What would it take for women to emerge from their births physically well AND emotionally safe?
This is the question actress and activist Zoe Naylor, along with doula, Jerusha Sutton and midwife, Jo Hunter pose in their documentary Birth Time.
Following a traumatic experience with her first birth, Zoe described herself as “uneducated and underprepared” and that she went in with “blind faith” in the system. Second-time around, Zoe went on to have a completely different experience under the care of Jo as her midwife and Jerusha her doula. And this got her wondering, why was this experience so different?
And so the idea for Birth Time was born.
The ladies embarked on a journey around Australia to investigate the state of our county’s birthing system, speaking with mothers and partner’s who experienced birth trauma as well as experts in the field of midwifery and obstetrics.
One-third of Australian mothers describe their birth as being traumatic, with the most common reasons listed as care provider actions and coercion, not being listened to, violation and feeling out of control.
“We’re trying to shift the idea that people often refer to birth and say that all that matters is a healthy baby,” says Jerusha. “That has been the story that’s been driven into us for decades.”
“And it’s really not the case, the importance of the woman’s experience and the partner’s experience is absolutely valid. So to shift the focus onto not just the physical well being but on to emotional well being as well.”
Pair this with alarmingly high rates of intervention and what they found was a system that is broken and mother’s who are being let down.
“This is the main driver of why we started making this film,” adds Jerusha. “Looking at, you know, how we can get more women with both of those things coming out of birth feeling amazing feeling held feeling fulfilled, both emotionally and physically.”
Watch our interview with Jerusha Sutton on Birth Time the documentary, the maternity system and why we need to stop saying ‘all that matters is a healthy baby’.