Week 6: Digital Story Critique

Digital Story Critique: Story Corps "What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?"

This week I’m critiquing the podcast Story Corps ”What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?" about a young mother who was pregnant while in jail for taking drugs. The piece starts with Savannah Phelan, 8 asking and a sad child’s voice “Why did you go the jail?” that just pulls in the listener immediately. The voice the questions, perfect entry to the story. I will have been a fan of Story Corps for over ten years, I remember driving home on the 10 freeway crying so hard after listening to a piece on two 80 years old recounting how they met and fell in love. There is something so raw and real about the format. It’s just two people talking and there is power and beauty to that simplicity, no sound effects or fancy editing not even music just two people talking with a mic.


This particular story is one of tragedy and then redemption. The mother you can just tell in her gravely voice and working class accent that she did not have an easy life juxtaposed to the innocence of the her daughters voice made for such an interesting and powerful interaction. The daughter must have just found out that she was in jail while in the womb and was surprised and saddened why the revelation. The mother was honest and compassionate with her answers. And in the end said the most beautiful thing, “You are my angel you saved my life, I will forever be grateful to you. Not many people can say they saved their mothers life.”

Becoming a new father myself this story hit very close to home. It made me feel thankful that I have a normal life and can afford to house my child, and that is not the case for so many people who are struggling with drug addiction or just poverty. Life is not fair and I acknowledge that I did not earn all this in my life but it was gifted to me by the lottery of life. This story really helped me appreciate what I have right in front of me.