Popcorn Pregnancy: What Else to Expect After What To Expect When You’re Expecting
By Daniel Ferszt
The saturation of TV and movie screens with comic book characters of all stripes and sentiments has rendered today’s audiences rather sophisticated when it comes to out-of-the-box super heroes and villains. That is until Koldcast TV’s Super Knocked Up, featuring ruthless super-villain Jessica James, introduced a twist that’s quite possibly the most normal circumstance of all: she’s pregnant! In a night full of bad decisions, Jessica was super knocked up by her archrival, womanizing superhero Michael Masters. Now, she has to raise the baby with her nemesis.
You are watching the first episode of Super Knocked Up, “One Night Stand”
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Tomorrow, Lionsgate releases What to Expect When You’re Expecting, an adaptation of the must-have pregnancy guide written by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. The movie is getting a lot of buzz because it also explores the process of having a baby, one of the most normal, albeit life-changing situations facing almost all couples. It doesn’t hurt that the film is fueled by serious star power, including Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Chace Crawford, Elizabeth Banks, and a hilarious Dennis Quaid. Yes, that’s right. A hilarious Dennis Quaid.
A big movie like this promises plenty of laughs and warm fuzzies, but we have to ask the question on the minds of responsible, anal-retentive, reading-averse, would-be parents everywhere. That seems like a specific demo… Anyway, will the movie stay true to the book?!? For modern women like Jessica James with lives so complex, raising kids seem like one too many peeps in the microwave, maybe catching the flick is a brisk, equally effective alternative to reading the book.
Probably not, but our own handy how-to guide can help:
CHAPTER 1: Choosing the Baby Daddy
When hunting for those long-term sperm banks we call fathers, think about the potential nurturing skills behind those dreamy eyes across the bar. The last thing you want to do is raise a child with a child. While rewarding, the journey of parenting is a long and treacherous one. Unless you plan on going it alone, you’ll need a partner you can rely on.
The use of modern contraceptive methods has reduced the incidence of unintended pregnancy over the years, but as one wise little boy proclaimed to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, “Boys have penises and girls have vaginas.” Introduce the two on a night of drunken bliss, and Mr. Right Now could very well become Mr. Eighteen Years From Now.
Avoid Jessica James’ mistake. Think twice before ordering that cab for two, the next time they announce last call.
CHAPTER 2: Keep It Cool
You’re happy, you’re sad, you’re angry, you’re in love, and it’s only been five minutes. This is because the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy affect the chemical messengers in the brain, especially during the first six to ten weeks. You’ll constantly find yourself worrying if you’ll be a good mom, if you’re financially ready, if you’re overweight, or if your baby’s underweight. Add this to your physical symptoms of heartburn, fatigue, sciatica (leg tinglies) and frequent urination, and you might feel slightly overwhelmed.
When it becomes too much and you feel yourself morphing into a demon from hell, breathe deeply and try to remind yourself that this is all normal. You can try meditating or taking a walk around the neighborhood to help clear your mind. Some women keep a journal and find that writing can be very therapeutic. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help (see chapter 1).
CHAPTER 3: Drink Alone
With all of these ups and downs, you’re probably going to want a drink. A 15 year-study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately one in eight women consume alcohol while pregnant. However, doctors have different opinions as to what effects drinking might have on an unborn fetus. Some are okay with a glass of wine a day, while others advise one glass a week, and then there are those who suggest that you should stay away from the sauce altogether.
It’s your choice, but if you do choose to drink, drink in private, or expect to suffer the rash of dirty looks, finger wagging and cuss words the second you raise that glass. You have enough emotions flying around in there, so why invite unwanted embarrassment? As tempting as it is to pretend, remember, this isn’t Mad Men.
CHAPTER 4: You Can Never Have Enough Diapers
If you’ve already secured a crib, stroller and car seat, burn these words into your brain: DIAPERS, DIAPERS, and DIAPERS. Babies need to be changed every two to three hours, so be prepared to spend around $60 to $85 per month on the poop collectors alone. And since you need plenty on hand, it’s always smart to stock up before the baby arrives.
Your friends and family will want to know what you need most for your baby, especially before the baby shower. Little outfits can be sooooo cute, but they get dirty and useless as your baby continues to grow out of them. Therefore when anyone asks what to buy the tike, tell them “a 48-pack of Pampers, Luvs, or Huggies will do, pig. That’ll do.”
CHAPTER 5: Giving Birth
Not much to say here. It’s going to hurt pretty… pretttty… pretttttty bad. There’s no way around it. Just get to the hospital safely, practice your breathing and listen to your doctor. Then spend the next two days bonding with your newborn friend. Try to horde as many free diapers from the hospital as you can before you leave.
CHAPTER 6: Develop Terminator-esque Scanning Abilities
Time flies. Your baby will soon be crawling at high speeds in search of adventure. You’ll learn quickly that babies like shiny things, colorful things, and essentially all things they’re not supposed to touch.
You will also learn that most homes are not nearly as baby-proofed as yours, if at all, so look out for the smallest potentially dangerous details the minute you enter unfamiliar territory. This rule goes back to Biblical times. Little baby Moses opted for a pile of hot coals over a pile of gold. He shoved them in his mouth, leaving him with a nasty, life-long speech impediment. He turned out ok, but nonetheless treat electrical sockets, chords, potted plants, glass, cigarettes, lighters, matches, bookshelves and anything that can be swallowed as your enemies.
CHAPTER 7: Simple is Complicated
Endless details in the daily lives of frazzled homemakers and working moms, coupled with a plethora of opinions on how to do it right, can make the goal of raising a good child seem seriously daunting.
Yet, as history and screens of all sizes have shown, mere mortal as well as superhero mothers always prevail. During this tough economy, moms like Tanea Smith, founder of designer stationary company “She’s Got Papers” and Amy Sapirstein, inventor of the “Mommy Mitten” were able to launch successful companies while raising their infants. Jessica James is still able to wreak havoc on the innocent, in between appointments with her gynecologist.
Though it’s a lot to manage, the trick is to routinely clear your head, regain your confidence as a parent, and remember that billions of people have done it before you. Billions more will do it after you. Ultimately, what you can expect is that the love for your children will far exceed any oncoming hardship, no matter how unexpected.
Daniel Ferszt is a working screenwriter and copywriter for web and print. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he is recognized as a leading authority in raising kids with brown hair.