An Interview With IN UTERO Filmmaker, Kathleen Gyllenhaal, Includes Podcast And Transcript

AUTHORS:

Lisa Reagan talks with Kathleen Gyllenhaal about her documentary, IN UTERO, which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival June 4-6, 2015 and has won multiple international film festival awards since then, including the recent San Diego Film Festival’s Breakthrough Documentary Award. IN UTERO will begin streaming on demand on October 11.

IN UTERO is a cinematic rumination on what will emerge as the most provocative subject of the 21st Century – life in the womb and its lasting impact on human development, human behavior, and the state of the world. Epigenetics, Alice In Wonderland, The Matrix – scientists, psychologists and doctors converge to prove that we are not what we think we are. IN UTERO brings together for the first time convincing data that explains why some of us face challenges from the start while others thrive. Prepare to be surprised, intrigued, but no longer baffled by what the future holds for yourself, your loved ones, and the human race.

Kathleen Gyllenhaal’s previous films include Sita, A Girl from Jambu, about child sex trafficking and Beauty Mark, an examination of America’s obsession with body image. She has also directed dramatic shorts, including the award-winning Lychee Thieves, and co-produced the feature Grassroots.

Read the press release here. Visit the In Utero blog on the Huffington Post. Visit IN UTERO’s website for information on upcoming film festivals and future public screenings.

In Utero Filmmaker, Kathleen Gyllenhaal, Interview Transcript

LISA REAGAN: Welcome to Kindred’s Fireside Chats. This is Lisa Reagan and today I am with the filmmaker of the forthcoming documentary, In Utero, Kathleen Gyllenhaal. As a documentary filmmaker, Kathleen’s previous films included Sita: A Girl from Jambu, about child sex trafficking and beauty mark and examination of America’s obsession with the body image. She has also directed dramatic shorts, including the award winning Lychee Thieves and coproduced the feature Grassroots. So, welcome, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Hi, thanks for having me at the fireside chat.

LISA REAGAN: I look forward to talking with you – and I just want to say right away that you were able to create this film in the same year that you became a new mother.  Wow, my hat is off to you!

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yes. Well, actually it took over two years to make the film and we have just finished the film as of a week ago. It was preconception through pregnancy through birth and beyond that it coincided with the film. So it’s sort of been all along the way with my son, which is interesting.

LISA REAGAN: And that is my first question, what inspired you to create IN UTERO?

Kathleen Gyllenhaal
Kathleen Gyllenhaal

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: It’s a lot of things. A lot of things came together for me. My husband and I were wanting to have a baby and for me, it was the first experience of getting pregnant and having a child, not for my husband, he has two grown children.

I think I approach everything with an eye for research and learning as much as I can before I do something, so I was doing a lot of reading and I wanted to learn what was out there about pregnancy and childbirth. And of course there are, as you know, so many different books and schools of thought out there and I was gravitating more and more towards more holistic views towards childbirth, pregnancy, and parenting. I remember one of the things I read early on was Thomas Verny’s book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, and some Ina May Gaskin’s books, and then a book called Origins.

There’s a scientific backing to a lot of the birth psychology I was reading and that excited me because I wouldn’t call myself cynical, but I like to be grounded. I am more of a realist. I just felt more comfortable with what I was reading about psychology; there was a scientific foundation for those theories.

LISA REAGAN: In the opening of the film, you bring the viewer in to this in utero world, into your vision and how you want to present birth psychology and it is a little haunting and a little disturbing because we are right there in the womb in this intrauterine environment right away and we hear sirens and we hear lullabies coming through the underwater world of the fetus.  The opening was a little bit of a jolt. I realized, “She is taking us right into the mythology that we are here to bust.”

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Well, I guess, it’s so interesting, because with only about a 90 minute documentary, that’s not a lot of time to attack such a huge question about “How are we formed? Who are we? Why are we who we are?” The running theme in a lot of the conversations and interviews were environment, environment, environment. Our first environment that we experience as human beings is our mother’s womb. I wanted to start there and in fact, that’s how I begin the film, too.

