APPPAH's president, Sandra Bardsley, and board member, Barbara Decker, were honored to present as panelists at the Seattle International Film Festival's world premier of the new documentary, IN UTERO, on June 6, 2015. Written and directed by social activist filmmaker, Kathleen Gyllenhaal, IN UTERO was selected to participate in SIFF's documentary competition.
IN UTERO is a cinematic exploration of the sciences supporting birth psychology and humanity's potential for personal and planetary healing. The film features interviews with APPPAH co-founder, Thomas Verny, MD.
"APPPAH was grateful for the opportunity to engage with audiences and answer their insightful questions," said Bardsley. "The film is a fascinating and powerful 90 minute glimpse into the science supporting APPPAH's 35 year-long understanding that 'Womb Ecology Becomes World Ecology.' The Gyllenhaals have crafted a consciousness-raising vehicle that is sure to ignite welcome discussions around the need for birth psychology education and awareness. "
On a groundbreaking and ambitious mission to investigate "How are we formed? Who are we? Why are we who we are?" IN UTERO weaves together disparate and dynamic fields of scientific research, expert interviews, insights from ancient and modern fairy tales - including Disney films, The Matrix and the superhero blockbuster film phenomenon.
The film radically expands current parameters of academic inquiry by presenting multi-disciplinary research that collectively indicts modern mythologies surrounding mothers and babies as directly responsible for the deteriorating state of our world. As the film's experts share, while it was 35 years ago that the initial pioneers of prenatal psychology pronounced babies were conscious beings, it is just now, today, that a curiosity into this science is beginning to be reflected in mainstream media (see a resource list here).
In addition to Thomas Verny, MD, the documentary features interviews with Ludwig Janus, MD a psychoanalysis instructor at the Psychoanalytic Training Institute and past-president of the International Society for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, ISPPM; Gabor Maté, MD, a psychiatrist and bestselling author; Rachel Yehuda, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and the Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and more (see experts here).
"World ecology has to start with womb ecology," says APPPAH co-founder, Thomas Verny, MD, in the film. "We cannot have peace and good people in the world, without raising peaceful, good children. And that has to start at conception, not at birth. It's our responsibility to make a better job of it than we have done in the past. There are too many children who are neglected, who are born and raised unloved. And unless this changes, the world is not going to change."
“Human beings are affected by their environment as soon as they have an environment, and that means as soon as they are implanted in the womb," says Maté. "People are conceiving, carrying and birthing children under increasingly stressful conditions. Stress that affected one generation will be played out in the next generation. When we see dysfunction in people, we’re actually seeing the imprint.” Maté is author of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. His forthcoming book is entitled Toxic Culture.
"When I was in school, we used to discuss 'was it nature versus nurture?' Nobody says that anymore," says Yehuda. "We don't have nature here and nurture there. We have nature and nurture working together to form a new thing."
IN UTERO filmmaker, Kathleen Gyllenhaal, says her new motherhood, pregnancy, and birth research inspired her to create this film, but she knew there would be resistance to its message. "Knowing what your mother went through, what her mother went through, what your father and his experiences were, have an effect on who you are, that does not jive that well with our sense of individuality, that we can make our own fate. So this new understanding can be very scary," says Gyllenhaal.
"However, I feel that once we can really digest that information and accept it, then we would be free to discover who we really are and to forge our own paths. So on a personal level, I find this discovery very exciting, perhaps even liberating. Because if we can really take this science in and then look at ourselves deeply, perhaps we can start to chip away the transmitted patterns and find who we can fully become, our true potential as individuals and communities. That idea is what fueled me to work for years on this film while going through my own pregnancy and birth with my son. This is our way of changing the world."
Gyllenhaal's former cinematic explorations include Beauty Mark, a social documentary on America’s obsession with body image, perfection and success, and Sita, a Girl from Jambu, an ethnographic drama about child sex trafficking in Nepal. She taught at the University of Colorado-Boulder, then Vassar College, where she obtained tenure.
IN UTERO's producers include Stephen Gyllenhaal and Matthew Brady. Gyllenhaal is a film and television director, writer and producer. He currently directs the Peabody Award winning series series Rectify for the Sundance Channel. Brady is an Emmy award-winning producer who founded MRB Productions in 2001. MRB produces content across all media channels and specializes in independent features, television shows, promos and commercials.
Meet the IN UTERO filmmakers and preview an exclusive showing of IN UTERO at APPPAH's upcoming Congress.
Discover the world of birth psychology with APPPAH many educational resources, including professional training, The Conscious Baby and Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. Please support APPPAH's ongoing nonprofit work with your membership here.
Find a full list of IN UTERO's filmmakers here.
Find the full biographies of IN UTERO's experts here.
Find future screenings here.