Movie and a Baby: Away We Go

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I hope you paid attention to the first part of that clip because that is me. No, that isn’t me in the movie but that is me at least once a week explaining to someone that I still have 3 months to go before I have this baby. “You look like you’re ready to pop!” “You’re only 6 months?!” These are not things a woman wants to hear when she knows she still has a good 10+ pounds of baby weight to gain with most of it being in her belly. (That being said, the recommended weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 lbs, as I am constantly being reminded by books, websites, random pieces of mail, etc. I have already gained over 40 lbs.)

BUT. About the movie. Away We Go is about a couple in their early thirties who are expecting their first child. With no jobs to tie them to their current home and with his parents about to move to Europe (hers have passed away), they go on a journey to look at different places where they might settle down to start their new family. The movie never really comfortably settles on a tone. It is a heartfelt-comedy. Most of the film is light-hearted but it’s difficult to laugh at the chuckle-worthy moments when they are punctuated by numerous serious issues such as parental abandonment, miscarriage, death, and the prevalent fear of loss and abandonment.

Despite all of that, the real star of the movie is Maggie Gyllenhaal who appears in just a few scenes as a beyond stereotypical Earth-mother caricature. There are no words for how ridiculously over-the-top her character is (she refuses to use strollers – “I love my children. Why would I want to push them away from me?!”, makes frequent judgemental remarks about any parenting decisions contrary to her own, has sex with her husband in front of her children, etc.). But Maggie plays the character straight, showing excellent comedic timing and bearing very little insult to those who do have an alternative view of parenting.

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Movie and a Baby: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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I did not have high expectations for What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It has the sort of ensemble cast that generally guarantees a formulaic script, non-existent directing, mediocre acting, and very few genuine laughs. Wellll…a lot of the movie feels like every other lackluster ensemble comedy from the past 15 years but there are a few moments of genuine insights and really, Joe Manganiello makes anything better.

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What I found most valuable about the movie was the honest (at heart) portrayal of how every journey to parenthood is different. It displayed a pregnancy from a one-night-stand, a celebrity pregnancy, a general crappy pregnancy, a perfect pregnancy, and an adoption. We saw excited parents, reluctant parents, young parents, an older parent, and even a miscarriage. It was real.

In one of the first baby books I read, Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, mentioned that you seem to see pregnant women everywhere once you become pregnant. It’s just like when you buy a new car and it suddenly seems like everyone has the same car. I swear I see 10 pregnant women a day, and they are all super thin and super glowy. But pregnancy isn’t all roses for everyone (though it is for some) and though this scene close to the climax of the film didn’t make me laugh-out-loud as much as the writers’ may have hoped it would, I did appreciate it’s honesty. Obviously this is a spoiler:

Movie and a Baby: Star Trek: Into Darkness

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Star Trek: Into Darkness is not at all about pregnancy or parenthood in the traditional sense but holy moly, watching this movie while dealing with pregnancy hormones made me feel all the feels. Two minor cries and one big ugly cry towards the end. Plus, I went to the morning show so someone had their baby with them (and took it out when it started fussing) but even seeing that baby made me feel more feels.

The Biggest Fear

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On Mother’s Day, PostSecret appropriately posted a number of mother related secrets. Here are my thoughts on one of them.

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We all saw Pretty in Pink and we know the more extreme stories: mothers who abandon their families, mothers who leave crying babies on doorsteps, mothers who abuse their children. We don’t talk about the less extreme, the mothers who tough it out but don’t really like it.

For years, I’ve heard the whispers of these mothers on the internet. They quietly wonder why no one talks about the days when they wish someone would take their baby or child away. They reluctantly admit that they sometimes wonder what their lives would have been like if they had remained unencumbered and free. And how quickly they are condemned by those mothers who maybe didn’t want kids but whose entire lives were changed for the better once they did.

This is one of my fears: resenting my child. I don’t think I will suffer the way this mother suffers but I wonder what moments will arise, what moments of selfishness. How many times will I break down in tears because I won’t be able to get the baby to stop crying? How many nights out with my friends will I have to pass up? How many dreams will I have to finally pull the life support plug on?