I know it walks into some scary territory to place your audience in the womb – so to speak – with the fetus and I think at least in this country, there is a very divided cultural perception of what the world of the fetus is and what the life of the fetus is. But what I was trying to do by at least evoking that sights and sounds of that experience was how the external world is influencing that fetus, that growing individual. That was really the point of that opening sound scape, which has that somewhat womb-like, muted sound of being underwater, but then you could hear the outer world coming in and that to me was expressing how right from the start, we are being influenced, and some would even say shaped, by the external forces.

LISA REAGAN: This scientific understanding – that babies are conscious and neurobiologically shaped in the womb – is called birth psychology and it’s an emerging and multifaceted science that covers many fields. So how did you find these presenters in this film? They are mostly unrelated to each other.  How do their very different narratives complement one another and complete your vision for the film?

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I’ll start by saying that some of them do, within their fields, know each other, but I found that the fields were isolated from each other. So you would have researchers and stress studies who are very aware of each other’s work, but then you would have people working in psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis that did not. It felt to me like they were working in isolation almost and then you have people in the health, healthcare/medical fields, that again, were in their own sector.

So I thought it was fascinating to meet all of these people, but even more fascinating to see how often their conclusions resonated with one another’s. So that was a surprise to me. I thought I was taking some risks in applying this approach to talk to so many different people, but I had a hunch from what I had been researching that this might find some common ground and it really did very quickly.

LISA REAGAN: When we had talked earlier today, you had said that finding all of the different voices in the film did take some digging.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I will say too, once I did reach one person that blossomed into more connections to people that knew or that they had heard of, so it became easier. But it was always kind of within their field that would happen. So, for example, I got to Thomas Verny through Gabor Mate. And how I got to Gabor was through watching his TEDTalk online and thinking, wow, that was amazing, and just emailing him. So there were so many interesting ways that I found people and I kind of felt that whenever that happened, not that it was meant to be, but there was a reason for it. That was, everyone who responded was very passionate and really wanted to get the word out to a wider audience about their research.


LISA REAGAN: They are very passionate and a number of them would point to ways that we process our birth. The opening of the film – the other reason that it’s so powerful – is because this is one place we’ve all been. This is the doorway we all came through into this realm and how are we able to process what happened to us there and during the birth and afterwards does take place, even if it is subconsciously.

A number of your presenters say we traditionally use fairy tales to help us process our birth experiences and today we find those same fairy tales in film. I love the scene that shows children sitting in their 3D glasses, eating popcorn in the movie theater and watching Disney films. And this part of IN UTERO I just loved, where we listen to Dr. Janus talk about Alice falling down the rabbit hole or The Little Mermaid in her underwater world battling the controlling mother/sea witch, for example. And you introduce lots of great clips from The Matrix for comparison as well. So can you speak to that? That must have been fun to make, by the way, that part of the film.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: It was fun. It was also very challenging and I still am a little curious as to how people will take it. We did screen earlier cuts of the film to a few audiences and it was always a mixed bag, a mixed kind of response to the different parts of the film and when it came to the movie clips, some people are like, oh I loved the Alice in Wonderland, but too much Matrix. Or I love The Matrix, but did not kind of get the reference to The Little Mermaid.

So you could never reach everybody, but it has been consistently clear though to me that especially because the nine years I spent teaching film production and film studies at University of Colorado and at Vassar how much film does reflect the zeitgeist or even deeper, a national consciousness or even deeper than that, a mass unconscious.

I think that’s sort of the unspoken glue that ties together film studies and critical studies as a discipline because so much writing and film studies have to do with the assumption that… Let’s say popular cinema, if you count the dollars and follow the money, people are paying to see the films that speak to them. So if you look at blockbusters, and we have a little segment in the movie about superhero movies, which are of course the biggest money makers in Hollywood. They cost the most to make and they make the most money.

Why are the powers that be willing to put $250,000,000 investment into a film? Well, because they know that the public will respond. So we look at those superhero films like superman and had several psychoanalysts speak to that film. They had thought about it for a while, what is this super hero character that has the power to do anything? Has infinite strength, or whatever, and this is what some of the people in my film describe as the feeling of omnipotence – that when we are vulnerable and young and very young, maybe even a fetus, there might be this omnipotent wish to overcome the trauma both maybe the mother might experiencing or you yourself.

