Friday, September 19, 2008

The Other Side of the Glass

I watched a very, very powerful film trailer, called The Other Side of the Glass, the other day and I want to invite you to view it too. You can also view it directly from Janel's (the film's writer/producer) blog, along with information on how to purchase the extended trailer and her story of making the film so far. I just purchased the extended trailer myself & can't wait to view it - and offer it as a resource for my clients.

This trailer is about dads and moms and babies: how babies are thinking, feeling creatures from the time of birth (and before), and as such, deserve dignity and respect during the birthing process; how dads can be guardians of the birth space, for mom and baby; how birth is now and how it could be.

I've noticed that families who are expecting their first baby sometimes have a certain attitude about experiences they see or hear that challenge the decisions they're making for their baby's birth: this _____________ won't happen to me. It happens to other people, but it won't happen to me because ___________________.
**I** won't be one of the women who have a cesarean for failure-to-progress (the reason for 40% of primary cesareans).

**MY baby** will stay with me for skin-to-skin bonding after the birth (according to the Listening to Mothers II report, 39% left their mother's arms during the first hour for "routine, non-urgent care").

**MY hospital/doctor/midwife** will treat me like an individual, offering care specific to my body, my baby and my birth.
Turns out that many caregivers and hospitals have certain routines (routine IV, routine continuous electronic fetal monitoring, routine epidural), and they have varying degrees of willingness to deviate from that routine. According to the Listening to Mothers II report, "Each of the following interventions was experienced by most mothers: continuous electronic fetal monitoring, one or more vaginal exams, intravenous drip, epidural or spinal analgesia, and urinary catheter."

There are certainly doctors, midwives, and hospitals who encourage women to participate in their care, and who treat women and their babies as individuals, with respect and dignity and patience. But, unfortunately, not all do. Even if you personally like your provider, or he/she is "terrific" accoring to your friends, or if he/she is the closest, or has rights at the newly remodeled hospital birth center: none of these things guarantee that dignity, respect, patience and/or treatment as an individual. According to the Listening to Mothers Survey II, 26% of women chose a care provider on family/friend recommendation; 26% for its nearby location; 47% because of their insurance plan. Only 18% chose a care provider because (s)he was a good match with the mother's philosophy.

I encourage (implore?) moms and their partners to remove any blinders and truly investigate whether or not the provider/birth place that they've chosen truly fits their needs. Ask challenging questions! Ask yourself, each other, your care provider(s), your hospital/birth center. Assuming (hoping?) that it won't be you, or your partner, or your baby has nothing like the impact of asking questions, communicating preferences, doing the research, and making informed decisions. Nothing guarantees a perfect birth experience, but doing this kind of work ahead of time has obvious advantages for moms, dads, and babies!

Wondering where to get started? I wrote two posts that directly address these issues, both full of book and website recommendations that might help: "Pregnancy and Birth: What Are My Choices" and "Choosing a Care Provider and Birth Place".

Other resources to check out, especially for partners: book review on Don't Just Stand There, and one of the best books for moms & their partners: Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner. Pam England's book Birthing From Within also has some good suggestions specifically for dads and birth support people, as well as some thoughtful & practical information for dads on her website.

Good luck on the journey!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine

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Blogger Louann Janel said...

Thank you, Christina ....

for your work ... for your support of the film, and for your word medicine here on your blog.

Thank you for pre-purchasing your copy of the short version of the film coming soon. I am blessed by your support and trust.

Thanks for promoting the film and my blog. I am honored to know you and your work.


September 20, 2008 at 1:46 AM  

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