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

Monday, May 05, 2008

My GI Joe is Coming Home

He has his limbs, his eyes, his head, he is not burned or mutilated! He is ALIVE! He is coming home to the U.S. How blessed am I and how grateful I am. So many mother's wailing will never end and their hearts will never mend. These mothers who have lost their child to war need our loving thought and prayerful arms to hold them. I feel, I think, as if my child has been through a tragic event, like a bus wreck, and is one of the survivors. With all of my gratitude, I am a bit numb right now. Bless my other sisters.

I can not think only of my happiness, without feeling shared emotions with the mothers with whom I have so much connection and especially those who will never greet their child again. Never has anything connected me so deeply with other women ... birth comes close.

Can it really be after all of this time? Twenty-two months in a war zone -- two and half years since I have seen him -- smelled him, felt his soft neck when I hug him, an experience that transports me, and then his whiskered face that brings me back to the present.

Please keep our men and women and their families in your prayers.

Below are some pictures of my GI Joe in Afghanistan. He is an officer embedded with the Afghan Army. My favorite of him is him being hugged by an Afghan man. It brought me much joy to see him happy and being the goof we all know him to be. The picture is a stark contrast to night time maneuvers, long mountainous roads, and him standing, honoring his friends, fallen soldiers. He is in black shirt below. How can a mother's heart but break when her child sees and endures such experiences and losses? How can we as women, not reach out to other women who experience such losses ... whether it be to war, or to the egregious violation of her body, soul, and baby during managed, manipulated, medical birth.

If you've been reading my blog since I began it in November 2006, you know that my son was deployed in the months prior and it started out initially to counter Tuteur's attack on homebirth, midwifery, and natural birth when she banned me -- when my son had just left and I was clinging to his sacrifice, possibly dying, being not in vain if it protected our rights here. I was taking my right to speech pretty damned seriously.

You know that I am passionate about birth, the empowerment of women and men in birthing their babies, and more importantly, that I am a fierce advocate for the baby. You'll know that writing six hundred pages in the first seven months on this blog, entertaining you with my colorful and very passionate weavings (rants) about obstetric abuse against women, the history of midwifery, circumcision, and the consciousness of the baby, is what got me through the hardest year of my life. Have I mentioned lately that the drugs used in American medical birth have NEVER been shown to be safe for the birthing baby and woman?!? And! that women and babies are one long experiment on NON-consenting and NON-informed women and babies?!

"In the cave," "over the cliff", "thrown on to the train tracks", and the "dark night of the soul" are some of my more graphic descriptions of my experience as a mother of a deployed soldier in this war. Thanks to you all who faithfully tuned in, I found a wonderful place to channel my energy and emotions --- as I unraveled a lifetime of ... of ... shi-stuff. And, then began to re-weave my life. Many days I would marvel at that amazing soul, my son, the one I saw come in at conception, and how we came to do this profound journey. Oh, how I would have given anything for a few days back ... so many would be "do overs", most would just be a day to enjoy him ... a baby, four years old, or fourteen, or 22. Mamas, hold them close and cherish every moment you have. Time slips away and all you have left is your dreams and justifications for why did what you did or didn't do what you didn't. Deployment dredged up all of those losses to be reviewed, like sorting through wet, stinky belongings after the backed up sewage goes down; and finding the joys within, to be appreciated.

Some days I was grateful that I was able to experience such depths of emotion ... even though much of it was very old and unfelt from days of numb living. Numb, that mechanism that most of us have that allows us to endure hardships, abuses, losses and to suck it up to go to work and put on the "happy public face" ... well, that mechanism goes haywire when we face losing our child, whatever the reason. And, I do mean, haywire. I found all of the times, all of the years that I didn't feel what I felt (like getting out of an abusive marriage to an obstetric physician) demanded to be heard and felt. All of those years living in Denial ... focused on worldly things not of that much importance really -- in the end when all is said and done.

Some days I felt, and do feel, profoundly blessed that I had this opportunity to recognize my child, the man, who is his own soul and who came for a purpose. I am blessed to be called to "let him go" -- as mothers must learn to do -- letting go while embracing, and accepting him, at a level I never knew possible. It's at the bottom of the cliff, in the darkest recesses of the cave, and in the darkest place of the soul. It is the moment one realizes, lying on the tracks, shifting waist high in the sewage, that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train after all.

