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)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Birth is Human Rights Issue

See "Prenatal" Hope for Implementing Human Rights below.

I am a member of WITNESS (, see YouTube above).

For 15 years, WITNESS has harnessed the power of video to advance human rights. In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, we've put together a short video with different WITNESS staff talking about images that opened their eyes to human rights abuses around the world.

I believe the worst humanity violation, the root violation, is the lack of regard for the sanctity of conception through gestation that creates a lack of care and support for pregnant women** and that allows the medical establishment's routine disruption of the mother-baby dyad and the disempowerment of the father to protect them. Women violated at conception, during pregnancy, and during birth; separation and physically violating a newborn; not breastfeeding; and mutilation of newborn boys (circumcision) creates humans capable of horrible treatment of others.

I fear that Even Witness sees the horrors of human right violations of children and adults around the world worse than the violence of a newborn. But, as I see it, the primal period of the human being has been, for eons, the time in which the brain is programmed for violence, scarcity, fear, control, separation, isolation. It's horrifying to see the atrocities in Brazil, Africa, and Iraq ... to see men, women, and children enslaved, beaten, starved, and in captivity. It appears worse than the business of incarceration (caging humans for bad behavior), homelessness in America, child abuse, neglect, and abandonment to the systems who harm regardless of intentions, and passively accepting pre-emptive war upon innocent people. Americans think female genital mutilation in Africa and Muslim is horrific and yet do it their male children. Americans abhor slavery now, but perpepuate racism ... and are oblivious to those in control of the government, banking, and commerce who "enslave" Americans numb to the plight of the world ... to the atrocities seen in the Witness YouTube, as well as the plight of their fellow American and their neighbor or family member.

America has most of the resources of the world with only 5% of the population and has a government control by special interests, the worst of which might be the Big Phar drug cartel. America leads the way in misuse of technology and the medical management of birth, and then reaps the reward of the worst in maternal and infant mortality rates of industrialized nations --- money and control.

America spreads it's values to these other countries via building up of industry and medical care. When McDonalds, Walmart, and obstetric medicine come to the rescue of other countries the people of these countries do not become more free. Obstetrics, typically a technologically souless endeavor, may raise civility and mortality rates, but it further compounds the violation of human beings. Obstetric medicine is the place of manufacturing damaged human beings who will rely upon the system (consumerism, workism) for their lifetime. The medical food chain of services and specialties will benefit and foster their supportive limbs -- social programs, education, and psychological services, with NONE of them looking at what happened to the baby, mother, and father in the PRIMAL, formative period of development.

Without ever looking at or dealing with the root cause of human disorders, the mainstream approach to dealing with dyfunctions and disorders will be bandaids at best and will perpetuate ongoing issues.Here is a perfect example to ponder. Without research to ever show it was safe, medicine has routinely immediately cut the cord of the human newborn. It is clear now that the baby needs the full volume of his blood that remained in the placenta during the normal cycle of blood flow from him to placenta. At the moment of birth as much as half of the baby's blood is still in the placenta. The impact of this is enormous.

WHAT is the lifetime consequence of not getting your core blood? Of not having enough oxygen to stimulate and complete the core process of breathing and to support the heart to transition from fetal to "adult" circulation? NO ONE looks at this to do research. No one in authority wants to know or wants to change. Has it, for example, been thought of or studied to link this moment at birth with cardiology issues in adults? What is the number one killer of men AND women? Not cancer; it is heart disease.

Is there a connection to heart disease in later life and the experience of the heart having to work with half the baby's blood (oxgyen deprived) so that caregivers must then harshly, often violently, "stimulate" the baby to breath? Does shock, resistance, premature separation from mother and blood AT THE VERY MOMENT that the heart is closing off one artery and transitioning to a new function impact the heart physiologically, and the baby psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually? We don't know, because medicine refuses to see the baby as fully functioning and capable of being harmed by their "interventions".

** Stress and working too much are seen as problems associated with premature births. Breastmilk, the excilir for life; and holding, nurturing care by the mother for the first two years of life are LONG known in the literature to be THE foundation for neurologically as well as emotionally and physically functioning human being. Yet, rather than fund support of this period of time as a valuable asset for our country and humanity, the US perpetuates "work" to build corporations and promote consumerism as the "foundation" for a healhy person, and the "standard" of succes, and does not provide time off for motherhood and fatherhood ... the United States of American, with all it's wealth, does not allow men and women to do the most important job on the planet, to care for their child. Holding down one or more jobs in order to provide the basic "American Dream" life is more revered as "successful", regardless of the cost to the family and the planet ecology, than is mothering or parenting.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rich posts about HIV circumcision research

I (Rich) posted a response to:

Aside from the methodological pitfalls involved in using a pool ofmen who desire to be circumcised (selecting for pre-existing sexual dysfunction), what's missing from this half-truth is the questionof circumcision's impact on male->female HIV transmission. There are numerous studies bearing on this issue, quite aside from theobvious epidemiological comparison to be made between the USA and Europe, which in itself raises serious doubts about circumcision'sutility in controlling HIV. One need only recognize that circumcisionincreases friction during coitus due to the loss of the frictionless sleeve of the foreskin and the drying out of residual male erotogenic mucosal tissue. In the absence of such friction the female's intact mucosa would be expected to provide a strong barrier to HIV receptivity
as borne out by empirical findings, unanticipated consequences of circumcision, such aschanges in sexual practices and promiscuity of sexually amputatedmen may outweigh any benefits in per-intercourse female->male HIV transmission rates.

Finally, I note the deafening silence regarding Rebecca Stallings's findings as reported to the Rio conference on HIV in 2005, which founda similar prophylactic effect for FGM on female HIV receptivity.

It's tempting to speculate on the origins this unscientific propaganda onslaught given the current medico-legal situation in the United States. One can only hope that whatever the ultimate outcome of this debate, itwill not be used as a post-hoc justification for the wholesale atrocity which has been committed against non-consenting American infants.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What babies and the world seem to know

Check out this voting on-line set up by a 22 year old fellow from overseas. By a landslide, the entire world wants Obama, or at least "The Change" he promises.

If the world could vote?

Posted using ShareThis

Soon, maybe, we can all stop this "baby crying" * (see below for definition) we are all feeling.

I have refrained from political topics here related to the upcoming election, but I received an email I
couldn't resist ... the political candidates with babies and passed it along. I know babies to be the wisest of us, the most aware we'll ever be. We need to pay attention to what our babies pay attention to.

I got this back from a relative: being republican or democrat or narrow minded has nothing to do with it. stupid emails like this is what takes something away from real issues in politics. ... how many babies has obama held that cried. exactly...and who cares. i am sure on some level babies can sense evil...whatever. it is just too bad that is not how we choose our leaders in America.a little biased don't you think? what is it, like 10 pics to 1 for each of bush and mccain. pretty good depiction on how the mainstream has been holding 'Obama Biden laden' so high.

Oye, so much I could say, but I won't. Babies are my story, and I am stickin' to it. I totally disagree that the reactions of babies, children, and our youth have nothing to do with it. So, I googled both candidates to check it out, as I always do. I found a slide show of Obama, McCain, and Biden. We are a nation in trouble, and one of the reasons is that this society does not honor birth as sacred, does not honor the baby, and does not see how the human baby is fully aware and feeling. When we value and honor our babies and realize how much we can learn FROM them, we will create an entirely different values systems.

I remember the ONLY candidate I have ever wanted for President ever was NJ Senator Bill Bradley. I was campaigning for him in 1996 when he wasn't running. In 1997 I read his memoir, "Present Time, Time Past." My then three year old daughter had looked at the picture of him on the cover of his book with awe, pointed to his picture and smiled adoringly at him, peering into his eyes saying, "Ahhhhh," and she hugged the book to her chest. I felt the same way. I felt I could trust my inner judgement more because of her response. Children are not yet indoctrinated, they are sensory, and real and honest. By the way, I've never gotten over him losing to Gore in the Iowa Caucus for the 2000 election. He is the only Presidential candidate for whom I would post a bumper sticker. I try to not live in the past but I often wonder, "What if ..."

