Watch It! (The Trailer)
Monday, December 28, 2009
Jeanice Barcelo Heads-up everyone! My radio show - "Love, Sex, Pregnancy, Childbirth & Parenting" - airs in less than two hours. This week, Janel Martin will be my guest. Janel is in the midst of making a birth film for fathers called "The Other Side of the Glass." This film promises to be an incredible look into the experience of fathers -- many of whose partners have given birth in a hospital -- alienating the dads and creating separation in the family. Janel is also a birth trauma specialist and a babykeeper/attachment therapist. Her focus is on keeping the soul's journey into the physical world as the focus of birth. Please join us today at 11AM Hawaii time, 1PM Pacific, 4PM Eastern to hear this incredible show. Callers are welcome: (646) 478-3967
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The fundraiser is very reciprocal offering a green household product sample package for $20. Details below. First, the story.
It is clear based upon their actions that Alex’s family has been under the direction of an attorney whose methods involve attempts to demean and discredit our family’s beliefs in homebirth, breastfeeding, attachment, holistic health care and attention to the psycho-spiritual well-being of infants. Allie has been lied to, attacked, insulted, threatened and cut off completely from his daughter. A birth certificate has been filed without his name and he has been denied the opportunity to give his daughter his surname. The actions taken by Alex and her family against Allie and our family are so atrocious as to be almost unbelievable. But, they are indeed quite true.
When the moms in the Moms’ group I facilitate heard this story, they wanted to organize a fundraiser to help Allie pay for legal assistance to gain custody of Bella. Unfortunately, such fundraisers are complicated to organize and can cost more than they ultimately raise. Right now, we are being told that Allie needs at least $7500 for legal fees.
Energetically, Allie maintains his connection to Bella every day, working to keep his vibration up, to communicate heart-to-heart with his daughter, to access supportive therapies and keep a positive attitude, knowing that Bella needs him and deserves the love and devotion of her father on a daily basis. Allie loves Bella dearly.
Sadly, Alex is completely unconscious as to the needs of her daughterand acts only from her own fears, insecurities and neediness. In her fear and under the control and manipulation of her family, she has stated that Bella has no awareness of Allie and that she will never know of his absence. Bella spent the first ten days of her life in her father’s arms when not at her mother’s breast. She slept by him every night and recognized his love for her immediately. Allie has read a great deal about attachment and understands quite well the damage being done to Bella through her mother’s actions. Her experience of his loss
to her can only be one of abandonment, which even further serves to tear him apart. This false premise, that Bella has no awareness of Allie and no experience of loss has been encouraged and reinforced by Alex’s parents, who clearly have not even the most basic understanding of infant psychology. For her part, Alex’s focus is on herself and her own wants and needs, expecting that her life should not change in any way and resenting Bella’s intrusion into her life.
In reality, Bella has already experienced deep psychological trauma due to the ignorance of her mother and the manipulations of her grandparents. First, her very existence was denied, as her mother lied about her for 34 weeks. She experienced her mother’s fear, denial and complete lack of connection. Think of all the times a pregnant mother talks to her baby, strokes her belly, thinks of her baby with love and wonder. Think of all the love and affection a father shows both the mother and the baby during gestation. All of the love that flows from extended family and friends, delighting in her coming. Bella experienced none of this. There was no connection, no love, no wondrous expectation—only oblivion. Yet, at birth, she was welcomed wholly and completely into our home, into the arms of her father who had no idea of the machinations of her frightened mother and jealous, angry, resentful grandparents.
Allie was prepared to take leave from school, seek employment and rearrange his life to put Bella’s needs first and foremost. Now, he is in the unenviable position of needing a lot of money and resources to secure his relationship with his daughter. Not that we underestimate the power and love and energy in this family, but sometimes that love and energy need to co-mingle with other kinds of actions that support the desired outcome.
When Allie and I discussed the idea of a fundraiser, he felt strongly that it is important for him to provide something meaningful in exchange. Before Allie was aware of Alex’s pregnancy, he signed on as a distributor for WowGreen, a natural enzyme-based cleaning product, to assist him in paying for his education. Now, while Allie intends to return to school in January, it is more important than ever that he have the ability to make money, both because he needs to pay a lawyer and because he needs to have long-term income sources to support Bella.
As it turns out, WowGreen has a very simple fundraiser available that can be easily organized and completed quickly. WowGreen markets a sample box that contains five products and sells for $20 as a fundraising product. The typical fundraiser asks 20 people to sell 20 trial boxes each and would provide $4000 to Allie. Additional sales yield additional funds, of course. Allie and I are asking the many families and individuals we know who care about the deeply significant relationship between an infant and her father, as well as the well-being of the planet to help Allie raise this money.
Each person’s energy contributed to Bella’s return will likely be the most powerful aspect of this entire process. Remember, we live in an inclusive Universe—if we focus on Bella and Allie as one, they will be together.
In love and gratitude,
I have included only the end of Allie's letter here in case you don't feel the need or have the time to read it in its entirety. The
pertinent information about the fundraiser in copied here:
I am unable to come to any resolution with Alex and must seek legal assistance to gain joint custody of Bella. I have been asked for a $7500 retainer and my family cannot afford this. Several of the moms who are in my mother’s Moms’ Group have offered to organize a fundraiser to help me with these costs. Several ideas were discussed, but I felt that I would like to be able to give something in exchange for the help.
A couple of months before Bella was born, I became involved in a company that sells natural household cleaning products through a company called WOWGreen LLC. As my mother’s letter explained, I intend to use this business to help me get my daughter back. Since making that decision, I have learned a lot from this experience and am designing a website and blog to educate other people of my generation about the options they have in many areas of their lives other than those spoon-fed to us through schools, the media and advertising.
In researching my parental rights, I have followed a path toward discovering just how misinformed and uneducated most people are about the needs of babies and children. From there, I read and explored a lot more about the ideas I was raised with. People my age need to make better choices in diet, lifestyle, education, health care and even in plans for raising children. I want to teach people my age how important these things are and that they have many choices to make they are not even aware of. Creating the life we want can begin at any age. We do not need to reach middle age and suddenly realize we have lived in a
way that doesn’t bring us joy. We can make active decisions to create lives that rise to our highest personal potential. Selling these products is the beginning of my intention to create a broader forum for reaching young people and inspiring them to live lives of joy that include health, well-being and caretaking the planet.
and Product information:
Some of the key points about these products:
It is a contradiction to imagine that your home or office can be clean if the products used leave toxic residue on services. WowGreen contains no toxins and leaves no such residue.
They have 4 plant-based ingredients: Enzymes, Natural Surfactants (Natural Surfacing Agents, natural soaps that are 100% non-toxic), Natural scents and dyes and Water. Nothing else. The different products simply utilize different enzymes.
Of the twelve products, half are shipped in refillable plastic spray bottles. Refills are simply small packets that you add your own water to. This saves hugely on environmental impact, as there is no landfill waste and less to ship in the future.
You can replace all of the toxic products in your home or office. The people responsible for cleaning your office or home are no longer exposed to toxins in their “workplace”.
Here are some options to consider:
If you are willing to organize a group to fundraise or if you are willing to sell the trial boxes yourself to friends and family, then we can provide you with a single trial box for demonstration purchases for $20 if you are local ($25 including shipping otherwise). Once you have pre-sold a case of twelve, we can ship it to you directly. Once you and others have tried the products you may simply purchase the full-size products that you like through Allie’s link, which will allow him to continue to have an income stream from this fundraiser. If you would prefer to, you can sign up as a Preferred Customer to purchase the full-size products. You may also become a distributor, as I have.
Whatever you choose, please do not think any effort is too small. It is only through these small efforts that I hope to have the opportunity to raise my beautiful daughter Bella.
Sincerely with gratitude,
A link to the explanation of the Enzymes:
My WOWGreen™ home page:
Product order page:
This is the enrollment page:
Thursday, August 27, 2009
An OB you like or who makes you comfortable isn’t enough
Many women do not interview OBs/midwives when selecting their VBAC care provider. They either stay with the GYN who has been providing their well-woman care or the same OB who performed their cesarean because they like them.
