On December 27, 2004 I had a homebirth with my son in rural Montville, Maine assisted by two Certified Professional Midwives. The portrait
remains vivid. The windowpanes frosted, a waning full moon shining
through. Candles and Christmas tree lights
illuminate the room like a temple. The birthing tub next to the Christmas
tree. The woodstove nearly red with heat.
The only sounds: my moans
and roars, urges I could never supress. My midwife breathing beside me,
holding the space. That last push—the one I thought would never come—my
son emerging from my body, into the water and into his father’s waiting
hands. Two births. My son.
And me, as a Mother.
My birth experience completely transformed and empowered me. I began to care about the world a whole lot more. I came to recognize that most women in the US did not have this kind of birth experience I did. Why is this? Highly medicalized birth, with a dangerously high rate of intervention, including a rate of C-section hovering at around 33%. Also, persistent marginalization and misrepresentation in the mainstream media around birth (and homebirth) with the message: birth is a crisis, birth must be feared, birth hurts, birth must happen in the hospital.
I am filmmaker. I felt compelled to create a film that would challenge these assumptions, that would provide a picture of how birth can be, that would give women and their partners more information about the choice to have a homebirth.
Four years later, there are eleven films. The fruit of this labor is "At Home in Maine", an online documentary film series about homebirth and midwifery care. The films present authentic, intimate, artistic portraits of the homebirth experience. They are meant to educate and inform, challenge the myths--and inspire. All the films are accessible online: www.mainehomebirth.wordpress.com
"At Home in Maine" is part of a vibrant grassroots Natural Birth Movement that seeks to transform the way the US sees birth. Does birth.
I aim to keep adding to the "At Home in Maine" series, to expand this growing body of work--to show that homebirth happens. That means more families, more midwives and more locations. To show that homebirth is a safe and viable choice for women and their families. That it is normal.
The funding from this successful Kickstarter campaign will be used to create four more films for the "At Home in Maine" series. Funds will cover production (mileage, equipment costs, supplies, time) and post-production expenses (editing and output). By the summer of 2012, I hope to increase the number of films in the series to fifteen.
I am already in production on the next homebirth film--with a mother who gave birth at home earlier this month--and have several other families interested in participating in this project.
"At Home in Maine" is not just for Mainers! The film series has attracted a global audience that extends well-beyond Maine's borders, with viewers from countries as far-flung as Russia, Iraq and Indonesia. There's no place like home!
And "At Home in Maine" is not just about homebirth. It's for anyone who wants a picture of normal, natural, woman-centered birth. Images have the power to change the way we see the world. The way we see and do birth.
Since my homebirth experience, I have
been spellbound, transfixed, held in the sway of the transformative
power of it all: of birth, human
capacity and magic. My own birth was not recorded, yet, I play the sequence
again and again in my memory. It
calms me on a fitful night of sleep.
I create films about homebirth to preserve that experience, to acknowledge
the beauty and spirituality, to show what is possible, to witness that beauty
and magic over and over again. I film to love women and our bodies, to
show birth as creation; to see birth as art.
Thank you for your support of this project!