met a local anesthesiologist recently ... our conversation started over the war. It was a week after my son went to Kabul and I was working at being numb. He started giving me all sorts of things to send my son to read ... including something about the Heroin War, or something. I started to share my perspective that our violence and addiction starts in the primal period ... as I shared my oft cited research where 120 babies received different doses of bipuvicaine and fentanyl to determine the best dose combination, this new acquaintance smiled .... I said, "What, you are a doctor?" He, who is as crazed about the war and heroin use as I am about making birth safe for the baby by creating science-based protocols and using drugs and interventions only when needed, was shocked when I suggested that he and his colleagues have created the drug addiction crisis and asked how is it that any of you would be able to consider what it is that you have done to so many humans? I said it would take a spiritual crisis and awakening ... and our society does not support that. Anyone in any sort of emotional, psychological, or spiritual crisis is "diagnosed" and pumped with drugs that cause a myriad of other issues. We see it on television, in the advertisements .... around and around we go.

Progress in the "war on drugs", the "war on crime", the "war on gangs", the "war on violence", the "war on poverty", the "war on cancer" will happen ONLY when we start bringing babies into this world in an aware, safe, gentle, connected, drug-FREE, violence-FREE way. (Medical birth is violent).

We can conceive, gestate, labor and birth, and care for our infants with awareness, protection, gentleness, our time and touch EVEN when or ESPECIALLY when medical intervention ARE necessary. What is wrong with this world of obstetrics that promotes all or nothing ... either their way or no way.... zero compromise so that woman blindly follow, or live their lives damaged in silent rage and illness, unable to connect with their children in the way that both their mind and souls strive for and miss over and over and over.

Oh, my ....


JMR Brown said...

thank you for this wonderful blog. I will add to the discussion.

When I was pregnant, I was considered "high risk" because of the fact I had Multiple sclerosis (which had been diagnosed five years prior) In going thru the pre-registeration process of L&D at my local hospital, I made it crystal clear that I DID NOT want an epideral or any strong drugs. I know what it is like to not feel my legs, and thank you but would never opt for it. I also made it clear that unless there were some sort of serious distress or situation with the baby, that I would not report to the hospital until my water had broken.
I did just that, my water broke at 4am and we went into the hospital, it still did not seem to be clear what I wanted. They administered Stadol, which regardless of what is said that its meant to do, did nothing more than make me sleepy between contractions which was annoying, when asked if I would like an additional dose my husband and I adamantly said NO. I was able to walk around, sit on a large exercise ball in the shower, things that really assisted. The doctors and nurses were very concerned because of my MS status, and they were considering me to be in premature labor at 35 6/7 weeks. By my own calculations was more like 2 weeks early. The fear with MS patients and childbirth is that the stress may cause an exacerbation. So here is my honest take on this....they gave me the first small dose of Stadol at 7am, which wore off by 8am and then the rest of the day was more productive labor. I had my beautiful daughter at 3:37pm that afternoon, which is a very short labor time for a first child. She was perfect, she had no signs of a premie and passed all the eval tests with flying colors, funny, because I still had to have the sugar/water arguement with the nurses. We go from keeping drugs out of the L&D experience and then we have to carefully monitor the things they give our newborns. I view doctors and nurses as very educated advisors, doesn't mean they have all the answers, nor does it mean that their opinion or options are always correct.

Baby Keeper said...

Thank you !! for reading and appreciating the blog and for sharing to the discussion.

Thank you for sharing your story of giving birth to her daughter. So nice to hear a happy story -- with exception of having to fight off drugs and interventions. Wow, it is a challenge to actually be in a "high risk" category. And, I always wonder, why is it that they get on "high risk" women like flies to you know what ... when HIGH risk mothers and babies the things we know are damaging ... repeated sonograms, induction, drugs, continuous monitoring, surgical birth, early cord clamping, separation from mother ... cause more stress to baby and more risks??

Good for you .... and for your husband who was able to support and protect --- very challenging in hospital. Good for BABY!!

From a pre and perinatal psychology perspective, the bonus is that your daughter KNOWS in HER BRAIN, because of her experience of labor and birth, she knows YOURs and your husband's connection, she knows protection, she was mostly drug-free and she will be one little lady who knows how to advocate for herself, and have her way.... maybe sometimes too aggressively, but maybe very respectfully too. And, except for Stadol, she has zero drug IMPRINTS/toxicity. She won't live life with the imprints of drugs to get done what she needs to do. Her membranes -- part of her -- weren't violated. She'll have her own impulse and timing, and she'll KNOW how to get through whatever life brings her. Woooo hoooo.

As for the postbirth, you are gonna love the documentary I am working on .... addresses what you just brought up.... the need to carefully monitor the things professionals DO to and SAY to babies ... more than monitor, it will show us how we need to address what is standard of care.

Thanks for posting.

Permission to Mother said...

Tip-when you post your link on blogs, leave off the www.

Readers wanting to come to your blog might not figure it out.

And I agree with you-- the TV birth stories are "infomercials" for the big TV sponsors. A very well planned out marketing scheme to penetrate our minds!


"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