So, with my regard for babies - the new soul that has just arrived and as aware and wise as will ever be - I see the babies, children, and youth of America as our future and as "the Deciders". The youth of America are more involved than I ever remember. They need so much hope right now. As I approach being really old I remind myself to value the youth and their opinions and energy. They will be living with the decisions we make long after my parents are gone, long after I and many of us are gone. I do what I do today for my grandsons and their children. That's makes me sound over fifty, doesn't it?

So these pictures interested me. I love these pictures ... not at all because they are of Obama, but because they are of babies and children responding and engaging with him, whoever he is.

I really believe you can discern a lot about a person by how they engage with babies and children. Too often the adult, especially strangers, are just trying to elicit some response from the baby -- usually to satisfy an unconscious need of their own.

Watch people with babies with a new eye, watch yourself when you engage with a baby -- why do you engage with a baby? Do you need them to respond? Do you need them to laugh to make you feel better? Do you ask permission or wait for the baby to come to you or the parents to hand to you the baby? Or do you just pick up babies, touch babies, put your face too close to babies -- even as they resist? Do you insist on holding someone's baby (ignore their behavioral cues) even if the baby is resisting? Hunkering into the mom or dad (saying, "no")? Is the baby looking away from you? Avoiding your face and your eyes? Reaching away from you? Squirming? Are you ok that the baby is not interested in you? Or are you content only when the baby gives you a positive response? Do you perceive and are you ok that the baby or child doesn't seem to like you? Or your "energy"? Do you stop to wonder have I invaded the baby's space? Do you stop and see the baby's body language as communicating to you? "Please don't touch my body." "You are too close." "I don't want to play or smile right now." "I don't know you." Do you or do you see others holding a baby, their baby, but especially other's babies and talking over the baby, not engaging the baby?

Yes, you can tell a lot about a person by how they engage with babies and how they respond to them. And, a baby will not pretend to like you and will not care about letting you know you've overstepped your boundaries. Babies are perfect mirrors -- if we look. The problem is that adults are so overpowering, so out of touch with babies, and are disrespectful of a baby's boundaries. When parents don't protect that boundary the baby is soon overwhelm and begins to learn that their boundaries are not respected. They learn defensive postures and beliefs that form another layer on to their foundation that they will carry into adulthood.

That was a mini lesson in infant behavior and so back to the pictures. Picture after picture of Obama shows him ENGAGING with the baby in his arms. In the pictures he is seeing the baby and the babies are searching his face, making eye contact, hugging, and smiling. Even when he is looking away the baby is trying to see his face and to engage with him. This is very rare for babies to engage so directly with a stranger, in a crowd. Children don't often sink into a deep hug with strangers. Babies often have difficulty with eye contact even with loved ones. These pictures show babies engaged with him in direct eye contact. Many, many "good pictures" of even parents and babies are with baby and adult not making eye contact, not engaging. I looked on line once for pictures of parent and baby engaged with eye contact and found very few.

I don't know if it means he is ready to lead the United States out of one of the worst situations we've been, but it tells me he must be a decent fellow. It tells in spite of all the stresses in his life right now he is aware and capable of engaging with a baby as a person.

I am counting on the young people who must live with the choices of the last decade and the politicians in charge (Democrat and Republican). I see that perhaps Obama really might engage with them, us, We, the People, and as I heard him speak at the Iowa Caucus in January, he has plans to engage people in democracy at every level. I used to be a community organizer; and he talked-the-talk. If he wins, or even if he doesn't, I hope our youth will step up and reclaim democracy he has inspired in many of them, and I hope they'll walk-the-walk and hold him to his claims. It might be in baby-steps, but our youth can get us there.

Many of these pictures are from:

No comment on this last picture!
except to note that she holds like a breastfeeding mother holds a baby.

Check out this voting on-line set up by a 22 year old fellow from overseas. By a landslide, the entire world wants Obama, or at least "The Change" he promises.

If the world could vote?

Posted using ShareThis

** "Baby cries" was coined by my younger son as a young pre-teen first teasing his baby sister, and then in talking about whiny people. I found later in my pre and perinatal psychology studies that "baby cries" aptly describes how a an older child or adult person acts when their early memories and emotions are triggered. It's one of those situations where yourself, or another, is over-reacting to the present situation, and others are scratching their head, trying to figure it out, and are too often the focus or the blame of the other's emotional outburst. It is when there is no logical reason for this adult to be acting this way, and all that might be missing is the lying on the floor kicking. Something in the current environment has triggered an early prenatal memory in the Limbic system and the Neocortex is struggling to make sense of it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Birth Abuse -- KORE Issues radio show

Last month Rich Winkle and I were guests on KOPN 89.5 KORE Issues show. The topic of part one of the ongoing show was Birth Options (available in the archives.)

Tomorrow, October 25th, at 5:00 pm Central time we will be doing part 2, Birth Abuse - From Day One".

KOPN KORE Issues Tyree B. talks about things that people find difficult to talk about.

According to KORE Issues producer, Tyree, "We'll look at the ideology and mentality and what the processes in place are and what the parents can expect if problems arise and if the system in place causes the problems in the first place."

That's a lot to cover!

The show is live and you can stream it live at Tyree, partner Jesca, and mother Debra will open with live music. Their little one, born at home, will also be in the studio.

Tyree is sharing his original song, "Awe" that he sang for his daughter at her birth, to be used in the film.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fathers-to-Be in Austin, Texas


Advanced Birth Professional Workshop

"Supporting Fathers Prenatally and Through Childbirth"

How birthcare professionals welcome fathers is significant to the whole family system.

Learn, in a dynamic study format, how to work more effectively with fathers in the antenatal and birth environment.


· Increased confidence in working with men/fathers.

· Increased skills for welcoming fathers into the pregnancy and birth process.

· Understanding ways to support a man's "low adrenaline" presence at birth itself.

· Learn how to help fathers manage their expectations in a way that contributes most effectively to the families needs.

· Experience articulating 'gender issues' for yourself as well as parents and increase your ability to communicate.

Saturday November 15

1-4:30 PM

Ronald McDonald House

1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd, Austin, TX 78723


Presented by Patrick Houser. Patrick has spent many years working in the field of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. Now a grandfather, Patrick pioneered conscious birthing with his son's waterbirth in 1980, the first in the US. In 2006 he co-founded of Fathers-To-Be UK and works with expectant and new dads, birthcare professionals and educators. He is also the author of the new book, Fathers-To-Be Handbook.

A Fathers-To-Be Handbook will be included for all participants.

Reserve your place at

512-691-9546 (3 DONA CEU, pending)





This event is designed for anyone working in the field of pregnancy,
birth and early parenting (educators as well as practitioners).

Research shows: Men who respond to impending fatherhood by reflecting on the way
they were parented produce happier children.Fathers Make a World of Difference!
Now available, Fathers-To-Be Handbook
Please enjoy

Paternal Instinct -- A movie review

I just re-rented the documentary, "Paternal Instinct: The Road to Fatherhood is not always a straight one."

I watched it a year or so ago and it really touched me deeply. The birth of the two men's baby is one of the most beautiful, loving births I've ever seen. I am looking forward to seeing it again this weekend.

I love this movie for it's multiple messages. While my film has been questioned about, and is not about the different configurations of conceiving and parenting, I offer this film as one to show the beauty of birth in alternative partnerships. It is also a testament to the intentional welcoming of another soul into a couple's lives.

Heterosexual couples, adoption professionals, and everyone could benefit from watching this film to see:

1) The profound impact of ritual and seeing the soul as a being coming into a couple's lives.

