Laboring Under An Illusion

dvd cover
Laboring Under An Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing


Frequently Asked Questions

Anthropologist Vicki Elson explores media-generated myths about childbirth. As a childbirth educator for nearly 30 years, she observes daily how our culture affects our birth experiences. In this film, she contrasts fiction with reality. The result is hilarious, engaging, and enlightening.  DVD, 50 minutes, 2009.

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Unique, hip, and lovable!  –Diana Paul, MotherBaby International Film Festival

Useful and accessible!  –Jane Pincus, founder, Our Bodies Ourselves

The only childbirth video that makes people laugh – a lot!  –Debby Takikawa, Baby! International Film Festival

Amazing…Thank you for doing it!  –Jan Tritten, Founder, Midwifery Today

I LOVE your film!  It’s one of the most consumer-friendly DVD’s.  It allows anybody, no matter what their previous beliefs, to become open to the power of birth without switching off before they hear the message.  –Jennie Joseph, Certified Professional Midwife

The so-called birth ‘reality’ shows aren’t telling the whole story.  I’m so glad I saw Vicki’s film while I was pregnant!  –Annie Hernandez, new mom

A fascinating resource for both Health and Media Studies courses.  –John C. Smith, PhD

Who is this childbirth video for?

Expectant mothers think it’s a hilarious and thought-provoking movie that respects their ability to decide for themselves what sort of childbirth experiences they want to aim for.

Fathers, husbands, and partners appreciate this humorous childbirth education video for its balance of entertainment and information that doesn’t condescend to them.  It helps them to understand what to expect in labor, and how they can best support birthing women.

Childbirth educators and doulas consider this one of the best DVD’s to show to pregnant people in their childbirth classes.  It debunks myths and it eases fear of childbirth.  It’s extremely useful to help parents-to-be to make well-informed choices – plus it’s funny and engaging!

Baby shower gift-givers are tickled to present something unique and humorous and useful – and, at well under $50, cheap!

Obstetricians, midwives, nurses, and librarians find it refreshing to discover a factual, balanced birth movie that addresses the spectrum from orgasmic labour to scheduled elective cesarean section.

Health and sex education teachers love this DVD for its accessibility.  Teens and adults alike have been exposed to a lifetime of TV and movie births.  It’s a great starting point for a discussion of cultural values and beliefs.

Media literacy professors use this documentary to demonstrate how the mass media reflect our hopes and fears — and can influence real women’s birthing experiences.

Screenwriters, TV/filmproducers, and actors appreciate creative guidance on scripting labor scenes that are interesting and authentic portrayals of childbirth.


  1. Katharina

    is there a European version available? Or maybe a download? ..if I order the American DVD version, my player will not be able to read it, I’m afraid….
    Is there a way I can watch this film?
    THanks for your attention & help…

    • “Laboring Under An Illusion” is available as a download in the US only, so far! We’re working on that. Sign up for the newsletter and we’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, you can order the dvd on this website — so far it has played just fine on all DVD players, worldwide.

  2. Kirsty

    I purchased an international download of the film last week but have had no reply or link for it. Could you let me know how I can access it please.

  3. Alex Hao

    Hi I would like to order. Kindly email me how I can order a DVD or download I am from The Philippines.

    • vickielson


      Thank you for your interest in the film! There is a tab labeled “Order the Film” on the website.

      Check the amount that you want, add to cart. On the right is a ” View Cart/ Checkout” button, click this. Check out with Paypal ( if you don’t have a paypal account click the ” Pay with Debit card…” ) add your shipping and billing information.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks again!


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