Much like watching The Graduate the week before one’s wedding is probably not a good idea, so too are there entertainment options to be avoided during one’s pregnancy. In the past week I’ve managed to partake of two of them. Scanning our library the other night for something to read, I landed on The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I knew zilch about it other than it’s one of those Books You’re Supposed to Read and that it also falls into the subcategory Especially If You’re a Woman. So I did, in abject horror. Short version: in a near-future dystopia, women’s worth is tied solely to their ability to pop out babies. Children they had before the social revolution are taken from them and children they produce post-revolution are given to more important families. Well isn’t that just a comforting little page turner when you’re in a delicate condition?
Last night, my husband and I hit the Georgetown googleplex for Star Trek. Don’t get me wrong. It, like The Handmaid’s Tale, is well crafted. But its opening sequence involves a harrowing labor and delivery scene and a larger outcome that is utterly depressing.
This pregnancy-in-pop-culture flagellation has me thinking about what else I might want to avoid for the next three months. My Netflix Non-Queue thus far:
Children of Men — A co-worker raised this point and while I’ve already seen it, I’m not thinking a replay any time soon of a movie where the one pregnant chick left on the planet is hunted down is a good idea. We’d like to continue thinking that the most challenging hurdle we’ll face in devising our route to the hospital is whether to take Rock Creek Parkway or the Key Bridge — not how we’ll navigate barbed wire, bombs, and jack-booted totalitarian law enforcement.
Sophie’s Choice — No or no? I’m going to go with no. There — choice made!
Steel Magnolias — I do love the idea of little seersucker-decked Southern boys named Jackson and my kidneys are just fine, thank you, but this is off the list. Given the choice between 30 minutes of wonderful and a lifetime of nothing special I’ll split the difference and settle for another 70 years of pretty cool and not watching this movie for the next three months.
Rosemary’s Baby — You know all those articles in the magazines and online about how reading to your unborn baby can help you bond with it and increase its verbal ability or how eating certain foods can mean the difference between it being accepted early admission or wait-listed at UVA? Helpful, to be sure, but really I just need to know what I have to do to keep my unborn baby from being Satan’s spawn.
My Life — Under ordinary circumstances I find this one hard to watch for reasons ranging from subject matter to saccharine cinematic hamfistedness. But now, spending two hours with the concept of a terminally ill husband recording video diaries for the unborn child? Yeahnooo.
A Beautiful Mind — For those with absent-minded spouses this movie’s bathtub scene is a tad squirm-inducing. I’m trying to reduce my nervous laughter and shifty eyed paranoia while curled up on the couch with my spouse. That said, my man is also wicked smaht.
Batman Returns/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — Will my baby have flippers? Be a 90-year-old homunculus? Who’s to say?! Those are just two of the questions that pregnant women get to have a ball obsessing over for nine months! (nervous laughter, shifty eyed paranoia) Regardless, those are not questions I want to ponder during the time I’ve set aside for escapist entertainment. Movies are mommy’s no-thinkin’ time.
And although Trainspotting may seem to be a glaring omission from this list, it’s really not. I’ve always prided myself on being able to hold my heroin.