Jodie Myers is a Los Angeles based filmmaker
specializing in childbirth, newborns, children & families.
She is also a birth doula and HypnoBirthing® doula.

My Birth Movie

Imagine capturing the most precious moment of your life…
the birth of your child…
in a beautifully woven visual story.
From the early surges of birthing
to the miraculous first breath of your newborn baby…
every splendid moment would be forever recorded.
A precious gift second only to the new life you’ve created.

My Family Time Movie

Children grow so fast,
and their childhood years morph into a blur.
Don’t let these precious moments slip away.
Bring on the laughter and giggles, be outrageous,
be silly, be tender or just be… 
Let ME capture your Family Time moments,
so you could actually experience them.

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Los Angeles by Stroller

Shelley-Anne Wooderson, author of Los Angeles by Stroller, had lived in twenty different houses and moved to a new country seven times before the age of thirty. She recently lived in Los Angeles with her family.

I asked Shelley if she would share some basic tips on what to do with your baby/toddler in ANY city. Below you will find some great and simple ideas from Shelley sprinkled with humor and experienced insight.

You can purchase Los Angeles by Stroller (for less than $6!) from MyBirthMovie’s A-store – under the books section.


Jodie Myers

What are the best outings with kids?

The best outing with kids is going to depend on the age of your children, and how many children you have. I am a firm believer in spending as much time as you can out with your kids, not only do they learn from all the new experiences if you spend the day out of the house when you come home it’s still clean. Seriously! A day at home with your kids is a day of cleaning up after them, so go explore your environment and find your own favorite day out of the house.

With your first child, you don’t know what a good day out is going to comprise of. (By the second kid you know where to go (wherever your oldest wants to)). Here’s a quick breakdown to give you some ideas for your next day out:

0 – 6 months old

Actually, I should say zero to crawling because when your child starts to crawl your life will change as much as it did when they were born. So where should I take my young baby? Wherever you want to go. This is the last few months when your life is your own, go wherever you’d want (with a few exceptions). Go have dinner in a nice restaurant. Go see an Opera (no seriously), whatever it is you want to do go do it. Knowing that at any time you may have to leave early, that you will at some point during your nice meal be nursing your child (a nice dark romantic restaurant is often the perfect atmosphere for this). Ok, it would be nicer if you could do these things without having to possibly run out in the middle before all the patrons of the symphony get mad at you but guess what, babysitting is expensive and if you have a little baby handing them off to someone else is difficult. So in a nutshell enjoy your life and bring your child along.

Things you should NOT do with your young baby: Go to the movies. No really. The volume of the sound is too loud for young ears and can cause permanent damage. So also no rock concerts or anywhere with largely amplified sound. Also no children’s birthday parties at ChuckECheese (also too loud and basically the most horrifying environment for any baby with flashing lights and alarms also a horrifying environment for most adults.) Also, amusement parks are not for parents of young children. Everything is very loud, most of the attractions have height restrictions or age restrictions which just leaves one parent standing in the line and the other riding the coaster….. so wait until your child is at least 4 or 5 for Disneyland.

6 months – 12 months

Your baby is still immobile enough for you to enjoy an art gallery or a museum, and if they start to scream in the stroller to walk out with lots of very serious patrons staring at you. Any outings planned for this time should be planned around nap time and you should have on hand lots and lots of snack food. Now that your child is starting to be mobile a nice day out could be the little kid area at the park (yes everything they say about sandpits is probably true but it didn’t kill you when you were a child and it won’t kill your baby either.) Also, the beach is a great option, so long as you bring a shade tent or umbrella babies generally have a great time with sand and a bucket.

This is also a great time to start exploring Children’s and Science museums (which often have little kid ball pits and foam rubber play areas) and finding toddler groups where your child can interact with only themselves but you can establish relationships with other parents and possibly organize play dates with some like-minded adults.

In my experience, this is also a great time to go to live shows and theater with your child. The same kid who doesn’t see the TV screen might sit enthralled at real people moving around. As always prepare to leave if necessary. Shakespeare in the park or free outdoor events or street theater are a perfect venue, it’s usually free and no one is going to get upset if a small child runs towards the stage trying to join the show.

