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, February 8, 2013

Wake up! It's the baby's birth!

This story by an OB-GYN shows how even DOCTORS who want to do differently don't have "control over" what happens to mama-baby in the hospital birthing event.



 
Let me repeat this word: disassociation.  It contains lots of syllables so I am woefully unprepared to pronounce it using my half working tongue.  Disassociation, as in one thing being no longer associated with the another.  And so it is with a mother and her genitals.  It seems odd enough that practitioners pull a sheet over your knees in an attempt to emotionally wall you off from a pap, but it is bizarre that the same is done with all the drapes for a vaginal delivery.  Are we really creating a sterile environment or are we disassociating your brain from your delivery?  "I'll just work down here little momma, you breath up there and it'll all be jes fine."   Whatever.  If the patient wanted the wall wouldn't it be better to give her the sheet for her head?

and after telling what is sadly a "typical" (but far from normal) American birth in the surgical suite,

Dad went over to take photos and, despite the mom's asking, nursery gave zero response about how her child was doing nor made any attempt to bring her over.  I am not always liked but I am infrequently misunderstood.  I take up enough space and am annoying enough that I am hard to ignore.  So imagine my surprise that my third attempt to get the nursery peoples' attention from about seven feet away was ignored.  Raising voice to a level that actually shut everyone up, one nurse actually turned to me and I requested the infant be at least shown to her mother.  This was refused as the child did not have her "bands" on yet.  I pointed out that it was probably impossible to confuse or lose the child in the OR and I would take full responsibility if this happened in the six floor tile space that separated this three hundred pound nurse from the mother's head.  She refused and I left the OR while the surgeon repaired skin and the mother as yet had still not seen her child.   Having again earned my title of being "difficult" I left feeling shunned. A tech in the hall asked what was wrong.   I muttered "disassociation."

I hate this job sometimes.


Bless this amazing man and OB. This story - in the context of a system that is disassociated from AND disassociates the people it serves - is so right on. And, it illustrates for me the need for people to further wake up, out of our collective dissociative disorder, or the "collective black out" I call it, that I propose IS a direct and cyclic result of birthing disassociated for generations.  Disassociation is the act of and cause of mama-baby separation.  It is the result of and cause of meddling in, and making birth a masculine, medical event (business) rather than the sacred entrance of a Soul on to the Mother Earth, through the mother, through the physical mother (egg) and the father (whether sperm donor or present father).  The typical, modern mother, father, and the caregivers, even midwives and doulas, are disassociated about their own birth experience that was separation and disassociation from the mama.

Let me repeat this, from the first paragraph above: 


Disassociation, as in one thing being no longer associated with the another.  And so it is with a mother and her genitals. 

Disassociated from her genitals. Aaaaand, what else? What is missing in this otherwise spot-on connection, or shall I say, ASSOCIATION with how two things, woman and genitals are disassociated at birth?  Anyone know?? What is missing here? Here's a clue! It's a WHO.  A few years ago I heard about a Family Feud question, "Name who you see in the delivery room."  I took my camera out, with my very pregnant radio show co-host, and on the street and in stores, we asked the question: "Name who you see in the delivery room?" Yep, the pregnant mama asked the question. No one got the WHO, even with a very ripe pregnant belly in front of them.  Do you know now? A BABY!! YAY!! Ding, ding, ding! Yes, the birth is the BABY's experience of coming into being and in 99% of us alive today, our mothers were DISASSOCIATED - from herself and from us during OUR labor and birth as a baby. The responses to our question, sadly, were doctor and nurse and then mother. This is the "typical" perception of birth; but, "typical" is not normal. 

When did it become "normal" to exclude the baby and do whatever one wishes promoting the belief that babies don't feel or think or remember?  We each have been born and programmed by a systematic, socially engrained and accepted disassociation of the mother from herself, her body and her baby. We are programmed by the separation of the father from the process, all of it for going on now for a hundred years. Multiple generations. 


(By the way, I do not believe that back in the day, fathers were just kept busy "boiling water" and had nothing to do at birth but be the bumbling idiot. I think they played a significant role in providing safety and comfort, and yeah, that might have included critical things like keeping the livestock alive and keeping the place warm, like when my mother and her twin were born at home in the middle of January in rural Iowa, before "global warming" when it could be three feet of accumulated snow and -0 for weeks at a time. A home births I observe the father (post-birth) like the father lion walking the perimeter of the baby and mama, checking in, working - laundry and cooking, feeding the mother - checking in. Circling, circling. He protects the space for the mama-baby to attach and bond.)

Ah, I digress to the fathers! Let's get back to the BABY, whose birth it is.

Consider here, before you read the OB's story, that there is no time in human development of the fetus, baby, and infant that is not specific and critical for THAT developmental time. We know how - from brain research - the laboring and birthing baby's brain is ONLINE and that the Limbic system, "seat of emotion" is being developed. It's being imprinted. We can see then how birth does DEFINE the human. 