Conception of their babies, in part because the surrogate mother is an Episcopalian minister, is done intentionally with ritual, as is the birth and, so importantly, the exchanging of the baby from her womb to their arms is done with ritual. If one can suspend one's beliefs about paganism, New Agism, or other critical beliefs, and observe something very profound for the baby -- the honoring of the baby who was gestated in one body but will be raised by another. The baby is seen as real, whole, aware, sentient being. The world of adoption support could benefit from watching this process and then going directly to the website of such adoption experts as Marcy Axness, PhD at Quantum Parenting. Dr. Axness "educates adoption, education, and childcare professionals on new findings in child development and their implications for practice."

2) How it is that a human being should be welcomed and wanted and conceived in love.
If this is not present that human being will struggle throughout the lifetime to feel wanted. So many heterosexually conceived humans are the result of thoughtless, random sex, manipulative agendas, and just plain apathy. Babies born to gay and lesbian couples are wanted beings.

3) The beauty of a homebirth with a midwife. Up until this point I was in awe and tears of joy watching these two men supporting the birthing woman and their baby, and then throes of it all, after the baby was born, the midwife SUCTIONED the baby. Harshly. "Noooooooo." I was crying out in disbelief, "WHY!?!" EVERY other aspect of this baby's birth was intentional, calm, loving, and peaceful. WHY do medically trained caregivers (midwives are medically trained) feel that they have to suction every baby "in case" and WHY do they do it so harshly, so fast, so deep??

You'll have to wait until my film comes out for that answer.

Here's what one reviewer said about "Paternal Instincts":

This movie takes the viewer on a journey through the initial discussions between Mark and Eric about whether and how to have children, to the long-awaited conclusion. In the process, we are treated to many glimpses of their loving and playful relationship, friendships, and loving, somewhat offbeat, relationships with their own parents. We also meet Wen, the chosen surrogate, and her family and community. This movie is extremely touching and surprisingly funny. The insemination scenes, for example, had the audience howling. It was a real treat to "meet" each person in this movie, including Wen's own (pre-adolescent?) son. If you get the chance to see this movie, it is the chance to witness a small gem.
Paternal Instinct may not change the minds of those who oppose same-sex marriage and parenthood, but you'd have to have a cold, cold heart to remain unmoved by this poignant documentary. Originally broadcast on HBO, the film demonstrates, on deeply personal and emotional terms, that "the road to fatherhood is not always a straight one." It focuses on Erik and Mark, a gay couple for ten years, who decide to become parents through the surrogate motherhood of Wen, a happily married wife, mother, and practicing witch (or Wiccan, if you prefer).

Forming a devoted trio of compassionate cooperation, they struggle through an emotional roller-coaster ride including trial and error, miscarriage, self-doubts and setbacks, all leading to the birth of two daughters (one is biologically Erik's, the other Mark's) and the universal elation of new parenthood. By covering all three years in this heart-wrenching process, filmmaker Murray Nossel creates real-life drama that's more compelling as any fiction movie could ever be, and the circumstances--family support on all sides--make this a deeply effective argument for the validity of same-sex parenthood.

By presenting a "21st century twist" on the American family, Paternal Instinct avoids political rancor and goes straight to the heart of the matter: Once you've seen this film, it's impossible to believe that Erik, Mark, and their children could be anything but a blessing.

Considering the fact that many heterosexual couples are unfit for parenthood, a little Paternal Instinct seems like a very good thing indeed. --Jeff Shannon

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Healing the Violence of Your Birth

Featuring a course with Rebecca Marina.

"Healing the Violence of Your Birth"- Why you need it.

In this class, I share my heart with you about a very necessary healing that I believe every single person in the world can benefit from.

Unless you were born at home with the kind attentions of a loving family and possibly a mid-wife in attendance, chances are you are suffering the effects of patterns of energy set up around your "violent" birth.

Only $27 gets you BOTH classes- "Heal Birth Violence" and "Heal Childhood Abuse"
Order here:

Contributing factors of a violent birth are being labor induced, pulled out with forceps,C-section, or even made to "hold back" the birth.

Other factors are: being born at the wrong time, illigetimate, unwanted, wrong sex, parents too young, parents worried about money, previous abortions or miscarriages, worries about inherited illness and many more. I am sure you can think of many issues on your own, perhaps from your personal experience.

It is almost a guarantee that at your birth you were thrust into a room filled with bright, florescent lighting, poked, prodded, stuck with needles, handled roughly, and taken from your mother before you had a chance to bond. It is also very likely that your cord was cut too soon, depriving you of the nutrient rich cord blood that doctors are now realizing is a very great treasure indeed.

A fear or shame pattern is sometimes set up when the birth is violent and can affect your life in many ways.

Here is a partial checklist of patterns that can be set up at birth. Check and see if you identify with any of these.

*Fear of dying- having trouble breathing under stress.
*Fear of living fully- what is the use, it will never be good enough.
*Fear of accepting pleasure in life- pleasure is always followed by pain
*A feeling of being "unimportant"
*Feeling invisible
*Wishing you were someone else.
*Not ever feeling good enough
*Having conscious or unconscious resentment toward your mother
*Having a sense of not belonging
*Feeling like you don't belong in your own family
*Feeling like it is the wrong time for you to be here
*A vague feeling of unease you can never quite put your finger on
*Feeling unworthy
*Having a hunger for something and you are not sure what it is
*Feelings of shame
*Feeling like you were cheated out of something
*Feeling like you have to please others in order to belong
*Feeling like it is you against the world
*Feelings of unexplained guilt
*Accident prone
*A feeling of being unlovely

There are more issues but these are the main ones my angels have told me to share with you. This is a very special and healing class - a re-birthing and a re-mothering.

The Divine Feminine will be assisting as midwife to this precious healing experience.

This class will be healing your own birth trauma and healing your own mother and your ancestors as well. This class combines the best of energy psychology with spirituality to take healing beyond mere human capabilities.

Only $27 gets you BOTH classes- Heal Birth Violence and Heal Childhood Abuse
Order here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spin Doctor

It's just a bleep on the screen amidst the political fervor and financial crisis, but I saw a national news anchor, Brian Williams, say several weeks ago on the 6 pm news that the US has the worst infant mortality rates of any industrialized nation. He said it was in spite of the US having the best access to the best health care.

Above is another story on MSNBC and shortly after we have Washington and CDC reporting that the rates are down.

Who do we believe? When will the "crisis" of the day be the state of maternal health care and the obvious (death rates) and the ignored (birth trauma from non-necessary medical interventions)?

Published: October 15, 2008

WASHINGTON — Infant deaths in the United States declined 2 percent in 2006, government researchers reported Wednesday, but the rate still remains well above that of most other industrialized countries and is one of many indicators suggesting that Americans pay more but get less from their health care system.

Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.

This international gap has widened even though the United States devotes a far greater share of its national wealth to health care than other countries. In 2006, Americans spent $6,714 per capita on health — more than twice the average of other industrialized countries.

Some blame cultural issues like obesity and drug use. Others say that the nation’s decentralized health care system is failing, and some researchers point to troubling trends in preterm births and Caesarean deliveries.

Many agree, however, that the data are a major national concern. More than 28,000 infants under the age of 1 die each year in the United States.

“Infant mortality and our comparison with the rest of the world continue to be an embarrassment to the United States,” said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a conservative research organization. “How can we get better outcomes?”
The data, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that the nation’s infant mortality rate has been static for years despite enormous advances in the care given to preterm infants. Two-thirds of the infant deaths are in preterm babies.

Continued at Infant deaths in the US declined 2% in 2006

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thoughts on Abortion

My response to a post on the YouTube comment section:

These abuses are "normalized" because we kill 4,400 babies a day through a legal surgical procedure called abortion. A good amount of these doctors deliver a baby one day and then kill a baby then next in an abortion. How could we possibly expect them to have regard for life, let alone quality of ones life as it begins outside the womb. They are killing them in the womb. which is supposed to be the safest place on earth. Imagine how the millions of fathers whose babies have been killed feel.