Again no movies, rock bands, and for your own sanity avoid ChuckECheese.

12-24 months

Your kid is pretty mobile at this point, and fast. They are also a sponge for information. So take them to museums, tell them what they are looking at, find art galleries that don’t mind you rolling a stroller through their halls, and have your child point to which picture they like, which colors are in the pictures. Many of the art galleries have children’s days where the kids can come and make their own artwork, seek out these days, take a change of clothes for after you wash the paint off, and watch your artist at work.

All trips at this age should be no more than an hour, make the trips short and fun. If you haven’t gotten to the zoo yet, this is a perfect time – lots of running between cages pointing at different animals and making animal noises.

Find small local theaters, many of them have shows for children with puppets or magicians. If your local high school puts on a musical – go.  Young kids love musicals and there will be lots of children in the audience so no one will be upset if your kid watches the show while running back and forth.

Also, go to your local library and see what they have to offer. This is a great time to participate in reading time at the library and to spend time leafing through all the books a library has to offer.

Your life has completely changed and will never be the same again, and you get to experience the world anew through eyes of joy and innocence. A perfect day out with your kid is one that end with a nap for you and your child.


Shelley-Anne Wooderson

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The birth of a trend: Posting childbirth videos online

MyBirthMovie featured in the Los Angeles Times

The birth of a trend: Posting childbirth videos online
Mind & Body section of Saturday’s Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2012

Click here to read the full article.

Continue reading

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Libby & Len’s 1969 & 1971 Birth Stories (And Birth Movie!)

Len & Libby

I met Libby and Len last year at The Feminine Light in The Middle East conference. Len told me that he filmed the birth of their 2nd child, Adam, back in 1971. A few days ago they sent me a link to that video. It was amazing to see a delivery filmed 41 years ago.
The first birth I captured was 12 years ago. I was curious to hear Adam’s perspective on having his delivery experience preserved. I know meanings will differ between a 12-year-old and Adam, an adult and a father himself. I contacted Libby and Len to hear more about their childbirth story. Then they put me in touch with Adam, and now I’m excited to share their story with you.

Adam’s Birth Story:

Libby ~ Adam was born in July 1971, on the 15th floor of the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. Len filmed it all, using his Yashica Super-800 Electro Camera with a light attachment. My OBGYN, Dr. Alan Margolis, was a forward-thinking, contemporary guy. He allowed women to reach for their baby and complete the delivery once the head and shoulders emerged, so I got to do that for both of my children. When asked why he encouraged that, he’d respond: “You have to do something to keep it exciting.” He loved his work and was very relaxed and super-supportive. The medical team was the same — casual, confident young nurses, residents, students — really enjoying what they were doing. In that nurturing atmosphere, I remember feeling very confident.

Len ~ In our community there was a lot of conversation about Lamaze, and most of our friends’ husbands did attend their children’s births.

Libby ~ In earlier days the norm was to go in, get heavily sedated, and wake up when it was all over. Maybe living in the Bay Area and most of our contemporaries taking Lamaze classes allowed for different experiences and choices. For both of our births, we took our Lamaze and were doing great, but one day late in my first pregnancy I came across a book that completely scared me. I had a meltdown after seeing some photos. Suddenly, I didn’t think I could do it, but Len reassured me that everything would be fine and that women had been giving birth around the world for tens of thousands of years.

When my water broke we went to the hospital and were told that we’d save a lot of money if we stayed home as long as we could. Since I was barely dilated, there was plenty of time. So we returned home, shared a peach daiquiri, and played Tiddly(wink) Tennis until sunup and delivery time.

During labor, Len helped a lot by coaching and applying backpressure. He, my Lamaze breathing, and Dr. Margolis all helped me succeed. In the end, the amazing physician put partly-emerged Adam into my hands and instructed me to lift him from my birth canal. Adam was born!

