December 12, 2008


Would you be surprised to learn that Debra Pascali-Bonaro's documentary, Orgasmic Childbirth, won the Audience Choice Award at the 2008 Motherbaby International Film Festival in Bermuda?

I think, based on whether you knew of the existence of the Motherbaby International Film Festival, I can predict your answer. So, a little background:

The Motherbaby International Film Festival, or MIFF, "was conceived in June of 2007 and launched in Portland, Oregon that September at the Gentle Birth World Congress."

MIFF's objective for gathering "soul nourishing, eye opening, woman empowering films from around the world" is "to improve the images of birth, to empower women and inspire social change."

As the quality and depth and breadth of the 2008 film roster proves, in less than two years, MIFF has become the most influential platform for consciousness-raising in the entire childbirth celebration industry, far supassing older events like the Motherhood Underground Film Festival and the Motherchild International Literary Fiesta.

2008 Films | Motherbaby International Film Festival [ via]


Our doula told us about Orgasmic Birth when mrsmicah was pregnant. We never watched it, but did watch excerpts from a few other films of the sort that I imagine are screened at the MIFF (which I most definitely have never hard of).

One was about a Russian midwife collective that gathered on the shores of the Black Sea for a month at a time to birth a bunch of babies in the sea. Lots of cheesy music and sweeping shots of babies emerging among fish and rocks while pairs of Russian dudes in Speedos hold the mother up to keep her from drowning. I think it may have been this film, although there appear to be a couple films with Black Sea water births.

Another was about a Mexian midwife who was delivering her own baby in her hot tub at home with only the assistance of her Japanese artist husband. She narrates the whole thing herself. It was a bit hippie for my tastes, but really well done.

And finally was the one I can't find online. It was a home video of the cameraman's wife giving birth at home completely unassisted, with their 4 year old watching, to twins--one breach. I've never seen a scarier thing on a television screen than the moment that baby's leg popped out, the husband tried to put down the camera to help, and the wife yelled at him to keep filming. She eventually pushed the baby out feet first (catching him herself) while kneeling on the bathroom floor.

Coming from a family of doctors, I found that last film completely insane, and our doula said it was controversial even in the most ardently pro-homebirth circles. Which may explain why I can't find it online.

But it did give me a lot more confidence about mrsmicah going to the natural-birth-oriented "birthing center" in the hospital rather than the traditional labor and delivery area. And for that I am very grateful.

I just realized that the Birth as We Know it site has a trailer. It was definitely that film with the Black Sea births.

You really do make me chuckle.

Nice visit to the hospital and some meds never sounded so good. Cheers.

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