The experts in my film explain this a lot better and within context with the movie clips, but it is back to this idea that the popular culture is popular for a reason – because maybe it is reflecting what we are preoccupied with at some level, our earliest experiences.

LISA REAGAN: The film does take time to go through a lot of history, both evolutionary history, cultural history, the last century’s history of both babies and the wars that humanity has continued to go through and there is an underlying message there that there is an intergenerational transmission of trauma, or disrupted neurobiology.

This is a real phrase, by the way, from the studies that the CDC did called the Adverse Childhood Events or ACE report. This intergenerational trauma is what is passed down unconsciously. We come into the world with so much already that has been gifted to us in some way, one way or the other and we don’t realize, as you said when we first started talking, how our nervous system has been set up. That we are actually connected very clearly to our past, our mother’s past, and history of humanity. We’re not going to be able to necessarily escape that. Can you speak to that a little bit? That was an epic arc throughout the whole film to try capture. It was tremendous, but you did it.

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READ THIS BOOK NOW

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Well, thank you. We labored for a long time over the epidemiological and epigenetic sections and the brain and neurobiology sections because there is so much on the cutting room floor and so much detail about the research that I felt might have gotten us a little, not off track, but a little too far down the scientific jargon hole. Anyway, wanting to keep it mainstream and wanting to get the ideas across without getting bogged down in jargon was the aim and I’m glad to hear that added up.

Once you have those pieces in place, the epigenetics of it all, and the Barker Hypothesis, and then the breakthroughs in neuro-imaging which shows the development of the fetal brain, then we can talk about at least the foundation to get into the transgenerational studies. It’s interesting what you just read about that definition of the intergenerational trauma being a disruption.

LISA REAGAN: The phrase is an intergenerational transmission of a disrupted neurobiology.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Ah, and would that mean by translation that disrupted neurobiology would be maybe trauma?

LISA REAGAN: Yes, it would be the trauma. The listeners can go to kindredmedia.org and we have a feature about the study on there. There’s also a quiz you can take to find out what your score is.  This study or report was done by the CDC with 17,000 individuals. The ACE report shows scores correlate to how sickly adults are later in life and more prone to violence, injury, and early death, for a number of reasons.

It’s the practical application of birth psychology that, as you say throughout the film and your presenters do, that we’re recognizing the possibilities of accepting the science that shows us that this is true. That birth psychology and the intergenerational transmission are real and have real impact.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I think it’s hard for the average person to accept that. For the longest time, even I grew up learning about our DNA and that’s our code and that we’re born sort of this rather clean slate, but with these genetic codes that sort of add up to our physical attributes. That was basically what I was taught. I’m 40 years old, so maybe 30 or 20 some odd years ago.

And then, boom, we have Rachel Yehuda in our film, who is director of stress studies in Mount Sinai, who says that it is no longer nature versus nurture. It is both that makes us who we are. I think people who hear that generally will be like, oh yeah, sure, of course, but then when you really pick it apart, it’s daunting. You know, it’s saying that 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 it can be very scary.

However, I feel that once we can really digest that information and accept it, then we actually would be free to discover who we really are and to forge our own paths. On a personal level, I find that very exciting and challenging yes, but exciting and perhaps even liberating. If we can really, take it in and then look at ourselves deeply and see what’s there and see what those experiences were in the past for our mothers and grandmothers and then start to chip away at finding who we are and who we can be.

I think that’s what fueled me in terms of working for years on this film while going through my own pregnancy and birth with my son Luke. You know, I just had this thought recently, of, like, oh, we do live on forever, and that’s because we have children and they have children. So this is our way of having a legacy. This is our way of changing the world, really, is by making sure that our children are born into a world where they can make a difference and by ensuring that, we really need to be aware of what is going on in utero and during and after birth and what happened with our own births as well.

But this film really has opened my eyes, the process of making the film, to the womb ecology and how it relates to world ecology.

IN UTERO Official Trailer (2015) from Kathleen Gyllenhaal on Vimeo.

