It's called "the miracle of life" for a reason. The complex series of events that must be executed to pinpoint precision to conceive, gestate and birth a human, is nothing short of amazing. But what happens when there’s difficulty with the delivery? A mother of three, Brandi Nicole Payne has experienced pregnancy from both extremes — when things go right, and when they go terribly wrong.
After suffering complications in labor with her youngest son, who was born two months premature, she and her husband struggled with having to leave their newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for over a month. "When I think back to his delivery, it was pretty scary and chaotic," she said. Fortunately, in this case, the outcome was positive. "My Daniel at the age of three is happy and healthy and more than a handful,” Payne said.
But the trauma of that birth experience left an indelible mark on the writer/director. Naturally, she channeled that pain into a passion project — a film called Aloha. While the short film isn’t a documentary of her experience, “it was the catalyst for writing it," she told Blavity.
Payne is one of millions of women who have had similar experiences in childbirth. Statistically, one in four women experience some type of labor complication, and black women have the greatest risks of infant mortality, pregnancy complications and pregnancy related deaths. For those who go through these traumatic experiences, having a tribe is an important part of the healing process. That's why a film like Aloha is so necessary. "Whether you're a mom who has gone through a complicated delivery, including even the loss of your baby, or perhaps you know a mom who has, this film is for all of you — to remind you, you're not alone," Payne said.
Thank you to all of the women who have shared their stories of loss. You are inspiring. 🌸 #YouAreNotAlone #prenatalloss @glamourmag @comiclonilove @nancyakerrigan @themelissarauch @realkielesanchez @junediane @therealpaulagarces @officialvannawhite @lennonparham @katieaselton @jill_willard @msjackieseiden @villepique #JenniferChen #NatalieStromme @virginiawms
The short film is a lighthearted drama that touches on a pregnancy complication that isn't always easy to discuss. It follows one new mom's quest to find the perfect birth announcement after the delivery of her baby doesn't go quite as planned.
To finance the project, set to go into production in December, Payne launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $15,000. Click here to contribute to the production of this film, and check out the crowdfunding video for Aloha below.