Congratulations, you’re having a baby. But you don’t need to spend a small fortune on ante-natal classes and books to work out how to navigate the terrifying, crushing responsibility that’s about to completely transform your life – you just need to watch more movies. And with Bridget Jones’s Baby arriving on Virgin Movies, here’s the best advice celluloid has to offer.…
You’re expecting! And the reason everyone - your family, friends and work colleagues – knows this is because you’re eating a Heston Blumenthal’s-worth of randomness - such as raw meat for Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby - and then puking it up at the most inappropriate timings: at work (Look Who’s Talking), on James Franco (Knocked Up) or even at a murder scene (Fargo). Good luck keeping that one secret, and maybe invest in a bucket.
Fargo is available to stream now on Netflix
Dad is terrified
It turns out that Responsibility isn’t a small town in Iowa. Yes, Daddy is going to take a bit of time to adjust to having his cosy world of bros, beer and Xbox torn apart by impending dad-hood. As per Hugh Grant in Nine Months, the movie law dictates that the fella must have at least one relationship-shaking crisis of confidence before sucking it up, selling his man-toys and settling for being a crashing bore.
Nine Months is available now on Sky Cinema
Upping the Ante
Most movie birthing classes are there to fill Mum's head with birth plan ideas about scented candles and to intimidate Dad. Thank your gynecologist then for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which sees Elizabeth Bank's idealistic maternity guru have a public breakdown while decrying the small alien that's taken over her body and emotions, and just how much she's utterly hated the whole experience – putting the anti into ante. You know where you can stick that candle.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is available to stream now on Netflix
The hospital dash
Surf’s up, sunshine, so get yourself to the hospital. Or at least try, as the path to the shiny Maternity Ward of your dreams is littered with the full Ninja Warriors-worth of obstacles. In order to deliver Bridget Jones’s Baby, our terrified trio of expectants must deal with the lack of ambulance-calling phone and then the classic London traffic jam due to an equally classic London protest. The dualling dads then try to carry their pregnant paramour. They regret it.
Find Bridget Jones's Baby in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
Breathe, honey, breathe
If movies told even half the truth about labour, they’d be slapped with hard 18 certificates. And with most first births taking around 12 hours, the flicks understandably cut straight to the huffing, puffing climax where Mum is inevitably flat on her back, legs akimbo and roaring like a demonically possessed T-Rex that’s stubbed its toe (Example A: The Women). Yet somehow there’s no drugs, blood, tearing, stitching or poo, while the afterbirth - a football-sized flesh sack, no less - appears to be a total myth dreamt up by midwives to frighten teenagers. Alright, the movie version does sound better.
Man (Or Woman) down
Despite the fact that your classic movie birth is almost Disney-clean, the act of giving birth ironically has an overpowering effect on any birth partner. Physically overcome by the off-screen horrors, they will either flee to the porcelain telephone for a timely call to God or - more usually, like in Baby Mama – be sent crashing unconscious to the floor. If someone could weaponise that, we’d all be in a lot of trouble.
After it’s made its grand entrance, the movie baby will be handed to the sweat-haloed, perfectly made-up Mum in a glorious moment of serene, life-changing wonder. And like in Knocked Up, the little bundle of joy will also be free of grossness, wrinkles, a pointy birth-canal head and - thanks to sensible working practices in filmmaking - look suspiciously like a three-month old baby. It’s a miracle.
Do you like sleep? Well, your baby doesn’t rate it. In the movies, this total assault on your nervous system is always played for laughs and can be solved by strong coffee and - as The Pacifier or Three Men and a Baby suggests – a spot of singing. Better start working on those three-part harmonies.
Changing nappies is haaard. Not only do you have to remove the offending item without gagging, you then have to fit a new one on a moving target. Of course, if you have a boy, there’s another added risk in there as well: sometimes it can go off like the Bellagio fountain. Just pray that, like Drew Barrymore in Riding In Cars With Boys, you don’t have your mouth open while it happens.
You’ll get the hang of it…
…eventually. And that bit’s actually true. Maybe it won't be the inevitable slick montage of growing confidence and the gradual incorporation your little one into your life and work, like Life as We Know It, Jack & Sarah or Three Men and a Baby, but most people work it out for themselves over time. Maybe don't watch We Need To Talk About Kevin though...