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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Documentaries In Review

Any of you who know me well - or even those of you who don't know me but have been following along - are well aware that I have slightly OCD tendencies.  Maybe more than slightly, but who's paying attention?  Anyway, as a result, you may or may not have noticed that I have turned to research on practically everything: registry items, birthing, breast feeding, bumpers, skin get the picture.  I know that there is no way to ever be fully prepared for birth, and a lot of times it is hard to even plan because there is no one way that these things happen and everyone is different, but researching and educating myself somehow calms my overactive nerves and makes me feel a little more prepared.  I'm not really sure how to describe it other than that by having an idea of what is supposed to happen and what does happen, I somehow feel a little better (read: slightly less nervous) about the whole thing.

With that being said, I have read a few books on pregnancy and birthing, and we have our classes coming up, but since I don't think you can ever be too prepared I decided that we really needed to add some movies/documentaries to the mix as well.  As I'm sure you can imagine, Dan was less than thrilled because neither of us knew what to expect with these, but we were actually impressed with the three that we've seen so far.  I decided to chronicle them here in case any of you reading are remotely interested, whether you're expecting now or plan to be at some point in the future.
  • The Science of Babies: This one is by National Geographic and is the most scientific of the three that we watched.  It explores the developments of a baby from birth to 12 months and the research that is being done on various aspects of the first year of life.  This documentary was interesting, but in true National Geographic style felt more like a science class.  I would recommend watching it just because it's cool, but we didn't get as much out of it in terms of the birth process, etc. as we did with the other two.

  •  Babies is a documentary by Thomas Balmes which follows four children who are born in four different areas of the world (Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco) for the first year of their lives.  I had no idea what to expect with this film, and in fact did not realize before we started watching it that there is no narration at all.  We LOVED this documentary, and I would highly recommend it to anyone - expectant mother or not.  It was so interesting to see how the birth process differs across cultures and how newborns are treated in these different countries.  It gave me a greater appreciation for the female body and what it can do, and made me even more excited to be a Mom.  There is some seriously hardcore stuff in here - at one point the Namibian Mom wipes her baby's poop on her leg.  Not kidding you.  THAT is love.  Cannot recommend this one enough, it was a wonderful documentary, and something that even Dan enjoyed (not to mention the featured babies are real cute).
  •  The Business of Being Born is the most recent one we've watched, and I think I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed Babies (if not more), but for different reasons.  Ricki Lake was the executive producer of this documentary, and it chronicles she and filmmaker Abby Epstein's exploration of America's maternity care system.  Ricki says she became involved in this project because she had a disappointing birth experience with her first child and wanted something different with the second.  It explores various aspects of American births such as drugs, midwives, c-sections, etc.  I will warn you that it takes a pretty serious home-birth-no-drug stance, but in the process it was very informative and I would highly, highly recommend it.
While I liked all three that we've seen so far for different reasons, The Business of Being Born was the one I was the most interested in.  I have been doing a lot of research in order to answer questions about a birth plan when the time comes (more on that in another post at some point in the future).  As I mentioned above, this film was very pro-midwife, anti-hospital, anti-drug, anti-doctor unless it is absolutely necessary, but nonetheless was extremely informative.  It for sure gave Dan and I both a lot to think (and talk) about.

I'm sure this post has been boring for those of you who are not expecting or do not care, but I know that when I found out I was pregnant I wanted recommendations from anyone who could give them on everything related to pregnancy and birth, so I thought it might be helpful to blog about.  Hopefully I didn't lose any of you over it!

Tomorrow is Hump Day, can you believe it?  Not me, this week is going fast!

I'll report back tomorrow with something equally as awesome and intriguing I'm sure...


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