About Filming The Birth:

Libby ~ Len took still photos at my first birth. I knew how meaningful those snapshots of Eleanor were, so I thought it would be okay to film my second birth. Yet I felt some discomfort — I was very modest and didn’t want to be exposed on film — until Len assured me he would frame it over my shoulder. Indeed he captured the moment perfectly.

Libby delivering Eleanor (1969)

Len ~ I’ve always had an interest in ‘story.’ My immigrant Jewish great-grandparents from Europe and Russia all saved lots of old family photographs. In childhood, I enjoyed taking family pictures with my Brownie box camera. Even what we two do today helping adversaries reconcile is all about ‘story,’ realizing that ‘an enemy is one whose story we have not heard.’ Following peace-building successes, other ‘people become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.’ It was always in me; take a photo, tell a story, and let our kids know their story. Stories are what keep us alive and help us remember what has meaning; it’s just a human thing to do.

When I see our children’s births, I see Libby and think ‘she’s awesome!’ Birthing Eleanor and Adam was joyful for her. Even though my eye was against the camera lens, hearing “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy!” started my tears flowing. I was weeping and filming simultaneously. Choosing no ultrasound, we wanted to be surprised. We knew we’d love whoever came into our lives.

At one point the camera got too close to an IV drip stand from which hung a stethoscope. The hot floodlight set it on fire. For a moment, the delivery room was full of smoke. Dr. Margolis never seemed to notice! The team was cool.

Libby ~ It’s one of those sweet moments we can relive. Oh, how our appearance has changed. But this beautiful memory returns us to youth and keeps alive the beginning of our family and the unspeakable awe.

Many times expectant friends have viewed the movie and stills to get inspired, prepare, and gain confidence in this great and beautiful experience. I loved being pregnant, feeling the movement inside, and not knowing if it was a boy or a girl. I loved giving birth. What a miracle!

A word from Adam ~

Having my birth movie gave me the opportunity to see my parents in motion at such a young age. 1971 was a time of cameras and film; often in black and white, and still shots were the norm, nothing digital. Motion picture was considered either obscure or a luxury, and rarely would someone from the public actually film events, let alone a birth. My birth film spans from start to finish and is recorded, forever, on celluloid!
My mom was such a trooper. She performed natural childbirths with both my sister and me. Amazing.

Funny as it may seem with the stork story and all, I think America shields itself from the honesty and beauty of birth out of fear and shame of the human body. Regardless of what God you believe in, if any, the human body is a miracle. I think the film of my birth is proof that it’s possible to show the amazing act through motion picture, and do so with tact and more importantly, with love.

To view Adam’s birth movie click HERE.

Len’s photos of Eleanor’s 1969 birth gave him the confidence to film Adam in 1971:

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‘Top 10 Tips’ on Filming Childbirth


When I started filming childbirth, I was a lone wolf and there were no childbirth videographers out there. A few years in, there may have been a handful in the country, maybe even the world. I’m really not sure. I’m excited to say that with time things have changed, and nowadays a childbirth filmmaker or photographer is a legit career. 

*I made this video many years ago, so it might be a bit dated, but the basic tips still stand.

Since I can’t be everywhere, and not everyone can hire a professional, I created a Top 10 Tips on Filming Childbirth vlog.

Disclaimer – this vlog was filmed using my cinema screen built-in camera, not the video camera I use to film childbirth.

If you’re going to do it ‘yourselves,’ these very simple and basic tips could make a HUGE difference to the outcome.

I hope you find this helpful.

Happy 4th of July!

With love, smiles & fireworks to brighten your world,


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Who’s Your Doula? (My first birth as a doula)

In November 2011, I completed my DONA doula training at BiniBirth. The training with Ana Paula was fascinating. My mind burst with excitement about the new opportunities and ideas that were coming to mind, while my heart burst with joy and love for all the mamas who were about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. Then in January 2012, I became a hypnobirthing© doula after taking a class with Alisha Tamburri.

As I work on obtaining my DONA Doula Certification, I feel that the new knowledge and experience I gained, greatly complement my work as a childbirth filmmaker. Now I can do both or either, and for the first time, I will have BACKUPS for my doula work. What a magical word that is – backup. It’s something I’ve never had as a filmmaker, but as a doula, I’ve married into a huge loving family of women.

