Toni Harman is a filmmaker turned birth warrior. Read about the One World Birth below:
ONE WORLD BIRTH was born as a film project by British couple, Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford.
Our journey began the day our daughter was born. We had so many questions as to why things had become so complicated. But most of all, we questioned ourselves: how and why did we relinquish all control of the birth? Or had it been taken from us?
We decided to take our questions to the very top. Over the last two and a half years we have travelled thousands of miles to find answers from the world’s foremost childbirth experts. We visited and filmed interviews with obstetricians, perinatologists, midwives, doulas, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and academics engaged in the very latest, cutting edge research.
As our journey took us across Europe and North America, we discovered that the problems with birth today were myriad and there was no such thing as a simple answer.
It also became clear that there was going to be no such thing as a single film that would accurately portray the picture of birth in the modern world.
Freedom for Birth
But when we met a young mother and her imprisoned midwife in Hungary in May, we suddenly realised what was really at the heart of the issue. And we realised what our film should be about.
On one hand the story of Anna Ternovszky and Ágnes Geréb perfectly illustrates what is wrong with birth today. But it also offers hope and inspiration to all women around the world. It reveals a glimpse of a possible future where women everywhere will be free to decide how and where they give birth.
Within weeks of meeting these two remarkable women we found ourselves at The Hague where international lawyers were engaging in conversation with birth professionals to establish the level of Human Rights abuse that occurs during childbirth all around the world.
Here was a completely new way of discussing childbirth issues. This wasn’t about the best way to give birth, the best place or the best professional to have at one’s side. This was much more fundamental than that. This was about the basic Human Right to retain control over one’s body; a right that is astonishingly often neglected.
We hurried to get an edit of the film completed so that we could get it out as soon as possible. Because every day the message wasn’t out there was another day mothers were being abused.
We appealed to members of our Facebook and Twitter communities to hold screenings of the film so that its important message could be spread as wide and fast as possible.
They responded in their hundreds and on September 20th 2012 there were over 1000 screenings in 50 countries in 17 different languages. The response was phenomenal and a movement for change had definitely been born.
Freedom for Birth is just the first of 7 films we shall be releasing. Each film will be about a core global issue in childbirth. We have filmed over 150 hours of interviews and we reckon we are only half way through what will probably be an epic task!
The other side of One World Birth is The Revolution. We have spent months trying to figure out what we can do to help change the world. Our ideas became ever more complicated and we struggled with how on earth to implement them. Until now…
The answer suddenly seems so obvious. We are doing all this online, so surely we should use the Internet for what it is so good at.
Pretty much no matter where you are in the world, we can all connect together online. So why not bring everyone together as part of One World Birth?
The plan is so simple and so easy to implement we thought, why not give it a go? What can we lose? You never know, it might just work!
The online community is aware of mailing lists, subscriptions to online newsletters, Facebook “likes” and Twitter feeds. These are all the standard way of building customer databases for businesses. But what if we turned such a list into a power base that could be directed as and where it is needed most? Whether that be for protest or support. If we could get ONE MILLION like-minded people together in one place wouldn’t that be powerful?
This One World Birth community could be mobilized to sign online petitions, join campaigns and offer support and encouragement where it is sorely needed.
The power and validity of petitions is often questioned, but if a million signatures can be instantly collected on a campaign wouldn’t that at least prove that it was something worth listening to? That’s how we want to start, by having our voices heard around the world. A million voices calling out for change.
So, now, One World Birth is no longer about just two filmmakers. It is more than a blog, a web site or a film. It is about a community of passionate people coming together to make change happen. It is about thousands of individual voices creating one huge shout for birth that will echo throughout the world.
We hope you will join us. We hope that you will become part of ONE WORLD BIRTH.