"One time I was in rehab, and they were talking about how there is an original body of pain. And you create more pain on top of that trying to handle the original thing that hurt you.”
— Ashley Ramey
For pregnant women facing addiction, recovery is a family affair rife with judgment, stigma and plenty of obstacles along the way. Original Body of Pain captures the intense and often generational nature
of addiction through portraits of two women trying to escape its
clutches and a nurse dealing with the medical consequences. But infant drug withdrawals, relapses, and incarcerations will test their resolve and
threaten their families' futures as these new mothers pursue recovery.
Set in Asheville, NC, the film follows Lisa and Ashley through pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond by profiling the highs and lows of motherhood — from first steps and birthday parties, to drug withdrawal, personal traumas, and relapses. Meanwhile, home health nurse Joanna Christoph treats the emerging issue of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — when babies are born exposed to substances — with both grit and heart while struggling to make a dent in a community with an unrelenting demand for her help. For over a year, the film follows this particular case within the larger American opioid epidemic in an
immersive, longitudinal fashion.
Told with compassion, integrity and love, Original Body of Pain documents the bravery and resilience of three strong women at different intersections of the opioid crisis, and makes a compelling statement for sympathy and understanding for those suffering from addiction. Through these women's stories, the film depicts the lasting effects of childhood trauma, confronts the judgement surrounding those suffering from addiction, and questions the efficacy of attempts to address the opioid crisis.