The day I completed my doula training, at the DASC Annual Gala.

My first birth as a doula!

Just a couple of weeks ago, Yana Katzap-Nackman, a doula and friend, invited me to shadow her at a birth. I was honored to work with Yana and the young couple who welcomed me into their journey.

Mama was amazing, taking on her surges in full power and with full ownership. “It’s my body, my birth, and my pain,” She announced. She knew what she wanted, wasn’t afraid to voice it, stood for her rights as a woman and mother, and did not allow things to just happen to her. She’s pretty new to the USA, and at times she wasn’t sure what the medical team was saying to her, so she would answer in Hebrew loaded with humor, slang, and Israeli hutzpah. Yana and I were cracking up. I forgot how funny births could be when all inhibitions go flying out the open window. Those were some of the moments that made me wish I was filming the birth because even I don’t remember all the and rich details now.

Papa took on the role of “Director of media and communications.” He had both his and her parents on skype using his iPad. From the home to the hospital, they were there the whole time. I even had a moment to chat with his mother while Yana was in the shower with Mama. Some say that technology stops us from connecting with one another in a real way, but at moments like this, technology became the greatest gift these grandparents could ask for, second only to their beautiful little granddaughter. It also gave Papa something to do, which made Mama very happy.

Image  Image

The medical team was very supportive of the mother’s wishes. She wanted to go natural all the way if she could, and they did what they could to help her with her choice. There’s this unspoken dance that goes on between the medical team and the doulas, a bit of give and take, which could look like a gentle waltz if done correctly. The other option would be some sort of break-dance I suppose…

Because Mama’s doctor was not at the hospital at the time, we were lucky to get one of the midwives, who I was delighted to meet. Midwives are these precious women who are a gift at any birth.  With the midwife there, the possibilities were endless and the allowances – greater. 😉

Being at a birth as a doula is quite different than being there as a filmmaker, not only physically, but emotionally as well. While filming, I dance around quietly, unobtrusively, my little video camera becomes a curtain of sorts that allows me to do my work and keep focused. As a doula, the dance is WITH the mom, full force, hands-on, no barrier, be it gentle as a feather or powerful and grounded as a sequoia.

Mama did her job, and we supported her journey. She birthed her little girl like the superwoman she is. The pushing phase got intense, there were moments where she thought she couldn’t do it, but she did. Un-medicated and without intervention all the way.

Papa had all the grandparents on hold in the corner of the room, the iPad audio was off, but I could see them eagerly waiting for the birth of their granddaughter. Once she was born, papa resumed the cyber party and proudly showed off his amazing wife and beautiful little baby girl.




Yana asked me if I’ve ever helped a mother breastfeed. I never had. I haven’t even taken a course yet, or read any books about it, but I stepped in, listened to Yana, and remembered all the times I’ve seen it happen right in front of me.  This was all so very different than filming. I just love all aspects of my work and feel so lucky to be able to say that.

Blessings to you all.


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A mom’s triumph; birthing her twin daughters vaginally, naturally and with the use HypnoBirthing®

I had just ordered my tea at Café Was where my friend, Dhana T, was about to sing when Alisha called to tell me that S was in early labor. S, was a first-time mom in her late 30s and was pregnant with twin girls. She became pregnant without fertility treatments and very quickly. She planned on birthing her daughters naturally, un-medicated, using HypnoBirthing®, and having a great birthing team by her side; Dr. Paul Crane (her OBGYN), Alisha Tamburri (her Hypnotherapist/Doula), her husband, and myself (filming the birth).
I left the Café and drove home, changed, packed my video equipment, and headed out to meet them at Dr. Crane’s office. It was about 11 pm, the streets of LA were empty, what a pleasure. Dr. Crane monitored the twins’ heartbeat and checked their positions. S was about 1cm dilated at this time. Baby A was vertex (head down), and baby B was transverse (horizontal above baby A). He explained the possibilities and options about what might happen and sent S home to continue her process, as she wanted to labor at home for as long as she could.