LISA REAGAN: Yes, the phrase that Thomas Verny puts out there is womb ecology becomes world ecology and that is such a leap for most people to make in their minds. I told you earlier in the day that Kindred’s slogan back in the day was “sustainability begins with conception” and I remember when the magazine came to the United States and I looked at that and I thought, “I don’t think Americans are ready for that.”

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, yeah.

LISA REAGAN: I thought, it’s so daunting, how are we going to do that? How are we going to think that far ahead and in advance and plan when we are such a distracted and speeded up culture and stressed out culture? This sounds like it requires some planning in advance.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Right, right.

LISA REAGAN: That’s not where we culturally are right now especially regarding parenthood.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Right. I think that’s why I felt it was really important to bring in a lot of psychology, because it’s not just about birth trauma or stress studies or epigenetics. All of those are fascinating and key concepts, but the psychology really provided the glue for the movie because, like you just said, well, why are we stressed in the first place?

Okay, we can do all of these stress studies, trauma studies, well, why is there trauma? Why are there wars? And I think that the psychological piece begins to and has always tried to address that – of what is happening on an unconscious level. And so I think it is going to be hard for audiences to watch this film because they’re going to walk out going, okay, now what do I do? Okay, so there’s so much trauma and stress and I’m stressed and I’m sort of caught up in this or that in my life and I have these relationships that maybe I’m struggling with, maybe I’m parent, or I’m pregnant.

What if there’s a viewer who is pregnant? What are the answers? What are the tools then to ensure that your child has a calm, trouble-free entry into the world? Well, I don’t have all of those answers as the filmmaker, but I do know that a lot of the psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts would say that ideally in their minds, everyone would be in therapy for most of their lives in order to strip away these patterns of behavior and the trauma that is causing stress and anxiety and that gets passed down of course to the baby. So we need to strip away that anxiety and stress by examining ourselves very closely and self knowledge being sort of the key in their concept to freeing the psyche.

So it’s not an easy sell. And I realize that all along the way. I think that not making a blockbuster or popular piece, but I thought it was a necessary piece that has to go out there.

LISA REAGAN: It is a necessary piece. I think that what you’ve done here is present the science in a format that it has not had. It has not been championed in this way before even though the science of birth psychology has been around for 30 years and to have it presented in this way and in some very human ways.

For example, Gabor Maté shares his personal story in the film of being born in Hungary during World War II and that segment of the film is called “all of the Jewish were crying.” Do you just want to tell a little bit about that? Because it was so humanizing.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I love that segment and it required no editing at all. It was just Gabor telling a story. He was conceived in Budapest right around the time that the Nazi’s occupied Hungary and so when he was an infant, his mother called the pediatrician and said, “Gabor won’t stop crying.” The pediatrician said, “Well, I can see him, but I have to tell you that all of the Jewish babies are crying.”

And it gives you chills to think what he and the other Jewish babies were crying about was the anxiety that they had felt in utero and after being born, of their mothers, of their mothers’ anxiety. The anxiety that grips the country and the populous and the Jewish community. So you have it right there, captured in this story, and he goes on to say that as an adult years and years later, he discovered that he had ADD. So he not only recognizes what happened to his mother and then thus to him, but then how it effloresced into this disorder that he struggles with.

LISA REAGAN: On the flip side, it also inspired him to become this incredible healer.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Absolutely.

LISA REAGAN: He has been able to go into the underbelly of addiction and write incredibly beautiful and healing books from his experiences.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: And I’ll make a little plug, he just told me he is writing a new book called Toxic Culture.

LISA REAGAN: Oh gosh.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I can’t wait to read it.

LISA REAGAN: Well, speaking of, I would like to just go back for a moment of what can possibly come from the assemblage of all of the presenters and the science in this film is hopefully some sort of individual shifting that results in a collective and cultural shift towards supporting mothers – because we don’t have that right now.

In Western culture, especially in the United States, we don’t even have a model for it, so we don’t even know what to ask for as parents. We don’t know what we’re missing. We think that it’s normal for mothers to just be stressed out during their pregnancy because they’re going to have to go right back to work as soon as they have the baby in order to pay for their existence. And the idea of doing the level of bonding that a baby needs in the fourth trimester, the nine months after birth, well, I can see where you could not even entertain that because it would be too painful for the mother.  There are hundreds of blogs written about this. In other countries, including just north of us in Canada, parents get six months paid leave to do just this, bond with their babies.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: And in Sweden it’s a year, right?

