ARE YOU A WRITER, PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, ACTOR? Are you working on a birth scene?
BE KIND to the pregnant people in your audience. Portray birth responsibly, authentically, and accurately. Find alternatives to the same old formulas.
THE PROBLEM: More pregnant mothers are watching “reality” shows than attending childbirth classes. They’re absorbing inaccurate messages about danger, speed, and pain from movies and TV. They’re watching women act passive, silly, and out of control. This has real-world consequences on many mothers, influencing their medical decision-making and even impacting how their bodies respond to pregnancy, labor, and birth.
THE SOLUTION: We can make your technical research easy and fun. REEL CHILDBIRTH offers you these resources:
“I often feel like I’m competing with the mass media. I go to great effort to teach the skills that empower a woman to birth naturally, to trust her instincts and work with her body. But then it is all undermined by cultural saturation with inaccurate information, and the mistaken belief that TV and movies tell the truth.” —Vanessa Mullin, midwife, Ferntree Gully, Australia
“Media is the single largest factor influencing how women and men see birth. We are beginning to question urban India’s birth model, and this film is absolutely relevant and thought provoking.” —Divya Deswal, CBE, doula, advocate, Delhi, India
“When pregnant couples laugh at the TV births in Laboring Under An Illusion, it’s a very powerful way for them to re-evaluate what they think they know about birth and to question where the information comes from.” —Sally Baker, Childbirth Educator, Kyalami, South Africa
The U.S. cesarean section rate in 1965 was less than 5%. Now it’s 32% and climbing, with surgical side effects but no corresponding improvement in outcomes. There are many reasons for this (economic, medical, legal, sociological) and mass media’s tendency to exaggerate childbearing danger is one of them. This problem is worldwide, due in part to U.S. media exports.
Statement from Women’s Health Issues 20 (2010) S18–S49 “Cultural Mistrust of Birth and Pervasive Climate of Doubt” (www.whijournal.com): The current cultural emphasis on the pain, fear, and risks associated with childbirth, coupled with a strong emphasis on medical technology and interventions for childbirth seriously limit awareness of other ways of understanding birth and giving birth. The prevailing culture of maternity care and popular media representations of childbirth make it difﬁcult for women to approach childbirth in a ‘‘climate of conﬁdence.’’
Recommendation from Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (2008) “Approaching Birth with Conﬁdence” in Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth: Partner producers of mass media with advocacy and professional groups to develop and carry out ways to improve the image of childbirth in the media.