Women they really believe that if they are good patients, if they are friendly, if they don’t question to much, if they are good-natured, their OB will treat them with the same courtesy by reading their birth plan, respecting their wishes, supporting their desire for a vaginal birth, and creating an environment where VBAC is the goal. In short, the woman believes that she will receive a genuine opportunity to VBAC.
However, as we read below, it is not enough to like your OB. It’s not enough that you feel comfortable with them. They need to support VBAC. They need to see the value in vaginal birth.
Dear Dr. XYZ:
It is with great reluctance that I submit payment to you for services rendered.
I hired you for an intervention free VBAC. Instead I had EVERY intervention I told you I did not want. Under your care, I failed in the most basic way a woman can fail – I failed to birth my children. You ignored each and every point on my birth plan. I cannot help but wonder if you even read it, or if you ever had any intention of following it.
I needed time for my body to do what it was designed to do. I needed support from my doctor, from my nurses, and from my hospital. What I did NOT need was to be pumped full of drugs, have multiple interventions that I specifically stated I did not want and pushed into a surgical procedure. I am especially struck by our final interaction prior to consent. Never, for the rest of my life, will I forget how you made your speech, and then stalked out of the room. I recall thinking “I’m actually paying to be treated like this? To be verbally bereted and physically tortured?”
I have no joy when recalling my children’s births.
I have regrets.
I regret coming in for an appointment that day when labor was in the early stages. I regret listening to you that I should go to the hospital “just for some monitoring.” I regret not leaving when labor stalled. I regret agreeing to pitocin. I regret allowing you to turn up the pitocin to a point where I could not stand it without pain relief. I regret getting the epidural instead of just screaming my lungs out until it was over. I regret letting you artificially rupture my membranes. I regret allowing the monitoring – internal and external. I regret not telling you that this was my baby, my birth experience, and I wasn’t having a C-section without a court order.
But what I regret most is choosing you as my provider. I knew going in that you had a high C-section rate, that you had already given me most of those interventions with my first child. But I liked you, and allowed that to influence my decision.
How I wished I had chosen someone I loathed who would have worked with me to get the natural birth I desired. In the end, liking you got me nothing that I REALLY wanted.
So, here is your money. I don’t particularly think you have earned it, but I want to be free of this one last reminder of the worst experience of my life.
Jenn in St. Louis
Monday, July 20, 2009
I was encouraged to whip up a piece with his interview with me where he talked about this.
In it, one can hear Michel Odent, MD, in his own words, discussing his observations about the impact of men in the birthing environment.
My teacher of birth trauma healing, Raymond Castellino, has collected obstetric text books from the forties. It is helpful in treating the trauma from birth to know the trends and what was likely during an era. Obstetrics is like fashion; it goes in trends. Every ten years obstetrics promotes something very different as "scientific". In the 70's the push by who? WAS it women? got father's in the hospital room with birthing woman.
In the 1940's the obstetric text books warned against the use of drugs ... for the mother AND the baby. An interesting piece of history is that it was WOMEN who wanted to use drugs during birth. It is part of the feminist movement. Women campaigned and fought for the right for "pain relief" during birth. Even the Pope had to ok it because women by God's orders, remember, are meant to bear the pain of labor for punishment for the ruin of Man.
Odent's voice and observations must be heard during this time of strength of women claiming their bodies and their baby's birth and the fight to keep midwifery legal and so the right for women to choose the caregiver and place she chooses.
The question of whether or not it is best for the birth of the baby and for the mother AND for the FATHER for him to be there has to be considered.
Odent has unique perspective that likely few if any OBSTETRICIANS have experienced. He shares at the beginning that how his observations of fathers disrupting the mother's labor and birth is based on attending birth in every situation home and hospital, both excluding fathers and including fathers. He started in the early 50's as a physician/surgeon and attended women where the father was not present. Then in 70's to mid 80's he attended births in the hospital where the father WAS present; then a decade of attending homebirths with the father present. And since the early 2000's he attends homebirth with an experienced woman, a Doula, with his presence only to make it legal. He and the father are not in the birth.
I have heard often this past two years working on this film of fathers who do not want to be in the birth, and the now forty years later the expectation is that every man must be there or something is wrong with him, he is a betrayor if he doesn't want to be there and perform the way he is supposed to. Never mind that HIS feelings are rarely considered, never mind that HE must be prepared to participate in the birth that is heavily controlled by others and by DOGMA. Either he has to abide by the "medical model" and physicians and nurses rules and expectations based on insurance and hospital needs, or he has to abide by the "midwifery model" including homebirth and the midwives guidance, theories, and expectations.
Society, theorists, doctors, women have very rarely included the male in ANY decision but Odent is saying they haven't LOOKED AT THE IMPACT on LABOR AND BIRTH.
Odent is questioning how the social expectation of men at birth happened and progressed, WITHIN THE HOSPITAL SETTING, not by midwives, but by theorists, in the early 70's, without ever looking at the impact of the change; without asking HOW WILL IT IMPACT THE LABORING MOTHER?
What I, the baby advocate/birth trauma therapist, filmmaker/interviewer, sees is that men in birth is one more issue in birth that is defined and controlled by the medical establishment. As long as birth is in the clutches of doctors, insurers, and lawyers, what ever we do as consumers to try to change practices within the system are going to be distorted and manipulated to stay within that framework.
The question is, WHAT did happen when the movement, the "fight" began to include fathers? How did men participate in it? DO men really truly want to be in the middle of it? And, do women really want them to be? Can a man today say so if he doesn't want to? Society now, 40 years later, expects a man to be there or something is wrong with him. Now, it's a "betrayal" of his partner if he doesn't.
Perhaps, women who birth at home will begin to validate his findings. I hear it enough. She doesn't actually want him there. ONE MORE thing that women and men DON'T communicate honestly -- because they haven't the language or training. WHAT do women want when they free themselves from the medical establishment's restriction and dogma? WHAT DO MEN REALLY WANT AND NEED? We need to know this important information in order to create a new way of birthing.
We need to find out ... way beyond the medicalized, indoctrinated dogma of what we've been taught is normal ... we need to support women to choose to not have their husband and we need to support men who now feel rejected or left out when she doesn't. In part two Dr. Odent explains more the impact on the relationship the disruption of birth where there is this conflict.
I think men might be numb and angry and overzealous, over needy to violent in their efforts to control women because of their exclusion in birth that has also taken away THEIR ability to really participate in the way they need to, the way the nature intended?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Depression before child's birth
Recognizing paternal depression next to maternal depression before childbirth could be beneficial for identifying fathers who need help for themselves and their children.
It's unlikely the baby's crying caused men to be depressed since they were screened for the condition before the child was born, they noted.
The researchers speculated that the link between a father's depression and their baby's colic could be related to:
- Genetics (though false paternity could not be ruled out in the study.)
- Poor interaction between depressed fathers and their infants.
- Indirect stress from marital, family or economic pressures.
Most research done regarding birth -- especially about the baby, but also the mother, and definitely the father, leaves out THE BIRTH! It is a huge, huge, I think GLARING omission in most research designed to tell us very important information about babies and parents. How can it when it doesn't include the baby, mother's, and father's experiences of birth?
Think about it. Be aware and notice this. From now see I bet you will also notice that our language when speaking, reading, and researching about the baby, the mother, father, and family and baby development almost always uses the phrase "before and after birth?" The baby and parents for generations have left the hospital expected to suck up whatever happened and "be happy that the baby is alive." I believe it is a monumental break in our fundamental relationships. Women and men, mothers and fathers, go home to live their lives with these huge unnamed, unrecognized, unintegrated individual and family violations and woundings.
How could science leave out the EXPERIENCE of birth for the baby, the mother, and the father as a factor in any research? How could the impact of birth on us as a baby not be recognized and how could our mother's experience of birthing us and our father's experience of being there and seeing us come into the world not be the subject of research? When it is allowed to become the subject of joy and power, maybe .....
