Giving Birth

An examination of American birthing traditions focusing on four couples and four different types of childbirth: a standard hospital delivery with high technology and anesthesia, a Leboyer “birth without violence,” a Caesarean section, and a midwife-assisted natural childbirth using the Lamaze method. The first collaboration of husband and wife documentary team Julie Gustafson and John Reilly, GIVING BIRTH illustrates the joys and pains of childbirth in intimate, video vérité portraits. Through interviews with Frederick Leboyer, Elizabeth Bing and Margaret Mead, GIVING BIRTH contextualizes emerging ideas and techniques for birthing. As Mead says, “There are cases when childbirth is surgery, but there is no reason we should take a life process and treat it always like a disease.” One of the first video documentaries produced by WNET’s pioneering TV Laboratory, GIVING BIRTH aired nationally on public television in 1976 to critical acclaim. The Scripps Howard News Service said, “Splendid… absolutely candid…The medical, physical and spiritual points of view explored.” According to John Cashman of Newsday, “Men should see it…Women should see it…Explicit and absolutely real.” Originally shot in ¾” Color and B & W video. Continue reading