Archives for posts with tag: babyhood

I am very excited to be part of the Film Nights scheme that Connected Baby has started.

Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, whom I interviewed in my film Babyhood, has set this up to bring groups together to watch films that “offer insights into the power of connection”, and then have a discussion around the subjects raised. Whenever I have shown my film, the discussions afterwards are the most interesting, and I am so pleased this will be happening in September throughout the UK!

Please contact Connected Baby if you want to host a night too!

She has written a great introduction to my film, which flatters me and i want to copy here!!

September’s film is the Award-winning film BABYHOOD, released in 2012.  Made by London-based independent filmmaker Kate Jangra, this documentary film explores the contemporary context in which our society is raising young children

Jangra asks: What might parenting look like in the absence of what she sees as today’s ‘parenting props’ – consumerism, the media, and parenting experts?   The project was born from Jangra’s experience of having her first child, which led her to question herself and everything she had thought of as ‘normal’ up to that point.

The film won the Culture Unplugged’s Award for Film-makers’ Choice – Conscious Art, in 2015.  It was chosen because represented, in the judges’ view, “the film that was most conscious in its selection of story, vision, and art of filmmaking in its ability to awaken global citizens and help them to usher life toward a new direction.”  Who wouldn’t want to see a film that achieves such accolades?!

The film has also received attention for its relevance to professional practice. For example, Canterbury College has licensed it to be shown to students enrolled in courses for working in preschool settings.

The film includes interviews with a range of fascinating commentators:

     Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood;

     Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters;

     John Carnochan, previous Co-Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit;

     Camilla Batmanghelidjh, Director of charity Kids Company;

     Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, founder of connected baby;

     Hollie McNish, award-winning rap poet.

Come and join us for an opportunity to think in depth about the context in which our babies are growing up.

film-nights-flyer

 I am devastated about Camila and the demise of Kids Company, and it saddens me so deeply to think of the effect this will have on the thousands of children she personally cares about and loves.
Because she does, i believed her when she told me that and it was evident from the way her workers were so committed to Kids Company and the work they do, (I was lucky enough to be shown around and explained the workings of the charity in 2011), and the atmosphere of the building.
I emailed Camila’s office when I was making Babyhood and I wanted to connect the idea that not looking after a child’s needs at an early age affected their brains, and had a detrimental affect on their lives. Camila had extensive experience of this and I persevered and eventually she agreed to a meeting to discuss my ideas for my film.
I was very nervous as she is indeed larger than life and I really felt her connection to the subject matter was so important to the film. However, after we spoke for a while about what i was trying to do she agreed to be filmed, and i was over the moon.12
Her interview was long, although i could have continued for longer as she is so fascinating, but she had more work to do, it was Friday evening, about 8pm. She has/had 3 personal assistants (for the morning, evening and weekend) so she literally devoted her entire life to the work she did at Kids Company, so I just don’t believe any of the media articles telling me otherwise. It is a witch hunt against a public figure unafraid to tell the truth about a very uncomfortable subject for our politicians, and I am going to let Camila explain why in excerpts from my transcripts of her interview for the film below…
“I love the children I work with, and I think they don’t have a voice in society because they don’t vote and therefore politicians don’t prioritize their needs. And when children are being abused often by their own carers, their carers aren’t going to advocate on their behalf either, so i guess i am lucky enough to have won their trust, and to be able to speak out in ways that they educate me to do.
It’s very interesting how people think about vulnerable children, and children in general, politicians on the whole, tend to think about children in the way that matches their own lives, so they make political decisions that are very close to the narrative of their own lives and often its upper middle class type lives with certain givens.
And in some ways, within that context, let’s say parenting classes or information for parents, is useful, but it’s also true to say that they are not a set of parents who need education, and they don’t need information about whether to use the naughty chair or not to use the naughty chair, what they need is a programme of emotional recovery because their inability to parent their children is a result of them not having received the quality of love and care they needed to be able to have a mind that can actually think about another person’s needs, rather than a mind that is trapped in survival.
Politicians are not good at conceptualizing that group, and the other group they are very bad at conceptualizing, are children and young people who have already run away from home and are surviving on the streets and therefore are not parented, and Britain has a large number of these children and young people that it doesn’t admit to.
And their need to survive at street level, is causing havoc for children who are well cared for and don’t wanna be violent.
She went on to tell me about the actual numbers of children who are suffering from abuse in this country and how they aren’t being supported by the system, which is why a charity like Kids Company, where people can literally walk in off the street and ask for help (and invariably get some kind of help) is unique and essential.
I’m appalled at our governments response that Kids Company closed due to “financial mismanagement”. It would be far better to ask why the government wouldn’t make a case to bail out a charity that picked up the huge overspill of children who needed help but aren’t given any by statutory services that exist already.
There are 1.5 million children being abused and neglected in Britain every year.
This is an internationally recognized figure.
The government makes funding available for 86,900.
So there’s a massive discrepancy, and actually if you look at the office of national statistics in the last 10 years, you will find that the child protection statistics are suspiciously consistent.
So last year we have 603,700 children referred to child protection, the bulk of them receive an assessment, (so someone does either a brief assessment or a more detailed assessment), but in the long run only 39,100 children were given a social worker and a plan and because social work departments get fined if they keep a child on that register more than a year, in the end after the year there were only 3,200 children left on that register.
And what you notice, because i have just had someone analyze it all, is that actually this is statistically within the same set of numbers year in year out, which means that our child protection system is not responsive to the needs of children, it is a predetermined number of allowances into which abused children are fitting or being excluded from, and that in essence is the problem, the state doesn’t step in to protect children who have been harmed, therefore children who have been harmed have to initiate their own survival. And that can look ugly.
There is no way to look at what has happened and not feel the significance of the wider picture. These children are being failed by us all. The one place they relied on some help from, has gone, and reading the mainstream media’s narrative, no-one cares about them.  And with that idea floating around a mind that already is “surviving trauma”, what hope can we have of healing these poor troubled amazing children to take part in society and follow the wishes of any individual/community let alone government rather than continue along some unresolved, unsupported, unloved path.

