A few weeks ago I received an email with a clip to a movie that will be coming out later this fall. I read the short blurb about the film and gave a sigh. A comedy, no, a farce, about a sperm donor mix up. I get it, sperm is funny. The word itself is funny to type and funny to say. It’s titillating because it’s not exactly a subject matter that is discussed openly and freely at the playground.
Unless you are me and the other playground moms ask if your son gets his height from his father and you reply, “No, the sperm donor wasn’t really that tall.” My family was made thanks to the help of a team of doctors and an anonymous sperm donor. When my son turns 18 the sperm bank will provide him with information about his donor, and, if my son wants to contact him, he can.
This is our reality. So you can understand why I get anxious about films that could potentially turn the very existence of my family into the butt of a joke. When it comes to sperm donor movies or “single woman who tries to have a baby on her own” movies, I have seen them all. Almost all of them are romantic comedies. Let me just tell you, THAT is funny.
I was thrilled when I heard Nina Davenport’s documentary, First Comes Love, was going to air on HBO as part of their Summer Documentary Series. In the documentary Nina chronicles her decision to have a baby on her own at the age of 41. It captures not only all of her emotions, but also the emotions of her friends and family. Some of my favorite scenes are when Nina interviews her nieces and nephews about conventional conception and parenting and you can just see their gears turning.
Nina is endearing as a New York/Brooklyn everywoman with a huge heart and loyal friends. Her film is honest and raw and I found myself cheering in the first act and a sobbing mess in the second. What I selfishly adore about First Comes Love is that it is both sperm donor movie AND a single woman who tries to have a baby on her own movie and it’s the only one that has ever gotten it right.
5 Things You Need to Know About First Comes Love:
1. The film airs on HBO July 29th at 9pm as part of HBO’s Summer Documentary Series. If you live in New York you can see the film when it opens at the IFC Center on July 24.
2. Nina Davenport is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been making films since 1994. The second film she made, Always a Bridesmaid, chronicled her life as a wedding videographer and is considered a prequel to First Comes Love.
3. The film is not just about Nina’s quest to become a mother. Nina also brings you into deeply complicated moments with her parents and siblings. Be prepared to sob. Have tissues at the ready.
4. If you have a best friend, you need to call her up and watch this over the phone with her. The love story between Nina and her best friend, Amy, is beautiful to see. As I watched the film I thought of all of my friends who supported me during my pregnancy and in those early years as a single mother. There are scenes between Nina and Amy that are so unbelievably tender and loving, and then there is a therapy scene I probably shouldn’t have giggled through.
5. Nina tries to get pregnant using a known donor (seriously wonderful story you must see) and IVF. She is very open with the process including the overwhelming injection schedule. Nina also includes interviews with several other single friends who are either already single moms by choice, or are trying to become ones. Not everyone has a happy ending and I appreciate that Nina included that in her film.
Image Credit: Nina Davenport
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