Sunday, June 24, 2018

These are my hours

These are my hours. Let them be hard. I’ll ask for what I need.

This is one of the few lines of narration in the entire documentary These Are My Hours. Filmed entirely during one woman's labor, it is the first of its kind. I'm not one to use hyperbole, so when I say that this film was revolutionary and ground-breaking and magnificent and shattering, I mean every word.

The cinematography was stunning, capturing angles and moving shots that would have been nearly impossible to choreograph--even to imagine. And let's not forget the key reason behind this film's success: Emily Graham. Her expressive face and body. Her self-monologues that range from soulful to comedic. Her deep physicality and instinctuality. Her ability to make me feel like I was there, not just watching her but there, inside her body, living the experience.

I loved that the film didn't end right at the baby's birth. Instead, we watch Emily adjust to her new body and come back to herself. We see that birth is a process with an ascent, a peak, and a descent. All three steps require navigation and integration. The descent can be just as beautiful as it has the weight of the entire experience behind it.

The filmmaker had up to 3 cameras operating simultaneously, yet I never once felt like anyone else was in the room. That was a gift and a skill on both the filmmaker's and Emily's part. The music was minimal but exceptionally powerful. And some of the scenes still take my breath away when I think about them. I won't spoil the surprise here, other than to say that you ought to watch the film. Now. It's worth every penny. 

These Are My Hours is not a documentary about giving birth--it is birth. It follows Emily Graham through her labor, birth, and immediate postpartum. Or rather, we journey with her, inside her, as part of her. Besides a handful of narrative sentences and Emily's labor monologue, the documentary is almost entirely wordless. Birth is a process that transcends language and involves all of the senses, so the film's focus on the bodily experience and the near absence of language, interpretation, or commentary was fitting. I still struggle to find words adequate to describe the experience of watching These Are My Hours--a testament to the documentary's success.

As I watched this documentary, I realized: birth can speak for itself. It needs no champion or interpretation. We just have to be willing to listen.

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this, and I purchased access to the film myself. 
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Friday, June 01, 2018

Aug 18-19 Breech Workshop in Auburn, WA

Come to the Aug 18-19 Breech Workshop in Auburn, WA sponsored by Dr. Rixa Freeze, Breech Without Borders, and the Washington Alliance for Responsible Midwifery (WARM).

CEUs will be available (ACNM approved; MEAC applied for).

If you can't come in person, you can livestream the conference. We will also be recording and offering the workshops online.

I am presenting four lectures on Aug 18th, mostly theoretical/informational. Aug 19th will be taught by WARM and will focus on hands-on skills and applied practice.

Online registration here.

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