Monday, June 22, 2009
Every day, over 10,000 men in the United States become the fathers of new babies. Surprisingly little is known about the social and emotional experiences of fathers with babies and young children. In an interest to improve the well-being of new dads – and to foster the well-being of their children and families – the purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences of dads with babies, as well as the causes and consequences of the joys and challenges these fathers face.
ABOUT THE STUDY
This study is being conducted by Dr. Will Courtenay, in collaboration with the Center for Men and Young Men at , . Dr. Courtenay is an internationally recognized researcher and scholar whose work focuses on understanding and helping men and fathers. Dr. Courtenay has served on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School , and the University of California , San Francisco , Medical School .
Taking part in this study means completing an online survey. In the first part of the survey, you will be asked some background information about you and your baby. In the rest of the survey, you will be asked about experiences you’ve had as a father and with your spouse or partner, as well as your attitudes on a variety of topics. You will also be asked questions about your feelings and behaviors that relate to your moods. The survey should take about 20-25 minutes to complete.
The survey is completely anonymous. You will not be asked to identify yourself or provide any identifying information.
WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE
For this study, we are interested in the participation of adult males over 18 years of age, who have had a baby (or babies) within the last year. If you are not an adult male over 18 years of age and have not had a baby (or babies) within the last year, thank you for your interest in the study, but please do not continue with the survey.
WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE
Fathers have an enormously positive impact on their babies and young children. We understand this from lots of good research. But the impact that babies have on their fathers, is relatively unknown. Your participation will help to generate a greater understanding of the experiences of dads with babies. We hope that, ultimately, this greater understanding will help foster the well-being of fathers, their children and their families as a whole.
If you would like additional information about the study, or have questions about it, you can contact Dr. Will Courtenay at DadsStudy@MensDoc. com to answer any questions about the survey.
You can go to the survey by clicking on this link:
https://www. psychdata. com/s.asp? SID=130274
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ __
Will Courtenay, PhD, LCSW, "The Men's Doc"
Helping Men Live Happier, More Fulfilling Lives
McLean Hospital , Harvard Medical School
2811 College Avenue, Suite 1
Berkeley , CA 94705-2165
DrCourtenay@ TheMensDoc. com
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My son is in Afghanistan again .. where he has been most of this last three years. I can bear it only when I keep focused on his passion for protecting this country and our freedom. I justify that he is preserving my freedom of speech, my freedom to speak on behalf of babies and men ... and this really pisses me off!!
I had to redo and reload the trailer and my entry to the Better Birth Virginia Contest. I hope you'll vote for my short, "We Can Be Much Kinder".
The music is original composed and performed FOR me by Michael Stillwater, www.InnerHarmony.com at an Honoring Ceremony in Scottsdale, AZ in March 2009. In a group of eight other people, my intention/need was to have focus in my project and as I was feeling overwhelmed by my family's wounding (the hospital birth family), my own birth, and my babies births, I asked to be able to forgive and to have compassion for all involved. A few moments later Michael "channeled" this brand new song for me. He is also doing original music for Part One/Two. Check out his website and the Honor Ceremony.
In early June I will be meeting with an editor in MO to polish up Part One. It's really happening. Meanwhile, I am fundraising big time to pay for it and the upgraded professional production package. See previous posting for details. Please check out the donation plan I have outlined here.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND YOUR WORK IN OUR EFFORT TO HEAL BIRTH!!
Yeah, I am shouting that ... so grateful for you all.
Friday, May 8, 2009
I am leaving CA tomorrow and heading east to Missouri first and later to Illinois, and in June to Georgia, NY, and wherever else the story (part 3 and 4) leads me. I am still the one-woman production team -- traveling, filming/interviewing, and editing, and I anticipate doing so through June. It is very challenging but I do know the light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train. I have a colleague/editor who will be available in mid July and I hope we are working on Part 3 by then!
I have changed my production plans regarding Part One ... which is good because the quality will be better but not so good as it means a delay. The company I am using to create the end product has two options. One allows me to get 1-300 burned copies and requires that I do the DVD label and cover design on their online graphics program, which I did in January/February. The other option is an industry quality glass mastered product and requires a HUGE minimum order and requires that they do in-house label and cover design at a big cost -- even if using my design. I have decided to go for the second option. I have decided to go for my first-run/printing/mastering as the real deal, the whole shebang .... and not end up with two versions, the original being a lessor quality. But I have to raise more funds and that delays the whole process until I do ... while completing the thing, of course.
I have updated the information to the right here regarding donating to the project and being the first to receive Part One:
This is the best opportunity to get your copy of Part One at a decent price. When the film is released the price will go up and shipping will be added.
Because the film's audience is also Doulas, midwives, and childbirth educators -- and to show my gratitude for your support -- people who have donated to receive Part One will also be eligible for special discount prices on future bulk orders (of all four parts as they will come out separately) to sell to their clients. Donors over $40 will also be eligible for an additional discount and to have their business/website listed in the closing credits.
Donors over $100 will also be eligible for all future deals related to the film, such as the discounts and special benefits (tbd) for screenings and/to raise funds for local birth groups.
All donors will be listed in the "thank you" in the credits.
Part 2: His Moment of Awe is due out hopefully by Father's Day ... yeah, that could be 2010, but let's all hope for 2009!!Part 1 will expand upon the information presented in the trailer. Looking at Andrew's birth, part one will provide the basic information men and women need to make birth safer -- wherever they give birth. The series is designed for women and men to present to their caregiver -- midwife, nurse, or doctor; and for childbirth educators, midwives and doctors to show to expectant men and women.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I had a tragic family emergency a week ago and then the next day I also found out that my younger son has returned to Afghanistan -- again. I was out-of-commission last week and I am now standing again. A whole lot of life has happened in the past three-4 years to get me prepared for doing this film and to get me on the road, and big time while I've been "on the road" for the past sixteen months. It's been a truly exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Living one's dream always is. I have met and interviewed the most wonderful people and I am most grateful for the loving and generous support of people around the world.
Being "on the road" is so exciting, but it makes editing very challenging. It takes time to set up and get back into the groove. I am looking forward to settling back into home and hearth in the fall to finish editing Parts 2, 3, and 4 ... "where" is yet to be revealed to me. Any ideas?
I am very aware of how important it is that Part One be done well and the closer I get the more aware I am of how challenging it is "to be done" (on many levels.) I am reminded of when I painted and how hard it was to be done. It is more like how doing a huge 1000 piece zigsaw puzzle appears to me -- only twice as many pieces and they have multiple places they "fit". You only use half the pieces and they could fit together anywhere. It's hard to know when it is completed. The story is amazing though ... and I am very much looking forward to information being available.
I want to thank everyone who has donated to my film and who awaits the arrival of their copy. I appreciate your patience, and your enthusiastic, passionate, and generous support. I couldn't do it without you ... and without the work that you are doing in the field. I am grateful for your support. I really feel the love for Andrew and his mother and father ... as this film is for them ... my loved ones who experienced the violations in their births and in their baby's births, and whose story will help many, many others.
Part One will be worth the wait .... I promise.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
From The Times
April 21, 2009
Home births: here's three we made earlier
A former Blue Peter presenter on why, when it comes to childbirth, there's no place like home
I'm frustrated by the clichés surrounding childbirth. If I read another article such as Melanie Reid's in this newspaper last week - in which she said that women who choose home births are spoilt and complacent - or have to listen to another couple state that their baby would have died if they hadn't been born in hospital, I shall eat the next plancenta I find in the freezer.
Grotesque though this may sound, occasionally I have come across them there - where else can they go when you have your babies at home? You can't leave them for the dustman along with the empty champagne bottles।
I have a distinct inner feminine nature। Certainly my male outer shell was almost invisible when I partnered my wife in our children's home births। There were no sandals worn, as Reid suggested, nor any sign of squeamishness। My wife chose to have her babies with a midwife, who was with her throughout the entire journey - from when those first few cells were dividing to the time the baby had gained a few pounds to compulsory breastfeeding। She also chose to not to go into hospital, a place dominated by inner and outer males whose protocols dictate the procedure in the business of birth. All birthing animals like to be born - and die, incidentally - in familiar, dark and gentle places.
