Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Consent begins at birth.
Consent begins at birth.
806 backers pledged $106,130 to help bring this project to life.

About

Documentary: Mother May I? project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Documentary: Mother May I?

$106,130

806

> Thank you for blowing our goal out of the water! Continue supporting the film and the urgent movement for consensual, respectful care during birth at MotherMayIthemovie.com <

¿Habla español? Haga click aquí para ver el video subtitulado

"I thought I was crazy."

One-third of women describe their births as traumatic.  They're also saying they were shamed and silenced afterwards when they tried to talk about how they were treated or how they feel.

"I didn't even know I was allowed to say no."

This situation is urgent.  Every day, more women and birthing people are failed by a system that hurts and traumatizes them--especially women of color and other marginalized groups.

Birth Doula Chauntel Norris
Birth Doula Chauntel Norris

"But at least you have a healthy baby." 

It's not true that you have to choose between a healthy baby and a healthy mom.  In fact, we know outcomes are better for both babies and moms when providers safeguard mothers' mental and emotional well-being.

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."- Alice Walker

As consumers, we have so much more power than we realize!  Public outcry is the only way great social change happens.  This project is a chance to take our sadness, anger, and frustration and turn it into ACTION for CHANGE.  We are making a film to reach the masses, representing people from all backgrounds and walks of life.  We want to bring to light what is happening in maternity care, break the taboos that keep women silent, and present specific solutions.

Film crew at work
Film crew at work

What We Need 

In order to create a beautiful, smart, high-quality movie by talented and experienced professionals, we need your tax-deductible donation.  We are looking for a paradigm shift in the birth world, and we know the power of film to help make that happen.

We’ve already invested thousands of dollars of our own money to get this off the ground. Here is where your money will go:

  • Director
  • Editor
  • Production manager
  • Sound editing services
  • Equipment
  • Travel, transportation, and craft services for crew
  • Insurance
  • Graphic design and music
  • Spanish translation services
On set with Caroline Malatesta
On set with Caroline Malatesta

We are well on our way to a finished product! Our team has shot around 20 hours of footage and interviewed more than fifteen experts and survivors, including Caroline & JT Malatesta, their lawyer, survivors of birth trauma, a birth doula, a Labor & Delivery nurse, and a psychologist who specializes in PTSD.  The funds we are raising now will allow us to move forward with a film to shift culture, uncovering WHY this is happening in order to heal it. We plan to interview more professionals in the medical field, experts on trauma and the law, more survivors, and others to provide a fair and just perspective on this topic--bringing it to light once and for all.

Survivor interview
Survivor interview

Our Amazing Team

We are so proud of our committed and compassionate crew members.

Cristen Pascucci, Executive Producer
Cristen Pascucci, Executive Producer

Hi! I’m Cristen and before I got pregnant in 2011, I was a senior associate at a top public affairs firm in Baltimore, Maryland. We were the go-to shop for the most complex local and state projects involving public and political controversy. Hospital, real estate development, transportation, and energy clients came to us when traditional solutions fell short. We gave them audacious out-of-the-box thinking powered by old-school grassroots organizing, meticulous diplomacy behind the scenes, and an embrace of the power of media in all its forms. And we won over and over again. I learned how bold, creative strategy can bring people together to accomplish the impossible.

In the midst of all this, I entered the maternity care system as a patient and saw quite the opposite: a system constrained by fear and old beliefs. In fact, I switched hospitals the day before I gave birth because I was getting so much pressure to have an induction no one could give me a good reason for.  The care I received from the midwife I switched to--respectful and compassionate--changed my life. 

Since then and as the founder of Birth Monopoly, I've worked with thousands of birthing people, passionately advocating for their rights.  I joined Improving Birth as vice president in 2012 and started an emergency hotline for women facing threats to their legal rights in childbirth.  I created a viral consumer campaign to “Break the Silence” on trauma and abuse in childbirth as well as co-created the Exposing the Silence Project to help put obstetric violence and the maternity care crisis in national media.  Today, I work with birth workers, medical professionals, parents, lawyers, and advocates all over the country, and I have real hope for change.  Just recently, I presented to the OB/GYN departments of an entire hospital system about birth trauma from the consumer perspective.  Change is coming!  Please join us in making it happen--we can do so much better for our moms, babies, and families!

