People have a lot of opinions about pregnancy and childbirth, and not all of them are true. The media certainly doesn’t help in perpetuating these stereotypes and myths, and most movies get the whole process totally wrong. Here are the top things the media gets wrong about pregnancy and the process of having a kid.
1. Getting pregnant when you’re middle aged is a breeze
Anyone who’s seen Bridget Jones’s Baby knows about this old trope. But women over 40 often have more trouble conceiving than the “accidental” pregnancies that often go down for middle aged women in films. Without the assistance of a doctor, the naturally lower ovarian reserve and quality of eggs makes things much more difficult.
2. All infertility issues are the woman’s fault
We find this to be a particularly rude stereotype, and it’s not true since men and women are pretty much at the same place when it comes to who faces more infertility. Infertility occurs to at least 30% of men, so why is it that women get all the blame on the big screen?
3. With the right guy, comes the baby that was meant to be
Rarely do we see a movie where the woman has frozen her eggs or is having a kid whilst single. It’s a bummer that we don’t see too many on-screen examples of a woman raising her kid alone, since it’s a pretty common scenario. However, it’s still completely stigmatized in movies – either bae leaves, or it’s a surprise rather than a conscious choice to be a mother.
4. She goes between hot panicked mess and ditzy shallow princess
Instead of being seen as an actual human being with her own individual personality (it doesn’t all go away with pregnancy, people). Her life as we know it disappears and she turns into “crazy pregnant lady.” Outside of this shrill stereotype is the ditz one.
5. In terms of the birth, they just push it out and get it over with
Many midwives and doulas believe in being conscious, aware, and connected to your child in the process of labor and pregnancy. There’s sometimes screaming through delivery, but or positions, including hands and knees and squatting. It’s not just lying on your back with knees splayed for a few minutes. Women are strong warriors and the process isn’t as mechanical as Hollywood wants you to think.
6. Pregnant in the snap of the fingers
Many couples go through IVF, surrogacy, or other situations when trying to have a baby. But in the movies, they’re seen getting pregnant the first time they try, or by accident. While an accidental pregnancy is certainly a reality, it’s not the most common way that trying couples get pregnant. Having a child is something that many women yearn for, and plenty of feelings of inadequacies come with that. Inaccurate scenes in movies can worsen that.
7. Midwives only show up in a crisis
In movies, when the husband goes missing, or the wife has been abandoned in some other ways, the midwife shows up. It’s almost like they treat her like an emergency band-aid, rather than a well-planned process months in advance. It’s not all chaos and ridiculous hippies – midwives and doulas are a device for empowered mums, not a high-risk or miscalculated decision.
8. Birth is a complete horror show
There’s certainly nothing easy about having a baby, but movies have a responsibility to stop making the birthing experience more terrifying and exorcism-like than it actually is. All births are different, from ones with an epidural to c-sections. But even when labor pain is experienced, it is a powerful pain rather than one akin to disease or trauma, and films should depict it as such.
9. First come contractions, then come the baby
Beyond the dramatic movie screams that are often used to depict pregnancy, contractions are also something frequently fictionalized. OBGYN doctors say that it’s not too common that a woman’s water will break and immediately be followed with intense contractions. Contractions can come before the water breaks, or it can be delayed by hours, days or weeks after the rupture.
10. Glowing skin and a full face of makeup through the pregnancy
Even when they’re not wearing flawless makeup, these women look more like radiant supermodels than exhausted messes after giving birth. It would be nice to see a more realistic depiction rather than a fashion magazine glow. Many women develop hormonal acne and other skin problems during pregnancy. Something called chloasma makes facial skin darken, while others get a black line down their stomach. This is never depicted in the cinema!