LISA REAGAN: Oh yeah, other places it is a year paid leave…

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Paternity leave as well.

Paid Family Leave GraphicLISA REAGAN: Yes, yes family leave. There is a family leave act that has been advocated for in the United States forever, and you can read about this at Kindred. The United States is at the bottom of all maternal and infant wellness indicators of all industrialized nations and we are also at the bottom for any paid family leave. I think there is a correlation there. I think your film, again, is highlighting this science that even though it is existing in different fields, it is coming together. You are bringing it together in this film and I would hope that the shifting that would happen would be a shift towards supporting mothers, babies, and families and this necessary bonding time.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I know. That is the ultimate goal because what that shift requires is nothing less than a paradigm shift, a way of thinking that is so different from the current ethos. It would require shifting all of our resources from aggressive spending on wars and shifting it back to society and social issues, and this one in particular would be at the top for me because it is actually shifting. It is kind of upending everything so that all of that funding would actually go towards preventing crime, preventing wars, preventing poverty, which of course starts with how we bring our children into the world.

So if that idea can get across, that everything we want the world to be, all of the aspirations we have for the potential of the human race, potential for the world, starts with our children. It starts with preconception really. So, yeah, really, that’s the hope.

So what realistically do I think would come out of that person walking out of the movie theater is different because it has to start somewhere. It has to start small and I guess what I am asking and hoping viewers to do is to just think upon leaving the theater, is to just think about their own lives. Think about going home and maybe asking your mother, what were you going through when I was in utero? What was your mom going through when you were in utero? Maybe that will open up a conversation about things just in our families that may have been lying dormant that weren’t being talked about.

I think that this has a lot to do with how we approach each other on a daily basis, how we approach our family members, our relationships with our neighbors. If that starts to open up, then maybe the rest can start to open. But we live in a culture where a lot of things are closed down. We are told when you go through something traumatic, you don’t talk about it. You just sweep it under the rug and push forward and suck it up and be tough. At least, that’s what I remember from the 80s.

LISA REAGAN: Oh no, it’s still there.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LISA REAGAN: We have seen our culture incrementally shift towards self reflection, self regulation, self awareness. I mean, certainly meditation and mindfulness. I remember you were telling me earlier about the prenatal yoga classes that you were involved in and how they helped to prepare you so there is a shift happening. (Read about applied birth psychology practices from baby whisperer Ray Castellino in a Kindred Fireside Chat interview here. Watch Kindred’s playlist of New Story Video Series on birth psychology here.)

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah.

LISA REAGAN: Not on a grand scale. I am too cynical to think that a shift like that is going to be welcomed with open arms by corporations and public policy makers, but I do believe that parents and professionals in this field could become empowered enough to start demanding things like family leave. Basic, basic, things.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Right.

LISA REAGAN: I am really glad that piece is in the film because it has been my experience that we really just don’t even know what to ask for and how to identify what it is when we feel like something is wrong or missing, but we can’t quite put our finger on it because we haven’t seen real support. We don’t even really know what that is or what that looks like. I don’t just mean family leave, but also the supportive community around us.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah. There’s a part in the film where we talk about stress and how we used to be members of a tribe. We used to have a built-in system where the new parents, for example, could rely on members of the community to support both herself and her husband or partner and the child so that there was always someone that could step in and look after and babysit or what not and also a transmission of, there’s that word again, of knowledge, of wisdom.

We have to keep reminders of that it’s not only bad things that are transmitted, but very good things. I feel like at least in the United States, the culture is that family is very isolated. The family unit, the nuclear family, is disconnected, and then the individual is disconnected. There is even a part in the film where we talk about, Thomas Verny talks about cell phones and video games and the internet and actually he is talking about it in terms of a way to distract yourself from introspection and then it also ties into some of the addictions that Gabor Maté talks about. Why we’re addicted to things which is a way of trying to fill the emptiness that is a scar left from very early experiences. But I think we are also drawn to those community type forums because of the same reason. We are hungering for that sense of community that we weren’t raised with. So we want that tribe back.

