Friday, February 20, 2009

Film Review: Homebirth Dads

From the Fall 2008 issue of CfM News, I wanted to share my review of the DVD Homebirth Dads.

DVD Review: Homebirth Dads: The Dad’s Perspective on Homebirthing, 1hr 10m.

Jorge Visions Unlimited Productions, 2007.

Reviewed by Molly Remer

Filmed in Ithaca, NY, in a question and response format, this video lets homebirth dads share their perspectives, opinions, and feelings about homebirth. Each dad is interviewed individually in his workplace (I had pictured all the men being together in one room in circle answering questions). The film cuts from father to father as they shared their responses to a series of questions about birth, homebirth, midwives, and midwifery. The fathers are a bricklayer, a massage therapist, a social worker, a doctor, a university administrator, and a museum director. This highlights a factor noted time and again in real-life midwifery circles--the homebirth population is an incredibly diverse one!

What I loved about this film were the great still photos of the dads with their babies at the opening and closing of each question scene. It made me realize how very little we see of loving daddies with their babies. I’m so absorbed by mothers, babies, and birth that I forget the awesome tenderness of a man with his newborn. We usually only see those pictures from our own families. It was very special to see those private peeks at other men’s vulnerable moments. Beautiful!

Another portion that I really enjoyed were the men’s responses to the question, "What did you realize about your wife?" I loved to hear the words they used to speak about their wives and the births of their children: Respect, amazement, awe, concentration, fortitude, stamina, amazing, admiration, endurance, self-sacrifice, gratifying, enormous, her ability to stay focused—guided us all, magical moment, clear, committed, challenging, extraordinary, full of admiration, trust, clear... One father summed up some of the magic of birth by saying, "Whole new arena—like opening a door in a house and discovering a whole new room."

One question in the series of questions is if insurance companies cover homebirth. This question needed more coverage (or a "footnote" along the bottom of the screen), because the answer from all the men was basically, "yes, insurance will cover it," which is far from true in many states.

The film is in basically in a "talking heads" format and is probably best viewed in several segments rather than all at once (there is no chapter select set up on the DVD).

I think the video fills a definite gap amongst birth films. It is also the only birth video I’ve ever seen that has NO WOMEN in it! While this might seem weird on one hand, this is also what makes this film fill a very specific gap (because men are usually on the periphery of other birth films, if they are really included at all).

As I watched it, I could think of several times when I would have liked to have a video like this available to birth classes. Homebirth Dads definitely has a useful place in the lending libraries of midwives, childbirth educators, and Friends of Midwives chapters.

1 comment:

Wintergreen said...

Thanks for your review of 'Homebirth Dads'.

Consider taking a step further and see fathers-to-be with the appropriate skills to really coach/support? This can happen when they've used The Pink Kit Method For Birthing Better®.

We need to really change our attitudes about childbirth so that a whole new social expectation becomes part of birth. Society has to have an expectation that pregnant families prepare the pregnant body to give birth to a big object, learn birth and coaching skills then use those skills so they can work together with their baby's efforts to be born ... home birth as well as hospital birth.