I might have been more in line with my species by saying: “If the doctors say you have got to have a C-section because the baby is breech then they must be right because they're doctors। This is the 21st century; they can take away the pain so you don't have to suffer। What counts is the baby's life and yours। There's no need to act like a spoilt, complacent woman।”
Of course it's not compulsory for men to be there at the sharp end, cutting the cord, breathing with your partner when she panics, but it's better than hanging around in the corridor wondering what is going on।
The excitement of being at home for me meant that I had no choice but to be in the thick of it। The sheer joy of looking at your child's features and recognising your own in them, to be allowed to hold your seconds-old newborn and place her on your partner's chest. For your tears of ecstasy to drip on to your first son (after three daughters) as you repeat, mantra-like: “It's a boy, it's a boy, it's a boy.” I even commented on the minor repairs of a small tear on the perineum - none of these intimacies could happen unless you are in your own space.
My mother, who was also present at one of our children's births, had a profound experience। She, like me, could remember nothing of our difficult forceps delivery; her fear of birth was expunged. The trail of little feet, who always time their entrance after the event, somehow sleeping through the raised night-time noise levels, pile in to prod, kiss and fondle their new sibling. It's a party atmosphere and everyone is invited.
It doesn't happen like that in the wing of your average hospital। My wife's future, and consequently mine, was born by the nature of our children's arrival: two breech and two cephalic (with head down, the most usual birthing position). The experience precipitated the choice of a new career for her as an independent midwife. Our first-born, Lucy, was a rare thing, spending her first year of life as a Blue Peter baby. She set the tone and I can remember arguing that if they didn't put breastfeeding on children's TV I was leaving the show. I also entertained viewers with incompetent male demonstrations of bathing, weaning and nappy changing.
The pragmatic truth about the hospital birthing industry is that we don't quite trust it to provide a proper and responsible service। It is not its fault that midwives and doctors work in dysfunctional institutions that sometimes make mistakes and misjudgments that affect us. It is not intentional. We try to choose the best hospital as we try to choose the right school, but sometimes it doesn't work out. The problem with hospitals is that they like routine and babies don't always fit into their schedule. Just check the Caesarean rate on a Friday. On the other hand what a fantastic facility to have available when there is a real problem such as pre-eclampsia or placenta praevia, and they are there to intervene and save a life. The problem is that they want to intervene in normal birth too - with epidurals, inductions, the effect of opiate drugs and inappropriate communication that can lead to poor outcomes.
Reid claims that homebirth is a minority sport. Not true. Where homebirth is available with one-to-one care the statistics shoot up. In Torbay, in Devon, it's 11 per cent. A National Childbirth Trust survey says that 25 per cent of women would consider it, if it were more available.
The real issue is not whether you have your baby at home or in a hospital, it is how you have your baby। It is “continuity of care” that is the key - a trained midwife who is with a woman from start to finish and a little beyond. It is a holistic approach because how you think and feel about it affects your confidence to give birth and function as a future parent. If you can achieve that in hospital then fine; if not, you should be able to consider alternatives.
This is where men can make a difference. You may think your role is insignificant and all you are doing is protecting your partner and unborn child by making sure they get the right treatment. Well, treatment is usually for illness and for most normal births it is not required. What is required from men is that they trust their partner's instincts and understand emotionally what is occurring. The first call is still your GP: if you don't like what you hear get a second opinion. Take responsibility and stop colluding with other males with the mindset of taking control.
I think I was brave to side with my wife's instincts when she became “high risk” because the baby was breech। “You don't want a dead baby” was the advice I got from everyone. I knew that what I said to my wife would have a huge impact on what we did. I know most males would not take that route, fearing that the blame of giving the wrong signals would fall on them if it all went wrong. But that's what responsibility is: making choices with your heart and mind and living with the consequences.
As you get older, increasingly, your heart rules your head. When I think back to the moment my grown children entered the world just feet from where I'm sitting yet more tears drip into my keyboard. I think about how those first few moments together has affected everything that has happened since.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Other Side of the Glass:
Finally a Birth Film Series for Fathers
By Suze Keys, New Zealand
(in communication with L. Janel Martin)
The Other Side of the Glass is a four-part film by US baby doula/birth trauma therapist/film-maker L. Janel Martin (the Baby Keeper) that looks at fathers’ role in the birth of their children.
The film's fundraising trailer can be viewed at http://www.theothersideoftheglass.c
Part One: "From the Womb to the World"
presents current research and fathers’ birth stories, and questions the routine use of interventions in birth, while introducing resources for creating safe and connected birth wherever birth happens. It is also a fundraiser trailer. Donors of $15 or more will receive a copy of first edition. Due out any minute.
Part Two: “His Moment of Awe”
continues with father's stories from around the country, and features the needs of the mother, baby, and father in first moments outside the womb- It goes beyond the idea of fathers as the protector and advocate at birth, to show that medical caregivers must be the ones to ensure the protection of the mother-baby-father relationship. Features ten physicians. Musician, Michael Stillwater, www.innerharmony.com provides original music. Due out by Father's Day.
Part Three: "The Canary Flies" focuses on several fathers who talk about how their lives were transformed by the experience of trusting their wife, who trusted her body and birth, and how they are as fathers because of this experience. Original music by one of the couples, Tyree and Jesca, aka The Katalysts will be featured. Due out by the end of summer 2009.
Part 4: Untitled, is about the pre and perinatal psychology (preconception through breastfeeding); the methods of treatment for integrating and healing, and is about how we can heal humanity by acknowledging that the human baby is an aware and sentient being, capable of perception and feeling at birth. Part four focuses on the impact of drugs, interventions done without regard for the baby, separation, isolation, and circumcision on humanity, but especially on the male baby.
The film's foundation is that the human prenate and newborn is a sentient (aware and feeling) being at birth (as it is from conception forward). Based on knowing that babies are conscious beings and that 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.
This preparation allows fathers to claim the experience of meeting their baby for the first time outside the womb. Men's role in hospital birth has been defined by the medical establishment; subsequently many men are disempowered during the births of their children and are prevented from supporting or connecting with their newborn baby in those first minutes of life.
When his child and partner are honored and respected by caregivers, whether midwife or doctor, a father can embrace his birth experience.
Finally, a birth film for fathers.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Where does this overwhelming respect for authority come from, that it allows hospital staff to abuse mom & baby?
I sure don't have it.
For five bucks I'll attend your birth and if an attendant ignores a "No" or a direct request, I'll break their freaking face.
You might make a lot of money if you could be in so many places at once. Since that's not possible I hope the film shows the medical based caregivers -- doctors, nurses, and midwives -- how they can support and protect the father as well.
How is it that we have "this overwhelming respect for authority?" Well, this is going to be a big part of Parts 2, 3, and 4. I would not use the word "respect" to describe how men and women acquiesce the control of their body, mind, and soul to strangers who sadly do not remember that this other human being before them, in their care, is a also sacred being, a soul in this body, a whole human being.
I think it is fear; a physiological response to the generational impact of giving it over and being dominated. As I interviewed men this year, as the filming and editing evolved, I came to see the true nature and role of the male is not to be the big, powerful protector against invaders and predators during his baby's birth. It's like asking him to protect his family from a home invader who just happened to break in as he and his partner have just made love. Right in the middle of that glow, in that rush of love hormones, taking a drag on his cigarette, a man disrupted is a man who can be easily toppled. He is the least likely to be able to protect anything but his own jewels. (And, yeah, part 4 WILL get into how circumcision of the male child who has most likely been induced, drugged, roughly handled, separated from his mother and father, isolated, mishandled by numerous women doing hospital routines, and THEN has the end of his penis cut off leads to a man who is standing there frozen, basically unable to protect himself, let alone his partner and baby.)
