Monday, May 26, 2014

Return to Zero

Hi folks!

Have you heard of the movie called Return to Zero?

It's such a heart-warming story touching on a rather delicate, sensitive yet very real-to-life happenings in life- stillbirth.

Allow me to share my brief understanding on this term- Stillbirth:

  • Generally speaking, stillbirth (“fetal death” or “fetal mortality”) is the birth of an infant that has died in the womb after a certain period of gestation or weight.
  • When a baby dies in the first 28 days of life it is called neonatal death.
  • In the United States, there is no standard definition of the term ‘stillbirth’. Instead the term “fetal death” is the legal definition used for the death of a fetus after 20 weeks of gestation or 500 grams.
  • In Australia a stillborn baby is defined as one that weighs more than 400 grams or has had 20 or more weeks gestation.
  • In the UK it is defined as 24 weeks gestation. In Norway it is 16 weeks, while in Italy and Spain it is 26 weeks.
It's often a "taboo" or a sensitive thing which is hardly brought up or mentioned in the community or society. But in the United States in 2006 there were nearly 26,000 “fetal deaths” (stillbirths) and about 19,000 babies died in their first month. In total, 1 out of 60 births resulted in stillbirth or neonatal death. When one takes into account the number of miscarriages that number skyrockets to 1 out of 4 pregnancies.

It's also something quite challenging and delicate life experience to begin with. It can either make or break the couple. Couple could grow stronger by grieving, healing and moving on, growing stronger together after the event or chose to deny their grief and hide their feelings, putting a strain in the marriage.

Based on a true story, Return to Zero tells the story of a successful couple, Maggie (Minnie Driver) and Aaron (Paul Adelstein), who are preparing for the arrival of their first child. Just weeks before their due date they are devastated to discover that their baby son has died in the womb and will be stillborn.

The two attempt to go on with their lives but cannot escape their postpartum grief and their relationship has been forever altered by this loss. They try to cope in a myriad of ways-- through denial, escape, and alcohol-- but when Maggie discovers that Aaron is having an affair with a co-worker, she decides to end the marriage.

Just when Maggie believes she has started a new life, she discovers that she is pregnant. With the help of an empathetic  Doctor Claire Holden,  who once experienced a similar loss, Maggie finally learns to grieve for her son and must reunite with Aaron to prepare for their second pregnancy.

From the story I learnt that:
  • It takes time to heal and we must give ourselves the space and time to heal and grow from it
  • What Doctor Claire Holden said to Maggie really struck me, " What we have experienced will only make ourselves a better parent. We will NEVER take our children for granted and we will only love them much better having experiencing such loss." It might not be in exact lines, but this is the lovely message that really hits me! We mustn't ever let ourselves becoming a better parent only after experiencing such painful event folks! Nope, we shouldn't...we should really cherish our kids now and forever as they are the gift from God.

  • A relationship can be so fragile that a minor test can break or make it grow stronger. Always cherish our life partner and be open to them. Have the courage to be vulnerable yet not overly-dependent or finger-pointing. As what Maggie said in the movie, she learnt to say," I need, We need you." And Aaron, her husband learns to be there for his wife. Really, sometimes even though our presence doesn't means we able to do much physically but our presence brings the much-needed moral and spiritual support. So let's learnt to be there for our closed ones, that including supporting them during their high and lows, especially the moment whereby they really hope we are there for them or perhaps for some, do not expect us to be able to make it there for them *double stars*!

  • Having a close buddies to speak with at any point of our life, highs and lows are such a comforting and gift to have! Just like  Trish to Maggie in the movie. Her charming and jovial character brings much cheer and comfort to Maggie during her downtime. And I believe many mommies would agree with me, having your buddy pregnant at the same time, sharing your experience during the 9 months and thereafter are such a lovely time!
  • Support group is so important to begin with for people who are experiencing such loss and grievance. Having someone who've been through the same thing means so much to the grieving person or couples. 
  • And no, we should never preach when someone is having a loss(just like how one lady did in the movie, started preaching to her that might make the matter worse).Don't you think it's just like how when we start reprimanding our kids when they finally fell down when they went ahead doing stunts we've warned them not to do? It's like rubbing salt to the wound.
Such a lovely movie to begin with, really folks! It kinda of brings back some old memories....and I must also thank the doctor who shared, " It only means you are capable of giving birth. It's something which happens to 1 out of 4 couples."  Really, it's  a great gift to have such empathetic doctor as it's such an experience that we would only be sharing when the other person happened to be suffering from the same loss.

So folks, if you wish to learn more about how someone who are experiencing such loss are feeling, and even get to see some of the child-birth scenes, this is the movie you should be watching.
Return to Zero is such a mild yet entertaining movie which certainly enlighten all audiences with a dramatic tale of the strength and resilience of the human spirit, which intends to break through the silence and become a beacon of cinematic light to the millions in search of answers, understanding and healing. 

Return to Zero has been selected as one of the official selection of RIFF Awards 2014, and CINEQUEST Film Festival. Thumbs-up to the director and the acting crew!

Very thankful for the Director, SEAN HANISH (the man in spectacles  standing in the middle in the picture above), who made this movie based the real-life experience of him and his wife. Sean and his wife Kiley. They had a stillborn child. In 2005, in week 37 of the pregnancy, after a healthy check just the previous month, there was no heartbeat from their unborn child. Their son, Norbert, was born still. 

It's great that we could catch the premiere of this movie on Lifetime(Ch 709 on Astro). The premieres is on 20 May, Tuesday at 8pm, repeats on 25 May, Sunday and 31 May, Saturday at 4pm

So folks, remember to catch the movie!

Happy Parents Day to all!