midwives, legislators, mothers
birth, authority, the politics of change
ROAR is a video meditation on the state of birth, who “owns” or has authority over it and a call for change. The female voice is at the center; ranging from the public to the private, ROAR features several Maine women, including homebirth midwives, legislators and a woman giving birth at home.
Contextual background: In 2008, Maine’s Certified Professional Midwives (CPMS) pursued a bill for voluntary licensure. CPMS are the professionals trained to attend out-of-hospital births and are generally recognized as attending most planned homebirths in Maine. The bill for licensure was defeated; however, a controversial law was enacted that legalized CPMS’ use of a short list of medications at birth.
Culled from interviews with the women about this event, ROAR aims to get at the core of the debate, namely, the politics of birth–in particular, the choice to have a planned homebirth–and the persisting cultural fears and tensions surrounding this domain. Woman and her body, difference between men and women, “turf wars”, birth as the matrix of women’s power & authority and cultural/community support of women (or lack there of) are thematic concerns. At its root, ROAR calls into question the relationship between these touchstones and the very health of our culture and society. Ideas are arranged and collided in a narrative that positions the female voice as a powerful agent of change and transformation.