Babies on TV

March 3rd, 2016 - 

They say when you’re pregnant, suddenly everyone in the world is pregnant too. Meaning, you don’t really notice pregnant women until you are one. I certainly found that to be true — I was noticing pregnant women almost for the first time — and it felt nice to be part of such a large group of women all experiencing mostly the same thing.

Then, once my daughter was born, babies seemed to appear as if from every direction. Celebrity babies, family babies, and Facebook friend babies were born by the dozens. The baby boom of Winter 2015/16 has been endless.

Even more improbable, every TV show I binged on my maternity leave seemed to feature a baby storyline as well. Weird, right? Let’s examine (P.S. spoilers!).

The Leftovers

Dynamic cult leader impregnates dozens of girls. After one birth mother commits suicide, her multiracial child finds its way into the life of a white woman whose entire family (husband, daughter, son) were lost in “The Sudden Disappearing.”

Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Kourtney gets pregnant, gives birth with lots of people in the room. Kourtney gets pregnant again, considers water birth. Khloe can’t seem to get pregnant (doesn’t ovulate). Kim gets pregnant, suffers from pre-eclampsia. Kourtney gets pregnant again. Kim struggles to get pregnant a second time, tries in vitro (doesn’t work), gets pregnant naturally (learns it will be the last pregnancy she can carry).

Jane the Virgin

Jane waits for sex until marriage, meanwhile is accidentally inseminated, gives birth to beautiful child, has incredibly realistic modern mothering experience (pressure to breastfeed, etc.).

The Mindy Project

Mindy gets pregnant by accident with boyfriend Danny. Disagrees with Danny over having more children, possibly leading to single motherhood.

Mr. Robot

Joanna uses her pregnancy to manipulate her husband, reveals she gave up her first child for adoption at age 15.

Halt and Catch Fire

Donna finds herself in an unstable relationship and an exciting new career, has an abortion.

Deadwood

Alma (a widow) is impregnated by the love of her life (who is married to someone else) but is sadly unable to carry her child to term.

Six Feet Under

Nate impregnates his ex, marries her, then she’s murdered–leaving him a single dad. Re-marries with a different ex, impregnates her, then he dies. Meanwhile, David and Keith (a gay couple) struggle to adopt their first child until they are suddenly blessed with two children.

Exceptions that didn’t feature babies still featured interesting mother-child relationships.

The Gilmore Girls

Lorelei gets pregnant at 16, raises the child as a best friend away from her overly-precious family.

Making a Murderer

A highly impressionable boy is manipulated to confess a crime he didn’t commit while his mother struggles to understand the truth of his involvement.

The Jinx

Son cozies up to a family friend only to uncover the truth that this person is his mother’s murderer.

I guess it’s not weird in any way that something so core to human experience — birth and motherhood — is such a major part of storytelling. Just that, I never would have noticed it before. And if I was looking for clues in any of this, in terms of how my experience related to others or ways I should be raising my baby, I’m not sure I “learned” anything except that no person’s experience will ever be the same as anyone else’s. There are many ways to make a family!