On Sunday night, after a long week at work, extensive activities with the kids, attending the #DVforum on family violence, I ended my week as a guest of the Heartfelt Foundation to watch Return to Zero. Only this is not like any other movie out there, and I must admit, I had to tell myself it was going to be ok in order to attend the premier. I knew very little about the movie except that this movie breaks the silence about stillbirth and how the repercussions can rip a family apart.
Return to Zero is based on a true story about a young couple, Maggie and Aaron, preparing for the birth of their first child. The story builds on their love, their mateship and their excitement about finally becoming parents. However, just weeks before the birth, they find out their baby has died in the womb and will be stillborn. Maggie must give birth to their stillborn child – a boy they named Arthur, before he is quickly taken away from them forever. With the immense loss they feel, they struggle through their relationship trying to mourn a loss of what might have been. Their story of denial, of being broken, of affairs and of drinking away the pain is so honest and surreal, revealing the true world of a stillborn family. After an accidental weekend away as one last attempt to sort out their marriage, this results in Maggie falling pregnant. Life is never as it seems and one baby can never replace another.
Maggie, played by Minnie Driver, was exceptional in her portrayal of a woman broken forever, especially in the scene where she gave birth to Arthur, her stillborn son. My tears were uncontrollable, and I mean uncontrollable as you could feel every contraction, feel every tiny glimmer of hope the doctors were wrong and baby Arthur would be fine. Kleenex, thank you for saving me from being a complete mess.
Aaron, played by Paul Adelstein was excellent in his emotional support for his wife. However, his loss was just as deep and his fall from the real world was harder. As I watched him being pushed away by Maggie and pulling himself away from a life he never thought possible, it was difficult to see how they could possibly return to their life before Arthur.
I have a couple of beautiful friends who volunteer their time for the Heartfelt Foundation, photographing life while death is watching. Such an amazing organisation and the work they do should be applauded. It takes a special person to give this unique gift to a complete stranger and I hold you on a pedestal for your commitment. Heartfelt rely on volunteers and donations to be able to capture beautiful memories for families who have been touched by a stillborn birth. If you would like to donate, this is the place to head.
I am a very lucky woman who has 4 beautiful, healthy and happy children.