A short film about Andrea’s virtual tummy time class during the pandemic
As we all began to deal with the adjustments that needed to be made at the onset of the pandemic, I was not sure what I had to offer without being able to be physically present with my clients.
As a bodyworker, I felt dependent on being, at least in the same room, if not touching the people I work with. However, as the weeks passed in mid-March and early-April, emails and calls began coming in, asking me if I could consult and offer my weekly Tummy Time class virtually. Initially my response was, “nope,” but as I contemplated the possibilities, I decided to give it a try.
A New Opportunity
Before I even taught my first class, Ethan contacted me to ask if I would be interested in doing a 3-minute short film on my process to submit for a Vimeo grant, featuring small business owners pivoting at the dawn of the shutdown. The film was to be shot remotely, following physical distance protocol. I honestly had so much extra time on my hands, that a creative project, although challenging for me, was a welcomed opportunity.
Armed with my very old computer, in my small apartment, I launched my first virtual tummy time class series!
I found the first class very difficult, speaking to my computer screen, the participants muted, as I presented material, and rolled my babydoll around on the floor. The stark difference from being in a room full of babies and their caregivers, vs. this new virtual reality, demonstrated how much I relied on real-time responses, eye contact, facial expressions from class participants, as well as the ability to see the infant’s movements and the parent’s faces in the same “frame.” But, I was excited to be able to offer something to parents during this very isolating and anxious phase that was new for all of us, while caring for a newborn.
It was a quick process to get the Vimeo submission in, which we did not win. However, Ethan’s interest and commitment to the subject continued, and he chose to expand the project to a longer short film than originally intended.
The intention of this short film is to tell the story of the parallel journeys of my transition from a full in-person practice to a virtual pandemic version, alongside the dynamic transitional experience parents are on with their newly arrived infants, compounded by the stay-at-home-order lifestyle we were all adjusting to.
This film does not go into a depth explanation of Craniosacral therapy, we will have to leave that for another film occasion. My deepest gratitude to Ethan for his interest, willingness, skill, and care he put into this project. As well as the wonderful families that were willing to participate via zoom, and submit video’s from the past to help fill in the story.
I would also like to note that not all birthparents and care givers identify with the label “mother,” and I regret choosing that label when describing the gestational nervous system imprinting process. It would have been more accurate to say birthparent in that case. My apologies for the lack of inclusion in my language on the voice over recorded.
I have continued to offer virtual Tummy Time classes, and will do so until we can gather again in person.
As we approach the one year mark of the stress-inducing pandemic, the tools we use to regulate our nervous systems to stay calm in the face of disruption are increasingly valuable.
“Soft Wiring” follows an Oakland-based craniosacral therapist, Andrea Byers, as she transitions her bodywork practice to remotely seeing infants and their caregivers, guiding them through the most critical point in their babies young lives: how to “wire” their nervous systems.
Soft Wiring, a Hover Pictures production
Directed and Photographed by Ethan Goldwater
Art Direction by Linda Mai Green
Illustrations and Animation by Anamaria Morris
Edited by Nathaniel Garafalo
Additional Editing: Linda Mai Green, Ethan Goldwater
Sound mix by Calvin Pia
Music by Hendrik Weber/Panthu Du Prince
Oakland, CA 2020