Women’s First Film Festival August 24th 2020
Shortly after starting my blog in August 2020, I was asked by the Women’s Network, based in a local town, to take part in a film festival aimed at raising the profile of issues which affect women in local areas. Although, sadly, birth trauma affects women globally, I was very keen to become involved, as local women sometimes need to see another local woman shouting about a matter so that they can establish a connection. I used quite a lot of material that I already had, including of course photos from the time when I had my baby. During a draft review, a comment was made, quite rightly, that I didn’t seem to look too traumatised, or poorly, during the photos of me with Sam in the earlier days. The reason for this is two fold. Number one - no-one goes around taking horrific photos of themselves just for posterity, to look back on in future years. You always want a “nice photo”, which doesn’t of course always reflect the reality of how it really was at the time. Which bring me to point number two, which is that I always smile automatically whenever a camera is pointed at me, and as with most women, we can dredge up a smile no matter how broken we are inside, especially when holding a little baby. Those photos actually show perfectly, how much effort we women go to after a traumatic birth, to look “normal”, to have a lovely smile, to get those “perfect pictures” with our baby. It’s easy to brush over how terrible it was if you can look back and just see lovely photos.
I enjoyed making the film, particularly roping in my swimming friends (and Breeze, our resident swimming mascot) for the section where we walk down to the sea for a swim. Needless to say we all felt ridiculous walking self consciously towards Andy who was holding the camera. Not our usual style as we plodge into the sea I can assure you! It was also quite amusing asking my LSH to take videos of me getting my colostomy bag things together in the bathroom (I later realised my bra straps were clearly showing...), me directing him and he, with thinly veiled impatience, took a few videos. How a cat didn’t manage to feature I’ll never know.