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)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Home births: here's three we made earlierएस
From The Times
April 21, 2009
Home births: here's three we made earlier
A former Blue Peter presenter on why, when it comes to childbirth, there's no place like home
Peter Duncan

I'm frustrated by the clichés surrounding childbirth. If I read another article such as Melanie Reid's in this newspaper last week - in which she said that women who choose home births are spoilt and complacent - or have to listen to another couple state that their baby would have died if they hadn't been born in hospital, I shall eat the next plancenta I find in the freezer.
Grotesque though this may sound, occasionally I have come across them there - where else can they go when you have your babies at home? You can't leave them for the dustman along with the empty champagne bottles।

I have a distinct inner feminine nature। Certainly my male outer shell was almost invisible when I partnered my wife in our children's home births। There were no sandals worn, as Reid suggested, nor any sign of squeamishness। My wife chose to have her babies with a midwife, who was with her throughout the entire journey - from when those first few cells were dividing to the time the baby had gained a few pounds to compulsory breastfeeding। She also chose to not to go into hospital, a place dominated by inner and outer males whose protocols dictate the procedure in the business of birth. All birthing animals like to be born - and die, incidentally - in familiar, dark and gentle places.

I might have been more in line with my species by saying: “If the doctors say you have got to have a C-section because the baby is breech then they must be right because they're doctors। This is the 21st century; they can take away the pain so you don't have to suffer। What counts is the baby's life and yours। There's no need to act like a spoilt, complacent woman।”

Of course it's not compulsory for men to be there at the sharp end, cutting the cord, breathing with your partner when she panics, but it's better than hanging around in the corridor wondering what is going on।

The excitement of being at home for me meant that I had no choice but to be in the thick of it। The sheer joy of looking at your child's features and recognising your own in them, to be allowed to hold your seconds-old newborn and place her on your partner's chest. For your tears of ecstasy to drip on to your first son (after three daughters) as you repeat, mantra-like: “It's a boy, it's a boy, it's a boy.” I even commented on the minor repairs of a small tear on the perineum - none of these intimacies could happen unless you are in your own space.

My mother, who was also present at one of our children's births, had a profound experience। She, like me, could remember nothing of our difficult forceps delivery; her fear of birth was expunged. The trail of little feet, who always time their entrance after the event, somehow sleeping through the raised night-time noise levels, pile in to prod, kiss and fondle their new sibling. It's a party atmosphere and everyone is invited.

It doesn't happen like that in the wing of your average hospital। My wife's future, and consequently mine, was born by the nature of our children's arrival: two breech and two cephalic (with head down, the most usual birthing position). The experience precipitated the choice of a new career for her as an independent midwife. Our first-born, Lucy, was a rare thing, spending her first year of life as a Blue Peter baby. She set the tone and I can remember arguing that if they didn't put breastfeeding on children's TV I was leaving the show. I also entertained viewers with incompetent male demonstrations of bathing, weaning and nappy changing.

The pragmatic truth about the hospital birthing industry is that we don't quite trust it to provide a proper and responsible service। It is not its fault that midwives and doctors work in dysfunctional institutions that sometimes make mistakes and misjudgments that affect us. It is not intentional. We try to choose the best hospital as we try to choose the right school, but sometimes it doesn't work out. The problem with hospitals is that they like routine and babies don't always fit into their schedule. Just check the Caesarean rate on a Friday. On the other hand what a fantastic facility to have available when there is a real problem such as pre-eclampsia or placenta praevia, and they are there to intervene and save a life. The problem is that they want to intervene in normal birth too - with epidurals, inductions, the effect of opiate drugs and inappropriate communication that can lead to poor outcomes.

Reid claims that homebirth is a minority sport. Not true. Where homebirth is available with one-to-one care the statistics shoot up. In Torbay, in Devon, it's 11 per cent. A National Childbirth Trust survey says that 25 per cent of women would consider it, if it were more available.
The real issue is not whether you have your baby at home or in a hospital, it is how you have your baby। It is “continuity of care” that is the key - a trained midwife who is with a woman from start to finish and a little beyond. It is a holistic approach because how you think and feel about it affects your confidence to give birth and function as a future parent. If you can achieve that in hospital then fine; if not, you should be able to consider alternatives.

