Birth Time Interview with Actress and Activist Zoe Naylor and Midwife Jo Hunter

‘BIRTH TIME: the documentary’, is the result of three women Jo Hunter, Jerusha Sutton and Zoe Naylor coming together through a birth, and afterwards taking a deep dive into what birth looks like for women in the developed world, asking the question, “What would it take for women to emerge from their births physically well, and emotionally safe.”

Our film opens with the story of Australian actress Zoe Naylor’s birth of her second child, Beau. With Jo Hunter as her midwife, and Jerusha Sutton as her doula/birth videographer, Zoe emerges feeling transformed and with a deep sense of healing – a vastly different experience to her first birth. This experience led to the three women having conversations about why 1 in 3 women in the developed world emerge from their births with birth trauma, why intervention and caesarean rates are rapidly increasing and why we have a postnatal depression epidemic.

We hear the traumatised birth stories of various Australian women and partners – giving us an insight into what women experience during the births of their babies. Global experts back up these experiences, questioning how and why our broken system fails women, their partners and the caregivers working within it.

Yumi Takahashi and Melanie Podolski are two pregnant women whose stories we follow throughout the film. Both women have experienced traumatic births in the past and we follow them through their pregnancy and birth journeys, having made different choices this time.         

Birthing on Country is a project committed to bringing culturally sensitive care to pregnant and birthing indigenous women, and the film profiles the two co-chairs of this project- Mel Briggs and Cherisse Buzzacott. We visit the home towns of these two inspiring indigenous midwives to learn more about the project, and the stories that brought them to be in the positions they are in.

We speak with women, men, midwives, obstetricians, professors and lawyers and explore themes influencing our maternity system in Australia, including; money, the ‘system’, human rights, the patriarchy and feminism, building a picture of the history that led us to where we are, and the current culture of how the system in the modern world operates.

A theme emerges through the interviews with world renowned birth experts, such as Hannah Dahlen, Sarah Buckley, Sheena Byrom, Soo Downe, Andrew Bisits and Kirsten Small, and that is that vast amounts of global evidence states that one to one continuity of midwifery care, ie women having a known midwife throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period, improves the outcomes for mothers and babies.

‘BIRTH TIME: the documentary’ explores the trauma that is inflicted on women as they go through an experience which should be amongst the most joyous of their lives, and through the insights of experts, evidence AND women’s stories, looks at how we can do so much better for women, their babies and their families.

We emerge with a picture of hope and love, showing the real possibility that women in the developed world CAN emerge from their births feeling physically well, and emotionally safe.

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