Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did you make this film?
A: I made Beautiful Births because I love watching shows and films about pregnancy and childbirth. Having gone through it myself several times, I became quite knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. I read and watched everything I possibly could during my pregnancies. To be honest, I never really stopped. Birth became one of those things that I felt was important that I wanted to talk about because the current programming available to women about the subject was real upsetting and off putting to me. It was high risk, emergency c-sections left and right, “I didn't know I was pregnant” and just overall, things that are more meant to be fear tactic than informed consent or factual evidence based information. So I talked about it openly and frequently. I soon found that other women were asking me for pregnancy advice all the time. It was like I had become the pregnancy and birth guru for friends, family, acquaintances and their friends and family started messaging me too. So while I was in putting myself through school for filmmaking, I thought it made sense to make a film on this subject that was more aligned with what I wanted to see as well as answer the most frequently asked questions that come my way from people all the time.
Q: Why didn't you become a midwife instead of a filmmaker, if you're so passionate about it?
A: At one point after having my 5th son, I was seriously thinking about becoming a doula and then continuing on to become a Licensed Midwife. I had already started reading the required reading material for that path, however, with five little ones and tandem nursing the youngest two at the time, it was not a realistic career choice for me knowing that the hours are unpredictable and around the clock. I didn't have the support at home one would require for that kind of work schedule. Who knows, maybe if I have a mid-life career change at some point I'll go down that path. We'll see. For now, my career is in filmmaking.
Q: With five kids and being a single mom, how did you have the time to make a film?
A: We make time for what matters to us. There are two things that matter most to me. My kids and my career. I spend a good deal of time being a full time mom. But it's important to me, and every other mother out there, that I retain some of what makes me who I am outside of “Mom”. Mothers are whole people with dreams, goals and desires too. A lot of times I think people forget that and when a woman becomes a mom, suddenly that over shadows everything else that she is. I can relate to that because I experienced that. I lost everything else about who I was and became only a mom, focused on being the best mom I could be and really didn't do anything else for almost a decade. Although I do love being a mom and my kids are my favorite people to hang out with, it also felt like a huge piece of me was missing. There was a huge void in my life. I wasn't creating art. And I'm an artist, always have been. I need to create, it's in my blood. So I try to keep a balance between career and family. The pre and post production I can do a lot of the work from home, which works out because I work when my kids do their home schooling. The actual production part of making movies is the shortest (and most fun) part of it. That's the time I'm away from my kids, but once in a while I may need to bring them on set, as I did recently. I don't like to do that, but I'm thankful that on the rare occasion if I have to bring them along, they are not babies anymore so they're pretty good about keeping themselves entertained and out of the way.
Q: What kind of impact do you think or hope Beautiful Births will have?
A: I hope that women and their partners will watch my film and learn something new about choices they didn't know were available to them, or if they heard about birth centers but didn't know what they were or to be able to relate to the stories, be inspired by the images of women smiling and relaxed in labor. I want to change the way birth is treated and the way women are treated with regards to their birth, bodies and personal choices for those things. I want my audience to feel empowered in knowing that they have choices and what those choices are. I also hope to change the way birth is viewed overall. It is supposed to be a special moment when parents meet their child, not a traumatic or grossed out one.
Q: How have men responded to the film?
A: I've actually been surprised by the reaction from men. So far I've heard a lot of positive comments from men and I always warn them first that men are not my target market. I knew this going into it, so I feel they should know it upfront too. I am not trying to scare anyone off of their love for the lady bits, and a few men have acknowledged that the way the images are portrayed in the film, it was tastefully done although some images are graphic to the nature of the subject matter. Many men have also recognized how important the subject matter is. I've been surprised how many men have started conversations with me about the births of their own children. I'm used to women doing that. But it's always interesting to hear the male perspective too. Some men are actually really fascinated by the whole thing.
Q: How did you manage to get over 4 million views on the mini prelude version that is up on YouTube?
A: That was a teaser piece I used to test the target market, to put it out there and see if people were even interested in what I had to say about the subject since the mainstream media says almost the exact opposite of what I say. I had no idea how the public would receive it and thought that before I put all my time and energy into something so huge, am I doing this in vain just for me and a few like minded people? I wanted to know. Well, apparently this is a hot topic issue for the general public and therefore a high concept film subject. I posted the video on my personal Facebook page and a few friends asked if they could share it. Next thing I know it had over 2,000 views almost over night. A few months later it was quarter of a million views and within a year of the video going up on YouTube, the video had over 4 million views.
Q: What about when home birth and midwives fail?
A: The same question can be asked for when hospitals and doctors fail, but the fact is that midwives can only take on low risk healthy women as clients in the first place and they evaluate your risk factor through out the whole pregnancy. If a woman develops any problems then she is risked out of the midwifery care and is transferred to a doctor until the issue is resolved or if it can not be resolved she will remain in the care of the medical doctor. But even a woman who is high risk and unable to birth with a midwife can benefit from watching my film. Most of the time natural birth doesn't fail us, our bodies are quite capable, but sometimes things happen and we can't control it. But if you compare statistics and facts, you'll find that doctors and hospitals lose more mothers and babies than midwives and birth centers.
Q: What makes you qualified to make a film about natural childbirth?
A: My passion comes from my experiences. I've been pregnant four times. I had a c-section. It was awful. I had two non medicated natural birth in the hospital after that. I've also given birth in water at a birth center. I've used OB/GYN's, Certified Nurse Midwives and Licensed Midwives. I know the difference. I know my preference. I've done years of researching on the subject. I've been on the mommy forums/chat groups online and the mommy play groups in real life. I've talked to many woman on the subject. So although I am not someone who works in the birth industry, I've done the research and I have had my own experiences as well.
Q: What did you think of The Business Of Being Born?
A: I thought it was a good start to bring the conversation of hospital vs out of hospital birth to the mainstream. I think they did a great job covering the medical side of birth and what to expect from the medical model of care. It was a real eye opener for many women and that film sparked a rise in midwifery care because of it. My film has different information than they provided, I focused more on the Midwifery Model of Care and wanted to explain what that was in depth to the every day woman. We had two very different styles of storytelling and different stories to tell. However I feel like the films can also be complimentary to each other because we're cheering for the same team while still understanding the necessity of the other side in certain situations.
Q: Do you have plans for other films?
A: Yes. In the fall of 2014 I produced and directed a short raunchy comedy executive produced by Studio 4 Films with Jay Davis & James Franco. I'm currently working on a few different projects including another documentary, a web series and a few narrative films as well. Stay tuned. There will be lots more from me.