I just spoke with a man whose baby was aborted against his wishes. It's horrible. Men's reactions will range from apathy to devastation. The problem as I see abortion is that it is so much bigger than is currently recognized by society. It is one either-or. It is multi-faceted and represents many dysfunctions of our collective.

Our society doesn't support the primal period of life, for baby or men and women, but bi-polarizes everything. Either we are are "FOR" or "AGAINST" something without regard for the diverse range of humanity, without regard for a simple spiritual truth: Every soul is responsible for it's choices and connection to God, Spirit, or whatever that person percieves. God is that big, I think.

I don't know anyone who is really for killing a prenate, but many who are against abortion, for themselves, and in theory, do believe it's a woman's right and especially so in a few circumstances. I believe abortion is like midwifery -- it should never have been illegal. It's like the Iraq "Conflict" (it's not a war, ya know). It should have never happened. So? These things all happened, and now we have to fix them. The answers are not in the bi-polar shadows of society. The answers are in exploring beyond the edges of the boxes we have closed ourselves in.

I came to my opinions, like we all do -- via my personal experience. My soul's experience, in this body and separated from the Source through my humanity.

I had my first child at age 18; I was unmarried when I conceived him in the summer of 1974, just before my senior year of high school. This forms my beliefs and every aspect of who I am today. At that point, pregnant, there is NO easy answer. I was allowed by my family to chose my "poison" -- that which I could live with with the expectation of marriage. I was not forced to do anything. My concern about the pro-right movement is that it doesn't give girls or women their choice. Does Sarah Palin's daughter have a real choice? Would she have preferred to raise her baby as a single mother until she matures and falls in love and chooses the journey of marriage with another human? Would she feel her baby would have a better life with another family?

For every pregnancy, there are four options and each have lifelong consequences. Keep the baby, abort the baby (whether a doctor does it or herbs or activity or willing are used), give the baby away, and for the unmarried the additional choice that is not so enforced today, marry the father. Each decision has profound ripples through one's life. I came to believe once one engages in sexual activity (for me it was three months), one must be willing to face life-altering, life-long consequences. None of the choices are good when one is unprepared to be a parent.

I came to believe strongly, because of my experience and my professional work in a multidude of services serving women and children, that a human being, a baby, a soul, has rights to be born into a family, to a couple, who is emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially ready to care for that soul. That soul will live with the consequences of the egg and the sperm and the professional who attends his or her physical birth. I came to believe that the soul chooses the life, the family, the lessons -- how else to reconcile the horrid situations I have seen in my professional work? That we hear about in the news? How else to reconcile the inconsistencies, the disparity into which souls are born -- some pristine, some horrid?

The paternal grandfather suggested abortion. Truthfully, I didn't even know what it was at first. It was not an option for me. I was horrified. I loved this being the moment I knew about him. I personally can not imagine being able to live with aborting him nor could I have lived with giving him up for adoption. I have known women who were forced to do one of those, and women who chose to. For some women it continued to be the best choice for them. Who am I to judge?

I chose to marry too young to a young boy who felt he had no choice, then I chose to divorce him, and to live with those consequences. His life was never the same. We/I have a wonderful son who defies the stereotypes of being born to a teenager, and he has just welcomed a son -- after nine years of marriage he planned and welcomed a child into their lives.

We have had many, many rough years ... I breastfed him and practiced "attachment parenting" before it was cool and had a name. He went through college with me and grew up as I grew up. He has been through step-parent situations that wounded him. He made me rise up and live life to the best of my ability, but it wasn't often good enough, although for any mother we must believe on any particular day that we are doing the best we can. It was hard, but becoming a mother responsible for another soul at age 17 was the best option for me.

And, that is exactly how I embraced it. I saw this baby coming into my life as a soul who has his own journey. How I knew that then, I don't know, but it is the foundation for my work today. My four children are souls who came through me to do what they came to this planet to do and learn. I know women whose journey is not in motherhood or parenting the baby/soul but having aborted them, they still have a relationship and a journey.

I wonder, did that soul come to them knowing that it would be aborted? What about the soul that comes knowing it is unwanted by the mother and will never be welcomed, never truly feeeeeel loved, but will born? What about that soul's life long struggle in a society who does see birth as sacred or the baby as a fully present being, a soul coming from Spirit. Or, what about the soul who will be born to a young, poor woman with four children already. Does this soul know before it gets here what this is journey is about? I believe so.

I believe my son who is a soldier and who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan made HIS choice to come to a mother who is an advocate for peace and a father who was a conscientious objector for pretty darned good reasons. He chose parents capable of nurturing, and financial and emotional care, and where he was wanted, cared for, breastfed, and experienced "attachment parenting" before it had a name. I believe he did so for the balance he would need, for the leadership style he would adopt, and for the beliefs he would hold while engaging in war as part of his soul contract. He began his journey at age five when he called himself GI Joe -- with neither the military glorified or reviled. Nothing else makes sense to me except that he chose us for a reason. Preconceptionally, I was aware of his presence and that he was coming in for over a year. There is much about this pre-conception communication on I read Hillman's Soul's Code when my son was a teenager and it contributed to my existing beliefs, so that I was able to sign the papers for my son to go to the military. I considered and still do, an act of love, to honor his soul's purpose. Sure, my mother self was in denial about the future -- which came to be. Some people when they abort the unborn soul in their womb also feel it is an act of love, as do some who give their baby up for adoption.

What I do know is that our society does not provide the resources before, during, and after pregnancy regardless of the decision, but especially when abortion and adoption are the choice. Babies, souls, are taken from the womb, without an opportunity for grieving and saying good-bye, and without closure with the woman who brought them into the world. There is a whole field of study within pre and perinatal psychology about the wounding of the adopted baby.

I feel strongly that our society must continue to give women the right to choose how to proceed with the pregnancy she concieved. I am "pro-life/against abortion (if I must be labeled) ... for me, and being such an advocate for the human baby, I feel it must be a horrible decision to make. I am pro-right because I want the right to choose. There was a time when I would have considered abortion. Fortunately, I didn't have to. I also feel that we can not kill a soul, and so it is between that woman, that soul, and the father.

I feel men are left out of the equation. I don't have answers. I can only do the best in my own life -- I "lectured" my sons often about their responsibility & the lifelong impact they'll have to live with because the woman will have full rights to decision-making. I was as concerned about their sexual behavior, reproductive responsibilities, and the life-long consequences as I was/am my two daughters.

I want my daughter to value human life. She is on this journey with me ... filming people in the film. She knows the importance of CONSCIOUS CONCEPTION, the importance of welcoming a soul, being prepared to be totally responsible for a human being. She is loved, touched, and honore and knows her body is her temple, that she is a temple. Will it prevent her from sexual activity? Will it prevent her from unwanted pregnancy? Is she as fertile as me? Will her abandonment by her father manifest in sexual activity? I do proactive education and prevention with my teenage daughter. I could not bear the thought of her unable to talk to me, going off by herself to have an abortion. We have that law because of the profound number of girls who are victims of incest and impregnanted by an adult male relative, but we don't provide the necessary care for these young girls. Our society condones "Random Conception."

Related, I also just read interesting article, "Conception by Deception" Why Women Get Away With "Accidentally" getting pregnant -- If a man tried to pull the same manipulative stunt, he'd be bobbitted.

Going beyond abortion as murder and abortion as a woman's right to her body (while she has diluted rights during birth), when we consider that the soul is present before conception we can begin to treat prenates and neonates with regard and see that actions that create another life need to be honored.

