Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.
In 2007, I was unmarried, pregnant and a little scared about how I would handle motherhood. That same year, Knocked Up hit theaters and made the world love Judd Apatow just a bit more. You would think that an unexpectedly pregnant woman would be happy to see a movie version of her story where the endings were happy and the whole situation was a lot more funny than life-alteringly terrifying.
Not me. I felt like the whole thing hit a little too close to home. I refused to go watch Seth Rogen turn from a man-child into a responsible human being. I refused to see Katherine Heigl‘s prosthetic tummy, which was probably dressed a whole lot better than my real one. To this day, I haven’t seen that freakin’ movie.
Now, five years later, I find myself in the opposite position when it comes to pregnancy movies. Before, I didn’t want to witness fake pregnancy while I was struggling through the truth of it. Now, I don’t want to watch fake pregnancy because I’m jealous of it. No matter how funny it might be, I don’t want to go to see What To Expect When You’re Expecting because I’m not expecting.
I’ve been pregnant before. I would obviously be able to sympathize with all of the “real pregnancy” gaffs. The sweating and swollen ankles would still be pretty familiar. But none of it would be entertainment. Movies are made to lose yourself in. But pregnant women just serve as a glaring reminder of my own reality.
In fact, it’s not just ensemble movies that I have to ignore. My husband tries to screen even kids movies that we watch with our daughter to make sure that I won’t be confronted with a random preggo, happily welcoming her new bundle of joy into the world.
There is one bit about these movies that serves a purpose for me though. When I find out that a real person, a friend or a family member, is pregnant, I have to tell myself that jealousy and envy are completely inappropriate. I have to bury thoughts of coveting someone else’s good fortune. I would never wish to take away those people’s joy, but it’s hard not to think, “Why not me too?” These emotions immediately make me feel guilty. It’s all so horribly selfish.
But movie and television pregnancies aren’t real. I can be envious without a bit of guilt. I can look at Brooklyn Decker and her fake bump and think, “I deserve that too.” I can hear Elizabeth Banks complain about all the horrors of pregnancy that people don’t like to talk about and think, “You should be grateful for how lucky you are!” They’re all feelings that I don’t allow myself to feel about real people and real pregnancies. So it’s nice to indulge in them with made-up characters that I don’t have to feel sorry for.
In the end though, a little wallowing in jealousy doesn’t make up for the fact that watching actresses lament about fake pregnancy pains is like a slap in the face to someone who really can’t get pregnant. There’s not a lot of humor to be had when you’re busy wishing that you could be one of those women, blissfully complaining about back pain and comparing body pillows.
(Photo: Celeb Archive)