The part of the brain that IS in critical development is emotional, sensory, and NON-verbal and THE major task is ATTACHMENT. The brain/baby WILL attach to what is happening in the environment from last trimester through infancy. But, at birth the brain/baby WILL attach to whoever it s/he sees and the sensation and emotions s/he experiences.  For a healthy, happy, harmonious human and healthy attachment that creates peaceful, compassionate, and connected humans IT MUST be that the baby sees, feels, smells, hears, and tastes THE MOTHER, for our mother relationship - good, bad or ugly - is a lifelong connection.  We can then see too, in the description this OB provides in his story, how it is that children today, up to half born by cesarean, most likely as in this story, have emotional attachment issues, ADDH, sensory processing, and other issues including asthma (related to lungs not being compressed during vaginal birth). (And the work I do is supporting mother - and father - to see the gifts of the birth and to honor the cesarean born baby. ALL of us have amazing, I mean, AMAZING gifts in the shadows of our trauma.)

We must wake up individually, as a natural birth movement, and then as a culture to the truth of whose birth it is and how that baby is programmed for life.  We must wake up to how the mama-baby connection must be protected and preserved, and how the family members present are having their moment as well.   We must each get that the baby (we, all of us) are in a monumental developmental process at birth.  There is a whole body of work integrating multi-disciplinary practices to create models of healing for those of us who experienced separation from the mother.  


Many well known researchers have put together the very profound and meticulous brain research and understanding of the early brain to show how this is true.  Raymond Castellino, DC, has used this research to create a method of healing at the Limbic system level. Over decades of working with hundreds and hundreds of people Dr. Castellino observed a sequence of five specific stages in the birth -  from "the baby's perspective" - that every person goes through.  The fourth stage of birth from the baby's perspective (nothing to do with medical model's stages of birth) is Completion (birth) and the baby moves into the Integration stage (post birth).
 
EVERYTHING that is happening during the birth, such as in picture above and in the story by the OB, is IMPRINTING the baby's nervous system/brain. Informing the baby THIS is what the world is like. This is what your mother and father are like. Disassociated. Fearful. This is what people are like. This what medical people are like. Disassociated. Unkind. Disregardful. Pain inflicting.  Does it really matter at that point, to the baby, if they are "really nice people just doing their job?"  The baby's is learning that his or her mother (and father) has no power and that others - "the system"  -  are in charge. They are God - in the moment we transition from Spiritual world to physical world.  We are programmed to know at the deepest level that others, not our mother and father, but the system, has power over us. 
We can not ignore this imprinting of disassociation in this most profound emotional, physical, and spiritual experience - of coming into Being, of coming into being a Mother, and of coming into being a Father. 

This is known to us birth trauma healers, but unknown to general population and sadly, unknown to doctors, midwives, nurses, and doulas.  But, the medically trained people have the "power" and the "authority" to tell people what we know is untrue:  That the birth experience doesn't matter to the baby and is not even remembered by the baby. How can this be? The delicate and mind-boggling plan of nature has evolved to selectively go into "black out" mode whenever a medical or midwifery person is tending them? It is so illogical. There is NO SUCH time that the baby is not who we know every baby to be: an aware, sentient, feeling, experiencing being.
 
Look at this baby, born Unassisted - no caregivers. How could we ever think that a baby is not fully functioning and aware?

The journey of the medical caregivers who were not taught to know this is extra challenging. Each one must heal one's own birth; and the experience of giving birth as a woman or witnessing the birth as the father. And then, the most challenging; a medical or midwifery or Doula caregiver must come to the understanding and forgiveness of what one did working in a disassociated environment. One must acknowledge and forgive oneself for all the humans hurt while they thought they were doing the best and safest thing. This may be the largest challenge.

Imagine for a moment, as you finish here and read the other blog post, a well-stated observation by an OB-GYN, how the collective energy and DISASSOCIATION of people in the room impact the mother and father (big time if there). 


I had to ask two different nurses to use their INSIDE VOICES PLEASE.  More important when you are talking about another patient, huh?   I asked the two nursery nurses, nurse practitioner, and respiratory tech to please hold down their personal conversation which was met with stares.  And finally I was glared down by anesthesia when I ask him to hit END.  I tried to keep mom informed of our progress but gave up over the din.  Once the infant was delivered, a suctioning was needed so despite her asking the infant was not shown but rather whisked to the warmer for assessment, the usual blow by O2 despite being pink (gotta charge for that resuscitation), and requisite trach suctioning. 

How does this impact the baby, whose birth it is? Us! Me, you, our babies, every baby?

Consider, for just a minute, what might be this baby's experience ... for his or her lifetime, since we know not that imprinting is scientifically true. Birth creates a template for how the human being will be in relationship with self, mother, father, others, the world. How will this mama-baby and father get OUT of the experience? What makes this so hard is that we have been trained in the model of "normative abuse".  When we are confronted with the notion that baby is real and experiencing birth and disassociation from disconnect, we adults are immediately are overwhelmed with our early brain emotions that are sensory and non-verbal. Our fine tuned Denial mechanisms kick in. We feel powerless, angry, abandoned, and we feel pain and panic. The feelings of our sweet little baby self that we have learned over the decades, via no one listening to our baby cries, via the social messages and our thus well developed thinking brain, very elaborate ways to override those emotions, are now up for us. We've learned skills of projection and blame to cover our pain.  And THEN, we have a flood of emotions related to our own babies and giving birth to them, bringing them into the world. "Oh, no, that can not be" (that my child experienced their birth -- that is easily seen as traumatic to the mother even).