A man is physiologically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually vulnerable at the moment of his baby's birth. He is witnessing his baby, the result of his love and sperm, emerge, and he is taking in how amazing and powerful his partner is -- all of this a product, and a consequence of his making this baby. Darn right, in the hospital setting, clearly demonstrated to be one invasion after another, he needs another man there who can protect him so that he can experience the climax of his conception of his baby. Birth. His creation emerging. To have his moment of awe -- see, touch, smell and take in his creation, to gather his partner and baby into the strength and power of his loving, protective heart and arms, that is what he needs.
Imagine, if we lived in a world where we didn't have our homes as fortresses with security systems, walls, fences, gates, and laws to protect our ownership and privacy. And, imagine the only way to ensure that you could have uninterrupted, quality, private lovemaking, and feel vulnerable enough to have an orgasm, and to collapse in the heights of the ecstasy of the moments after was to have your buddy guard the perimeter of your space from predators. Darn right, you'd need your buddy (or two or three) there, willing to "break their freaking face" if an intruder insisted on disrupting or endangering you and your loved one. Men need that in the hospital. And, thank you for offering it.
One thing I hope to accomplish with this film is shifting our current acceptance and perception about it being OK, and the responsibility of a man and woman and a need to prepare to be so fierce in birthing their baby in the hospital. That's a huge social imprint that creates a lot of our issues. I am concerned about this dynamic of having to be educated, armed, and prepared to fight for your rights in the hospital; to fight for what is physiologically natural, and seemingly simple, logical, respectful, kind, and science-based care. What is up with that anyway, that in 2009, in such a "civilized" time and nation, a woman has to go to the hospital prepared to fight for her life against intrusions, drugs, invasions of privacy, and to keep her body and soul intact? I tire of hearing, even from the medical caregivers I've interviewed who DO honor the mother-baby-father trinity, that THE CONSUMERS have to create the change.
Part of me screams, NO! #*#&%@ It is the medical establishment, the people doing it, who must stop what they do that harms a man and his family. Right now. NOW! The science is there, on the side of natural birth and homebirth, and kindness and compassion, but they are allowed to do whatever they wish -- until a movement of consumers hurts their assets enough to make them stop. These caregivers I interviewed have all gone through their own evolution to become the caregivers they are. They need support too. They know that the consumers are the only way that changes happen in their profession. They know too well that those who try from the inside are ostracized and persecuted. I think the shift can happen ... but it will take an uprising of men.
Men have been telling me they need support of other men ... and it is one of the goals of a group I am supporting to grow, Fathers For Better Birth.com, website coming. Contact Kris Amick at email@example.com. And, it is why part of my Baby Keeper training, on the back burner simmering away while I finish this film, includes training midwives, doulas, nurses, and doctors how to support men to support men in birth.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I received a message today:
Thanks for the welcome. I paid for the Other side of the Glass DVD months ago. Do you happen to know when they will be sent out?
I will be having Part One burned professionally. I designed the DVD label and cover several months ago. I will be able to afford to have 100 copies made initially. Who knows!? They might end up being "collectors items" in our field. Donors will also be listed in the "thanks-yous" and I will make sure those of you who helped me at this stage will be remembered and appreciated -- I will make sure you have whatever gets made as it gets done. A couple of people have donated over $200 and they will receive a full copy of the film.
The baby in the hospital birth is my grandson, Erin is my daughter, and the father is my son-in-law. My daughter, 12 at the time, shot the footage. We were prepared for "homebirth in the hospital" (BS, BTW), and my daughter wanted baby in her arms, minimal touch by staff for first hour, delayed cord clamping. She wanted baby to do the "self-attachment, breast-crawl". She got the total opposite. There was no medical reason for any of the interventions they did on Andrew ... for taking him from her, ripping him out of her arms, excessive suctioning (the worst is not in the trailer!), and refusing to give baby back to father after he repeatedly asked for him to go back to the mama. I have been a professional in this field since 1999. We were overpowered and my grandson violated for no reason.
So, I gave up my home over a year ago to go on the road to do this film and my financial support is child support and these donations. Numerous angels have supported me with housing, a computer, etc. My uncle in LA gave me the camera in February 2008. My daughter's home in Phoenix is my "homebase" right now as I travel back and forth to California after leaving Missouri in November. I had spent six months there, in a home, donated by a wonderful woman, Paula Green. Rich Winkle, an fierce advocate for the baby and natural birth bought a MAC for me to use, saying, "This film has to be made." During those six months I studied the editing software and edited programs for a community access television station and then edited the trailer. Back in California for more interviews, a midwife in Long Beach, CA gave me a big pack of 9 V batteries for my microphones. A young couple recently treated my daughter and me to dinner and he gave me a copy of his book. Everything is so appreciated. An older gentleman pressed 3 $20 into my hand in Hollywood after hearing about the film at a meeting. After a showing of parts of Part One at a www.Bepe.info meeting in Nevada City, CA a member handed me a second check for $200. I feel a sense of profound community, around the world, because of making this film. We are all united in one thing -- making birth safer and kinder for the soul in a human body, the baby, who is coming into the lives of a woman and a man.
When I think I can't go another day, or wonder, "What the heck I am doing this for?" or "How will I ever get this done?" either I am blessed with another gift of support, like a $15 donation, or I just remember what it is about for me. It's about Andrew, my grandson. It is a film to bring the info and healing to my daughter and son-in-law and to support Andrew. I am a one-woman crew, a Granny on a mission. The long-term goal is to create a movement of consciousness about the baby and father-led movement to demand that the medical establishment honor him, his partner, and the sacred being they are birthing into their lives.
The trailer was done as a "fundraiser trailer" and limited to 10 min because I wanted to put it on YouTube. I had hoped to find a funder but have found that it is very important for me to have total independence until I get through Part 2. I really do appreciate so much your interest, support, donation and promotion of the film on your groups. Bless you. Part 3 is also amazing ... I never imagined that I would be doing a film on the information that has come out of the journey.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 04:00 PDT Chicago --
Some doctors have started fighting back against ugly Internet reviews by asking patients to abide by what are effectively gag orders that bar them from posting negative comments online.
Physicians are taking action as online ratings services such as Yelp and Angie's List grow in popularity and expand their reviews beyond restaurants and plumbers to include medical care, joining dedicated Web sites such as RateMDs.com.
"Consumers and patients are hungry for good information" about doctors, but Internet reviews provide just the opposite, contends Dr. Jeffrey Segal, a North Carolina neurosurgeon who has made a business of helping doctors monitor and prevent online criticism.
Some sites "are little more than tabloid journalism without much interest in constructively improving practices," and their sniping comments can unfairly ruin a doctor's reputation, Segal said.
For a fee, Segal's company, Medical Justice, provides doctors with a standardized waiver agreement. Patients who sign agree not to post online comments about the doctor, "his expertise and/or treatment."
Article continues at:
Doctors Fight Back Against Internet Critics
Rate your doctor on these websites.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
This weekend I interviewed two people:
Barbara Herrera, San Diego ( at www.navelgazingmidwife.squarespace.co) and Stephanie Dawn iN LA area (www.stephaniedawn.com). Barbara is a midwife, photographer and writer, and a very well-spoken, thoughtful advocate for babies. Unfortunately, Dr. Wonderful, a wonderful obstetrician in San Diego was ill and unavailable.
Stephanie does her Sacred Birth Workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, Childbirth preparation for the heart, mind, and spirit,
QUANTUM PARENTING, which brings together the latest scientific research with ancient spiritual wisdom…
A leading-edge source of parenting resources for mothers and fathers wanting to most effectively support the unfolding mind, body and soul of their children…Then we travel to Nevada City, CA where I will be visiting David and Donna Chamberlain and BEPE (Birth and Early Parenting Educators). www.BEPE.info.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I paid for my "donation" copy of the other side of the glass add on to the trailer. When will I receive my copy? Please contact me promptly! Paypal completed on 2/10/09 and I haven't heard a word. Wonder if I can reverse it?
I am glad I got that this week and not last week.
