The following post is from Charlotte Brody, Vice President of Health Initiatives for the BlueGreen Alliance.
All of us have complicated relationships with our mothers. But most of us don’t have the blend of grace, talent and chutzpah to display that relationship in an award-winning documentary. Judith Helfand is the exception and her 1997 film A Healthy Baby Girl is the extraordinary, funny and moving result.
A Healthy Baby Girl explains how toxic chemicals in the mother can harm the daughter and destroy her reproductive health. In the film, Judith tells that story of her mother and the thousands of other mothers who took the drug DES to prevent miscarriage.
DES is the drug that revealed the tragedy of endocrine disrupting chemicals that only show their toxic effects years after exposure. DES damages the reproductive system of the developing child, causing cervical cancer that is only diagnosed decades after exposure. Judith is one of the DES daughters who was diagnosed with this cancer in her 20s, and the film tells her family’s story of learning about Judith’s diagnosis and the cause of her disease.
Science now recognizes that the intergenerational damage caused by DES can come from industrial chemicals as well as pharmaceutical chemicals. DDT, BPA and dioxin are also endocrine disrupting chemicals whose damage can reveal itself years after exposure.
A Healthy Baby Girl is being released on iTunes for the first time. The trailer and movie can be found here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/a-healthy-baby-girl/id847565736.
It is a story about greedy drug companies. It is a story about the activism of health-impacted young women. It is a story about endocrine disrupting chemicals. But at its heart it is an autobiographical love story about a mother and daughter worth downloading, worth seeing again if you have seen it before, and worth giving on Mother’s Day to even the most complicated of mothers.