When we have a social, spiritual, and political will to honor that the human being is sacred over money and power, we will expect and support CONSCIOUS CONCEPTION rather than the multitude of socially acceptable beliefs that support "Random conception." Our financial budgets will go to create health and wellness from the beginning of life (conception through breastfeeding) as the foundation for health and wellness. The medical establishment is in charge from abortion to death.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

7 Secrets of Homebirth from a Dad's Perspective

Gloria LeMay, midwife, sent me this article by a father.

7 Secrets of Homebirth from a Dad’s Perspective

by Ven Batista

1. In a home birth you are no longer relegated to the bench.

Before the birth itself there is more to think about in a planning and logistics sort of way, ranging from buying equipment to manly jobs like making sure the birth pool hose actually attaches to your taps. On game day you are not just a big hairy thing whose only use is to be squeezed viciously or swore at. You are in charge of the birth pool, maybe even catching the baby (I'm doing that next time). And, aside from the mother, who will be a little preoccupied, you are the only person in the building who knows where all the towels are. If you have ever read "The Hitchhikers Guide", you'll know how vital that is.

2. You'll lose less hair and gain less wrinkles.
Having a baby is always frightening on some level, if you're not scared out your wits you must be medicated or dead inside. With a homebirth though there are less things that stress you out and feed the ugly fear monster within. Think of it: No traffic. No worry of getting lost. No worry of the car not starting. No worry that you've forgotten something. No pacing corridors. No worry about what's happening. No corridors to pace. No smug doctors. You'll still be worried, but it won't consume you. Besides – in a home birth, you have too many jobs to do to have time to let your fear monster run free.

3. Home is where the heart is.
Not to mention Cd's, DVDs, the PlayStation... All your comforts. Your music, your TV, your favourite mug, your fridge, your magazines, your books even your beer I guess. You'll be more relaxed, the mum will be more relaxed and the baby will be more relaxed too when he/she pops out. I'll be honest, despite the stimulus of worry and excitement, births are pretty boring. Maybe I have a short attention span, but it's not, you know, entertainment. And we all know they can go on a bit. With a home birth you will be a thousand times less bored as you can take a break and read a magazine or flip on the idiot box for a bit. Hell, it's probably less boring for the midwives, too.

4. Say goodbye to the little things that kill Me?
I hate hospitals for a million and one small and big reasons. Looking back now I can't believe I didn't jump for joy when Bel mentioned having a home birth simply because I wouldn't have to go to one. My main problem with hospitals is this - the idea of being surrounded by sick people sounds like a bad strategy if you want to stay healthy. Plus there are a hundred small things: it smells bad, the foods nasty, it's demeaning to find your way by following coloured lines on the floor and most importantly, when your newborn arrives he/she won't be woken up by someone else's screaming child. Hospitals suck, home rules!

5. You don't have to live the delivery room cliché of the hapless and scorned father.
You know the one - where the woman in labor hates her husband and screams blue murder into his face, punches him etc. Either that or she is so medicated and spaced out she doesn't even know what a father is, let alone who you are. With a home birth her labor is undisturbed. She does not have to be picked up halfway through and rushed to the hospital. I cannot state enough how much of a difference this makes.

6. You are He-man of the home, you have the power!
That's right. It's not the power of gray skull though, it's the power of being the master of your environment. It's a subtle difference, but one you will notice. Your home is your place. You pay for it. The midwives and guests are the fish out of water. If they want something, they ask you. There's a funny thing about evolution, it has created the subconscious trait that whoever gives out the food is the dominant player in any situation. That's why in a home birth you will find it feels a lot more natural to ask more questions about what's going on, to make sure that the birth plan is stuck to and to generally be more involved and have more say over the whole thing.

7. You won't have your surprised, fragile heart ripped out.
If you only remember one of these secrets, make sure it's this one. At the end of a home birth, the midwives leave. Not you. This is the way it should be. In a hospital, you will be torn away from you newborn child and your exhausted wife at the very peak of your emotional vulnerability.

Let me paint the picture for you real quick: two weeks before my eldest daughter was born my Dad had died, we were not financially safe and I didn't have a job. In short, it was tough. But being the alpha male I am, I wasn't showing it and being the rock solid guy I like to think I am. But the instant I saw my new daughter’s face I discovered a vein of happiness and a depth of feeling that washed away my ego and my fears and even helped me come to terms with my Dad's recent death and made me, a mainly scientific sort of thinker, to almost see a thread of symmetry within life.

If that's all a bit too Lion King for you I apologize, my main point is this –at that point the most unnatural thing in the world for me to do was leave my daughter, drive home and lay on my couch for eight hours and wait for the sun to rise. To make me do that, is probably the cruelest thing that has ever been done to me. In retrospect I wish I had stayed and made them try and have me arrested to make me leave. I have forever lost that first night with my first born.

These are my reasons why home birth was better for me. I've called them secrets, because these things are not common knowledge and are not talked about all that much even within the world of home birth programs and message groups etc. It's not all good – you will have to clean up afterwards. That's not any one's idea of fun. But hey, that's a small price to pay in my opinion.

After experiencing both hospital and home birth my wife and I wouldn't even consider going to a hospital again unless there was a very compelling medical reason why we should do so. That's compelling, by our standards of reason and common sense. Not what any medical profession says. It's a no-brainer for us. As a Dad there is really no comparison to be made.

You are a key part of a home birth. The mother needs you and is relying on you. In a way it's a shame when it's all over because you revert back to being a useless man again before the midwifes left-over tea goes cold.
Ven Batista

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Delivery Room Football

by Emmet Miller, M.D.

“Hold on a minute!” I said. “I want her to go to her mother.” I looked over at Sandy’s exhausted, filmy eyes and the look of panic on her face.

“No, we’re sorry,” they replied firmly. “Hospital policy.” Having proclaimed this, they strode purposely forward toward the door just to my left.

Quickly I stepped in front of them, blocking their way. “Hospital policy or not, I’m her father and she’s staying here!”

Suddenly it seemed time began to slow. Looking back, it seems almost like some sort of bizarre operating-room football game. The doctor, with my child tucked under his right arm like a halfback, decided he would simply ignore this irrational father, take a step to his right and scoot on past my left elbow and through the swinging door. I don’t know what he expected I would do, but I certainly know his eyes looked surprised when I made my move.

Continue to read the rest of Delivery Room Football

Men are Wounded in Birth

Bloggers and group lists posters are wondering if the film will be politically correct and address all the configurations of partnerships. The answer is no. The full film, "The Other Side of the Glass" is a film for fathers and does not address alternate partnerships or single-parenting because it is a film about men. The information will be invaluable to anyone who is in the position of supporting a woman during labor and birth, particularly, if that person has legal rights to make decisions. The film will look at the impact on society for the historic abuse of the newborn male in modern society.

Throughout the modern history of birth in America, women have been drugged, isolated, restrained (literally or now with epidural), and violated, as have their babies who are birthing "under the influence" with a mother "under the influence". We are currently in a huge surge and swing that is fighting for a woman's rights to her body in birth as well as in choosing to carry a baby. Books and films about women in birth fill the libraries and bookstores.

The twenty-some year-old field of pre and perinatal psychology is making progress in bringing awareness to the fact that birth is the BABY'S birth. The human being IS being born from the mother. It is not her birth. It's not rocket science or New Age to consider the scientific foundation that the laboring baby knows via hormones that the mother is feeling afraid, stressed, distracted, withdrawn, absent and abandoned. Labor and birth form the template for the mother-baby relationship outside the womb, in the world, for life. Good midwifery care supports mother to "stay connected" to her baby throughout labor, birth, and first hours of life. Midwives, WOMEN usually, are less invasive. The back to midwifery movement is predominately WOMEN, and some evolved and gentle men are supporting WOMEN to heal birth. Without knowing even, perhaps, they are working on the core of the peace movement, the movement to create healthy, harmonious, happy human beings from the beginning of life. ( This healing what happens to the mother-baby dyad is profound, and I propose that it does not yet address the whole picture: the history of the violation of the male baby.

