Bloggers and group lists posters are wondering if the film will be politically correct and address all the configurations of partnerships. The answer is no. The full film, "The Other Side of the Glass" is a film for fathers and does not address alternate partnerships or single-parenting because it is a film about men. The information will be invaluable to anyone who is in the position of supporting a woman during labor and birth, particularly, if that person has legal rights to make decisions. The film will look at the impact on society for the historic abuse of the newborn male in modern society. Throughout the modern history of birth in America, women have been drugged, isolated, restrained (literally or now with epidural), and violated, as have their babies who are birthing "under the influence" with a mother "under the influence". We are currently in a huge surge and swing that is fighting for a woman's rights to her body in birth as well as in choosing to carry a baby. Books and films about women in birth fill the libraries and bookstores.
The twenty-some year-old field of pre and perinatal psychology is making progress in bringing awareness to the fact that birth is the BABY'S birth. The human being IS being born from the mother. It is not her birth. It's not rocket science or New Age to consider the scientific foundation that the laboring baby knows via hormones that the mother is feeling afraid, stressed, distracted, withdrawn, absent and abandoned. Labor and birth form the template for the mother-baby relationship outside the womb, in the world, for life. Good midwifery care supports mother to "stay connected" to her baby throughout labor, birth, and first hours of life. Midwives, WOMEN usually, are less invasive. The back to midwifery movement is predominately WOMEN, and some evolved and gentle men are supporting WOMEN to heal birth. Without knowing even, perhaps, they are working on the core of the peace movement, the movement to create healthy, harmonious, happy human beings from the beginning of life. (www.safebabyresolution.com). This healing what happens to the mother-baby dyad is profound, and I propose that it does not yet address the whole picture: the history of the violation of the male baby.
But what about the father in the equation? The trinity, I like to say. Where are the books and films that support him to touch the deep experience of his baby self, and to transform that in order to be present, intimate, aware, and connected? Where is the movement and the group support, and conferences of experts promoting what he needs in birth? What has the man's role in modern birth evolved into? And, from where? How are fathers (MEN) harmed in the very same birth experience that women are now fighting to end? Even today, it is a rare man who leaves the birth experience of his baby feeling "intact" and without a nasty contradiction of feelings with no place to express them, and no way to understand them, and no way to address the expression of the experience of his partner (loss, betrayal, disconnected, abandoned, unprotected by him), often expressed as anger at him. He can not separate his mother-stuff from his wife-stuff. Psychology is clear about that, but has never addressed the root of it, his own birth and separation from the womb and the breast.
All human American babies have historically have been induced, drugged, violated, and separated when they enter the world. Rather than being placed on mother's chest to do what nature has known for 175 million years, modern obstetrics suctions, dries, pokes, injects, and puts substances in the baby's eye. If one take but a moment of quiet introspect to consider this, one begins to see the barbaric nature of this "routine, standard practice" in American obstetrics.
Neither modern obstetrics, nor modern psychology looks at the impact of this on that the human baby. The differences between male and female victim-offender dynamics is not addressed in terms of the vital experience of coming into the world ... our primal experience. Does the male newborn baby who is drugged, boundaries violated, poked, probed, rubbed, and separated from his placenta (Life Force) and the mother in a multitude of ways -- especially sensory (touch, sound, hearing with the calamity of voices and noises), taste and smell (deprived of fluids on his hands and of her milk) -- not record in his brain this experience? Is he not profoundly impacted by the immediate severance from the Source of Life for him and from his mother when his cord is cut immediately? So that he can be woman-handled by gloved, masked strangers and poked and prodded?
It is a stereotype that men hate hospitals, and that they refuse to go to the doctor, and would rather die than go to the hospital. And, they typically are the ones who fear homebirth as too dangerous. Must be in hospital. Has anyone done a study of this behavior looking at the issues of loss of power for men in their birth experience and circumcision experience? Has anyone done an study to look at the impact of immediate cord clamping (loss of blood) causing forced physical and emotional separation from the mother (harshly by strangers), and the profound boundary violation of the self -- all coiniciding with the switching of fetal circulation, the closing of the foramen ovale? Do male physiological cardiogy dysfunction and intimacy dysfunctions have to do with the primal period?
Naw, obstetrics tells us that the baby doesn't feel and remember birth, while the scientific discovery proliferates information about the exquisite and profound abilities of the prenate and the newborn. We are lead to believe, and do, as a society, that this same baby, during labor and birth, goes into an "off" position so that ... what? the indoctrination can occur? So that obstetric medicine can imprint the message of fear, isolation, women hurt and abandon, and medicine is the hero, fix-it-all?