I am in the midst of a last minute scramble to finish up what I can here in Phoenix as I am leaving Friday for a grueling 3 day trip (1200 miles and 3-4 interviews) to finish up filming. I will arrive in northern CA to work with my editing teacher on Monday after a long trip and interviews.
This note was a good reason to stop and take time to update visitors and followers of the film about my progress. It's been on my "to-do" list.
I am experiencing a computer challenge as I prepare to meet with my editing teacher in what was to be "polishing" of Part One. It will not be as ready as I planned. However, as is the nature of this amazing film that has a life of it's own, amazing things have emerged, much like it did in September in my trip to the east coast.
But the good news is plentiful: Part one finally has a name, His Moment ... of Awe. I recently completed the DVD label and cover design knowing it will be adjusted as the film itself completes. I also connected with the person who is, as we speak, doing original music for this part. A major birth photographer is lending her photos. Everything takes a lot of time. Someone in Italy emailed me about translating the trailer. I spent three days on transcribing it in detail -- finally, crossing that off the list. I have someone to do Portuguese and Spanish and looking for French. All of these people are donating their piece to this part one. It is such a blessing. I intend for sales of Part One to fund paying them to finish their part in the completion of the film (two other parts).
For those of you who are waiting so patiently, some of you since you donated in September and October, I wish to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your patience and support. I have tried to keep you updated via email but have not done such a good job here.
Last week I sort of hit a wall ... I was (and am) so tired as I continue to do this as a one-woman team. Actually, as I learned to do in Trance Dance (check it out!) I danced along the proverbial "brick wall" examining and experiencing it. I have been aware since September's visit in SC with unassisted couples, that I am doing this film as if I were birthing my "baby" unassisted. It is also, above all else, a film to honor my grandson, Andrew; my daughter, Erin; my son-in-law, Osama, and my older grandson, Adam. They are the hospital birth family. I am the Grandma. My younger daughter, with me on this production, was the videographer.
I have much support -- emotional, spiritual, and physical -- from around the world, but only these donations are the financial support. I had an internal tantrum, threatening to just quit, knowing that I can't, knowing I was just being like my three-year old grandson, Andrew, where I am living in Phoenix. I am just showing my frustration, independence, exhaustion, and determination. I am blessed and grateful for the opportunity to do this film as I am in awe of the message that has emerged and how important it is.
But seriously, honestly, I have been frustrated with the lack of financial resources and the obstacles. And, while 99% of the time I am in awe of my accomplishment and the spiritual journey in this process, I am always in need of financial assistance. Aren't we all? The trailer was to be fundraiser trailer; to procure big funding, to hire experts and professionals, but I found that I was to do the work. Like an UC birther. So, since it's my baby, I am not sure how to ask for support for this film, except through offering a copy of the completed Part one when it is done. Like a homebirth/UC mother I know it is my baby and I need support, education, resources, and those who are more qualified than me to help. Me, personally, I don't want to borrow and owe people, and I want the energy of the film and funding to be reciprocal. Hence, the donation now, in exchange for the "First Edition, Fundraiser Edition" that I fantasize becomes a "collector item."
I have big expenses coming up -- paying my editing colleague for assistance with the editing ($500), travel to DC in March ($500) and professional burning of the final product in late March or early April ($500). This is what sent me into a "little tizzy tantrum" with God, the universe, Whoever. I don't know where the money will come from and this is nothing new, but I am at the end of the birth, in transition, where the great amount of energy is needed to birth this amazing baby. I am tired. And, the journey makes me so grateful. I bought myself a new $6 bra and a pair of $20 pants last week -- my first in two years. Everything goes to my daughter and to the film.
I have been blessed with "in-kind" donations to make this film happen. One year, rent-free, in a wonderful duplex in MO, "home" while I zig zagged across the country for six months, and while I spent six months working 50 hours a week, learning the editing software and editing programs for community access television station. My ten-year old grandson sat with me last night watching me transcribe video (I let him listen to Sarah Buckley in reverse and had him convinced that I was translating from a foreign language!) and he asked, "Granny, who pays you your pay check?" I answered, "I don't get a pay check.... but people are donating money so they can get a copy of the film, and later, a lot of people will be buying the film."
Beyond the financial situation and the yearning to get back to working with babies and families, is the passion to just get this information out to the public -- the wonder at how amazing the information is, how it can contribute to transforming birth in our society and to transforming humanity. Being in my grandson's presence (and his brother's, Andrew, in the film) I am blessed.
Baby Andrew is an amazing soul who came to give us this information. Sometimes he and I just gaze into each other's eyes and I melt into the universe in a moment of bliss. I had one of the moments in the car taking him to his other grandma's house. We were making eye contact in the rear view mirror. The music on the radio, which ironically, I can't even recall, heightened "the moment of awe" (hint, hint) with him and I was transported in a moment of bliss. I cried. The film is for Andrew ... and all of our babies.
Sooooo, a musical fundraiser planned in MO isn't happening this month. Rather than be in a tizzy, last week I started to develop a format to do a "Fundraising Party" based on my producer-friend's "how to" book, but I just don't have time to add that job to my current work load -- of finishing (birthing) Part One. I am still working totally alone. If someone would like to take on that role, to set up a format, contact people, network on Facebook, I could help and hand it over. I wanted to ask people to have a little party in their community and show the trailer and take donations for a first edition, fundraiser edition of Part One.
Part One is really designed for doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, and women to give to their men, and other than child support and "in-kind donations, is my only resource for funding my living expenses while I complete the rest of the film. This fundraiser edition will include the Intro (expanded trailer) and Part One: His Moment ... of Awe. Part Two is not yet named but looks at men's experience of transformation when they have experienced a powerful woman who trusts and knows her body works ... and births powerfully. Part Three will get into the world of pre and perinatal psychology, the wounding of men since their own birth, the healing of birth experiences, and impact of empowered birth on humanity.
So, taking this time and opportunity to update folks, I want to ask for your financial support by donating at least $15 in exchange for a first edition fundraiser edition copy of Part One, and to consider showing the trailer at a house party and collecting other donations. If someone one wants to create and manage fundraising, please let me know.
Also on my wish list is an RV as I plan to travel to do extensive interviews of the OB's in Part One, amazing people doing science-based, mother-baby focused obstetrics for the next project.
So, here's my response to the note:Dear ______,
The film is in production, as is indicated in the blog.
I am doing this film as a one-woman team. I am still filming .. completing filming for Part One this weekend as I travel from Phoenix to San Diego to Los Angeles, and then to Nevada City, CA with the plans to finish Part one, then travel to Washington DC in a car with 200,800 miles on it to screen it to a group, to film a birth for part one, and to then wrap it up and get it professionally burned. I travel in prayer, I tell you. I am doing every single bit of it -- including thank you's for donations, which I had not yet gotten done for you. THANK YOU.
People who donated in October and beyond are also still waiting, and I am so appreciative of their interest, support, and patience. I don't think people realize how precious and important that $15 is and how far it goes and what it means to me and the film. I am often waiting, as I was this week, for child support to come in to do this next leg of the trip. I do not have credit cards and this film, unlike many, will be done without "debt". This months allocation (child support) will not get me to DC, and I have no idea at this moment how I will pay for the trip to DC. I am leaving Phoenix where I have been living with my daughter and family (grandson!) having given up my home a year ago -- to do this film. It is a place where I can work on very tedious aspects of the film. I have been traveling off and on for over a year now .... with a 15 year old, a dog and a cat ..
This film is an act and labor of love -- baby Andrew is my grandson and Erin is my daughter. The donations are the only funding I have other than child support and acts of kindness -- lodging, meals, etc. I feel I am in late stage and transitional labor. I hope you can appreciate the process and bear with me ... I am laboring heavily now and birthing this baby very soon. Like every birth, this film has it's own timing and process. Like a woman in labor, all I can do it go with the present contraction.
I appreciate your support more than words can say.