I’m so pleased and proud to say that BABYHOOD has won an Award, after being part of Culture Unplugged Festival.

“To share with you in brief, a different guest panel of visionaries is invited for each festival to watch a small selection of films and identify the film that is most conscious in its selection of story, vision, and art of filmmaking—that awakens the global citizens and helps them usher life toward a new direction. ”

As well as making me literally jump for joy, it has propelled me into my next film with a deep sense of commitment.

This time I want to make a film that looks at childhood, in particular the process of being a child, and how the modern world is stealing so many elements of growing up from our children.

It has grown out of my questioning of the systems in place around schooling. As my 5yr old revels in the wonder of the world around him, I strive to keep that wonderment in place and have chosen not to send him to school.

Schools are testing children at younger and younger ages, and failing children at every level. Nature is being branded as a commodity, along with technology replicating real life experiences.

I want to question all of this and more.

Its complicated.

I will be uploading small clips here soon, let me know if this appeals to you, or if you have a story to tell.

peace and joy x

DVD

I have just made a new batch of DVD’s that are now ready to buy for £9.99 plus P&P. Get them while you can!
email me: katejangra [at] gmail [dot] com

FTDYWB

It seems like this year has whizzed past. My second little one is now reaching his first birthday, and so it is exactly a year since i finished making Babyhood.

I can’t believe how much my life has changed, but also how much my film seems to have resonated with people throughout 2012, so much so that I am involved in a pilot scheme in my area which sets out to improve the life of children.  I am part of a government funded “co-design” group, and we have decided to create a series of drop-ins specifically focused on pregnant women, new mums and mums with little one’s under a year. We are also creating an alternative Bounty Pack, which will have a copy of my film in it.

As I live in Westminster in London, we are a very densely populated ward, and therefore we are trying to help all kind of women from different backgrounds. Some of them have great attitudes towards babies, some have forgotten how to listen to their instincts. It is a great challenge, but fascinating, as what is clear from every angle is that attachment theory is something that everyone needs to be better versed in. And that gives me great joy. We are at last starting to make a difference to the lives of our children and their lives as adults if we can help them at this vulnerable and so important stage of life.

🙂

I just found this review of Babyhood on Sausage Mama.

How I wish I’d seen this documentary when I was first pregnant. How I wish I’d seen this when I was pregnant again, so I could be gently reminded what direction I wanted things to go in parenting wise with my toddler. How THANKFUL I am to see this now, when we seem to have gotten a little unbalanced with technology and ‘entertainment’ instead of ‘playing’ with my 4 year old and my almost 2 year old. As always, I’m reminded to simplify, simplify. Just as I’m getting ansy about not getting back into the workforce yet, because I would like some nice stuff for once, I’m thankful to be brought back down to Earth.

I am so pleased to find things like this out there! Thanks Sausage Mama!!

I just watched Plan B’s TEDx talk. I am full of admiration for him and feel there are a few parallels in my film. Especially the stuff  he says about the riots. It is time we face up to this demonisation of young people and turn it around. It has been going on so long it is ingrained and no wonder so many people can’t see straight, and are so quick to judge. I have worked with and try to keep in touch with some of my local young people, and they don’t feel like “society” cares about them.

