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)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Men are vulnerable at birth but powerful in numbers

I got this comment on the trailer on Youtube:

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, website coming. Contact Kris Amick at 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.


j707h said...

I agree with what you've written here.
Still as much as fathers need to be protected, they also need to be unleashed.
Educating the populace about ideal, natural birthing principles is the first step towards undoing the 'societal norm' indoctrination portrayed since our own birth's.

Kudos to those who've taken the time to compile a film ;)

As far as changing the sorry state of things, we're all responsible.

The medical community shouldn't dare use drugs and procedures (from twilight sleep to cytotec) on the "try it and see... oops they're deadly" basis they've been using for the last century.

And the educated, informed consumer should walk through the hospital door, notarized birthplan in hand, with an assertive involvement in his/her care and a righteous intolerance for unnecessary and abusive procedures and interventions.

Sadly, the medical community will only change when they must, fiscally.

Until then, any medical staff who violates a patient's rights and dignity should be hauled by the ear into the back of a police car by the hands of our husbands and fathers.

As radical as that may sound to some, it's far less drastic than what I'd do if I saw a birthing mother held down and cut (episiotomy) while she screams "NO!".

I can't imagine how conflicted a father must feel watching these things be done to his wife and new baby. Much less the mother's deep-set feelings of disappointment at her husband's hesitancy to protect her.

And oddly enough, I'm a woman (who hasn't yet had a child)

~ J707H from Youtube

Baby Keeper said...

'Unleashed". I like that word. I like that image it gave me. Men, unleashed.

Hey, sorry I presumed you were male! "Break their face." Yeah, man or woman, we can support and defend a man (or female partner) during the birth of their baby.

I absolutely agree with all you said, and I wish I could have said it as eloquently. They shouldn't dare, but they are allowed to continue and even do it to their own loved ones.

I think we really need to stop and look at the physiology of the man, the emotional needs of a man at birth. I believe he does need to be protected. Have you seen that show, "Cheaters"? When the guy is caught in the act, he is powerless, and the woman is unleashed. They rarely fight back. Birth is sexual. Birth is sacred. I am putting out more questions than I am answers. Part Four explores the history of men in birth -- maybe there's a reason men weren't in birth. Now they are and it has to impact their whole life.

I look forward to your feedback on the film.

Thanks so much for your comments.

j707h said...

Eloquently.. thank you. Though I feel more furious than eloquent.

My grandmother had 7 children. Six at home. The seventh was killed by the hospital when his respiratory system failed after my grandmother was overdosed with twilight sleep.(morphine & scopolamine)

I weighed just over 5lbs at birth yet was a c-section only because I was breech.
My younger brother was a c-section simply because I had been.

My husband and I plan to have a child next year and I will be safe and alone with him at home, within 5 minutes of a hospital and a midwife on call should we need her.
As a child, before I knew about homebirth, I vowed never to have children because I have always detested the idea of birth in a hospital. I've always viewed it as an unacceptable intrusion, maybe my subconscious remembers my own birth? Who knows.

No worries for assuming I was a man. :) I can be rather aggressive.

I very much appreciated what you said in the trailer. Although I wasn't aware at first that the soothing woman with all the deeply poignant quotes was you.

I can't wait to see the film. You're speaking to a key demographic in an crisis long overdue for the advocacy.


dthomas said...

We have had all four of our children with a mid-wife. Even more importantly, my wife was intuitive enough to be sure to have me participate with an active role in each birth. The entire experience would not have been the same by itself and for each person involved had we not all had our distinct loving roles. Our family is stronger through this bond.

rhiannon said...

i am deeply awed by the depth of your intuition and concrete grasp of such a vague and difficult subject which i venture to say NO ONE has breached before.

men matter in birth. we (women & babies) need them, and they need to know it.

i might never have realized how important my husband's role in our first child's impending birth would matter to me if i hadn't stumbled upon the trailer to your movie...

now i realize it is just as important for HIM to be empowered about birth--and able to defend me, should the need arise--as it is for me to empower myself.

we plan to birth with midwives in an out-of-hospital setting, but i know we will be ready if we find ourselves battling OBs and anesthesiologists.

i found this last post especially intriguing, because i think you hit the nail on the head when you mention that men ALSO need to feel safe during birth, as during sex. it's brilliant, and something really resonates with me there. i cannot wait for your project unfold more.


Baby Keeper said...


thanks for sharing. It is always so touching to hear of such experience ... a woman trusting her intuition in birth and her partner trusting himself and her.


I am very touched by your words, wisdom, and support for the project.

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