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, March 13, 2008

Freebirth Reflections: How Unassisted Childbirth Impacted My Life

Freebirth Reflections: How Unassisted Childbirth Impacted My Life
Mother, Baby, and Family 6 Months Postpartum

It has been almost six months since my second son was born at home in our bed, caught by his father's loving hands before being passed into my own arms. I feel obligated as a proponent of unassisted childbirth to write about the impact freebirth has had on our lives. The birth of our son has been met mostly with positive reactions, and it has had a positive influence on our relationship as a family. My perspective has been forever changed by my son's simple, natural birth.

I healed very quickly from childbirth. I bled about half as much postpartum as with my first son, who was born in a hospital. With my oldest, I had second degree tearing and needed stitches. Being completely in charge of the birth the second time around, I sustained only tiny first degree lacerations. Besides the lingering baby weight, I was back to my old self in no time.

People have responded with fear and delight to our birth story, but always with surprise and questions. Upon telling a nurse that my husband "delivered" the baby, she asked snottily "WELL, what are his qualifications?" The ob/gyn who saw me just after my son's birth was rude enough believing I had a midwife that I opted not to even mention that it was a freebirth. The pediatricians at our clinic, although initially surprised and somewhat confused, were very accepting of our choice. They didn't give me any beef about it at all. The ER personnel we encountered the first and only time my son has been sick seemed confused, but indifferent, a reaction shared by the workers at the vital records office.

Getting a birth certificate was little fun. I had to clarify that my son was born at home without a midwife or prenatal care, when they told me proof of medical care was what they asked for as proof of pregnancy and birth. "Babies will come out without a midwife or prenatal care." My husband and I had to come in together with our newborn, a copy of his medical records, and two notarized affidavits from witnesses to my pregnancy. There were just two forms, one of which had to be redone due to my sloppy handwriting. Three weeks later, I was notified that they had forgotten our paperwork in a pile but were processing it immediately. After correcting a misspelling of his name, we finally received his birth certificate. His social security card followed a few weeks later.

I can't claim that freebirth has had an impact on my son's personality, because I don't know. He's as happy, easygoing, and social as our older son has always been. I do believe, though, that witnessing his brother's birth is one of the reasons why our sons are already so close. Our toddler has never shown jealousy, anger, or resentment towards his baby brother. He loves to play with him, make him laugh, and stroke his head, and he tries to help me care for him anyway he can. After the birth he began nurturing stuffed animals as we do the baby. When our toddler is in the room, our baby only has eyes for him. He watches him constantly, giggling at silly things his big brother does and brightening at all brotherly attention.

I am certain it has impacted my husband, though only he could tell you exactly how. He has expressed to me that catching his own baby, being the first to touch him, makes him feel more deeply bonded with him. It also seems to have strengthened his confidence in himself as a father and husband. Perhaps it put him deeper in touch with his paternal instincts. He views birth differently now, less like a medical emergency and more like a simple, normal, natural life event. The man who was once hesitant about having a homebirth now recommends homebirth, even freebirth, to all. His military colleagues think it's extraordinary that he "delivered" his son, though we've tried to explain to them that it's as simple as playing catch! One thing I know for certain is that it has brought my husband and me closer together. It is a testament that together we can do anything.

As for me, I am forever changed. I remember feeling invincible for weeks after the birth, euphoric, like super woman. I felt like I could do anything. I still look back and think, "God, I can't believe I really did that!" It was truly an amazing experience. It put me more in touch with myself, with nature, and with my instincts. It certainly made me feel more confident as a parent, to have taken complete responsibility for my son from the moment of his conception. The bond I have with him is as strong as the one I have with my older son, and yet different because of what we experienced together. I am in awe of my body, of birth, of life, and of the world, my respect and faith in each stronger. My house has a whole new history now, and each night I feel a new sense of safety and belonging as I fall asleep in the bed where my son was born.

Contributed by Heather B. If you enjoyed this article, please read more of my writings by visitting my homepage. I can also be found on Myspace. :)

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"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