But what about the father in the equation? The trinity, I like to say. Where are the books and films that support him to touch the deep experience of his baby self, and to transform that in order to be present, intimate, aware, and connected? Where is the movement and the group support, and conferences of experts promoting what he needs in birth? What has the man's role in modern birth evolved into? And, from where? How are fathers (MEN) harmed in the very same birth experience that women are now fighting to end? Even today, it is a rare man who leaves the birth experience of his baby feeling "intact" and without a nasty contradiction of feelings with no place to express them, and no way to understand them, and no way to address the expression of the experience of his partner (loss, betrayal, disconnected, abandoned, unprotected by him), often expressed as anger at him. He can not separate his mother-stuff from his wife-stuff. Psychology is clear about that, but has never addressed the root of it, his own birth and separation from the womb and the breast.

All human American babies have historically have been induced, drugged, violated, and separated when they enter the world. Rather than being placed on mother's chest to do what nature has known for 175 million years, modern obstetrics suctions, dries, pokes, injects, and puts substances in the baby's eye. If one take but a moment of quiet introspect to consider this, one begins to see the barbaric nature of this "routine, standard practice" in American obstetrics.

Neither modern obstetrics, nor modern psychology looks at the impact of this on that the human baby. The differences between male and female victim-offender dynamics is not addressed in terms of the vital experience of coming into the world ... our primal experience. Does the male newborn baby who is drugged, boundaries violated, poked, probed, rubbed, and separated from his placenta (Life Force) and the mother in a multitude of ways -- especially sensory (touch, sound, hearing with the calamity of voices and noises), taste and smell (deprived of fluids on his hands and of her milk) -- not record in his brain this experience? Is he not profoundly impacted by the immediate severance from the Source of Life for him and from his mother when his cord is cut immediately? So that he can be woman-handled by gloved, masked strangers and poked and prodded?

It is a stereotype that men hate hospitals, and that they refuse to go to the doctor, and would rather die than go to the hospital. And, they typically are the ones who fear homebirth as too dangerous. Must be in hospital. Has anyone done a study of this behavior looking at the issues of loss of power for men in their birth experience and circumcision experience? Has anyone done an study to look at the impact of immediate cord clamping (loss of blood) causing forced physical and emotional separation from the mother (harshly by strangers), and the profound boundary violation of the self -- all coiniciding with the switching of fetal circulation, the closing of the foramen ovale? Do male physiological cardiogy dysfunction and intimacy dysfunctions have to do with the primal period?

Naw, obstetrics tells us that the baby doesn't feel and remember birth, while the scientific discovery proliferates information about the exquisite and profound abilities of the prenate and the newborn. We are lead to believe, and do, as a society, that this same baby, during labor and birth, goes into an "off" position so that ... what? the indoctrination can occur? So that obstetric medicine can imprint the message of fear, isolation, women hurt and abandon, and medicine is the hero, fix-it-all?

Take a moment to consider how it is that this foundation contributes to how men feel and interact with their world, with women, with medicine. In the trailer the hospital born baby, Andrew, is scrubbed, suctioned, poked, and prodded for fifty minutes, non-stop with less than a minute as the longest interval without someone invading him. A female OB, a female OB resident, and two female nurses violated this baby boy repeatedly. Why? And, importantly, WHAT is the long-term impact to his psyche? How is it that in the year 2008 this brutality is allowed to happen and people watch it and smile, the perpetrator even cooing and baby-talking WHILE they violate the newborn. In the film viewers will see how one nurse overpowers a male resident and the boy's father. How is this? How does this happen?

I have been joking recently about how if George W, a gangsta, or a Chicago Mafia guy were at their baby's birth in the hospital, that even they could be disempowered by a female obstetric nurse. Why is that? Ruthless, self-serving, violent men who order masses killed and can pop someone for any reason. I'd have to wonder if their penis' were cut off in the hospital in their first days of life. Sure, we've been indoctrinated with the mythical science about how safe birth is in the hospital, but what DO we know about the connection to being violated, fearing for our lives coupled with indoctrination. We know it works. It works to gain control over another human!!

The following is an excerpt from a webpage by John Travis, MD, MPH who has a book coming out soon about the abuse of men in birth.

Why Men Leave--A Hidden Epidemic

Assertion: Modern culture is in the midst of a hidden epidemic of fathers leaving their families--usually around the time when the first child is born.

Men leave their families in a multitude of ways. Even if they remain in the home, many fathers are often emotionally absent--through depression, workaholism, violence/aggression, physical or emotional abuse or a retreat into addiction to substances, media, consumer goods, sports, food, or sex.

Most men in the "developed" nations today never bonded (or very poorly bonded) with their mothers. Most people don't even notice how disconnected modern people are from each other, compared to cultures where the bond is still intact. Yes, we talk of alienation and notice how much people in Mediterranean cultures touch each other, but we make no connection between these phenomena and how our bonds among people, with nature, and with the divine have been torn asunder. I propose that this unnoticed, silent epidemic of disconnection/alienation is the source of most societal ills. Fathers leaving their children and their families is only the tip of an iceberg..

As infants, most men in our culture have been bottle-fed and subjected to other culturally-endorsed patterns of normative abuse, such as sleeping alone or being left alone to cry when their needs weren't met. Biologically, the male is the more fragile gender of our species and developmentally lags years behind females--well into adulthood. Instead of getting the extra nurturing needed to compensate for being the weaker sex, by age five, males in almost all cultures get far less nurturing than females. It's no surprise, then, that most of the unbonded boys in our culture grow into men who spend a good deal of their time unconsciously seeking (and fueled by advertising that prominently features the breasts they were denied) a mommy-figure to provide them with the nurturing they were denied as infants/children. Part of their survival mechanism is to learn to deny their feelings and project their unmet needs for nurturing onto substitutes, such as women, and other externals, the most common of which are consumerism, workaholism, and substance addictions.

On another page he shares his story,

I was born in the farmlands of western Ohio in 1943. Like most babies born in those days, I drugged (via my mother's general anesthetic, which took weeks to wear off), dragged out of the womb,with cold, metal forceps, grasped by sticky rubber gloves, and plunged into bright lights--instead of being gently greeted with warm hands in subdued light. I was doubtless held upside down to drain my lungs (I'm not sure if I was slapped or not, but that was the norm of the day). Stinging silver nitrate was put in my eyes. I was wrapped in cold, scratchy fabrics instead of being allowed to mold my skin against the warm skin of the person with whom I'd been intimately connected for nine months. A little while later, I was taken to the nursery where I was placed in a plastic box beside Carol D., born earlier that day. I spent my next 10 days there (the norm for the early '40s). Arlene and Marlene soon joined me, twins born a few days later. I was given a cold, rubber nipple with a bottle of a fatty, antigenic substance instead of the miracle food that three million years of evolution had prepared for me.

Then, a day or so later, I was immobilized on a board and, without painkillers, the majority of the most sensitive nerve endings of my penis were amputated. Then followed the standard "normative abuse" parenting practices of the 1940s:

1) artificial baby milk--probably Carnation or Pet Evaporated Milk

2) a four-hour bottle schedule. (I got hungry every three hours and cried that last hour, until I learned it was no use and made a decision about the world that is so basic to my brain's neural organization that it still impacts almost everything I do--"Asking for what I want doesn't work--my needs will never be met.")

3) restraint in a crib or playpen,

4) deprivation of the continual movement of being carried in-arms

5) sleeping alone in a separate room.

Most of these "improvements" were devised by men propagating, in the name of "modern child rearing practices," untested "scientific" ideas, all of which have since been proven to be destructive to human bonding. I don't blame my or other parents of that age; they naturally followed the cultural winds, and the promise of science and technology to cure the world's ills was, in 1943, still an untarnished vision.