LISA REAGAN: We do. So I know we need to wrap up, but I do have one fun question that I just wanted to leave our listeners with because I found in the film that this summarized all of the obstacles in one very visual image and that is Mr. Smith and The Matrix.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Oh yeah. I have to say, I am so glad that you like that because I too feel like whenever I watch that segment and I have had to watch it a million times, I just, it brings a smile to my face. But you’re talking about Mr. Smith’s character in The Matrix is that sort of agent character that comes up whenever Neo and his comrades are trying to dismantle the matrix and these agents can take any shape and inhabit any part of the matrix and they do that and go to battle with them.

In the movie, there is a clinical psychology, Dr. Loren Weiner, that examines how the matrix is a metaphor for analysis and this battle that wages in one’s analysis and that is that the agent is part of the baby’s psyche that had to split off from the rest of the baby’s psyche and in order to maintain and survive the trauma of birth and pre-birth and so because that part of the psyche was formed to protect what was going on. Now, as an adult, whenever that adult entertains changing something about himself or herself, that little frightened baby part will come out and try to shut it all down and say, no no no no, this behavior or that behavior that we formed early early on was meant to save you.

LISA REAGAN: I know. I just love it. I love it, because exactly what you said, there is this description of the necessary role that he is the security guard to make sure that the matrix stays intact and I think that it’s actually empowering to understand that Mr. Smith character is within us and we can access that and that may just be where the real obstacle lies anyway, is within our own psyche. And if we can somehow embrace and recognize, oh, there you are, and you’re this infant and you’re preverbal and you have no idea what’s going on.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Right, right.

LISA REAGAN: And the movie clip that you show from The Matrix, it’s funny because it coincides just as she is giving this description that shows Mr. Smith makes this enraged baby face and he’s just blowing up. He’s so mad that he has finally been had.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah.

LISA REAGAN: And he looks like an infant having a fit.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LISA REAGAN: He is just blowing up with rage that his power has been taken away from him. Well, I found that piece of it reassuring. If Mr. Smith is our obstacle – the frightened baby within – then The Matrix movies have already shown us his weakness and where he’s headed.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Well, I think, yeah, because personally whenever I have tried to make a change in my life, it is just excruciatingly painful. You know, when you try to make a fundamental or substantive shift in your life and maybe your beliefs, then it is a lot easier to just stay the same. I think you’re right that’s the piece in the way that has a broader significance for when you talk about social change and cultural change and policy change. We have to go up against that angry internal saboteur as one of my expertise’s, because changing the status quo means entering into a very new and thus potentially scary territory because it’s not familiar.

That’s what we need to overcome if we’re going to make the world a better place for our children. So yeah, that Matrix piece turned out to capture that in such a cinematic way, which is what I was looking for in making this film, anyway possible to make this more cinematic and less of a dry scientific look at all of these issues.  The Matrix brought it into a vibrant action scene.

LISA REAGAN: I love it. I thought it was just perfect and provided me with an ability to say, well, there you are, to my own internal saboteur. There you are, throwing your little fit there. So I really do appreciate it.

The film is beautiful and I want to encourage everyone to just stay with it, because you do go deep quickly and it is a marvelous ride once we get into the imagery that you’re bringing forward to help us to process this information on many levels, which is also the beauty of taking in a message through cinematography. We are able to grasp things in certain ways that we couldn’t, even if somebody said the phrase over and over and over to us again. I think that this film does a beautiful job of conveying this message that has been around for 30 years and maybe it will finally actually stick and get out there.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: I hope so.

LISA REAGAN: So can you just tell us, where do we go to see it? What’s happening next? How do we catch up with you on the road?

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, so we, like I said, just finished the film, just in time for our premier at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 4 and June 6. This is this week and it’s playing at the Uptown Cinema. You can find that information on our Facebook page, In Utero Film, and also our website, www.inuterofilm.com and also at the SIFF website as well. So we’re just starting to get our social media going and we think that you will want to get the film to the widest audience possible and we’re still trying to determine the way to do that. It could mean a lot of grassroots’ distribution. It could mean both the theatrical and the grassroots. We don’t know yet. We are just kind of eager to see what will happen in Seattle and then go from there.