Most of us alive were seriously violated and harmed and sent home by the abusers (very nice, highly trained and professional DISASSOCIATED people) and we are expected to "get over it." Suck it up and get back to work, Dad. Well, our culture is not getting over it.  Separation of the mama-baby at this most vital, profound and defining experience of life, meant to be about love, intimacy, and connection -- attachment -- IS the core experience for life.  The disruption of it is the root of all dysfunctions, diseases, and disorders of humanity.  It IS the main reason that MEN can not protect their partner and baby in the medical, and sometimes, even home births.

I wonder if the OB author of this great post has considered this as well; and considered his own birth and his feelings about his own children's births.  I wonder what he would do if he got - in his body, in his soul, in his nervous system - how impacted that he was, his children were? If so, he would see that the mother and baby and father in his story were, and will be for their lifetime. I wonder if he, as a caregiver, clearly far ahead of his contemporaries in coming out of disassociation, realizes the impact of even the smallest of interventions, done even slightly disassociated. 
I envision and pray that  caregivers could understand that unless the families they serve receive very specific trauma work to support them to integrate ALL the happened -- the good (love and joy), the bad, and the ugly -- people ARE going to be the walking disassociated.  People are going to be trauma-bonded, energetically and physically to them, the caregivers.  

I live to help caregivers understand the absolute vital need of every single birth, where ever and with whom ever, to receive support for the mama and baby and father to process it, to release the trauma, and to create a new energetic relationship.
I absolutely love this guy who is so conscientious of the mother and baby; and, who appears to be worn down by trying to do right in the hospital. Exhaustion is a sign we are in the wrong place and using up too much energy to get through the day. I lived that working in systems purported to "help families".  So much abuse and wrong-doing all around me. This is why people leave these professions from social work to teaching to nursing and even doctoring. Unfortunately, doctors have too much financially at stake "to just leave and do something else." 


The OB blogger (another Dr. Angel I add to my short, but growing list) says:

I am not always liked but I am infrequently misunderstood.  I take up enough space and am annoying enough that I am hard to ignore.  

How sad is that? For doing the RIGHT thing. For being awake and trying to honor the woman and her baby?  I really want to support doctors to "get the baby" and to also heal.  I really want to support MEN to engage with them to create a NEW model of birth that is the blending of the natural and the medical knowing to support that when there is a true problem.

When one gets, truly gets, that this is the baby's birth into this world and every second matters;  every every smell, sight, sound, and sensation;
and every thought and emotion of others in the room matters. They matter to the baby and loved ones - for the lifetime. When one gets that, one can not do it anymore.  One can not even put a hat on a baby, let alone routinely cut the cord prematurely separating mama-baby, and bulbing a baby with a useless tool that only harms.

When one "gets it", one cannot participate in it anymore. One cannot watch it anymore. If the OB-GYN got how impacted that mama-baby's attachment and life long relationship will be and how it will ripple out in to the world (to be the root cause of literally everything our culture tries to get rid of) he would FURTHER WAKE UP and truly disassociate. Sadly, one has to be dissociated to continue to work in an environment, a systematized practice, that harms humanity at the core, one baby and one baby-mama, and baby-mama-daddy at a time. If he fully woke up he would be a raging father lion. He would do a Super Hero move on that nurse and take that baby and give baby to the mama, like a physician father describes in my film. He would at least momentarily KNOW within him that he should call 911, the Child Abuse Hotline .. that this IS CHILD ABUSE ... but he would be silenced by the collective disassociation of a culture that fights for peace, ignoring the root cause. But he would know, this is where violence starts. 

It's up to us to support the doctors and nurses and midwives who are trying to work Undisassociated in a violent, disassociated system. It's time to wake up and to rise up; and for men in particular, outside of this system, to demand the change and lead the change of a new paradigm. More to come on that .... that "what's next" when the film is out. TWO things: We have to stop the harming and and we have to help those who have been harmed to heal. That is ALL of us, but especially doctors and nurses who were trained to believe it was ok, and even best.


Let's build it!! Men rise up!! Create the structures and systems to truly protect women and babies!

Would you agree, after reading this story, that this mama-baby need an option other than to go home and forget about it, be happy you and your baby are live and "fine" ... because birth is so inherently dangerous and life threatening? Don't they, didn't we all, doesn't every single mama-baby need  immediate and long term support to process and recover from that experience? Even the best homebirth (perceived by midwives and doctors whose lives and families are on the line for any outcome that in hospital is ignored) need to be processed and integrated.

I will list below colleagues who provide the leading edge care of healing birth trauma, supporting a family to heal and integrate what happened.

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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 www.TheOtherSideoftheGlass.com 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 theothersideoftheglassfilm@gmail.com 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

"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 - 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
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, www.tut.com

"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