Seems a bit fitting to post this on Sophia's Saint Day...
It's difficult to put into words what you feel like when a child dies in utero or shortly after birth. You lose not only your baby, but your hopes and dreams for them; they are someone that no one else can replace. The grief stays with you a lifetime, even as you learn to cope in a world that is suddenly a much different place. In spite of being surrounded by love at times, you feel alone... like no one could possibly understand.
Often times, we who have lost children are amazed to see the storyline of a familiar show take a turn (as I blogged about with the most recent season of Dallas) or we warn people about movies where loss takes place in a way we might not expect (I see this come up all the time). But rarely does a piece of visual art tackle something like pregnancy and child loss as it's primary story. Although 1 in 4 women will lose a child during pregnancy through the first year of life (and some estimates place that as closer to 1 in 3 due to missed miscarriages), it is still a taboo subject that is kept close. Until my own losses, I only knew well of one other mother- my grandmother- who had lost children. After entering this club that no one wants to be a part of, I had countless people in real life share their stories of grief and have, over the last few years, met hundreds of people either IRL or online. We aren't alone. We are far more common that even we think. But our aloneness in grief is perpetuated by the silence.
Return to Zero is a based-on-a-true-story film of a successful couple anticipating the birth of their first child, only to find that their son has passed away in utero and will be stillborn. The movie follows the grief of the couple, including how they deal with the loss, with each other, and later, with a subsequent pregnancy. With an all-star cast that includes Minnie Driver, Paul Adelstein, Alfred Molina, and Connie Nielsen, this is an independent film dedicated to bringing awareness to a population that is largely forgotten, both in cinema and, sadly, in life as well. It showcases the unique heartache experienced by parents when a child dies and elaborates on the impact that such a loss can have on family, friends, and their community.
As you can imagine, bringing a film like Return to Zero to a wide theater release is no easy task. In a climate that embraces super heroes and slasher films, a back-to-the-start, true-to-life drama that speaks to such a subset (when, in reality, it is something everyone should see, simply for exposure alone if for nothing else), those working on this film are doing their best to gain momentum by promotions within the loss community. As a local leader for film promotion, I ask that you help bring awareness to this cause by pledging to see this film when it released in your local. As a Mending Heart Bellies event, I'll be arranging a dinner-and-a-movie event once it is released locally, but regardless of where you are, take the pledge and put your movie budget to a better use than ever before.
Will you be one of the many that helps bring this film to local theaters around the world? Will you be a voice that lets parents know they are not alone in their heartache?