Take a moment to consider how it is that this foundation contributes to how men feel and interact with their world, with women, with medicine. In the trailer the hospital born baby, Andrew, is scrubbed, suctioned, poked, and prodded for fifty minutes, non-stop with less than a minute as the longest interval without someone invading him. A female OB, a female OB resident, and two female nurses violated this baby boy repeatedly. Why? And, importantly, WHAT is the long-term impact to his psyche? How is it that in the year 2008 this brutality is allowed to happen and people watch it and smile, the perpetrator even cooing and baby-talking WHILE they violate the newborn. In the film viewers will see how one nurse overpowers a male resident and the boy's father. How is this? How does this happen?
I have been joking recently about how if George W, a gangsta, or a Chicago Mafia guy were at their baby's birth in the hospital, that even they could be disempowered by a female obstetric nurse. Why is that? Ruthless, self-serving, violent men who order masses killed and can pop someone for any reason. I'd have to wonder if their penis' were cut off in the hospital in their first days of life. Sure, we've been indoctrinated with the mythical science about how safe birth is in the hospital, but what DO we know about the connection to being violated, fearing for our lives coupled with indoctrination. We know it works. It works to gain control over another human!!
The following is an excerpt from a webpage by John Travis, MD, MPH who has a book coming out soon about the abuse of men in birth.
Why Men Leave--A Hidden Epidemic
Assertion: Modern culture is in the midst of a hidden epidemic of fathers leaving their families--usually around the time when the first child is born.
Men leave their families in a multitude of ways. Even if they remain in the home, many fathers are often emotionally absent--through depression, workaholism, violence/aggression, physical or emotional abuse or a retreat into addiction to substances, media, consumer goods, sports, food, or sex.
Most men in the "developed" nations today never bonded (or very poorly bonded) with their mothers. Most people don't even notice how disconnected modern people are from each other, compared to cultures where the bond is still intact. Yes, we talk of alienation and notice how much people in Mediterranean cultures touch each other, but we make no connection between these phenomena and how our bonds among people, with nature, and with the divine have been torn asunder. I propose that this unnoticed, silent epidemic of disconnection/alienation is the source of most societal ills. Fathers leaving their children and their families is only the tip of an iceberg..
As infants, most men in our culture have been bottle-fed and subjected to other culturally-endorsed patterns of normative abuse, such as sleeping alone or being left alone to cry when their needs weren't met. Biologically, the male is the more fragile gender of our species and developmentally lags years behind females--well into adulthood. Instead of getting the extra nurturing needed to compensate for being the weaker sex, by age five, males in almost all cultures get far less nurturing than females. It's no surprise, then, that most of the unbonded boys in our culture grow into men who spend a good deal of their time unconsciously seeking (and fueled by advertising that prominently features the breasts they were denied) a mommy-figure to provide them with the nurturing they were denied as infants/children. Part of their survival mechanism is to learn to deny their feelings and project their unmet needs for nurturing onto substitutes, such as women, and other externals, the most common of which are consumerism, workaholism, and substance addictions.
On another page he shares his story,
I was born in the farmlands of western Ohio in 1943. Like most babies born in those days, I drugged (via my mother's general anesthetic, which took weeks to wear off), dragged out of the womb,with cold, metal forceps, grasped by sticky rubber gloves, and plunged into bright lights--instead of being gently greeted with warm hands in subdued light. I was doubtless held upside down to drain my lungs (I'm not sure if I was slapped or not, but that was the norm of the day). Stinging silver nitrate was put in my eyes. I was wrapped in cold, scratchy fabrics instead of being allowed to mold my skin against the warm skin of the person with whom I'd been intimately connected for nine months. A little while later, I was taken to the nursery where I was placed in a plastic box beside Carol D., born earlier that day. I spent my next 10 days there (the norm for the early '40s). Arlene and Marlene soon joined me, twins born a few days later. I was given a cold, rubber nipple with a bottle of a fatty, antigenic substance instead of the miracle food that three million years of evolution had prepared for me.
Then, a day or so later, I was immobilized on a board and, without painkillers, the majority of the most sensitive nerve endings of my penis were amputated. Then followed the standard "normative abuse" parenting practices of the 1940s:
1) artificial baby milk--probably Carnation or Pet Evaporated Milk
2) a four-hour bottle schedule. (I got hungry every three hours and cried that last hour, until I learned it was no use and made a decision about the world that is so basic to my brain's neural organization that it still impacts almost everything I do--"Asking for what I want doesn't work--my needs will never be met.")
3) restraint in a crib or playpen,
4) deprivation of the continual movement of being carried in-arms
5) sleeping alone in a separate room.
Most of these "improvements" were devised by men propagating, in the name of "modern child rearing practices," untested "scientific" ideas, all of which have since been proven to be destructive to human bonding. I don't blame my or other parents of that age; they naturally followed the cultural winds, and the promise of science and technology to cure the world's ills was, in 1943, still an untarnished vision.
Continue reading at:
Why Men Leave