Childbirth: All or Nothing

“Childbirth: All or Nothing”


Saturday, March 4th, 2017

6:00 pm Pre-show presentation
7:00 pm Feature Film (50 minutes)
8:30 pm Community Panel

Amphitheatre, Saint Paul University at 223 Main Street in Ottawa

** THIS IS A FREE SCREENING! ** Reserve your free ticket.
Passports for the remaining 3 films will be available for $25 at this film’s screening ONLY! (Regular $33).

“Childbirth: All or Nothing”

What’s your idea of the perfect birth? Do you want every medical intervention known to science or do you want to go it alone, without the help of a doctor or midwife? And what about after birth? Perhaps you’ll hang on to your baby’s placenta and carry it around with your newborn until it dries and drops off naturally? Or maybe you’ll decide to eat it by whizzing it up into a smoothie?

This film follows four pregnant women all making very different choices around their births, all determined to do it their way. 37-year-old Jo plans to deliver her baby completely alone on board her barge, without the assistance of any medical professional. By contrast, 34-year-old Anna is opting to sidestep the pains of labour and book in for a c-section at the Portland Hospital in London. Anna wants all the medication available and she doesn’t want to feel a thing.

There are plenty of unusual plans for after the birth too. In Devon, 33-year-old Lisa plans to lotus birth – she’ll leave her baby’s umbilical cord attached to its placenta and she’ll keep it fresh by dusting it with salt, rose petals and lavender oil. 35-year-old Kati from Manchester is going to whizz her afterbirth into a smoothie and consume it over a number of days. She hopes it will help her stave off post-natal baby blues and bounce back as quickly as possible.

Fending off bewildered looks and concerns from friends, family and medical professionals, each woman is going against convention to have the birth she wants. There are free and frank discussions between mums and daughters and decisions to go against medical advice. So does breaking with the norm and sticking to your guns pay off? And what really is the perfect birth?

For more information, see Childbirth: All or Nothing site.

Pre-show presentation – Birth Art Session with Jennifer Gillean

Nowadays, much of a parent’s childbirth preparation involves “getting informed” and learning lots of information about pregnancy and labour. Which is a good thing-but often times parents become distracted about looking forward to how the birth will end up. Even if we have watched videos, read birth stories or birthed a baby previously, each birthing experience is different and we can forget that an essential part of labour involves descending into the unknown.

Birthing From Within’s Birth Art Process steps away from intellectual, cognitive or verbal information of what we know and dives into what has informed our ways of knowing and what’s already in our hearts and minds. Creating art allows us to go deeper, going underneath our everyday conscious thoughts, and get curious about different symbols and images in life and birth.

Creating art is also a metaphor for birth.
Facing a blank page can be a bit uncomfortable, maybe to some hopeful-like being in a place of not knowing and noticing what’s arising from within. An internal process of discovery, creating art can be a way of digesting information from the outside world and connecting thoughts about what’s evolving on the inside.

Join Jennifer Gillean for some mindfulness, breath awareness and a birth art session before the movie.

Panel Discussion and Talk Back to follow the film

Rachel Samulack is a librarian, outdoor enthusiast and mother. Her pregnancy and childbirth experiences have included: a miscarriage at 10 weeks with her first pregnancy, a healthy, happy son born posterior without an epidural in 2014 and a breech birth with her son Aaron in June 2016.

In February 2016, Rachel and her husband Rob were told at 19 weeks that their baby had no kidneys and would not survive long after birth. They decided to continue the pregnancy with the hope that they would meet Aaron alive. Rachel also had a complete placenta previa and was told that Aaron would need to be delivered via Caesarean section if they continued the pregnancy.

Victoria Nagy is a stay-at-home parent of 3 children. Her first birth in 2010 was a planned home birth with midwifery care. After a long labour (just over 60 hours from membrane rupture) with a posterior baby, she opted to transfer to the hospital and had an intervention-free birth there shortly after arriving.

Early in her second pregnancy, she began attending local Positive Birth meetings, and informing herself. Again under midwifery care, she opted out of testing and monitoring. This healthy pregnancy resulted in a home birth of surprise twins in 2015, born full term, 8 minutes apart, with the support of a doula, half an hour after the midwife arrived. Baby A was head down, baby B was born frank breech and in the caul. This pregnancy was a lesson in gaining trust in her body and her intuition, and the birth was incredibly empowering!

Catherine Lapointe is the mother of three children. In 2002, at 23 years old she gave birth to her first child in France. It was a planned home birth with a midwife but after she was let down by her midwife, it ended up being a hospital birth led by the hospital midwifery team.

When she returned to Montreal she was already pregnant with her second child, and too late to have access to a midwife at a birth center, she found a community-recognized midwife, and paid her for a home birth. She felt pressured into agreeing to inducing her late term baby and walked away unhappy with that birth experience.

Catherine decided then that the birth of her next baby would take place unassisted. But her third birth didn’t turn out as the perfect birth she was hoping for.

Location of Screening

All screenings will be held at Saint Paul University at 223 Main Street in Ottawa. Parking is available on the North side of the building for a flat fee of $10. Street parking is available. Please enter the building through the door off the North parking lot. There will be a sign to indicate what room the screening will be in.

This festival is completely volunteer run. All proceeds will go to support local birth and breastfeeding groups.










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