Once long, long ago in a far away land, a beautiful young woman stood at the water’s edge. With arms outstretched, she prayed: ‘May I speak my soul’s desire.” A soft silence descended from the heavens, even the sea stilled. Then, reverently, she spoke these words, “May all babies be born into loving hands.” In that moment, a midwife was born.
The time was 1988. The place was Santa Monica, California. The woman was me.
Since then, these words have guided my life:
May all babies be born into loving hands
Truly, this is my soul’s desire. This is my deepest work. It is my raison d’être.
These words guided me in midwifery school, hospital work and starting my own practice. They brought me to study, practice and now teach Craniosacral therapy. They are why I sit on the board of directors for NYSALM, working to support midwives across this state. They are with me while driving to peer reviews, midwifery meetings and speaking engagements. These words ring in my head when I donate money, when I cook dinners for Troy’s street community, when I go to church and when I pray.
These words have been my tag line for decades, first adorning emails, stationary and then blog posts. They are engraved on the silver spoons that I give to ‘my’ babies, starting in 2002. These words decorate mugs, water bottles and tee shirts on my Cafe Press store. And now, they are the title of a film-to-be ‘Into Loving Hands’.
In the autumn of 2013, Victoria Kereszi asked to make a small film about me and my midwifery practice. Victoria had birthed a baby almost a year prior, receiving care with me. Like many moms, after being utterly consumed with mothering an infant, she needed to reclaim herself, she needed have her own work. Victoria is a filmmaker. After that first intense year of parenting, she needed to make a film.
The original idea was to make a short film that could be used on my website, maybe three to five minutes long. Victoria wanted the film to follow a client through pregnancy, first trimester, second, third, then birth and postpartum. Snippets of that client’s pregnancy journey would be spliced into the short film about me and my midwifery practice. I suggested we use my friend and client Rebecca -she was newly pregnant, had previously birthed at home with me, had a charming toddler, a supportive husband and, well, Rebecca is gorgeous!
Only a month into beginning the film, this project took on a life of its own. The perfect baby inside Rebecca’s womb was discovered to have multiple anomalies. We were told dire diagnoses, and that the fetus had ‘inoperable heart defects’, and was ‘incompatible with life’. At this same time, we discovered that this baby was a boy and his name was Joseph, aka Baby Joey. The simple, short, 3 minute film idea was gone; a whole new project was born.
A soon as the diagnoses poured in, I told Rebecca that filming could stop. Rebecca vehemently stated that of course the filming would go on, it was important that this story be told, that women and families all over needed to have this film as a resource, that the project would continue. Then she got quiet, “If Vicky needs to stop filming, I understand.” Rebecca knew that making a film of this story would be taxing on Victoria. And it has been. But even as emotionally, physically and financially difficult as this project has been, Victoria has never stopped.
This project is bigger and more important than we can support alone. To tell this story the way to deserves to be told, we need help. We need financial and logistical help.
Today, Valentine’s Day 2014 is the kick off date for the film’s fundraising campaign.
Today, we launch our Indiegogo campaign. Our goal, to raise $12,500 for finishing funds.
Today, you can visit the Into Loving Hands movie website. You can watch the Into Loving Hands trailer on the website or on Vimeo. You can Tweet us. You can Like us on Facebook. You can follow Rebecca’s blog. And, as of today, you can support the telling of this story by donating to the Into Loving Hands Indiegogo campaign.
At some point, the film, first nicknamed ‘Michelle’s Movie’ and then ‘Baby Joey’s Movie’ found its true name: ‘Into Loving Hands’.
Those simple words, uttered so long ago, by me, on a beach in Southern California, are moving out into the world with a life of their own.
May all babies be born into loving hands