BRUSSELS - A film by Arielle Sleutel & Dorothee van den Berghe. A documentary about ‘giving up your child ‘.
Adopting a child has become increasingly common. But do we wonder where the children come from? Most babies given up for adoption still have a mother. The woman who brought the baby into the world, but could not keep it. The biological mother or birthmother. A forgotten group of women with a hidden sorrow.
Motherhood is a very emotive issue. Abandoning your child is frowned upon. Nonetheless, adoption is generally seen as a good thing. Many movies and books deal with the growing pains of adopted children, many TV programmes with the suffering of adoptive parents. The woman who gives her child away never gets a voice.
In this documentary, two women talk about their unplanned pregnancies, and why they felt forced to abandon their children. Making the decision is one thing, life afterwards is something else. How do you cope with it? How do you live with it?
Marie Helene Elleboudt and Isabelle Leroy have both struggled with their decision and their loss. Only when they found their children did their lives get back on track.
Arielle Sleutel: "A few years ago we adopted a newborn baby. She was immediately our daughter, 100%. At the same time she was, and remains, the daughter of this young woman who gave her up. During the first six months the birth mother was entitled to reverse her decision and take her baby back. That was a very intense and beautiful period. I did not know what to wish for my daughter. I only wanted the best for her, without knowing what that was.
It is this issue which shapes the decision of a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy, knowing that the answer will determine the rest of her life. From that moment onwards, the figure of the 'birth mother' preoccupied me. I definitely wanted to give her a voice, a face. “
Dorothée van den Berghe: "Parenting, in whatever form, is a subject close to my heart. The two women we portrayed had a life-determining choice to make. Thinking about choices is often internalized, doubts which you don’t process stay with you, and you carry them everywhere. It is this aspect that I want to shoot: the daily activities of the women, the places they visit, the objects they cherish, whilst all the time carrying this one question with them. “
The Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism is a project of the independent non-profit organisation Journalismfund.eu established with the purpose of keeping the memory of Pascal Decroos alive and continuing his life's work. Contact
Pascal Decroos Fund for investigative journalism vzw Rozenweg 4b B-1731 Zellik Belgium