Louisiana Film Prize 2020 winner: ‘Untitled Post-Baby Project’ is #MomLife101

The 2020 Louisiana Film Prize announces Lorna Street Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT as the winner of the $25,000 Grand Prize

A young woman struggles with postpartum depression while trying to adjust to motherhood.

Motherhood. How does one explain the one thing in a woman’s life that allows for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows? There is no manual for raising a human being. Sure, there are innumerable books written on the subject and you’re never short on those wanting to give you unsolicited advice, but until you’re in the thick of it, it is unexplainable. How can you feel an unfathomable amount of love for a person you barely know? Lorna Street Dopson‘s award-winning short film Untitled Post-Baby Project gives the viewer a tiny glimpse into the mind of a Mom. From feelings of inadequacy, elation, anger, frustration, the loss of any sense of self, not to mention the physical transformation. No one tells you how hard motherhood can be, sometimes minute to minute. While Dopson’s on-screen husband Jeremy Sande was one of the most supportive men I’ve seen, I fear some partners may be unable to grasp how to support a mom, especially a new one. The first year is a whirlwind. The editing of the film is actually a perfect metaphor for the inconsistency of feelings that surround everything from lack of sleep, breastfeeding, milestones, personal care, postpartum depression, the list goes on and on. One of the most poignant is the concept of “mom-shaming”, as social media often traffics in the idea of being the “Perfect Mom”. We all know that behind the smiles and baked goods on Instagram, are Moms screaming at kids to “Smile!” or “Don’t touch, I’ll do it!” We’re not doing each other any favors.

As a 40-year-old mother of a 3 and 4-year-old (yes, they’re 15 months apart), this film hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to correct myself while watching. I thought, “Is she really looking at her image and thinking she’s fat?! Are you freaking kidding me?!” Then I stopped and remembered that my own OBGYN shamed me for fitting back into my pre-baby clothes at my 6-week postpartum appointment. And yet, almost 5 years later I STILL hate how my body has changed since then. Untitled Post-Baby Project reminded me to take a step back. Someone who considers herself a “motherhood is tough as hell and you don’t have to pretend to be great at it because we’re all just trying to survive” advocate. I plan on making t-shirts soon. I only recently learned that Postpartum Anxiety is a thing! Mom Guilt is definitely a thing. It’s not all negative, certainly not. Never do you feel more excited than when your child achieves something new or smiles at you. The quiet moments when a baby sleeps in your arms is glorious. It’s all in there. Every last bit of emotion. Lorna Street Dopson has taken a fearless and honest approach to storytelling. It’s an important little film worthy of a big audience.

Produced by Lorna Street Dopson, Jimi Covert, Isaac Fenter
Cinematography by Jimi Covert
Edited by Stephen Bertucci, Lorna Street Dopson
Music by Jacob McSharma
Starring Lorna Street Dopson, Jeremy Sande

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.