Movies Don’t Reflect our Childless Lives

annie-9314I’m falling asleep at my computer. The needy dog kept me awake last night. She is still unnerved by the wild thunderstorm that rumbled our houses in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Poor Annie was so frightened she squeezed up against the bed, trembling like crazy. Her aged knees, both held together with plates and screws, wouldn’t let her jump up on the bed, and she’s too heavy for me to lift so I leaned over and held her.

I never heard thunder like that here on the Oregon coast before. Lightning flashes pierced my shade, immediately followed by thunder that shook the walls and windows and rattled the roof. It went on and on as I held my dog, saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” She disagreed, still shaking. Eventually I got up, stuffed a sedative into a doughy pill pocket and gave it to her. The thunder subsided and we both went back to sleep.

But this morning at 3 a.m., there she was again. “Hey, hey, comfort me.” Sigh. I kissed her nose and tried to go back to sleep, but all the things swirling around in my mind crowded out the fascinating dream I’d been having earlier.

My dog is not my child, but I imagine if I had a child, I would have been awake comforting her in the same way—except she wouldn’t have had to stay on the floor.

I can’t help thinking about that scene in “The Sound of Music” movie where there’s a big storm and all of the kids come piling into Julie Andrew’s bedroom. They climb onto her bed and everybody sings “My Favorite Things.” And then they’re all happy. They weren’t even her kids, although they were destined to become her stepchildren and they would love her completely because their own mother was dead and they desperately needed a mom. In real life, after they escaped the Nazis, Maria and the captain–who was 25 years older than she was!–had three more children together, bringing the total to 10. It was just one big happy family.

Ah, fairy tales. Okay, this really happened, minus the singing and dancing with perfect hair and makeup in the middle of the night, but it was a long time ago. Now I laugh as I imagine the captain’s more realistic response when Maria says she wants a baby of her own. “Are you freaking kidding me? I have seven already.” But he didn’t say that. We don’t know what he said in real life.

I was brought up on movies like “The Sound of Music” and countless other films where the happy endings always included marriage and babies. No wonder some of us feel ripped off now. What the heck happened to our happy endings?

Movies are different today. The characters shoot and swear more than they sing. But they still don’t often give us couples who disagree about having children or just plain can’t have them. Can you name any movies–or TV shows–that do? Let’s try to make a list. Carrie and Big on “Sex and the City,” Bob and Emily on the “Bob Newhart Show.” Who else?

You can find a list of movies and TV shows that include struggles with infertility here at mothermag.com. But there sure are a lot more listings for movies about pregnancy. In movie situations where a couple finds they can’t have children for some reason, either they seem to miraculously get pregnant anyway or they adopt a child, easy peasy. Hey, Hollywood, not everybody gets to have a baby.

It’s twilight-dark at 10 a.m. Another storm is coming. The dog is barking. Must see what’s bugging her now. She is not my child, but when she comes to me in the night, I need to mother her anyway.

Let’s talk movies and TV shows. Have you seen any that reflect our childless by marriage or by circumstance situations? Or is it babies, babies, babies?

 

2 thoughts on “Movies Don’t Reflect our Childless Lives

  1. I just recently had a movie recommendation encounter. I crossed paths with a young widow (with 5 children!). She needed some encouragement and a movie I’d recently seen was very inspiring. I suggested she watch it and she said, “okay but if someone dies it in let me know.” Stupidly I’d forgotten that yes, there is a significant death in the movie that ultimately leads to the inspirational part. Young widows, it seems, are a little gun shy when it comes to death.

    Yesterday she updated me and said she did watch it and it was helpful to her. While we chatted my husband stopped by. I introduced them, feeling very aware that I have a husband and she no longer does. In my head I pleaded with my handsome husband to not be his usual super charming self. I didn’t want her to see what she no longer has. Silly – but it’s what I thought.

    After a conversation about our individual weekend plans she left. I found myself wondering if she felt bad that she will be surrounded by her lovely children – who are making her days matter – while I have none? Or if the presence of my husband and the knowledge of our very different plans, have highlighted the loss of her love.

    I don’t think about childless movies because I’m mostly “okay” with my life. But others who struggle deeply with infertility, or any of the other issues here, have to suffer through whatever “Hollywood” puts out there. My new friend, who has lost her partner suffers in a different way.

    Today I would not trade my troubles for hers. And I wonder if she looks at my childless life and feels the same.

    Like

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