This is where men can make a difference. You may think your role is insignificant and all you are doing is protecting your partner and unborn child by making sure they get the right treatment. Well, treatment is usually for illness and for most normal births it is not required. What is required from men is that they trust their partner's instincts and understand emotionally what is occurring. The first call is still your GP: if you don't like what you hear get a second opinion. Take responsibility and stop colluding with other males with the mindset of taking control.
I think I was brave to side with my wife's instincts when she became “high risk” because the baby was breech। “You don't want a dead baby” was the advice I got from everyone. I knew that what I said to my wife would have a huge impact on what we did. I know most males would not take that route, fearing that the blame of giving the wrong signals would fall on them if it all went wrong. But that's what responsibility is: making choices with your heart and mind and living with the consequences.

As you get older, increasingly, your heart rules your head. When I think back to the moment my grown children entered the world just feet from where I'm sitting yet more tears drip into my keyboard. I think about how those first few moments together has affected everything that has happened since.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Film in New Zealand

The following article was written for a New Zealand magazine coming out soon.

The Other Side of the Glass:
Finally a Birth Film Series for Fathers
By Suze Keys, New Zealand
(in communication with L. Janel Martin)

The Other Side of the Glass is a four-part film by US baby doula/birth trauma therapist/film-maker L. Janel Martin (the Baby Keeper) that looks at fathers’ role in the birth of their children.

The film's fundraising trailer can be viewed at and is a heart wrenching look into the experiences of multi-generations of fathers at the (hospital) birth of their children, how they are powerless to help their newborn at the mercy of the medical personnel, how they watch their babies in the nursery from “the other side of the glass”.

Part One: "From the Womb to the World"
presents current research and fathers’ birth stories, and questions the routine use of interventions in birth, while introducing resources for creating safe and connected birth wherever birth happens. It is also a fundraiser trailer. Donors of $15 or more will receive a copy of first edition. Due out any minute.

Part Two: “His Moment of Awe”
continues with father's stories from around the country, and features the needs of the mother, baby, and father in first moments outside the womb- It goes beyond the idea of fathers as the protector and advocate at birth, to show that medical caregivers must be the ones to ensure the protection of the mother-baby-father relationship. Features ten physicians. Musician, Michael Stillwater, provides original music. Due out by Father's Day.

Part Three: "The Canary Flies" focuses on several fathers who talk about how their lives were transformed by the experience of trusting their wife, who trusted her body and birth, and how they are as fathers because of this experience. Original music by one of the couples, Tyree and Jesca, aka The Katalysts will be featured. Due out by the end of summer 2009.

Part 4: Untitled, is about the pre and perinatal psychology (preconception through breastfeeding); the methods of treatment for integrating and healing, and is about how we can heal humanity by acknowledging that the human baby is an aware and sentient being, capable of perception and feeling at birth. Part four focuses on the impact of drugs, interventions done without regard for the baby, separation, isolation, and circumcision on humanity, but especially on the male baby.

The film's foundation is that the human prenate and newborn is a sentient (aware and feeling) being at birth (as it is from conception forward). Based on knowing that babies are conscious beings and that the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby.

This preparation allows fathers to claim the experience of meeting their baby for the first time outside the womb. Men's role in hospital birth has been defined by the medical establishment; subsequently many men are disempowered during the births of their children and are prevented from supporting or connecting with their newborn baby in those first minutes of life.

When his child and partner are honored and respected by caregivers, whether midwife or doctor, a father can embrace his birth experience.

Finally, a birth film for fathers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Men are vulnerable at birth but powerful in numbers

I got this comment on the trailer on Youtube:

Where does this overwhelming respect for authority come from, that it allows hospital staff to abuse mom & baby?

I sure don't have it.
For five bucks I'll attend your birth and if an attendant ignores a "No" or a direct request, I'll break their freaking face.