Continue reading at:
Why Men Leave

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Zen Puddy Cat

Baby Puddy, here, communing with a grasshopper, is responsible for moving the "The Other Side of the Glass" from a dream to a reality.

I am blessed that the film is being felt and seen as as important I feel it is. After a thousand hits in just a few days, I was sitting at the computer watching that crazy Puddy Man sunning in the window and marveling.

Marveling at how touched people around the world are by the film and what if they knew one little old abandoned baby kitty in rural Missouri had such a big part of it.

I picked up him and tried to engage him in my awe and speak to him as an amazing soul, like I do babies. Well, he's a pretty amazing Being, but he's still a Puddy cat ... and with those lizard green eyes he gave me a bored, almost annoyed look. Maybe he was thinking, "It's no biggy" or just was it, oops, I forgot -- we cuddle when he's says we cuddle, and I interrupted his nap in the sun.

So what is Puddy's story?

From the beginning ... my daughter and I rescued Baby Puddy on October 16, 2006, the day my son's plane left the US for Iraq. After a frantically planned, then aborted last minute rush to Mississippi to see my son one more time -- look in his eyes, nuzzle his neck, smell him, kiss him, and tell him how much I love him -- we went out to visit a farmer advertising kittens. [My daugher later won a fiction writing contest based on the near-trip - My Brother, My Hero. She's working on a script of it now and I'll produce it -- if I can get Sally Fields to play me, Channing Tatum (Left, he was awesome in "Step Up" and "Stop Loss") to play my son (see the resemblance?), and a beautiful, young Bollywood star to play my daughter].
Read Mariah's Story on the Daniel Boone Library website

So, Baby Puddy and one sibling had been discovered in a field and no mama to be found. ;-( They were estimated to be about four weeks old. Shortly after arriving home, we discovered that he was full of fleas. I gave him a bath, calmly talking to him, telling him what I was doing and why, and giving him a chance to settle in to it -- just as I would a newborn baby. The fleas climbed in mass to his face to escape the water. I have never seen so many, especially on one tiny little body. Baby relaxed and seemed to enjoy it, and even seemed grateful. Later, he curled up on my chest to nap, purred like a lion, and occasionally reached up to pat my chin. He was so little he slept on my computer battery charger to stay warm.

Max, seen here, became Puddy's big brother. (Real men wear pink and beads!) I attached Max's leash to the railing outside the door so that they could play outside. As long as Max was there, Baby Puddy stayed and learned that this was home. He grew to enjoy the outside and people in the condos around me enjoyed him. My neighbor downstairs who had recently lost her very old cat adopted Puddy. She and the people across the walk way would fill me in daily on his antics and how he entertained them doing spins and chin ups on the limb of the tree before learning how to sleep like a panther on a branch; standing on his back legs barely able to lap up water in the bird bath, and stalking and chasing bunnies away from the flowers gardens that finally were able to grow.

A year nearly passed and Baby Puddy brought me great joy as I too watched him live life outside as a wild man and come in to be a cuddly, loving Puddy. I enjoyed watching him enjoy his freedom, to feel the grass under his feet, to smell the smells of his home, to enjoy the sunshine on his face and back, and to play. While my son gave up his freedom to enjoy the fruits of our society, forever changing his own life, for us to continue to enjoy our luxurious way of life, watching Puddy grow and enjoy life was a profound blessing.

So, fast forward through the hardest year of my life, and my son's fifteen month deployment ending.

First, though, today, in a gas station I saw a sign for two local MO teens, a girl and boy, both 16, who are missing. My heart went out to their families, especially their mamas. Trying to name "what's it like" to have a child go to war, I found that only that situation ... a missing young child ... comes near to the panic, terror, and helplessness that fuels the roller coaster: fearing and preparing for the worst news, while also having the most hope in the world. It took me to the depths, "to the crevices of my inner dark cave" to shine light on what was there, and to come back. That is the blessing.

I spent that fifteen months, longer really, the year before when I knew he would go. I began my descent into what I would call the "dark night of the soul" when I grieved profoundly for my son.  I cried more tears that fifteen months than I had in the 49 years before. Every morning, determined to stay drug-free unlike the mothers in the support group, I did yoga, tai chi and trance dance - blindfolded to native drumming. I literally rolled out of bed on to the floor and moved and cried and processed every bit of years of stuffed maternal, woman, and girl violations and losses. I felt like I had spiritual food poisoning. I felt myself being turned inside out, like when I had food poisoning and swore my stomach was inside out within me, to get every last bit of the bad stuff.

During that time, unwilling to subject any babies to my own stress, I did not see clients. I would get up off the floor and write. I wrote the Safe Baby Resolution that was introduced into the Hawaii Legislature. I wrote 600 pages on my blog, Hospital birth debate aka Making Birth Safe in America. I dreamed of, wrote about, wrote plans and budgets for, and looked for resources to do the film I had been thinking about for two years. My film was to be a sweet, simple little film comparing THE BABY at home and hospital birth and infusing it with the info about babies as sentient, aware, feeling beings and the psychology of it, and the healing of mama-baby separation.  I wrote the resolution in the pool of feelings about my son's own birth and our separation, about what we could do to stop war: Birth humans kindly.

The first six weeks and the last six weeks are the hardest for families for a variety of reasons and the most dangerous for the soldiers. They are most likely to be seriously hurt or killed during this time.

As the anticipated date of return in mid October, 2007 rolled around, during the last six weeks, an odd event began unfolding. One night about 11 pm - because I am a night owl and clearly for a specific purpose not yet known to me - I decided to go out and check my mail on the corner. As I walked down the walk-way, Puddy came blazing by and I heard a woman scream, "That cat's fixin' to be killed!" I couldn't help showing my disdain and referencing her lack of intelligence, and called out, "FIXin' to be killed? WHAT are you talking about?" She proceeded to rant about how he was killing birds. I said, "Yeah, well, that's what cats do." When she threatened to kill him for killing birds in her yard, I told her that he is an animal and doing nothing wrong.

She persisted and finally I tried to appeal to her compassion. I told her that I got him the day my son left for Iraq and that he brings me much joy seeing him outside. "THAT's YOUR CAT?!" She had not realized that he was my cat and she began backtracking her statements of killing him but threatening to catch him to take him to a farm or the pound. Clearly, I had intercepted a covert night mission. I realized she was the author of a vicious note on my dad's truck parked in her second spot the winter before, threatening "I will find you and make you pay". I said that I realized who she was that I would no longer talk with her.

I attempted to keep Puddy inside over the next few weeks because she threatened his life, and he was so miserable. A few times he sneaked by Mariah, and sometimes I'd let him  out at night. Several times a week when I got out of my car at night, I'd hear her voice across the street screeching through the darkness, "Your cat killed a rabbit today." I couldn't resist. I asked, "Do you eat meat?" The response, "Yes" and I continued, "Someone had to kill those animals that you ate today. How many animals died for you today?" After a few exchanges on different nights (she ignored my presence in daylight), I decided to not participate in Jerry Springer relationship with her and ignored her. She continued, adding the threat to turn me into the condo association. I thought, so what? He's been outside for a whole year now. Against condo rules, she had put up three birder feeders (cat feeders) and that is what lured him over to her yard. Bottom line, in my world, my son's return to American soil was my constant thought; while my cat killing birds was very small on my radar.

Throughout this time, I chose to see this woman as a Divine Soul, on her path, here for her purpose and suddenly and dramatically engaged with mine. I wondered .... what has brought her into my world? What is she reflecting to me? It has to be for my higher good and learning. I still had no clue how to go about getting back on my feet. I had sunk into poverty. Literally. But I was ready for something!

My older son, young daughter, and I planned to go to Mississippi to meet my son's unit in October 2007. He had chosen not to communicate with any of the family and this had been a big part of the deep grief I felt. My son who got the most of what I believe, teach, and live, attachment mothering from conception forward, except for his hospital birth, was gone.  We learned when his unit arrived in the states that he was not with them. He had reassigned and flown directly from Kuwait into Afghanistan. I had no place else to go but up. Something snapped. I realized that he was living the life he came to live, another level of me embracing my belief that "my children come through me. I do not own them."