My only sadness I will likely never lose is the realization that my son will never be the same ... for this war. He is expected to come back and live a normal life, where the majority remain numb to his (and his colleague's) experiences and sacrifices. They are so young and have so many years to live. I can't quite shake my resentment at the majority in this country who merrily continues on their normal way, while ours will never be normal again, and my outrage at what you ... this country ... owes him and every veteran of this war. How can you continue to do nothing to stop the madness?

I went through what is as close to losing a child (to death) that I wish to experience. When your child goes to war you have to feel the very real possibility of his or her death (it feels like being slapped, beat to the ground, and kicked in the gut while you are down, over and over) AND you have to have the most hope you've ever had. You have to find it. I likened it to things like getting the news that your newborn is in NICU and for that time when you don't know if they will live or die, you live in panic ... then numb .... then panic .. then numb ... then panic. You live that way everyday that your child is in danger or at risk of dying. Everyday ... until you just have to adjust in order to survive, and the overwhelm is always just right there, ready to spill at any moment. Life unravels.

I realized the panicked scream I felt for two years was exactly like the time my older son almost got hit by a car. Almost, so close, that it is our angel story. I was very pregnant with his sister. He grinned, knowing I couldn't catch him and he bolted down the sidewalk towards the busiest street in town. I couldn't get to him and all I could do was scream his name ... so loudly that people came out of their homes 1/2 block away. My scream came from my core and it seemed to have summoned an army of angels or maybe just the very big brave one that I "saw". After my younger son left the US I realized that I was in that very same scream ... watching my child go off to war all pumped up to do what is right, to do what soldiers do for their country, was like watching him run gleefully to the street with zero regard for the danger. He was so trained, so prepared, and so honored to go to protect what most of us (not me, mama) take for granted.

The scream of deployment goes unscreamed, stuck in me; numb and panicked, numb and panicked, all stuck because there is no place in our society for mothers to just lie down and wail for their babies. No place, no time for days of crying, or time to rest from the exhaustion, and there is no one to pick up the pieces of modern day life that come undone so quickly and that undo us until homelessness, until cancer, under drug use, until divorce ... or whatever consequence emerges from stuffing numb powerlessness and panicked grief. Breathe!!

It is all stuck inside and it gets called "Mother's Guilt" or women get ill, sometimes, deathly ill.  There is no time to grieve our babies we lose in birth, or to war, or in accidents, or to cancer, or to strangers, to DCFS, to the other parent, and not even our babies who are born by cesarean or not how we know our body wanted. There is no time or place to grieve our babies and children's experiences when they and we do survive. Our bodies none the less wail. Our mind wails. Our soul wails. We women have no place to wail, grieve, to FEEL, and to process our guilt and abandonment and violation.  My definition of "Mother's guilt" is that it an expression, a measurement, of the degree of violation a woman and baby have endured by a system condoned by culture.

I intended to and I did choose to go through the pain ... with zero drugs. I have a master's degree and a license that allows me to be the "expert" talking head to help others "talk it through". Nothing I ever learned and experienced prepared me for my own experience ... except the group of parents who had lost their children to death. I didn't talk to someone about my feelings and it would do no good to talk about how my life was unraveling without real empathy and without going into my body and the experience. FEELing it, living it, moving through it. I used yoga, Tai Chi, and I wrote, movement, trance dance, and I wrote, African dance, massage, and I wrote, and the Mother Earth. And, I wrote. It was the Great Mother who sustained me and deepened my faith and trust in Her Son and in His Father. My son's deployment gifted me with the most difficult and blessed journey of my life. I have come through it a much better person. Thank you for sharing it with me. When I picked myself up and dusted myself off, I realized that I had progressed, quite surprisingly towards some long-time goals and dream. The most amazing of those is the film I have wanted to do for four years now.

Thank you for your prayers for my son, my GI Joe, and for all of the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Thank you for your prayers for me and my daughter and my family. Please remember that the needs of our men and women serving are great - before, during, and after. Our veterans deserve our care, appreciation, and our attention. Their families are suffering and need your support.

Please pray for the babies and children of our deployed men and women.

1 comment:

Susana said...

Hi there,

I tried emailing you about the birthing gowns but you didn't respond. I would like to contact you to send you an invite to join my nearcircle group, Homebirth Mamas. Could you please contact me at


"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