You might make a lot of money if you could be in so many places at once. Since that's not possible I hope the film shows the medical based caregivers -- doctors, nurses, and midwives -- how they can support and protect the father as well.

How is it that we have "this overwhelming respect for authority?" Well, this is going to be a big part of Parts 2, 3, and 4. I would not use the word "respect" to describe how men and women acquiesce the control of their body, mind, and soul to strangers who sadly do not remember that this other human being before them, in their care, is a also sacred being, a soul in this body, a whole human being.

I think it is fear; a physiological response to the generational impact of giving it over and being dominated. As I interviewed men this year, as the filming and editing evolved, I came to see the true nature and role of the male is not to be the big, powerful protector against invaders and predators during his baby's birth. It's like asking him to protect his family from a home invader who just happened to break in as he and his partner have just made love. Right in the middle of that glow, in that rush of love hormones, taking a drag on his cigarette, a man disrupted is a man who can be easily toppled. He is the least likely to be able to protect anything but his own jewels. (And, yeah, part 4 WILL get into how circumcision of the male child who has most likely been induced, drugged, roughly handled, separated from his mother and father, isolated, mishandled by numerous women doing hospital routines, and THEN has the end of his penis cut off leads to a man who is standing there frozen, basically unable to protect himself, let alone his partner and baby.)

A man is physiologically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually vulnerable at the moment of his baby's birth. He is witnessing his baby, the result of his love and sperm, emerge, and he is taking in how amazing and powerful his partner is -- all of this a product, and a consequence of his making this baby. Darn right, in the hospital setting, clearly demonstrated to be one invasion after another, he needs another man there who can protect him so that he can experience the climax of his conception of his baby. Birth. His creation emerging. To have his moment of awe -- see, touch, smell and take in his creation, to gather his partner and baby into the strength and power of his loving, protective heart and arms, that is what he needs.

Imagine, if we lived in a world where we didn't have our homes as fortresses with security systems, walls, fences, gates, and laws to protect our ownership and privacy. And, imagine the only way to ensure that you could have uninterrupted, quality, private lovemaking, and feel vulnerable enough to have an orgasm, and to collapse in the heights of the ecstasy of the moments after was to have your buddy guard the perimeter of your space from predators. Darn right, you'd need your buddy (or two or three) there, willing to "break their freaking face" if an intruder insisted on disrupting or endangering you and your loved one. Men need that in the hospital. And, thank you for offering it.

One thing I hope to accomplish with this film is shifting our current acceptance and perception about it being OK, and the responsibility of a man and woman and a need to prepare to be so fierce in birthing their baby in the hospital. That's a huge social imprint that creates a lot of our issues. I am concerned about this dynamic of having to be educated, armed, and prepared to fight for your rights in the hospital; to fight for what is physiologically natural, and seemingly simple, logical, respectful, kind, and science-based care. What is up with that anyway, that in 2009, in such a "civilized" time and nation, a woman has to go to the hospital prepared to fight for her life against intrusions, drugs, invasions of privacy, and to keep her body and soul intact? I tire of hearing, even from the medical caregivers I've interviewed who DO honor the mother-baby-father trinity, that THE CONSUMERS have to create the change.

Part of me screams, NO! #*#&%@ It is the medical establishment, the people doing it, who must stop what they do that harms a man and his family. Right now. NOW! The science is there, on the side of natural birth and homebirth, and kindness and compassion, but they are allowed to do whatever they wish -- until a movement of consumers hurts their assets enough to make them stop. These caregivers I interviewed have all gone through their own evolution to become the caregivers they are. They need support too. They know that the consumers are the only way that changes happen in their profession. They know too well that those who try from the inside are ostracized and persecuted. I think the shift can happen ... but it will take an uprising of men.

Men have been telling me they need support of other men ... and it is one of the goals of a group I am supporting to grow, Fathers For Better, website coming. Contact Kris Amick at And, it is why part of my Baby Keeper training, on the back burner simmering away while I finish this film, includes training midwives, doulas, nurses, and doctors how to support men to support men in birth.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Film Update

Join "The Other Side of the Glass" on Face Book!!

