Review of: A Clear Road To Birth (DVD)
by Laura Shanley
Finally there is a film that captures the mystical, sensual, and joyful side of childbirth. In A Clear Road to Birth, filmmaker Judy Seaman at last gives voice to the growing number of couples who are choosing to give birth at home without medical assistance. Photos and footage from seven unassisted births are artfully woven together with interviews from unassisted birth couples in a forty-five minute documentary that never fails to hold our attention.
The film opens with a spectacular birth scene. With barely a sigh, a woman in New Hampshire gently births her baby into her own hands. No doctors are there to pull the baby out with forceps. No midwives stand by instructing her to “PUSH!” Only a woman – trusting her own instincts, doing what women have done for thousands of years – giving birth. It is a powerful image that is sure to leave a lasting impression on the minds of those who watch it.
The other births in the film are equally impressive. A mother in Colorado gives birth in a hot tub. She smiles blissfully as the baby slides into her husband’s hands. Not until now has the elemental beauty of unhindered birth been captured on film.
The interviews in the film are interesting and informative. For one segment, Seaman traveled to Petersburg, New York to speak with Athena Burke, a singer/songwriter who birthed her baby in a tent in her back yard. Athena speaks glowingly of the experience. Equally fascinating are the interviews with the people of the town. As there are no hospitals in Petersburg, Athena’s son Christopher was the first baby to be born there in over 20 years. It is obvious when listening to the townspeople speak that they have embraced Christopher as one of their own.
As the author of Unassisted Childbirth, I, too, was interviewed for the film, as was my husband David. Our children John, Willie, Joy, and Michelle make cameo appearances (along with our dog Benny!) Childbirth writer and speaker Jeannine Parvati Baker shares her thoughts on “Freebirth” as well.
The film ends in the same mystical way it begins – with a birth scene set beautifully to music. A Clear Road to Birth is destined to change the way people look at childbirth, and I am honored to have been a part of it.
Lauren Stranahan in “A Clear Road to Birth”