Opinion | Sexuality

The Messy Drama and Trauma of New Life

Birth and baptism come at a painful cost.
The Messy Drama and Trauma of New Life

The media has settled into its expected narratives around childbirth. In sitcoms, you get sweaty and yell. In movies and documentaries, it never goes as planned, with some bizarre surprise—even the news that you were pregnant in the first place. (To echo almost every woman who has ever been pregnant: How does this show exist?) Magazines feast on documenting the “baby bump,” then waiting for it to disappear postpartum. Chrissy Teigen joins Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton as another pregnant celebrity whose red carpet photos and Instagram pics make headlines on People’s baby section.

Like almost everything else, pregnancy and childbirth are much harder and messier than we see in the media. Going into my first pregnancy, I knew that. I wasn’t going to give birth according to sitcom timing, and my post-baby body wasn’t going to bounce back like these actresses’. Even when the difficult and wrenching sides of childbearing come up in popular conversation, ...

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