I received a message today:

Thanks for the welcome. I paid for the Other side of the Glass DVD months ago. Do you happen to know when they will be sent out?

I want to keep donors updated. I so appreciate your support ... financial and moral ... as I plow along. Here is the answer:

Any minute ... I was to have two full days with my editing teacher, a professional editor, the first two Mondays of March and have one week in between to do her suggestions. It was to be done then and to show in DC. I went to northern CA where she is but it all got canceled because her father was very ill. She's not available again until mid April but I can't afford to stay there and soooooo.... I am back in Phoenix (14 hour drive) plugging away. I am also still interviewing and filming .... in between travel, editing, transcribing, and corresponding. The MAC quit communicating with the camera so it went to the MAC store and just got back last night. This is how it goes .... and so, I so appreciate your patience. These donations keep me going as does the psychological support knowing that folks are so interested.

I will be having Part One burned professionally. I designed the DVD label and cover several months ago. I will be able to afford to have 100 copies made initially. Who knows!? They might end up being "collectors items" in our field. Donors will also be listed in the "thanks-yous" and I will make sure those of you who helped me at this stage will be remembered and appreciated -- I will make sure you have whatever gets made as it gets done. A couple of people have donated over $200 and they will receive a full copy of the film.

The baby in the hospital birth is my grandson, Erin is my daughter, and the father is my son-in-law. My daughter, 12 at the time, shot the footage. We were prepared for "homebirth in the hospital" (BS, BTW), and my daughter wanted baby in her arms, minimal touch by staff for first hour, delayed cord clamping. She wanted baby to do the "self-attachment, breast-crawl".  She got the total opposite. There was no medical reason for any of the interventions they did on Andrew ... for taking him from her, ripping him out of her arms, excessive suctioning (the worst is not in the trailer!), and refusing to give baby back to father after he repeatedly asked for him to go back to the mama. I have been a professional in this field since 1999. We were overpowered and my grandson violated for no reason.

So, I gave up my home over a year ago to go on the road to do this film and my financial support is child support and these donations. Numerous angels have supported me with housing, a computer, etc. My uncle in LA gave me the camera in February 2008. My daughter's home in Phoenix is my "homebase" right now as I travel back and forth to California after leaving Missouri in November. I had spent six months there, in a home, donated by a wonderful woman, Paula Green. Rich Winkle, an fierce advocate for the baby and natural birth bought a MAC for me to use, saying, "This film has to be made." During those six months I studied the editing software and edited programs for a community access television station and then edited the trailer. Back in California for more interviews, a midwife in Long Beach, CA gave me a big pack of 9 V batteries for my microphones. A young couple recently treated my daughter and me to dinner and he gave me a copy of his book. Everything is so appreciated. An older gentleman pressed 3 $20 into my hand in Hollywood after hearing about the film at a meeting. After a showing of parts of Part One at a meeting in Nevada City, CA a member handed me a second check for $200. I feel a sense of profound community, around the world, because of making this film. We are all united in one thing -- making birth safer and kinder for the soul in a human body, the baby, who is coming into the lives of a woman and a man.

When I think I can't go another day, or wonder, "What the heck I am doing this for?" or "How will I ever get this done?" either I am blessed with another gift of support, like a $15 donation, or I just remember what it is about for me. It's about Andrew, my grandson. It is a film to bring the info and healing to my daughter and son-in-law and to support Andrew. I am a one-woman crew, a Granny on a mission. The long-term goal is to create a movement of consciousness about the baby and father-led movement to demand that the medical establishment honor him, his partner, and the sacred being they are birthing into their lives.

The trailer was done as a "fundraiser trailer" and limited to 10 min because I wanted to put it on YouTube. I had hoped to find a funder but have found that it is very important for me to have total independence until I get through Part 2. I really do appreciate so much your interest, support, donation and promotion of the film on your groups. Bless you. Part 3 is also amazing ... I never imagined that I would be doing a film on the information that has come out of the journey.

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