LISA REAGAN: That’s wonderful! It’s great to be here at the beginning of such a fantastic project. I want to say that if you have downloaded this or found this podcast somewhere else on the internet, you can go to kindredmedia.org to get the transcript. So thank you so much, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN GYLLENHAAL: Thank you, Lisa. It was a real pleasure.

Categories: Attachment Parenting / Bonding,Child development,Conscious Parenting,Fireside Chats,Interviews,Movies,Podcasts,Pregnancy & Birth

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4s Comments

  1. “I just had this thought recently, of, like, oh, we do live on forever, and that’s because we have children and they have children.”

    It’s sad to read that even educated and smart people need this silly lie.

    Reply
  2. I love your work Lisa. Just found this website and I am very thankful for the abundance here. One question I would have liked to ask Kathleen is how did she bond with her child? It is to me the key question. How do we do what is best for our kids while doing important work? How did she manage it? Without that question being asked, I am left thinking she is Superwoman, just doing it all.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Margie. I will ask Kathleen your question. Also, I know the Gyllenhaals are planning an In Utero 2 that will feature more of the holistic side of birth psychology, from prenatal bonding to healing from birth trauma (modalities for treatment). The movie is groundbreaking in its ability to open this discussion through the medium of film, however, the territory is vast, which is why Kindred worked with APPPAH to create the film guide. The guide focuses on rounding out both the negative and positive aspects of birth psychology, including the fact that imprints can be positive. Toward that end, we created this interview with Ray Castellino and ask him to talk more about the Blueprint Beneath the Imprint. You can see the video here: http://kindredmedia.org/2016/12/blueprint-unifying-fields-potential-connection-wholeness/

      I’ll post a reply or see if Kathleen can do so here asap. Thank you again for your thoughtful comment.

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    • Here is Kathleen’s reply: “Thank you so much for your comment! Just to be clear, I am NOT Superwoman, not even close. I am constantly trying to find balance in my life between motherhood and my career (and what’s left of my social life), not to mention family and all the other activities and obligations that we all negotiate. (I also happen to have two dogs and a cat.) Since making In Utero, I started writing blogs roughly twice each month, which you can find on the Huffington Post and also on Thrive Global. Here’s a link to recent blog about iPad addiction and toddlers. How did I bond with my son? I think it really began midway during my pregnancy when I came across prenatal bonding during the making of In Utero. It was the only thing I came across during that time that directly addressed bonding in utero, so I grabbed at it. (Since then, I have become aware of other similar practices around the world, which I will be focusing on in our follow-up documentary which just went into production.) Every week for 20 weeks I met with the PB practitioner and “went inside” to attune with my body and my growing baby. It was an awareness-raising practice that set the tone for the rest of the pregnancy and my burgeoning motherhood – placing importance on attuning to your child and creating space for him in your life, communicating with him instead of controlling him. My son is now 2, lively, curious, emotional and energetic. He’s my whole world! But — it’s really, really hard keeping up with the demands of my work while being “present” for my son. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband who wants to spend all his time with our son, too, so between the two of us, we are able to give him a good deal of attention. We also co-sleep, and I just finished nursing him at 2 years, 4 months. But I have to point out how privileged I am that I can work from home, that I have a dedicated partner, and that I have the means to afford something like prenatal bonding, as well as a nanny. We hired a part-time nanny when our son was 6 months old, mainly because we have no family in Los Angeles – my family’s in Hawaii, my husband’s is in New York. Then we went to a full-time nanny when he was one. It was either that or daycare (because of the demands of our work), and we decided on a nanny because we wanted him at home. That way, we could have our meals together and take work-breaks throughout the day and spend time with him. Even with all of this help, I’m always exhausted, sore all over, and wondering if I’m doing a good job (on all fronts). But we just keep the mantra alive that our son is entitled to all of his feelings, and it’s our job to create a safe space for him to experience them. And we collapse at the end of each day, hoping we’ll make it through the next! And, at the risk of sounding treacly, when we see our son engaging with other people, and the world (and our pets), and delighting in his life, we of course feel like it’s all worth it – and then some.”

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