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photo Making Mothers
By Ben Crosbie & Tessa Moran

Today the United States ranks 29th in the world for infant morality rates, a shocking statistic given that we spend more on health care than any other nation. African American mothers in the Washington, D.C. area experience a disproportionate number of infant deaths, for example, since they live in medically underserved communities with a shortage of primary-care givers.

Making Mothers profiles the Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC) in northeast D.C., which serves the area’s primarily African American community and which is likewise staffed by African American health-care professionals. The FHBC provides prenatal, birth, postpartum, gynecological and other pediatric care in a community-friendly environment. It educates women to participate in their own prenatal care so as to reduce the risk of preterm delivery, the leading cause of neonatal deaths or developmental disabilities.

The film focuses on the efforts of Lisa, a midwife, who offers expectant mothers the option of a peaceful and sensitive home-birth experience, and Joan, a breastfeeding peer counselor, who passes on to others her experience as a teenage mother. In interviews, both women explain how and why they got involved in maternal health care and offer their views on the need for greater diversity in the field.

In showing Lisa and Joan at work, in both personal and group counseling sessions, Making Mothers reveals how the passion and sensitivity they bring to their work empowers the women they serve, the community in which they work, as well as themselves.

20 minutes
© 2009
Purchase $195 DVD
Order No. QA-521
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-521-X

Reviews
*** “This engaging snapshot of how one agency serves its community delivers a quiet message about reaching out to women, offering assistance without preachment or judgment. Recommended.” Video Librarian

"...a useful portrait of a worthwhile cog in the healthcare system and of the well-meaning women who try to bring some quality to the birthing and mothering experience for underprivileged members of our privileged society." Anthropology Review Database

Awards & Conference Screenings
2011 Western Psychological Association Conference

Related Films
A Doula Story: Community-based doulas (birth attendants) provide prenatal, childbirth and parenting support, and are a reassuring presence before, during and after birth. This program documents one woman's fierce commitment to empower pregnant teenagers with the skills and knowledge they need to become confident, nurturing mothers.

New Relations: The filmmaker explores the costs and rewards of becoming a full-time father; with his own father, he reflects on changes in fathering styles between the two generations.

Bundle of Blues: The stories in this thoughtful documentary represent a range of experiences from minor postpartum depression through postpartum psychosis. It stresses that PPD can happen to any new mother, but that it can be managed.

Post Partum Depression: It's not just the "baby blues." This video is about the perhaps 2% of new mothers who experience the severe depression, delusions, paranoia and other symptoms of postpartum psychosis.

A Chance to Grow: Follows three families whose babies are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Their stories demonstrate the capacity of ordinary individuals to adapt to crises with extraordinary grace and courage.


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