An inspiring and necessary documentary on the birth system in Australia – Birth Time

On the back of Home Birth awareness week we spoke to from the team at Birth Time

Three long time friends of She Births®; fellow doula and birth photographer Jerusha Sutton  (who even came to a Weekend Course with her partner after many years of birth support), extraordinary independent midwife Jo Hunter and actress Zoe Naylor, who you also know from our She Births® Show are making an important film that I believe all of us who care about humanity and healing our planet need to watch and share.

Birth Time  knows, as do I, just how important it is that ‘the way a woman feels about her birth, and the way she was treated during her birth, will effect the way she lives the rest of her life.’ Birth effects everyone. The experience is so significant that we cannot even fully comprehend how impactful it can be. Plus, the choices and care available for women here in Australia are better than in many, but still far from perfect.

With interventions, depression and PTSD rates on the rise this dynamic team have been researching, interviewing, shooting and getting up at all hours of the night for the last 2 years to try and share with us solutions. I am super excited to watch the film, especially the interviews with Indigenous mums.

Have a look at the Birth Time page, watch the trailers and consider donating so they can get the film finished! Or join me at fellow birth educator, Rhea Dempsey’s talk on Monday 12th November in Newtown. No one can talk as in-depth about the perception of pain and it’s management and meaning as Rhea!

What is Birth time?

Birth Time started as three women wanting to come together to make a documentary exploring the question, “What would it take for women to emerge from their births feeling physically well and emotionally safe”, but it has now grown from a documentary in the making, to more of a movement. We are hosting live events, such as our evening with the incredible Rhea Dempsey on the 12th November at Leadbelly in Newtown, and our Feminism and Human Rights in Childbirth night we hosted earlier in the year- the recording of which is available through our website. 

What inspired you to make this documentary?

Three of us came together through, of course, a birth. Zoe Naylor (actor, entrepreneur, speaker) hired Jo Hunter (privately practicing midwife) and Jerusha Sutton (birth videographer/photographer/doula) to support and capture the homebirth of her second baby back in 2016. Through that transformative birth not only was her son, Beau, born, but so too was Birth Time. We have since taken on a fourth member to our team, Olympian Selina Scoble. Selina works behind the scenes and is a productive energy we couldn’t do without.

Our inspiration came from a collective knowledge that the way a woman feels about her birth, and the way she was treated during her birth, will effect the way she lives the rest of her life. Given that interventions, PTSD and postnatal depression are on the rise, we wanted to look at where were were going wrong, and more-so, where we can make things much more right.

Who is it for?

Birth Time is not limited to any particular audience. Given that a woman’s birth will impact the rest of her life- it will impact the lives of her partner and family as well. And families feed out into broader families and communities and when you look at it that way you see that this involves everyone. Everyone is born.

What have you learnt about women and birth on this journey?

We’ve learnt that regardless of cultural background, socio-economic status or location, women want the same things. They want to choose where they give birth, to feel respected in their choices, and to be supported by the people they choose to have present throughout their birthing journeys. Women want continuity of midwifery care, regardless of their risk status, and some women need an obstetrician as well .

What do you want to achieve?

We want to achieve real change in maternity care for women in this country. In an ideal world we would assist in creating systemic change that would give all women a known midwife, and where midwifery care is the first port of call for pregnant women. We hope to inspire women to start taking their power back when it comes to birthing choices. To trust themselves as the masters of their own bodies and babies.

What have you gained and learnt from spending time with Indigenous community – or what can we learn from them?

Our hearts have been blown open by spending time with aboriginal communities. Their stories have hit us in the gut in ways no others have. We’ve learned that these women often endure the cruelest of treatment and circumstances whilst bringing their babies into the world, and yet so often they come through it with a fiery determination to make things better for their sisters and their daughters. Through the Birthing on Country project , indigenous women and their families are reclaiming their ceremony, ritual and ancient wisdom.  Community, country and tradition is everything to them. We can all learn something from that.

From your perspective, how important is birth education?

Birth education is especially important, particularly given the lay of the land in maternity care today. We believe it is incredibly important for women to educate themselves not only about their bodies and their babies, but also about the system. With the rates of birth trauma and postnatal depression on the rise, education is a very important step in taking back our power to be able to make informed, educated decisions.

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