At their home, Alisha sent S’s husband to sleep in the living room (he would need his energy later on!) while she helped S go into deep hypnosis. S would fall asleep between surges, and Alisha laid by her side whispering mantras and visualizations that helped S stay focused, relaxed and deep in the zone.

At some point, S got up and started dancing in the dim room. The only light came from the hallway. She was like a graceful flowing goddess in a sensual tantric dance, moving to the faint sound of beautiful Persian music.

Then she returned to bed with Alisha by her one side, helping her go deeper into hypnosis, and me at her back, massaging her shoulders. She threw up, she showered, she ate, she drank, she moved around, she sat in a big orange rocking chair and lost herself in long moments of deep relaxation.

Dr. Crane returned during the night to check on her, and then again in the morning.

I think I may have slept for about 2 hours in their guest room. We had breakfast, gathered our belongings, and headed out to Dr. Crane’s office around 11 am. On her way out, S knocked on her neighbor’s door. Out came a little old lady, who was so excited to see S and showered her with blessings and prayers. Dr. Crane checked her again at his office. S was 8cm dilated!!!  It was now time to head to the hospital.

We were placed in a temporary room where we waited for S to be fully dilated. Alisha posted a HypnoBirthing® sign on the door so that when the medical crew entered the room, they would respect and honor the quiet and calm environment of HypnoBirthing®.

The facts were sinking in, and the emotions were pouring out.  “Jodie!  Did I tell you that I just realized I’m having twin girls!!!???” S said to me teary-eyed. She was overjoyed, and shared a beautiful moment with her husband; a moment of bonding, acceptance, gratitude, and love. They were going to be a family soon.

As S was being prepared to transfer to the OR (hospital policy is to deliver twins in the OR) her nurse turned to me and said: “You can stay here and watch their belongings.” Alisha and I stared at one another, wide-eyed, and then at S.  Luckily, Dr. Crane, who was filling some paperwork in the room, turned and said – “They are all coming in, and that’s just the way it’s gonna be!” (or something to that extent).

Dr. Crane is a saint. He’s calm, patient, and ever so kind.  He lets the birthing mom do her thing and supports her choices without forcing hospital policy or regulations if they are not necessary.

There were about 10 people in the OR including Dr. Crane, pediatricians, nurses, and us. S was very clear and vocal about what she wanted and what wasn’t working for her. At some point, she asked that the blood pressure cuff be removed from her arm because it was distracting her from going into hypnosis. Not only did it constantly beep, but also every few minutes it inflated to check her pressure. “I’m not about to die here, so there is really no need for this, I’m taking it off!” was pretty much what she said. She also asked the medical team (politely) to be quiet and not talk to her, to let her push on her own without them supporting her legs, to basically let her birth her own way, in as much of a calm and quiet atmosphere as one could achieve in the OR. Alisha was by her one side helping her go into HypnoBirthing® mode, her husband was on the other side holding her hand lovingly and I was quietly moving about trying to capture it all while not getting in the way of the medical team.

S worked very hard, it was challenging, but she trusted her body, her babies, and her doctor. We had no idea what would happen once baby A was born because when last checked, baby B was still transverse. Dr. Crane would possibly have to manually manipulate the baby into the vertex position, either internally or externally. A Cesarean birth was the last resort. The anesthesiologist administered an epidural catheter into Ss spine, in case any of these procedures were necessary. In time, S pushed her first little girl out to the awe and excitement of all present. In the midst of it all, she whispered the Shma Yisrael prayer, and her words merged with Alisha’s own prayers. Once baby A was born and put on S’s chest, and once S’s bladder was emptied, baby B turned head down and made her victorious entrance into the world only 7 minutes after her sister’s. The epidural catheter was never put to use!  Baby B was born, the prayers were answered, and the force was with her!

Evidently, most of the medical team had never seen a natural twins birth done at the hospital, ever! It was magical, and S knew all along that Baby B would turn. Call it a mother’s intuition, trust, or divine intervention; S birthed her beautiful girls the way she envisioned it all along. Thanks to Dr. Crane, Alisha Tamburri, HypnoBirthing®, her husband’s support, and the extremely patient medical team, S had the birth she wanted.

