Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fictional Pop Culture and Pregnancy

I teach creative writing, and one thing I share with my students during the fiction section is the following piece of advice from Kurt Vonnegut: "No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of."

This is definitely the case with pregnancy portrayal in movies, television and some books. In stories, television and movies, a person is unlikely to get pregnant easily, if they want to. If someone does get pregnant, they are worried/stressed about it. Usually, that person is single, or in a bad relationship. Or, they are the sister/best friend of the main character.

The first time I thought about this I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting to do my first blood tests. And I thought, "someone would say our story is now more interesting. But it sucks to be in it." It is two year since those first tests. I've had plenty of movies/tv shows and books verify my theory for me.

Scenario One: Character wants to get pregnant, so doesn't right away. She usually goes through fertility tests and then gets miraculously pregnant, or has a ridiculously easy adoption. Is usually happily married(hence the need to challenge/mess with them)

1. Friends- Chandler and Monica end up adopting.
2. Sex & the City- Charlotte tries and tries. She ends up adopting(seems pretty realistic, how it happens), and most evil of all, gets pregnant later because she 'must have relaxed.'
3. Tell Me You Love Me- Palek and Carolyn are so stressed about TTC that they go to therapy. Testing reveals no issues. They get pregnant when they stop trying(but lose it, which I've never seen before). HBO
4. Mad About You- Paul and Jamie try for over a year and do tons of tests(they are fine, of course) get pregnant after resolving a fight.
5. Brothers & Sisters- first time I've seen MFI dealt with(though was brief) Tommy has "severe mfi" gets brothers to donate sperm, his wife gets pregnant.

Scenario Two: Character gets pregnant and rises to the occasion. Usually lots of humor/tension involved. Character is almost always single.
1. Sex in the City- Miranda gets pregnant after a mercy-f with Steve. Keeps it, has lots of uncomfortable pregnancy moments.
2. Friends- Phoebe carries her brother's children. Has unrealistic vaginal birth of triplets.
3. Friends- Rachel gets pregnant and has to hide it from everyone. More fun single pregnant lady hijinks.
4. Knocked Up, Juno, Waitress: all similar single(or unhappily married) stories.
5. Good in Bed- main character is accidentally pregnant, decides to keep the baby, her life changes.

I know I am missing tons of examples. Anyone have ideas?

In FET news, I got my beta moved to Friday! And, I had some cramping last night.


  1. Terminator movie where Sarah Connor gets knocked first time with the good looking guy from the future. Single mom of course, plus she has to save the world from imminent destruction during her first trimester! Best Wishes for Friday and hoping the cramping, is an early pregnancy symptom.

  2. I'm sorry you are cramping. I'm still holding out for the Friday beta...

  3. martha- I never saw that. Very funny!

    hope-actually, I am happy about the cramping, since blood isn't following it. Could be a good sign.

  4. You are so right on about this! No wonder everyone just tells us to just relax or adopt and we'll get pg.

    Can't wait for Friday!

  5. I came over this way from ovusoft because I read an interesting post over there...
    :) :) :)

    Interesting observations about the movies/TV shows. I can't think of any more examples at the moment, but I have a feeling that there are a lot more out there.

  6. Poppy, you pour and work the beer through your hair, then a very quick rinse of water and Voila, Really Fantabulous Hair! Yes, sounds crazy to rinse your hair with beer, but it Works Great.

  7. Ooo, a creative writing class in which Vonnegut is quoted will always be a good one. Wish I could take it!

    Good luck with the FET on friday. Only a day away!!

  8. Hey- we are in almost same situation. TTC a second since Jan of '06. Just had second IUI yesterday with 800,000 swimmers. Not good. Since we have one (conceived the old fashioned way so it can happen!) we will not be wasting $ on more procedures. I am not a happy person with the medical field anymore.