L. Janel Martin Miranda, M.A.BabyKeeper Baby Doula/CranioSacral based Birth Trauma and Attachment Therapist/Birth Videographer
Sunday, February 15, 2009
In fact, the current style of maternity care is so procedure-intensive that 6 of the 15 most common hospital procedures used in the entire U.S. are related to childbirth. Although most childbearing women in this country are healthy and at low risk for childbirth complications, national surveys reveal that essentially all women who give birth in U.S. hospitals have high rates of use of complex interventions, with risks of adverse effects.
As usual, my question is .... what about the baby? WHAT about the BABY?!? When is the media going to ask about the impact to the BABY when speaking of "adverse effects?" We call it BIRTH TRAUMA. The baby's brain is WORKING, interpreting the environment and experience and IMPRINTING the brain, remembering it all.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I had to take my blogs down because I had an attacker of my work. That was ok, because when people disagree with me, I embrace it as an opportunity to learn. I try to find common ground, find a common goal. But it was not ok to troll my blogs for addresses of others to whom to send very disparaging information.
This person was charging me with "promoting the abuse of newborns" and sent the information far and wide, including to state officials in Missouri.
Yeah, me. Me, accused of "promoting the abuse of newborns." Me, who annoys people with my mantra "What about the baby?" every time they forget to mention the baby's experience when talking about how traumatic birth was for the mother. People AVOID me because they don't want to hear it me going on and on and on and on .. and on ... about the baby, the film, the interviews that tell the story of how it is that babies are harmed by standard medical practices.
My family, friends, and colleagues all TOLERATE me. Since we are on the road again, my poor fifteen year old never gets away from it -- her Christmas gift iPod with EAR PHONES (is that what they are called these days) was her reward and salvation. (She also gets to meet a lot of cool people, some well-known in my field and some actors while were in Topanga - as friends of friends, I can't reveal who, and she gets to see the country, play on the beach, hike the mountains, and eat great food.) But, yeah, ME?!, he accuses me, turns me in to officials all over the country? ME, who is making a film to bring attention to the abuse of the newborn, in a way that addresses all the aspects of society and medicine that leads to the abuse of newborns, I am accused of "promoting the abuse of newborns." Say whaaaaaaaat?.... ME too, I was also "shocked and surprised," like that cartoon character whose eyes pop out and head shakes so hard - in disbelief- that his cheeks and mouth shake making that funny sound. Remember him?
It was so far off, so left-field, so untrue I was able to see through it and glean some gold for myself and the film.
This is the rather kind note (relative to the info he wrote to officials about me, on the Youtube comments:
Janel, There is a huge flaw in your trailer.
You failed to mention that all 50 states MANDATE reporting of child abuse when child abuse is so much as SUSPECTED. You failed to mention to your target audience - fathers - that THEY can report. Failure to report mass child abuse helps to "normalize" mass child abuse, as in the transcript/excerpt below from your trailer for The Other Side of the Glass....
Haven't most of us adults at least learned to "Use 'I' Statements" when expressing ourselves? He goes on to list the narrative of folks in my film (whom he also attempted to contact and then to trash in mass mailings.
I agree with him: the actions of some caregivers, midwives and nurses, and doctors, are violent. It is abuse. So here's where we part company: This person demands that I, and you, everyone HOTLINE the medical caregivers and charge them with child abuse. Every one of us should hotline THEM. "Them" being the doctors, nurses, and midwives.
When I disagreed and refused to hotline the staff who abused the hospital born baby (in order to be honored with his interview), the attack on me was on. Unfortunately, he is too unstable and too unreasonable and, has a history of doing this to everyone in my professional field for years. He has been sued for slander and lost and the award has been collected. I spoke with the attorney who sued him on his own behalf.
I've been wanting to write more about the issue he raises because it is so important to get the message out there ... but I am so friggin' busy BECAUSE I am still a ONE-WOMAN production team. Ironically, I wanted to interview this person because of the "piece" of the puzzle he has that is so important, and is a topic in my film. The information he has amassed is important and I will post it soon when I have time to wade through the weeds and muck of his emails to pick the flowers.
Ironically, this fellow can't "sing with the choir", but instead blasts the people in the choir, who would be on his team -- from behind. Instead of seeing us as all working towards the same goal - stopping the abuse of laboring, birthing, and newborn babies - the dude is outraged at the rest of the choir. I can not "get a word in edgewise" as my mama says, to discuss the problem of a system that will NOT support hotlining caregivers for child abuse, even though I see it as abuse. He makes it a war, the choir become enemy troops, and if one is not willing to go into battle like a Black Ops, he blasts his own people, the ones who get what he says. With my son in both wars waged by this country for premptive reasons, and this guy at my back, I really don't like that term, "friendly fire." It still wounds and kills.
I agree with his belief that they abuse babies, but I do believe it is unknowingly most often. The behavior, verbalizations, and attitude of the nurse in the trailer are shocking to everyone; however, consider this: she KNEW she was being videotaped. !?!?!? But, still whether they are aware or not, whether it is deliberate or not, I agree that the experience of the baby is one of being abused and violated.
BUT, I part ways with this person on the issue of hotlining nurses and doctors and midwives for several reasons:
1) because that system is profoundly broken, and I would go so far as to say it is a PRODUCT or RECIPIENT of the poor, intrusive, violating maternal health care system. The child protective system and myriad of services and professionals in that field are just some of the many on the "food chain" I call it, of socially sanctioned beneficiaries of violent birth.
We have in mass, condoned and allowed this. I agree with him on that. WHY and how to get out of it IS the last part of my film. My film has four parts: the intro (trailer) and the upcoming piece, "The Moment ... of Awe" for fathers, followed by a very powerful look at the transformation of men by experiencing his partner's empowered birth, and then finally, the healing and transformation of the medical system lead by men.
2) I disagree with this fellow that we must, every one of us, hotline every doctor or nurse who attends birth where the woman is not upright, where the cord is clamped, and where drugs are used. The issue of maternal and informed choice is a huge issue here. It is not as simple as saying the doctors should not do these things because it is not scientific, and that they are committing abuse if they do those things. It is not as simple as saying a woman is guilty of abuse if she chooses epidural which forces her to birth supine under the influence of narcotics and opiods. These are socially acceptable as "standard medical practices".
Because these important "pieces" addressing these systemic issues are not in place, and arenot widely accepted as not good practice, wrong, or leading to abuse of the newborn, we can not address it with hotlining people. The pieces include engaging, educating, and supporting the people IN THE MEDICAL and MIDWIFERY systems who are doing birth right.
The only outcome of hotlining the nurse in the film would be more chaos for the family BECAUSE there is NO social consciousness to see the doctor's actions of prying the mother's hands off her baby after prematurely "amputating" the baby's cord and "robbing him of his cord blood", which I believe to be true. There is not a social consciousness or a legal system in place to address the nurse using the baby as a "teaching tool" and to see her behavior as violent and abusive, but I believe it is. If I thought it would do something to support the baby and the family, and to STOP that nurse from ever touching one more baby, yeah, I'd be the first one to hotline her, the doctor, the hospital, the risk management people who dictate to the caregivers what they have to do. RIGHT NOW, there is NOTHING in place in the system to look at their behavior should they be hotlined. There is no social or political will to look at the impact of standard medical practices on the laboring, birthing, and newborn being.
Physicians and nurses practice what they are taught, they are peer-reviewed, and their oversight is by hospital risk managers, health and liability insurance companies. Some resist and overcome that training and rise up to do what is right for mothers and babies inspite of the ostracization by peers and high risk premiums. They are our resources and they deserve to also be supported and protected, not lumped in with all of those who do not practice consciously. These are doctors and midwives who encourage women NOT to induce, NOT to use narcotic, NOT to do elective cesarean, to BE upright, to touch her baby and bring her baby to her chest. They are doctors who advocate and intervene with nurses whose just itch to get that baby away to do the measurements and whatever they think is more important than baby in mother's arms. There are nurses who intervene for the woman and baby with physicians who have agenda to manage their schedules. It's a complicated, human, organic system.
I know some caregivers are very ingrained in their training to the point of mass child abuse, those who have, in their own fear and greed perpetuated the current system. Maybe they are just victims of their own training and routinely, every day, in every birth, harmed a baby but engaging the child protective system is not the answer. It might bring attention to the issue but the social and political will not support it. The reporter becomes the nut.
