The Documentary Film
‘Don’t Talk About Baby’ Challenges The Silence About Stillbirth, Miscarriage, And Infertility
The documentary film explores the source of the cultural silence about the deaths of new and unborn babies, and how we can get away from it to bring families healing.
For every American who faces fertility challenges or has suffered a pregnancy loss, the first feeling is isolation. Each one thinks he or she must be the only one who suffers, since we as a society don’t talk about these issues openly and our culture does a poor job addressing topics such as death, especially infant death. Therefore many men and women struggle through infertility or pregnancy loss in silence. They tend to fade into the background, while the rest of society merrily moves on, as if nothing bad ever happens.
“Don’t Talk About the Baby” is a recently released documentary film aiming to break this social and cultural stigma. Through interviewing experts as well as men and women who suffered either infertility or pregnancy loss, the film explores “how we got to this culture of silence and what we need to do to get away from it.” Once we identify the cause of this stigma, movie makers hope this film will empower people to start talking about the baby — to “tell their stories in their own communities, and start conversations that will change how we talk about loss and infertility.”
It is the first feature-length film directed by Ann Zamudio. She suffered a miscarriage while in film school. Later, as she tried to start a family, she came to grasp the challenges of fertility. Her experience and passion about women’s issues prompted her to do a film project on this subject.
Initially she planned to focus only on miscarriages. She reached out to Star Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing stillbirth and infant death. The foundation got the word out and had many families signed up for interviews to share their stories and honor their precious babies on camera. This taught Ann something she didn’t know before — a significant portion of pregnancy losses in the U.S. are stillbirths, something she thought had been consigned to history long ago.
As she dug deeper into the subject of fertility and pregnancy loss, she decided to cover all three subjects — miscarriages, infertility and stillbirth — in one film, although on the surface they seem to be different topics. She does a good job of weaving these topics together by a common thread: the social stigma of very few talking about it openly.
The film identifies some of the root causes of the social stigma and the silence. For one, people who struggle through these issues don’t want to talk about it because they feel ashamed. One mom who struggled with infertility mentioned that she felt her body has betrayed her. Having a child seems so easy for so many people and it is something we women are born to do.
When you can’t have a child, or were pregnant but lost your child during pregnancy or delivery, you feel your body has failed you and you, in turn, failed to be a full woman. It’s as if life gave you an “F” for a supposedly very easy test. One mom in the film mentioned that after she lost her daughter to stillbirth, one word she said repeatedly was “sorry” even though no one blamed her. She said “sorry” to her husband, to the grandparents, and to her living children, as if she is somehow at fault for this tragedy.
From the Federalist Article by Helen Raleigh
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