Ebby Magazine




Lauren Aboulafia, an accomplished animator and director, talks about her autobiographical short film SUPER SCAR, which depicts a new mother's unexpected fight to maintain her sanity amid the chaos of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Lauren shares her traumatic delivery experience and her creative process for SUPER SCAR.



LAUREN ABOULAFIA is a creator, actor, director, host, writer and animator. She is the Winner of the Best Actress in a Comedy at SeriesFest for a pilot, she starred in and co-wrote “Broker,”- about a zany and broke struggling actor who enters the unexpectedly hostile world of commercial real estate and finds herself acting the part of her life.

Lauren received honors and a degree in arts from the University of Washington and the British American Drama Academy. She performed on stage at Interlochen, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Jewish Women's Theatre, the Groundlings, and UCB. Some of her TV roles include NBC's Superstore, Mistresses, Mixology, and Nickelodeon's True Jackson, to name a few. Film roles include the lead in the highly acclaimed indie comedy $50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story. In addition, she created a Web series called Feel Goods, a comedy about the different things that make people feel good. Her solo show titled Moving On Up received critical acclaim.

Over the last few months, Lauren has received glowing reviews for performing Super Scar, based on her traumatic birth story. Super Scar draws from Lauren's true-life experience, which she shares openly. Her story helps women see they are all warriors when they overcome their trauma. Lauren is a member of the Maternal Mental Health NOW's (MMHN) Postpartum Tales Storytellers Network and the Jewish Women's Theater, where she is an artist-in-residence. She is very grateful to them for helping her develop her story.

During quarantine times, Lauren taught herself animation. She developed Super Scar into an animated short that shares Lauren's real-life traumatic birth experience with humor and humanity. After giving birth three months early, Lauren struggled to stay sane amidst the madness of the NICU. In telling her story, Lauren learns to be grateful for all the goodness in her life, especially her new scar, which ultimately symbolizes her newfound warrior spirit.

Speaking with Ebby Magazine over coffee, Lauren discusses her story.

Tell us about your birthing experience.

After I had my first baby, I was a mess. The birth experience wasn't what I expected. I felt very anxious and alone, so I attended these mom support groups. I'd get there, chit-chat with the other moms, and then I'd tell my birth story: I had abdominal hemorrhaging at 30 weeks. I was rushed into emergency surgery. My baby's fetal heart rate dropped while I was in the recovery room, so they rushed me back for an emergency C-section. My son spent two months in the NICU, and while he was there, he caught a hospital-borne infection that led to meningitis, and he almost died. I'd look around the room and see all these other moms, and their jaws would be on the floor. So I'd say, "Fortunately, that was my exact birth plan."

That's right; laughter is the best medicine.

I always found ways to tell my birth story with a touch of humor and humanity. First, I started working with Maternal Mental Health Now and sharing my story in an effort to destigmatize postpartum mental health struggles. Then I turned it into a monologue for Jewish Women's Theater. Finally, as my COVID project, I taught myself animation and animated my story.

The more I shared, the more I realized how many other moms have dramatic, bizarre, heartbreaking, and hilarious stories to tell too. All you have to do is listen to Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, Jessi Klein, or Natasha Leggero talk about their pregnancies and births to realize that there are some really funny moms out there getting really real about their pregnancies, childbirth, and lives after birth, and there's an audience eager for these stories.

So, my husband gave me the idea to animate my story, and I created and animated a short called SUPER SCAR.

What are you doing now?

I'm currently on day 4 of using dry shampoo and running around a lot with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old. Finding balance is hard, and I do better when I exercise, find some alone time to recharge, and spend time with friends. I am performing my story and hosting, and I recently found a new love of doing voice-overs. I also do commercial real estate with my husband. Yeah, I know it's a lot, but it works!

What is your journey now?

I decided to have a second baby three years later because I wanted to retell my story and have a "normal" pregnancy. Unfortunately, I tore the Lisfranc joint in my right foot at around five months pregnant. I was bedridden and couldn't put any weight on my foot for the remainder of my pregnancy, which included some dark days. I really struggled and learned AGAIN about having a false sense of control and that motherhood is no easy journey. I like to be in control, but my traumatic birth experience, the greatest struggle of my life, and the pandemic were profound reminders that control is a mere illusion. All we can control is our response to life's challenges.

But in the end, my struggles have anchored me in realizing what's really important. This is my ultimate journey now. I try to practice this on a daily basis and focus on what I can control, which is my responses to life.

I'm grateful for having two healthy kids; Abraham, aka "Abie," is now 4; Ziggy just turned 1; and a loving husband, family, and friends.

What is the journey of the film Super Scar and yours to this point?

I really wasn't sure what would become of animating my story, but I really enjoyed the process. So then I decided to make a short film and submit it to film festivals.

The film won best animation at the LA Independent Film Awards (May 2022), premiered at the LA Shorts International Film Festival (July 2022), Malibu Film Festival (online March 2022), Toronto Women's International Film Festival (online February 2022), DTLAFF (September 2022), LA Femme International Film Festival (October 2022), LA Women in Film Festival (November 2022), and LA Animated Film Festival (November 2022).

What is happening next for you? For the film?

I am now creating an animated series based on my short, which I am super proud of and excited about.

What do you want the world to know and learn from this film?

Moms go through hell. People need to start talking about the real challenges of motherhood. My experience was specifically dealing with the roller coaster of the NICU and managing debilitating anxiety. I animated my story because I wanted others to know that they are not alone. Animating allowed me to express the intensity of my story but in a much more abstract and playful fashion. I loved animating. When you find something you're passionate about that gives you a sense of purpose, you become unstoppable. Because Ebby Magazine's mantra is Luxury for the soul.

How do you take care of yourself now after going through this journey?

I did a lot of therapy before I told my story and created my film. EMDR was crucial, as well as Maternal Mental Health Now.

Do you meditate? Or what is your equivalent to the meditations that get you through the day?

I LOVE breathwork. If I can do even 10 minutes of breathwork or meditate a day, I feel better. I also really like gratitude lists. Do I do this every day? NO. Do I wish I did? Yes. Maybe I will start tomorrow.

What is your inspiration to keep you moving forward and continue healing?

Helping other women inspires me and ignites my fire. Also, feeling creative gives me a sense of purpose and makes life more meaningful.

How do you take care of yourself so you can care for your family and the world through your art?

Exercise, therapy, friends, baths, breathwork, a loving husband, and wine.


Lauren is a member of Maternal Mental Health NOW's (MMHN) Postpartum Tales Storytellers Network. MMHN provides education and training on mental health disorders during pregnancy and postpartum to those serving new and growing families. MMHN also invites survivors of prenatal and postpartum mental health issues to tell their stories to let others know they are not alone.