Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tonight: "Capturing a Short Life"

I'm breaking my usual rule about not blogging at work because I'm running out of time, and I wanted to bring your attention to a documentary that will be airing on CBC Newsworld tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

From the CBC Newsworld website:

Capturing A Short Life is a beautiful and life-affirming documentary about families dealing with infant loss.

Combining verité and interview footage with still photography, this poignant documentary details the stories of families who are dealing, in an immediate sense, with the loss of a newborn baby. Capturing A Short Life portrays in a sensitive, intimate and cinematic manner, the emotional, medical and ethical choices that parents are often faced with when they are told that their baby is incompatible with life. Although this subject matter is impossibly sad, the lives and relationships that evolve, even in this context, are not.

This film follows the stories of four families as they live through, and detail, their baby's lives. Although the circumstances surrounding the births, lives and deaths of their children vary significantly, at the core of their stories there is a similar emotional resonance.

Lydia is born full term, but during labour, suffered massive brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. Her family are told that she will never evolve beyond a non-responsive state. Her parents are forced to make difficult decisions about whether or not to withdraw life support and, ultimately, whether to take her off nutrition.

Emerson was born four months early, weighing less than two pounds. With each ounce he gains his parents hope that he will be able to beat the odds and survive.

Twins, Kayla and April were born healthy but, at one month old, Kayla contracted meningitis and her parents have been told she will likely become non-responsive within 48 hours.

Hailey was born with Type Two Gauchers disease, a rare genetic illness that causes extensive and progressive brain damage. The outcome of Hailey's life is inevitable, but her parents are determined to enjoy every second they have with her.

Few people are aware that in North America every year, tens of thousands of families are having to say goodbye to children they've only just met and millions more lose
babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.

When a baby dies, it is not only an infant that is lost, but a toddler, a child, a teenager and an adult. An entire life, an entire future, disappears. There will be no first birthdays, no first steps, no first report cards, no first loves.. instead there is an intense, impossible, few moments to say hello and goodbye.

Capturing A Short Life is not a film about death, it is a film about how critical it is to remember and celebrate the beautiful babies who are only with us for a moment, and how impossible it is to forget them.

Produced by director, Sheona McDonald for Dimestore Productions Inc. in association with CBC Newsworld.

As you read above, the program focuses on four families -- but the CASL website includes the stories of several more, including a mom dh & I know through our pregnancy loss support group.

I've done some Googling, hoping that perhaps some newspapers would be providing some advance publicity about the program -- sadly (but perhaps not unexpectedly, given the subject matter) not.

If you don't have access to CBC Newsworld, the CASL website includes information on how you can order a copy of the program.

Thanks to Msfitzita at Certainly Not Cool Enough to Blog for providing an early heads up about this, and to momblogger Don Mills Diva (a friend of the director) for spreading the word. I've had it on my "to do" list for some time now to blog about it closer to the air date -- & now it's here and, as usual, I'm scrambling. Par for the course, especially at this time of year...!


  1. Thanks for the reminder.... off to set the PVR!

  2. I'm so glad to have met you. Thank you for commenting on my blog. I will be back (some would say like a bad smell).

  3. I don't have cable, so I guess I'll just have to wait for now. It sounds like a great program, and one that is sure to help affected mothers and fathers with their grief.

  4. It's a weird new life that I have been anticipating this documentary for awhile. Thanks for reminding me to set the PVR.

  5. I'm so glad you're spreading the word - it's an amazing film!

  6. So good to hear that there are thoughtful documentaries being produced...