My son's choices blessed me with fully living.  I realized, with a shake and shudder, seriously, "It's time for me to live MY life too!" That weekend I went to a showing of "The Business of Being Born" at the local Rag Tag theater. I was numb and I saw it through intense pain and sadness. A year later I'd see it again and be surprised at what I'd missed.  But I was inspired.  What I did get out of it was the amazement that the film I wanted to do, comparing BABIES' EXPERIENCES at home vs hospital birth and the disempowerment of fathers, picked up where "The Business of Being Born" left off.
It was a seed illuminating within me. At this point, my son not coming home, I realized my unraveling, cleansing, grieving time was over. I realized he was doing what he came here to do and was probably in his prime; working towards becoming an officer "to change the world", our mutual passion, but from different perspectives. I realized it was time to integrate and reweave my life, for me to LIVE MY LIFE and to do what I am supposed to do. But what? How to pick up the threads and weave my life back together? I was too ... too ... tired and overwhelmed ... to figure it out. I had literally cascaded into poverty. The answer came easily not even a month later.

On November 13th I arrived home to find my daughter in tears. She was holding a letter that she found taped to the door. She said, "We've been kicked out." From my daughter's story, I know that I smiled, realizing that something much bigger was happening. Apparently, I had missed the first letter  telling me that there was a condo association rule against cats being outside, and warning me that if my cat was out again, I'd be evicted. According to the letter, "Your cat was seen outside on October 26 and November 2nd" and I had thirty days to vacate. Yeah!! I was being released from a place where I didn't want to live and had nine months left on the lease. Yay!

Within seconds I knew that this was a gem of an opportunity and within minutes I knew it was time to go do the film and/or work on the Safe Baby Resolution in Hawaii that I had worked on that year. I could do it if I didn't have the expense of a home. I was reminded -- AGAIN -- of Carolyn Myss' book, "Anatomy of Spirit" that I had read ten years before, and my young new-mama neighbor and I had been watching "The Secret", one of the laws of attraction I'd followed for years. Both tell us that when we wish for, think about, plan, and dream about what it is we want, the universe conspires with us to bring it about. Sometimes, it comes in surprising ways that may be misunderstood as losses or failures, and that doesn't look exactly like we'd planned it, but as Byron Katy says, "Whatever happens is always for our good."

One of the things I had "stumbled on to" as a direct result of my son's deployment and my working through it was I joined the Community Access Television station in June of 2007. I began learning filmmaking. I had the homebirth footage and the hospital birth footage. So, I knew immediately that it was time.

I didn't have any money after the year that put me into "poverty", thanks to my unraveling, being unable to work with babies, and my ex not paying child support for 2-1/2 as retribution for "living off him". I did not have money to re-rent another apartment. I could be "homeless" or  I could be "on a mission."  I put our household belongings in storage and after a huge gala 14th birthday party for Mariah in January, we headed west. I left for California "to do a film" without a camera. Nine months later, here we are, my trailer has just "viral." It's been one of the most enriching times of my life.

I am doing the film for Andrew, my grandson, the baby born in the hospital; for my daughter; and for her husband and her first son born by cesarean. I am doing the film to bring healing to my family. If it heals others and prevents trauma, it will be a great blessing, and an honor to have participated.

Poor Puddy. Sometimes doing a great act for humanity also takes a great sacrifice! He was boarded at the vet's for two+ months while Max got to go to Grandma and Grandpa Great's. Puddy was so happy to see us and to be home. "Home" was a 3 bedroom duplex that a friend "donated" to me for the time I was in Missouri learning the editing program and editing the trailer.

So, here he is, in the middle of the night, in August, "helping" me edit the trailer -- and me trying to get away from the camera. What a cat.

"All Creatures Great and Small," not "or". That's Puddy. He's little, but he is mighty. He moved a mountain for me.

And, oh yeah, he did kill the grasshopper. He's such an animal.

A few weeks ago we heard a baby rabbit screaming. They sound like humans! Out in the front yard, we found a wild-eyed Puddy with a bunny hanging from his mouth, and begging for his life. Mariah was upset with him. I reminded her, "Well, now you know why the steak-eater was so upset. It's one thing to see it under plastic wrap at the store and quite another to hear it, a baby screaming for it's life."

Mariah convinced, or rather forced, Puddy to drop the bunny and immediately an owl swooped down out of the tree and snatched the bunny and was gone. Seriously. (I swear I am gonna start wearing the camera on a holster.)

We learn again, don't mess with nature.

Post note: Puddy went on the road with us in November 2008 when we left again for CA and AZ. He enjoyed a month here and there in Surprise, AZ and lived mostly in my room at my daughter's or was outside. His presence resolved a nasty pigeon problem on the peak of the roof over my bedroom window.  Once a bird eater, they know it!!

Every other month we spent in CA ... LA, Topanga, and northern CA, twice. There on the Chamberlain's Nevada City mini-ranch Puddy loved the friendship of Beethoven, the stray cat, a few neighbor dogs, and prowling around the woods.

In Topanga, CA housesitting for a friend up in the mountains, Puddy had to stay in the house or risk becoming coyote food. He did not even try to leave the house. The coyotes seemed to move closer every night and neighbors said it was because they knew the two small animals were there. By the end of the month, the last two nights they were right outside the house, even in broad daylight. It's as if they knew their potential dinner was leaving. We spent a few weeks in Rivierside, CA and Puddy stayed in my room. It was May 18, 2009 and we were heading back to Missouri in time for my dad's birthday.

In the middle of Utah around midnight Puddy was howling like he does when he needs a break. A small town with two exits was convenient. He was behind me howling as I approached the exit. I told him we were almost there. He was quiet. When I got to the gas station he was no where to be found. The window had been cracked so that he could sit on top of luggage and get fresh air but it was not enough for him to get out .... so we thought. Apparently, he'd quieted so quickly because he jumped out the window. We were devastated.

There was hardly any traffic so we went up and down the freeway slowly, calling for him. There was no sign of him. We were relieved to not find him severely injured or dead. Earlier in the day we'd had a tire blow out in the middle of the desert on the hottest day of the year: 107 degrees. If you look on the map there is a small stretch of freeway that is the farthest northwest corner of Arizona, where Nevada dips down and coming from Las Vegas you go through a short road in AZ before going into Utah.

We were still in Nevada, just before you enter Arizona. We sat in the desert for four hours while a mobile tire unit came and got our two back tires, left us with ice and water, car on jacks, to drive back to Mesquite and put new tires on the rims and then return to put them on. Car doors open, blankets blocking the western sun, Puddy laid with us and panted. Mariah she said this must be like labor ... the process of breathing through it. Not once did he even attempt to leave the car. And then, hours later, in the chill of the night on I70 he jumped out the window.

We finally decided that he had made that choice, and I choose to believe he had other work to do. Someone else to help maybe. I had to grieve my son again as my attachment to Puddy was so connected to rescuing him and having him in our lives since the day my son left. I believe my animals and my people come into our lives for a time and a purpose, that they have their own needs. Other than biological family, I don't have any lifelong exclusive people in my life; why hold back an animal has always been my belief.

Animals must have their own needs met, and they too leave when it is time. It was very sad. He had on a purple collar, but not the one with his name tag and number on it. It had been lost while in Missouri. Back at that temporary duplex for the time in Columbia, Mariah found it in the yard ... Puddy's collar, and all over again, we felt the loss of our friend, and the little man who helped me through a very rough year. We do believe he had others to help ... we believe he is alive and well in Utah or wherever he ended up. Maybe he was rescued again by a traveler at the truck stop and is busy facilitating other miracles.

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