The movie Riding in Cars with Boys is a movie based on the memoir of Beverly D’Onofrio, the story of how she went from being a teenage mother in the ’60s to a successful editor and writer. Watching the movie, which has quite a few major differences from the book, I always felt a kinship with the Beverly character as played by Drew Barrymore. She was headstrong, creative, ambitious, and selfish. The mistakes she made were mistakes that I could see myself making.

*SPOILER ALERT* Throughout the film, we see the negative impacts that Beverly’s ambition and selfishness have on her son’s life. At the climax of the film, he, now a young college aged-man says to his mother:

… it’s my fault. I’m what went wrong in your life. You know, you wrote a book about it.

A bit later, she responds with:

I want to make something clear. I don’t think I would’ve been better off without you. You are not what went wrong with anything. You were what saved me. I want to thank you for that. Okay?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life that have torpedoed any dreams I once may have had of what my life would look like. Any problems and failures in my life are my own fault. I don’t want to treat my Pipsqueak as my saviour (I already have one of those) but I don’t want to make the same mistake Beverly did. I hope my self-awareness is enough to protect us both from that urge.

Movie and a Baby: Rosemary’s Baby

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If you for some reason don’t know anything about Rosemary’s Baby, this post is just a big ol’ spoiler.

I mentioned before and I should mention again that I typically fall asleep during movies. This isn’t something new. I’ve done it for years. (Never in a movie theatre, mind you, just in home settings.) As a movie buff, I have a lot of thoughts about what falling asleep during a movie can add or subtract to the viewing experience, but I digress. The point is that I fell asleep around 5 minutes into Rosemary’s Baby and woke up when there were about 10 minutes left in the movie. But that’s okay. I’ve watched the movie a number of times and read the book at least twice.

So, why did I decide to watch this movie again while pregnant? Oh, who knows? Perhaps my subconscious was looking for a connection with Rosemary. She feels a complete loss of control throughout her pregnancy as her husband and neighbors plot, scheme, and manipulate her to ensure her pregnancy goes according to their plans. Likewise, I feel a complete loss of control of my body and of my life, which at times seems to be spiraling away from me.

Perhaps it was my way of addressing one of the (many) fears I have for the child. (Again, I’ve mentioned the whole fear-of-no-eyes thing.) What if I give birth to a psychopath? I actually dreamt that! What if I only think I know who the father of my child is but in truth the pipsqueak is really the spawn of Satan? What an interesting episode of Maury that would be…

Whatever my reasons for watching this movie, as with Waitress, the movie ends with a mother showing unwavering love for her child despite all of the odds.

Movie and a Baby: Waitress

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Dr. Jim Pomatter
So… What seems to be the problem?

Jenna Hunterson
Well, I seem to be pregnant.

Dr. Jim Pomatter
Good. Good for you. Congratulations.

Jenna Hunterson
Thanks, but I don’t want this baby.

Dr. Jim Pomatter
Oh, well, we don’t perform… uh…

Jenna Hunterson
No, I’m keeping it, I’m just telling you I’m not so happy about it, like everybody else might be. So maybe you can be sensitive and not congratulate me and make a big deal every time you see me. I’m having the baby, and that’s that. It’s not a party, though.

Dr. Jim Pomatter
Got it, okay, not a party.

Waitress tells the story a Jenna, a young pie-making genius working as a waitress in a pie diner and stuck in a terrible marriage. She finds her plans to escape from her deadbeat husband thwarted by the discovery that she is pregnant with his child.

Needless to say (perhaps), this was an awkward movie choice for me to pop into the DVD while chilling with my boyfriend mere days after I’d reluctantly decided to become a mother. I warned him it was an awkward choice. But it was Pi Day! I can’t let a Pi Day go by without watching Waitress, since it is one of my favorite movies. I watched it all of the time when I first moved to Cincy and it fueled my obsession with making pies.

I fell asleep during the movie as I tend to do right now but it was less troubling to watch than I thought. My boyfriend even enjoyed it. The important thing I gleaned from the experience was that no matter how miserable my pregnancy might be (semi-spoiler alert!) it will all be worth it when I look into my little pipsqueak’s eyes for the first time. (Assuming the kid has eyes. I’m already at that phase of imagining any and everything that can go wrong with the kid.)