‘Birth Days’: a documentary film
Danae Stylianou's film focuses on the power of birth, how it inspires women worldwide and emphasises the role of the midwife
A woman appears on screen; she cries deeply. A friendly hand appears on screen, caresses the naked back of the woman, then her face. A midwife tries to comfort a woman in labour. The pregnant woman and the midwife are on the floor, exercising to help dilation. This is the moment she has been waiting for. The protagonist, Ioli, has gone through a traumatic first birth via caesarean section (c-section); one that she considered medically unjustified and forced upon. This time around she has decided to go for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).
The documentary, by Danae Stylianou, follows the story of a mother who sets out to pursue a natural birth after c-section, and records her journey to reclaim her body and regain trust in the maternity care system. In Cyprus, c-section account for four times (Health Monitoring Unit, 2018) the recommended World Health Organization ([WHO], 1985) rate, often leaving women with little to no choice for natural labour. Right to privacy, respect for the body and the spontaneous initiation of labour, the option to request or refuse medical intervention and analgesia; all these rights still need to be fought for.
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