The face of birth

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal, 2014, Vol 26 No1

Where the Personal gets Political – An Australian documentary about pregnancy, childbirth and the power of choice

This film offers an excellent portrayal of the issues that travel to the very core of discussions about women and giving birth.

There are interviews with a variety of mothers who have given birth in Australia and in the UK, interspersed with childbirth educators, obstetricians, midwives, midwifery lecturers, childbirth activists and indigenous Aboriginal birth attendants among others.

The interviews are woven together in such a way that many of the complexities in the provision of maternity care both within Australia and in the context of the wider world are eloquently portrayed.

Some of the topics covered are:

• The political debate about where to give birth, home or hospital, comparing the current situation in Australia with that of the UK.

• The qualities women need for normal physiological birth.

• How in Australia one in ten babies born to healthy women by caesarean section will be admitted to neonatal intensive care. There are long-term health implications for those children born by caesarean section.

• one in six new mothers in Australia develop mental illness and postpartum depression and suicide is rising.

• A shocking one in ten childbearing women who die in Australia do so by their own hand.

• Traditional Aboriginal midwives Lena & Rosie, they 50 years of practice and have never had a breech delivery. They use massage on the woman’s belly to help straighten the baby’s position ready for labour and birth.

One of the key points made is that a ‘willing woman’ who wants to give birth with minimal intervention is now considered counter culture.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested to hear from a wide variety of people associated with childbirth and to learn more about the political, social and cultural context of birth with a view to raising issues for changing the Australian maternity care system. This film also has wider, more universal points to make about birth in general.

Olivia Lester

Rated PG. Running time 87 mins.

AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all. AIMS does not give medical advice, but instead we focus on helping women to find the information that they need to make informed decisions about what is right for them, and support them to have their decisions respected by their health care providers. The AIMS Helpline volunteers will be happy to provide further information and support. Please email or ring 0300 365 0663.

Latest Content


« »

On message - What can we learn from…

AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 33, No 1 By Sophie Martin We all have continuous internal monologues running day and night 1 . Much of what the voices in our heads say is a refle…

Read more

Getting to grips with the first Ock…

AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 33, No 1 By the AIMS Campaigns Team Donna Ockenden and her team’s first – interim – report was published in December 2020. It starts to lay bare h…

Read more

Editorial: Salutogenesis - Putting…

AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 33, No 1 By Alex Smith The theme for our March edition of the AIMS Journal is Salutogenesis. Salutogenesis is a term introduced by sociologist and…

Read more


« »

AIMS 60th Anniversary Event - Confe…

POSTPONED FROM JUNE 2020 Making a difference past and future The purpose of the day is to celebrate what Birth Activists in general and AIMS in particular have achieved,…

Read more

AIMS Annual General Meeting 2020

This year’s AGM will be an online meeting, so we plan to keep it to two hours. However, there will be the opportunity to stay, chat and socialise with friends and colleag…

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

Report on the But Not Maternity/Nat…

AIMS and our partners in the But Not Maternity Alliance and National Maternity Voices organised a webinar for MVP/MSLC representatives. The purpose was to raise awareness…

Read more

Press release: We have a roadmap fo…

AIMS and our partners in the But Not Maternity Alliance have issued a press release on the nationwide status of maternity restrictions highlighting the huge variation bet…

Read more

AIMS Submission to the Violence Aga…

AIMS has responded to the call for evidence to inform the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy 2021 to 2024 Violence Against Women and Girls (VAW…

Read more