Caroline Malatesta, president of non-profit Birth Monopoly Foundation
Caroline Malatesta, president of non-profit Birth Monopoly Foundation

Hi, I'm Caroline, a mother of four.  During the birth of my last child, I was assaulted and permanently injured.  As horrible as my physical injury was, the emotional injury from being treated as less-than-human during birth was that much worse.  My hospital's dismissive response afterwards only added to the trauma.  In 2016, I received the ultimate validation of a jury verdict.  As a result, I heard from hundreds of women who had experienced similar treatment, and I realized I couldn't stop at my verdict.  I'm well aware of the role my privilege played in getting justice, and I want nothing more than for my story to be used to give a voice to women who don't have one.  I'm now the president of The Birth Monopoly Foundation, which is producing the film.

Those of us who have suffered birth trauma know that even when we are silenced, that nagging feeling doesn't go away.  Deep in our guts, we know what happened to us was wrong.  When you are told "all that matters is a healthy baby" or "birth is unpredictable, so you must be flexible," remind yourself that you love your child more than anyone else in the world.  You aren't speaking up because you are ungrateful; you are speaking up because you care about your baby.  When a mother's emotional health suffers, her baby suffers, too.  In the course of this campaign, we will be calling on you to tell your story and use the simple power of your voice to help us stop this abuse.

David Brower, Director of Photography, and David Bagley, Cameraman
David Brower, Director of Photography, and David Bagley, Cameraman

Thank you to our volunteers who have given so generously of their time to help us get this film made! With their help, we are also committed to:

  • Public education: Throughout production, we will host several online campaigns to provide free information about legal rights and birth trauma as well as a resource list for people who need support. 
  • College outreach: We are creating materials for college professors with the intent of getting the film and guided discussion in 1,000 college classrooms around the country.

Volunteer Coordination: Christina Libby

Social Media: Bess English, Lavena Purdom Fisette, Chelsea Pennington, Lindsay Askins

Media: Sara Conrad

Fundraising: Chante Perryman

College Outreach: Elizabeth Farmer, Meagan Thompson

Trauma Support: Nekole Shapiro

Be sure to follow the project at www.facebook.com/birthmonopoly!

Risks and challenges

Funding is the only challenge at this point--interview subjects are on standby and a wonderful team is at the ready. All of the pieces are in place to move forward immediately on this project!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    We see two pink lines!

    - First to get exclusive updates and information on the film via email
    - Beautifully designed digital download of Cristen’s viral article “You’re Not Allowed to Not Allow Me”

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    122 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    We feel a kick!

    - All rewards at $10 level
    - Beautifully designed digital download of Cristen's article “Being Admitted to the Hospital or Signing Consent Forms is NOT ‘Implied Consent’”

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    90 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Your pledge is the size of a grapefruit!

    - All rewards from $25 level
    - Digital download of completed film after distribution

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    219 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    This baby is doing flips!

    - All rewards from $50 level
    - Your name/biz logo on Mother May I website as an official Bronze Level supporter
    - Access to Cristen’s Know Your Rights online course for birth workers (more info at community.birthmonopoly.com/classes)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    206 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    We're starting to waddle!

    - All rewards from $100 level
    - Gorgeous LIMITED EDITION Mother May I watercolor print by Alabama birth doula Christian Montgomery (more info at https://www.dinixidoula.com/vulvas)
    - Your name/biz logo on Mother May I website as an official Silver Level supporter

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 38 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    We need pickles and ice cream!

    - All the rewards from the $250 level
    - Group license for Cristen's Know Your Rights course for viewing/discussion in your birth community (more at community.birthmonopoly.com/classes)
    - Special thanks in film credits
    - Your name/biz logo on Mother May I website as an official Gold Level supporter

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    35 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Your pledge is the size of a watermelon!

    - All rewards from $500 level
    - Your name/biz logo on Mother May I website as an official Platinum Level supporter

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    This baby is dropping!

    - Two tickets to film premiere
    - All rewards from $1,000 level
    - Exclusive 90-minute Skype session with Cristen and Caroline (invite your groups!)
    - Your name/biz logo on Mother May I website as an official Diamond Level supporter

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The water broke! Associate Producer

    - Four tickets to film premiere
    - All rewards from $2,500 level
    - Personal thank-you from the filmmakers
    - Exclusive two-hour Evidence Based Birth "Be the Change" session with founder Rebecca Dekker and Cristen Pascucci (invite your groups!)
    - Associate Producer credit on the finished Mother May I film

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    PUSH! Co-Producer

    - Six tickets to film premiere
    - All rewards from $5,000 level
    - Co-Producer credit on the finished Mother May I film

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (35 days)