Films serve many a purpose: social commentary, allegory, whimsical mind-wandering. They also serve as a medium for the expression of various fears, including the fears associated with parenthood, motherhood in particular. There are the usual suspects – The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, The Bad Seed, etc. – but we’re going to give those movies the day off. Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re going to take a look at five films you may or may not have seen that may cause you to reach for that jumbo pack of condoms at the drugstore.
Grace delves into a fear that, despite how often it happens, still makes us uncomfortable: the delivery of a baby you know will be dead. After a car accident claims the lives of her husband and unborn baby, the grieving Madeline (Jordan Ladd) chooses the carry her dead fetus to term. Labor is often viewed as a painful, necessary means to a joyful end: we know that there will be something chubby and cute at the end of it. Going into it knowing that there will be no adorable, crying baby at the end is an entirely different, wrenching experience beyond words. To have that baby then begin to move plunges you on a journey that explores how far a mother would go to keep her baby with her, even if it’s not entirely alive.
|This isn’t going to end well.|
On Christmas Eve, the widowed, heavily pregnant Sarah (Alysson Paradis) must fend off a woman (Béatrice Dalle) who breaks into her house and attempts to perform a c-section with a pair of scissors. Reading about a scenario like this on the news is one thing; watching 82 minutes of a home invasion with the intent to cut the baby out of its mother is fucking horrifying. It’s graphic and grim. Your uterus will want to crawl behind every other organ and hide. It’s very good, but you will not want another person to come near you after watching it, much less put yourself in the potential position as Sarah.
|I don’t even like strangers touching my pregnant belly.|
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
This one tackles so much n the parenthood umbrella. The stand out for me was the delivery from hell. There’s a terrible sense of dread that will fill you as Guillermo del Toro shows us a laboring woman in a blood-soaked bed, then her daughter fearfully watching a maid carry the sheets out of the room. I wouldn’t blame the kid one bit for wanting nothing to do with childbirth after that. God knows I didn’t.
|That’s it, Ofelia. Close your eyes and think of the fairies.|
The Babadook (2014)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this film is extremely honest in how draining it is to have a child that is not like the other children. Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is exhausting, and his mother Amelia (Essie Davis in fatigued perfection) tries her best to muddle through their existence. Enter a book about a boogeyman and their fragile grip on the waking life goes to shit. It’s terrifying, but one of the underlying themes is the honest look at dealing with the child that you get, who may not necessarily be the child that you wanted. there are a lot of women out there that go into motherhood daydreaming about dance recitals, baseball games and snuggly afternoons on the couch. The Babadook laughs at this notion and force-feeds a heaping dose of the motherhood experience that you never imagined. Most women couldn’t handle a Samuel; he’ll make you think twice before you pre-order that baseball glove for your yet-to-be-conceived son.
|Yeah, this is one of the touching parts.|
Between the graphic birth scene and the, how shall we say, workforce reduction of the children, this one will make you want to avoid sex, babies and small children for some time. A single friend of mine saw this movie and decided she didn’t want to date for a while. Just in case.
|You poor sods have no idea what’s in for you.|
There you have it. Five films to put you off of motherhood. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.