The feminist movement has achieved a lot, from the legalisation of first trimester abortion to new divorce laws right up to the first female crime scene investigator on TV. But the practice of obstetrics has remained largely unchanged. And in Maria Leitn values and gender images of the most conservative and rural kind prevail, even though Vienna is only an hour’s ride away. This is where Liesi and Hannah, two very different midwives, meet: the younger Liesi wants to break through barriers, Hannah’s path is one of diplomacy. What they have in common is their goal to enable women to give birth with dignity.
But the head doctor runs the maternity ward like an absolutist monarchy. He treats the patients disrespectfully and patronizingly. In the authoritarian climate of the ward, the head doctor and all the other doctors under his authority like to intervene in normal birth processes because the woman, as a helpless being, is ultimately dependent on them! Liesi and Hannah also chafe against the draconian working methods used by their older colleagues, who are still influenced by Nazi ideas: for the older midwives, women giving birth are enemies that must be processed and sedated.
Liesi and Hannah’s goal – treating the mothers with respect – is faced with many obstacles. But the two bring children into the world every day and cope with their everyday lives with subversive drive, determination and humour.
© berg hammer film, KGP Filmproduktion