In Mihaal Danziger’s “A Certain Mother” four Australian moms share their personal takes on motherhood and some of the unique, often relatable, issues they’ve had to confront in their role as mom.
The film is shot over the course of a day in each mother’s life. There’s a beautiful poignancy in this. The footage of their day is interwoven between scenes of each mom speaking directly to the viewer about their experiences and challenges. The important issues they discuss become the forefront of the film but the daily activities of parenting play out simultaneously, much like in life itself, where small acts of love exist side-by-side with broader issues of the day and may not always get appreciated in the moment but often become the selfless acts that shape our hearts and who we become.
The four mothers: Leticia, Barb, Louise, and Megan offer compelling insight and their stories will likely resonate with many viewers. Some of the themes they discuss include disability, mental health, body image, and relationships formed through foster care and adoption. Viewers will be drawn to each mother’s story differently but will ultimately find tremendous value in the ideas and messages expressed in each.
Raising a child with Down syndrome is discussed by Leticia whose amazing son Wade will capture every viewer’s heart. Their beautiful connection will inspire and give hope to those who may be at the beginning of their journey raising a child with a disability and are feeling anxious about what the future holds. While not without challenges, Leticia shows viewers that future can be one that is full of joy and extraordinarily good things.
Megan’s story will likely resonate with many people. She openly discusses her experience with postpartum depression, a subject that is thankfully being given more public attention these days and treated less like something taboo. Viewers who have experienced similar feelings will find comfort in Megan’s story and courage to begin their own conversations about mental health and motherhood.
Social media has had a horrible effect on how people, particularly women, feel about themselves. This combined with other forms of media and unwelcome comments about one’s appearance can destroy a person’s self-esteem. Louise is all about body positivity. Through her story viewers learn how she navigates the subject of body image with her young daughters and the creative efforts she goes to encouraging healthy outlooks and instilling an unshakeable sense of self-worth.
Barb comes across as the matriarch of the film. Everyone needs a Barb in their life. Her story focuses on relationships and family bonds formed through adoption and being a foster carer. Barb and her husband Dave have fostered more than 400 children. Barb’s story is especially moving and shines a light on how important it is to have safe and caring foster families in communities and how the deep connections formed between mother and child are sometimes born not from blood but also loving open hearts.
“A Certain Mother” offers beautifully authentic perspectives on what it means to be a mom. The important social issues it raises should lead to conversations as to how society can be more supportive to parents in a variety of ways, whether it’s providing more mental health support, additional resources for carers of those with intellectual or physical differences, or just creating a more positive environment for children and all people to thrive in. “A Certain Mother” is a film for all the moms out there, anyone who wants insight into motherhood, and all those who love or have ever loved a mom.
See “A Certain Mother” screening at Cinema Nova July 30th as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. For more information, visit: mdff.org.au.