I've written a lot and asked a lot of questions about how we can support caregivers to become aware of the sentience of the human newborn AND process the impact of being aware of what they've done, thinking it was right. I'll say more about that in a minute. Most people are unaware of the real needs of the newborn and infant, and much of what I observe is negatively impactful on a baby.
ANYTIME we engage with a pregnant woman, a laboring or birthing woman and baby, or a newborn baby without calming our nervous system, without remembering this is a BABY, this couple's baby, without remembering that this baby is feeling, experiencing, remembering, imprinting the experience, well, it's a violation, plain and simple. The simple act of swearing in the presence of a pregnant woman, attending her baby's birth while stressed out or fearful, or with your own time needs as a priority, or after the birth saying mindless things to and in front of the baby (ie. "Oh, baby, you'll live."), or continually reaching in to check the temp of a baby or suction his nose (so you are DOING something), or even gently stimulating that baby is a violation of his space and body. So, in my humble opinion, no one is immune from being hotlined.
So, hotlining the caregiver for abuse, that is a result of training, ignorance, unconsciousnes, or maternal choice, is not the answer. THE SYSTEM is not set up for it. The only benefit I can imagine is that it would cause the current, ineffective child protective systems to collapse. But that would only happen effectively if two things happened. ONE, it would take a massive, organized effort across every state, and, as the fellow suggests, "a moratorium" on charging doctors with abuse, and TWO, it would have to be in orchestration with the wonderful doctors, nurses, and midwives and their groups who also believe it needs to stop so would be participants. There is much to do before that happens. Perhaps, it would take only one big profile case to make it happen. Think "Rosa Parks." But massive amounts of planning and support, and MEDIA, would have to be in place after an intense effort by many to create awareness and change. MASSES would have to be AWARE of the CONSCIOUSNESS of the BABY.
The big problem is, as I have written about here repeatedly, the masses are not aware AND there is NO STANDARDIZED SYSTEM OF MATERNAL-CHILD CARE in obstetric or midwifery care. I have often used the proverbial, "fox in charge of the hen house" to describe standard medical practices. In my film, a CNM who has practiced at home and in hospitals says, "Women and babies have been harmed by standard medical practices." This is not an indictment of doctors and nurses, and validation of midwives. It IS an indictment of hospital-focused birth, rather than mother-baby focused birth. It is a statement about how midwives are also practicing in ways that harm women and babies. It is a statement about the SYSTEM of maternal-child health care.
Midwives, fighting for their legal rights, are being forced down the same darned path that obstetrics have gone -- by the nose, lead by hospital and legal dictates. THIS has allowed a numbing and dumbing of our society so that most people no longer see the abusive part of what they see. People watch a stranger holding down their flailing, screaming, fighting-for-his-life baby, and they smile and coo. They are numb. They no longer are in their body. They are observing the violation of a baby and unable to act. They don't protect their own baby. This baby's space, his boundaries are being profoundly violated, impacting his way of being in the world, with people, for the rest of his life. And, they smile and coo ... at the beauty of birth and new life. Yeah, yeah.
Midwives are less likely to do this, but increasingly more likely to do unnecessary, violating interventions because now she also has to protect her ASSets. As Dr. Stuart Fischbein says in his interview for my film, the only way to change this is TORT REFORM that addresses all the parties involved -- hospital risk management, liability insurance companies, health insurance companies who all DICTATE to doctors AND midwives AND nurses how they must practice.
So, I AM DOING MY PART OF THE PICTURE or PUZZLE ... I am working very hard, a one-woman production team, a year on the road now, to make a film that will awaken the hearts and minds of the broad spectrum of people involved in birth -- EVERYONE. Men, women, caregivers of all varieties ... with the hope that they will see birth as the BABY's, as the soul/baby's journey into physical form. Once anyone gets that -- that EVERY THING you feel, think, say, and do in the presence of a pregnant, laboring, birthing woman is imprinting her baby's brain and soul, one can not do what they have done with such harsh, unaware and unconscious treatment. Once the MASSES get that we will look at maternal-child health care system differently: Preserving the mother-baby connection will be a guiding principle in all we do.
We need tort reform that ALLOWS us to insist upon a SYSTEM of STANDARDIZED CARE based on EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENCE, with a system in place that allows us to have someone other than the hospital systems, ACOG, and malpractice insurance "overseeing" the care our babies' receive.
MY PIECE of the puzzle is support MEN, fathers, who have been harmed by the standard medical practices, and fathers-to-be, to take their rightful place in the birth of their baby ... and to create a movement, a shift of thinking, to see that the human being is fully aware, fully feeling, experiencing, interacting, and imprinting whatever is happening to him or her WHEREVER he or she is born. For example, cutting the cord before the MOTHER's body releases the baby's resuscitator, the placenta, "allowing" fathers to prematurely separate the baby from her body, suctioning on the perineum, or at all "for meconium risk", stimulating the baby with rough towels or strange hands, hats, chattering voices, taking temperatures ALL BEFORE BABY AND MOTHER make eye contact or disrupting that, and before FATHER has engaged with the baby and mother IN THEIR WAY ... these are all violations of the mother-baby RE-CONNECTION in the first moments of birth.
How could I call the hotline on every single birth I have seen, experienced, or known about for disrupting the mother-baby connection, or how could I hotline the hospital for policies and rules, sanctioned by risk managers, policy makers, insurance companies that dictate to the nurse and doctor that they do "everything they know to do in case"? How could I, or any Doula or family member, hotline the doctor or nurse for following the wishes of the mother and father, or a woman who decides she does need to use epidural because she's been in labor for 20 hours and she is exhausted? We can't shoot everyone and ask questions later and let a governmental system "figure it" and provide for the family ... we see how that does NOT WORK.
I need all of you out there to get it ... the needs of the BABY in relationship to his or her mama and daddy ... that we all participated in the perpetuation of the system as it is ... that we can change it by creating a maternal-child, maternity health care system based on the evidence, with an oversight that is NOT peer, with laws that force health insurance and liability insurance to do what is right.
NOW, back to editing the film for fathers, the fundraiser edition, called, "The Moment ... of Awe." It will be ready by the end of March ... I swear. I have a professional editor scheduled for the first week of March to "put the magical fairy dust on it".
Men have been marginalized in birth for a long time. The old joke is that a man was sent off to boil water to keep him busy. I believe they were making the environment safe. Birth moved to hospitals and for forty years women were separated from their partners who was left to wait in smoke filled waiting room. Finally, he would see his baby from "the other side of the glass." Now a man can go in the birthing room and even get to hold his partner's hand during surgery. But they are still marginalized and powerless, according to the fathers I interviewed around the country.
Historically, birth has been defined by the medical establishment. The midwifery and natural birth movement now advocate for need "to educate and prepare men to protect their wife and baby" in medical environment. Seems logical ... if we process with the same illogic that got us here.
Through the voices of men - and doctors and midwives - men share heart-touching stories about how this is not workin' out. A man is also very likely to be disempowered and prevented from connecting with their newborn baby in the first minutes of life.
Now is the time for men to take back birth.
The film is about restoring our families, society, and world through birthing wanted, 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.
Donors, check your emails or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info to download. Release on DVD is not planned at this date.
FREE online! watch Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 10 at www.vimeo.com/75767434
Resources - Healing Birth Trauma
Raymond Castellino and Mary Jackson - www.BEBA.org
David Chamberlain, Ph.D. - www.BEPE.info
Judith Cohen - www.judithleecohen.com
Myrna Martin - www.MyrnaMartin.net
Karen Melton - www.HealYourEarlyImprints.com
Wendy McCord, Ph.D. - www.WendyMcCord.com
Wendy McCarty, Ph.D. - www.WondrousBeginnings.com
And, many, many more all over the world at www.BirthPsychology.com
Generosity begets generosity.
Love begets love.
Be the spark, especially when it's dark.
--Note from the Universe, www.tut.com