Preach It!

No one can tell a woman what is best for her and her baby ... waterbirth, homebirth, hospital birth, doctor, midwife, Unassisted Childbirth (UC) or cesarean surgery ... it is for her and her baby to know. The best we can do is support her to access, trust, and know her own inner wisdom and communicate with the Being within her - the One whose birth it is through her womb and the man. - Janel Mirendah, Attachment/Birth trauma therapist, Filmmaker of The Other Side of the Glass.

Watch It! (The Trailer)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm baaaaack ... Online

And, I wanted to let you know why the blogs were down for awhile.

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".

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Buy It!

Part One: The Other Side of the Glass: a Birth Film for and About Men officially released in digital download format on June 2, 2013. Go to to purchase a digital download.

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 for info to download. Release on DVD is not planned at this date.

FREE online! watch Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 10 at

"Doctor's Voices" - Stuart Fischbein, MD - Part 1

Doctor's Voices - Michael Odent, MD

Human Rights Violations

Resources - Healing Birth Trauma

"The Other Side of the Glass" has the potential to open up feelings that have been denied and ignored for a very long time. How to heal the trauma of birth at any age will be addressed in the film. Meanwhile, these are pioneers in the field.

Raymond Castellino and Mary Jackson -

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. -

Judith Cohen -

Myrna Martin -

Karen Melton -

Wendy McCord, Ph.D. -

Wendy McCarty, Ph.D. -

And, many, many more all over the world at
In both relationships and life trust begets trust.
Generosity begets generosity.
Love begets love.
Be the spark, especially when it's dark.

--Note from the Universe,

"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so children have very little time with their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world." - Mother Theresa