We woke up and, in true girls-dorm fashion, started talking talking talking! the other women started coming into our room with their sweet babies and we all chitty chitty chatted until we realized 2 things-- it was time to go watch the movie, and we were hungry!!!! We went downstairs and had lots of cereal, and Rixa's awesome bread. She must have made 6 loaves, we kept chowing it all weekend! this is the recipe and I am planning on trying it this weekend. We had it with butter, we had it with jam, we had it with peanut butter, and we made it into sandwiches. Insanely good. Then we all gathered around the TV and sat down to our private pre-screening of the very film which in a way, brought us all here. It was a good thing that I watched it there, first because I was really really choked up almost as soon as it started, and there was more than one part where I was crying quite hard. The subject matter, the reality, the imagery, and just--a really well made film can do that, especially with the use of music and juxtaposition of viewpoints, I was glad I didn't have any makeup on yet.
We laughed, we yelled at the screen, we got to do and say stuff we wouldn't and didn't do at a public screening. "What an ASSSSShole!" "Nice attitude, freak!" "Oooh I love this!" "This part kind of sucks." "What did he just say???" "Oh my God, that's me! That's totally me!" "I was her. I was totally her."
It was nice to be around other people who are "vocal" during movies. I am like this when I watch stuff with my husband but I never know if others hate that. We laughed and talked and commented up a storm, and, when it was over, felt nice and ready to go present this to what we hoped would be a crowd! Time to go get dressed and help Rixa with handouts and flyers and time for Kelley to iron the baby slings that were going to be offered as an incentive as part of a higher "ticket price/donation", time to put all the birth books she owned into bags, and time to eat some yummy maple-beans for lunch, and time to get ourselves over to the college to set up for the movie!
I brought some crayons, coloring books, sticker books, and Woodkins dressup doll-toy for the children in the audience of what we assumed would be made up of Moms and their little ones.
We got over to the college, and set up the toys in the back row of the auditorium. Rixa set up the table with a nice tablecloth and her books and slings, and we had a ticket table with tickets and some homebirth information as well as some statistics about the Mother-Friendly birth initiative and a few other things. And then, they came---Moms with babies in slings and pouches, women with their friends, women with their own mothers, very young women, and a few young guys. The tickets were going and going, and the pile of cash and checks was growing. Too cool. As I told each person who brought a young child about the toys and crayons, they looked SO grateful and relieved, and it made me sad for how marginalized and ostracized mothers with young children truly are in America, and how the smallest niceties have made me feel like crying tears of relief when I have been out with my own little ones. Restaurants that brought little crackers for the baby right away... gentlemen who have pushed out my grocery cart when I was holding a screaming baby in one arm, and a toddler's hand with my other one...clean changing tables that were actually fastened securely to the wall instead of loose and flabby and filthy...rocking chairs in museums...it helps alot to feel like you are welcome and wanted and supported in your noble and normal endeavor of living with children and not keeping them in "centers" from dawn til dusk---despite all the inconveniences of making your way in a world made for the single adult traveler.
Once everyone was seated, Rixa stepped forward and gave an introduction to the film, and then we were rolling again. the beginning is almost the best part, with perfect use of an intense Radiohead song, I got chills again, but did not cry. Yet. I sat next to Kelley, and we whispered throughout the movie. Even though we just saw it barely 4 hours earlier, it was SO different on the big screen, in the dark auditorium, and just thinking about what all the audience was thinking overwhelmed me with a grave and urgent sense of activism, importance, meaning, progress, revolution. I wish I had better words for what this was like, showing this to these people, looking at them gasping, laughing, nodding their heads, clapping their hands over their mouths, wiping away tears, letting tears pour all over their faces and not wiping away any of them. Listening. Captive. Alert. Together. I felt like this had to be my new life, being a birth activist, maybe traveling the country, maybe not, but I know this was only the first time, and I was very excited for the March 2008 release onto DVD when I would have my own viewing party at my house, and plans to invite more than just our inner circle of friends started brewing around in my mind.
Kelley and I cried tears of victory and joy when the beautiful homebirths came to fruition, and laughed alot during the funny parts. We nibbled on the secret Twizzlers that I brought in from my road trip, which made it feel more like a movie theater, for sure.
The absolute BEST part of the film viewing was this one part where (sorry for the spoiler) Marsden Wagner, who has been very proper and serious and professional and authorittavive and informative throughout the film, breaks "character" so to speak, and says that what birthing women need to do is to ultimately just "Get the HELL out of the hospital"-- AND THE AUDIENCE STARTED CLAPPING AND CHEERING!!!!
Oh, you just can't get that at home, and it was just so, so awesome. I was crying again, hugest grin possible cracking my face in two, chills upon my chills. Clapping and laughing and cheering. It was just the ultimate. I was so happy.
The movie ends in a sort of frustrating way, and again, I don't want to create a spoiler here, but I had a better feel for why they ended it this way once I saw it twice. The audience applauded again at the end, and then Rixa came back up to the front of the room and invited us houseguests to join her. Nervous!!!!