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In Utero


.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. IN UTERO brings together for the first time convincing data that explains why some of us face challenges from the start while others thrive. Fetal origins experts, research scientists, psychologists, doctors and midwives – as well as examples from popular culture and mythology – collectively demonstrate how our experiences in utero shape our future. Prepare to be surprised, intrigued, but no longer baffled by what the future holds for yourself, your loved ones, and the human race.

Through enlightening and oftentimes poignant interviews with experts and pioneers, IN UTERO paints a complex tapestry of the human experience from conception to birth. Tapping into cultural myths, popular movies, and technological trends, the film demonstrates how our experiences in utero preoccupy us throughout our lives.

Experts in the fast-growing field of epigenetics explain that we are not only our genes but a product of our environment as well, a proven fact that changes our perception of stress and exposures to the environment during pregnancy. The film looks at how these environmental effects are passed down through the generations through our genes, making it scientifically plausible that a traumatic event that affected your grandma could leave a mark on your genes.

As if this weren’t eye-opening enough, the film reveals through extensive interviews with psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts that similar theories of prenatal life have been in play as early as the 1900’s, and have gained traction ever since. In that sense, the hard sciences are only just beginning to catch up with what others have been saying for decades.

Now, experts in all fields have begun to see the link between the state of the world and prenatal life. Open up the news any day and you’ll see a new article about the prenatal period. In just the last few years, enormous strides have been made in understanding the biological, psychological and sociological impact of our time in the womb. Scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Research discovered that disorders such as autism and schizophrenia begin before birth. In Michigan, researchers have developed MRI technology that is able to capture incredible images of a developing fetus’s brain, allowing them to study how areas of the brain begin to link up and coordinate activity. Meanwhile, other scientists and psychologists are finding that prolonged stress such as poverty, and traumatic events such as Ferguson and 9/11 impact a developing fetus on a genetic level. Others have found that depressed or stressed mothers have higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which negatively affects the fetus by constricting blood flow to the placenta. The list goes on. All of this research urges us to think about who we are and how the foundations of who we’ve become all began long before we were even born, and ultimately, how we can set our children up for better lives in the generations to come.

It’s clear that IN UTERO is an extremely timely and important film. Through interviews with midwives and prenatal psychologists, IN UTERO brings into focus a new field devoted to prenatal life. Time will tell how those whose lives are “known” from the beginning will lead us into the future.

Q&A Panel
Lael Stone is a proud mother of three children who has worked as a Birth Attendant/Doula, Childbirth Educator and certified Calmbirth Instructor since 2004. From a background in wellbeing and counselling Lael was compelled into the field of childbirth education by her own birth experiences. Lael has interviewed and collected birth experience data from hundreds of Australian women throughout her career. This data provided insight and motivation to develop the About Birth Online Education Program, a pioneering way to learn about birth and early parenting. Lael has spent the last few years working one on one with women around fears in their pregnancy, negative birth experiences as well as working with families to develop more connection with the Aware Parenting model. She is a certified Aware Parenting Instructor and runs regular groups for mothers as well as workshops and private sessions. Her passion is to create wellness in families through connection, communication and education.

Dr Vicki Anthonisz has a double degree in chiropractic and clinical science and is a certified Neuroemotional Technique practitioner. She has over 20 years experience working with pregnant women and children. She is particularly interested in the role of stress in physical health. Her passion is helping families achieve optimal outcomes through education and understanding how their brains and nervous systems work.

Collette Beck is a freelance writer and editor, and mother to three children (who are nine, seven and three). Her parenting journey has been fraught with miscarriage and loss and she has miscarried six babies in total. All her pregnancies were considered high risk, so were incredibly stressful. The pregnancies that resulted in living children all had an element of 'threatened miscarriage' at different stages of pregnancy. She has been deeply affected by her journey into parenthood and is passionate about talking about the issues of pregnancy loss, healing and the long-term effects of of such losses. 

About the event
Join us at Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale, Melbourne, for a nourishing meal, fresh juice and healthy treat, available for purchase before the film. Connect with our community and explore what's on offer from our local business exhibitors. There's also great prizes in our raffle thanks to our exhibitors and generous local businesses.

Event program
5.45pm doors open, nourishing food and drink available, local exhibitors
6.45pm film commences
8.30pm Q&A panel followed by prize raffle
9.00pm event concludes

Earlier Event: June 15
The True Cost
Later Event: October 19
Just Eat It