I was so blessed to witness another sacred moment of birth and another birth of a family.

Mazal Tov Mama and Papa!

Much Love


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Midwifery in South Africa, back in the day…

Dear Readers,

A while ago I mentioned that I’ll get some interesting stories for you from family members who have worked (or still do), as childbirth professionals. Here’s the 2nd one, and this time it’s by a cousin named Louise. I found it fascinating, and hope you enjoy it as well.
Thank you Louise for sharing your story and photos.

As usual, feel free to share and comment.

Happy Day to you all,



Young cousin Jodie has asked me to relate my studies leading up the status of Nurse/Midwife in South Africa. She is not aware that she is asking me to turn back the pages of my life to 1955, to when I was 22 years old.

In South Africa, you needed a registered nurse certificate – a 3 ½ year hospital training – in hand, in order to become a Midwife. Midwifery was a further one-year course after your 3 ½ years Registered Nursing Diploma course, all taken in a hospital with a mandatory stay in the Nurse’s quarters when not at work. No sleeping around in those days… University training was not available until somewhere in the late 1960s.

In the 1920s a woman had to stay in bed for a full 14 days after delivery before she was allowed up and about. This led to thrombosis and often to maternal death.

In the 1950s a woman was ambulatory after 12 hours confined to the bed, but had to remain in hospital, along with her infant, for 10 days. That was viewed as a rest period for the mother prior to her return home and all the chores that she would be subjected to!

The course was tough but fun since there were a bunch of 40 nurses all running around in different sections of the maternity section of Addington Hospital in Durban, South Africa.

The year was divided up; working periods on Night Duty, Anti Natal Care (Clinical), Labor and Delivery, Post Natal Care for the mother and Post Natal Care for the infant, and back to the Clinic for follow up on mother and baby. Then there was the stressful nightmare (8 weeks of it) of “District” work – more on District later…

We had no vacation, nor long weekends, for the entire year. One day off per week but when you were off during the week, there were lectures to attend. You worked day duty from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with 4-hours off during the day. You attended lectures during that time, and studied should you have any tests the next day.

Night Duty you worked 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. with 2 hours off for eating a full meal and hopefully getting a little shut-eye.  When on night duty, you had to attend lectures during the day – except on weekends. However, you worked weekends as though they were weekdays!

The routine basically was work, lectures, study for tests, and hopefully having a kind boyfriend who does not mind putting up with your strange and unorthodox night and day routine! Doctors made excellent boyfriends since they lead basically the same crazy routine…

“District” was basically “home deliver” and this was accomplished mainly up in the hills in a certain area of Durban where the Indians lived. Not American Indians, but rather Indians from India. Some had fashionable homes; others lived modestly or in poverty. We had to

always be available, night and day, in-between lectures, anytime, for when the call came that the woman was going into labor.

When that call came, a car and driver would drive one or two of us, students, along with a trained midwife, up into the hills.  Each of us carried a big brown doctor’s bag containing whatever was needed for a home delivery. We would set up “shop” in the bedroom, and monitor the mother-to-be until such time as the baby was due… if things progressed normally, you waited it out and partook of the curry meals and drinks that the hospitable Indians lavished on us profusely.

I might add that we never needed to purchase stockings since those also were lavished on us as gifts for services delivering the baby from the mother. They were generous and kind people.

Often the homes did not have more than a candle and many a delivery we had to perform holding a flashlight either by someone else or often nestled under your own armpit. When things progressed slowly, the trained midwife and one of us would be driven back to the hospital and one of us would be left praying, and praying, that all went well should the baby suddenly decide to come early and we were the only one present to do the delivery.

Also included in this grueling “District” work was going back into the hills of Durban the next day to give the mother and baby postnatal care for the 10 days that were required by law. In that case, you would run, again with your district bag, in and out of the homes, to do the necessary care needed.

They often named their babies after us and there were quite a few Louises in the Indian community.

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