Camila Batmanghelidjh said to me during my interview with her:

i think the political world is missing a trick, because it’s continuously described these children and young people at street level in a derogatory way so its referred to them as feral, scroungers, benefit , lazy characters and so on and what that does is that it pushes the child more into a space of shame with this all-powerful all-encompassing leading figure represented by government and the narratives of the media , its seen as having all the power. after a while what will happen is a collective of the powerless will emerge , where they all get together and they all describe the abuse of the powerful, and what we could feel at street level, was actually that the tension was building up and the rage was building up and the kids were saying “the government hates us, they don’t care about us.” what they couldn’t hear from the government is anything about protecting them, had the government said in its narrative, “all children deserve protection and care, we find it unacceptable for children and young people to be in threatening gangs when they should be flourishing and having a sense of safety”, then those kids in gangs would be thinking they are talking about us they want to protect us, so they are on our side, and your chances of then that child pulling away from that gang and joining mainstream society is greater then is you just keep that child in the bad corner, and i think in that sense the government missed a trick.

I hope that Plan B’s work and iLL Manors do something towards changing public attitudes towards young people. And my film too! 😉

check this out too…

i feel compelled to write about why i had to make my film and what i hope it might achieve.

when i got pregnant i was running a small business and spent much of my time working. As my tummy grew i started to take my foot off the peddle and felt a growing desire to experience the process my body was going through. It was an amazing thing, and out of this awe came a deep sense of respect for my body as a woman and for this baby who was growing inside me.

When i eventually gave birth I felt as if i was reborn myself, nothing i had done previously in my entire life even started to compare to the elation of giving birth to this baby. I can look at the photo’s taken at that moment now and feel again the freshness of birth, the feat of birthing, the pain mixed with pure pure joy. the overwhelming love of this immaculate creature.

the next weeks and months are a blur, but what i do remember was listening to the communication my baby was showing me. each cry meant something, and i would spend hours trying to decipher it. i would sometimes be outside and hear other babies crying and feel compelled to pick them up and comfort them, allowing them the release of their emotions and letting them know that their cry did mean something to this wide open space they have now come to inhabit. Imagining the cosy comfort of a womb, and the beauty of always being nourished without having even conceived those feelings of hunger, air, cold, noise, space…

listening to our babies first cries is probably the first way we can start to see them as individuals, begin to understand that they too will grow up and be people just like us one day.

and for me the responsibility sometimes seemed too much to bear, the idea that through our relationship i would help him to become a confident, secure, loved and loving individual. Huge. But each day i would find myself growing with him, allowing him to discover the world around him and being there for him to come back to my warm embrace when his exploring took him out of his comfort zone. My respect for him grew, and in the first year i tried not to lay any boundaries, so that he would be true to his primal instincts without me layering my experiences of the world on top of his, so he became a mini version of me. i found other ways of saying no. He climbed the stairs, we spent hours walking the streets so he could open and close every gate. i found a way of being able to respond to his cries of pain in a way that didn’t communicate my feelings of worry to him. our love affair grew and grew, and continues to grow and i learned to respect him as a human being.

Respecting our babies and children means listening to them, means not lying to them, means finding strategies to help them to form boundaries, means not hitting them, not punishing them, not feeding them a load of junk that has huge health implications for them in the future. I made my film in order to address these issues, to help other mothers out there to listen to their own instincts and find their own way with their babies. But most of all to give our babies a sense of ease in the world, to feel they do have a voice, and it is as important as any other.

we are all equal.

we need to realise this and believe it.

we can do anything, we just need to trust ourselves.

our babies arrive in moments of passion and pleasure – lest we forget

this is human. this is life. respect it.

This word is so loaded.

And so important.

I bumped into a friend today who is a Family Therapist and she has just watched the film, and she said she agreed with it…all of it. Her training taught her many of the things expressed in the film.

Especially with attachment theory.

What she said then has been food for thought for me for the last few hours.

When Suzanne Zeedyk talks about learning to calm down in the film, she explains that as adults we need to help our children calm down when they are upset. They need us to love them no matter how difficult they are being (and as a mother of a toddler – that can be monstrously difficult at times).

And it is in these exchanges, when they are most upset that the attachment bond forms. Not in the easy nice times that are so …easy.

It is when your child is pushing you off the edge of a cliff that they are learning about attachment…(and so are you!)

Fascinating huh?

Last night after the screening someone commented on the film, and I want to share it:

Wonderful film. I love how the emotional needs of children were highlighted so simply – finally attachment parenting is described as it should be – like a unique dance, not based on a set of practices but about honoring the needs of parent AND child.

“A unique dance” – what a wonderful way of describing it.