Monday, July 23, 2012

More Preemie Reviews: Little Man: A Documentary Film

Badger was away this weekend trying to find us a new home, so I hung out with a baby, ate a chicken box, and watched the six part BBC documentary Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State.  Let it be noted that I did not do all of these thing simultaneously, and I may be a sick fuck.

I also watched the documentary Little Man.  The film was made by a lesbian mom with a son by surrogacy, who was a micro preemie.  This film was incredibly painful to watch.  I've been watching a fair number of documentaries recently because we got a Roku, so I can watch any streaming Netflix content on our TV.  After watching those films, I've decided I don't really like the first person documentary.  As a genre, it's just too raw and emotional.  I know that some people really like that unmediated quality, but I prefer documentaries that are more measured and analytical.  Little man was very close to death multiple times in the film.  Those episodes are presented quite graphically (they filmed while he was in the NICU), and that was hard to watch, but harder was the relationship between his two moms.  I searched to see if they are still together, and was very surprised to see that they are.  In the film, their relationship was in the land somewhere between non-existant and totally dysfunctional.  Their conflict was centered around the fact that one of the moms had wanted to terminate the pregnancy when they found out that the baby was likely to have serious health issues, and the other mom insisted that they would continue the pregnancy.  After the baby was born, the filmmaking mom continued to want a high level of interventions, while the other mom did not.  Seeing the two of them react to each other from a place of anger, distance, and perceived superiority was just so upsetting.  I don't know how B and I would have survived without each other, and I don't know how we would have a relationship now if we had failed each other in such a fundamental way during LB's early life.  Overall, the film left me queasy and unsettled.  I think some of the ideas embedded in the film about neo-natal ethics, family, and relationships is probably quite interesting, but I was too close to some of the subject matter to be able to consider those bigger ideas.

I definitely would not recommend this film for recent preemie parents.


  1. I'm going back and reading your blog so you might get other comments from way back from me! I also watched this movie late last year and felt the same way about the couple (and had the same question). I found this article: which seems to indicate that they are not together any longer (unless they got back together after this?)

  2. I thought I saw some more recent article that said they had reconciled? I know it's totally not my business, but I would rather know that they had both moved on. I guess it's good if people can work through their issues and reconcile, but personally I just can't imagine it in this situation.