Pregnancy is often considered a time of transformation. It’s a time to feel feminine and motherly and sacred, or so we’ve been told by books, TV shows, and baby-centric movies.
While these movies might touch on some of the more negative aspects of having a bun in the oven, they usually skip over the truly unpleasant parts and depict mothers as poetic, glowing beings filled with grace and bursting with new life.
However, pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and roses. Bits and pieces of pregnancy can feel more like a nightmare than a dream, an area Hollywood seems happy to gloss over. Symptoms of pregnancy can be extraordinarily unpleasant. Some of them can be downright dangerous, both for your health or your sanity. So what can you watch when you identify more with a monster than a mother?
Oddly enough, the answer to your problem can often be found in the horror section of Netflix. It’s said that art imitates life, and we find that popular horror movies imitate some aspects of pregnancy in ways that we never (and really didn’t want to) expect.
Here are ten popular horror movies teamed up with some of the most well known (and often worst) side-effects of pregnancy. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, you may finally be lucky enough to live out your dream of being a star on the big screen – just not in the way you thought you would.
1. Night of the Living Dead
The first step on your nine-month long horror movie marathon begins gradually. You find yourself taking an extra fifteen minutes in bed in the morning. Your side of the bed becomes littered with granola bar wrappers and cracker crumbs. You turn in half an hour early the next day, and when you awaken the next morning you go through an entire box of cereal.
Within days, there’s a scheduled naptime for the first time since pre-school. You begin to hoard snacks, and people begin to comment on the dark circles around your eyes and your sunken cheeks. You begin to answer solely in exhausted moans in the occasion that you venture from the couch to the fridge.
A month or so later, the transformation is complete, and you might feel any humanity that you had pre-pregnancy is gone.Your life becomes a zombie flick post-transformation. You awaken and shamble around in the mornings, your dead and hollow eyes probing your kitchen cupboards for your next meal.
You slowly chase your partner around the coffee table after he eats the last chocolate bar you had hidden behind a couch cushion. Once you’ve finally been sated you return to the sanctuary of your couch or your bed, curling up to sleep until the hunger awakes you once again and drives you to feed.
It’s okay, exhaustion is normal in the early stages of pregnancy. So is a sudden increase in appetite. However, if you’re suffering from extreme fatigue that lasts longer than you feel it should, there’s a good chance you might be suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, a relatively common problem in pregnancy that is easily treatable.
In the meantime, make sure to get as much sleep as you need, eat right and eat often. Try to get at least some exercise in, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either – especially from your partner or family.Some women skip the exhaustion phase entirely, but if that’s not you make sure to get lots of naps and lots of brains…I mean snacks.
9 The Exorcist
You’re sitting in bed one day, when suddenly it hits you – you really are pregnant. You are going to have your own little bundle of joy to love and cuddle. You are going to raise an extraordinary human being. You are a divine vessel, bringing new life into the world. You are going to be a parent.
And then it isn’t long after that the realization not only hits you, but starts hitting other things. It hits your bed sheets, your lampshade, your partner, and somehow even managed to hit the wall behind the back of the toilet. You’re puking like a bazooka in the middle of a battlefield – everything and everyone cannot escape the mighty fire hose that you’ve become.
In desperation, your partner calls in an old priest and a young priest. Several prayers, a broken neck, and a husband cowering in the corner later, they take their leave and you’re left with the diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum.
No, that’s not an ancient Latin invocation – it’s an acute and often severe form of morning sickness that occasionally requires treatment in hospital.
While 80% of all women will experience some sort of morning sickness in their early pregnancy, people suffering from this condition can throw up over forty times a day, which can quickly lead to dehydration and malnutrition, as well as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
It’s a relatively rare complication, affecting only 0.5-2% of pregnant women, and it can pass quickly or stay for the entire pregnancy. It can take over your life, leaving you exhausted, depressed, and can make a pregnancy an extremely unhappy one. It usually shows up between the fourth and sixth week, and unfortunately enough, there is no known prevention. However, with treatment it can be managed.
Hey, if you do happen to be unlucky enough to be stricken with it, at least you can count yourself around royal company while you set up shop in the bathroom– Duchess Kate has had problems with it during both of her pregnancies. Time to break out the grandma-inspired plastic couch covers and hope that the morning sickness passes…and fast.
8 The Amityville Horror
You go through your usual bedtime routine – a hot bath, a good floss, a cup of water on the bedside table. You read for a few minutes before exhaustion hits you and you’re out like a light, snoring into your pillow while your bedmate stuffs earplugs into his ears.
You enter into a restless sleep, tossing and turning. Images flash through your mind – horrible murders and ghostly women, strange creatures reaching out for you, terrifying scenes of battles past.
You converse with a bright pink octopus wielding a blood-stained battle axe in each of its gore-covered arms, and it warns you to get out of the house, get out of the house now. You awaken to find yourself tangled up and hyperventilating in your blankets and your pillow absolutely soaked with sweat.
In the movie theatre, this is usually a good sign that the suddenly clairvoyant heroine has taken up residence in a severely haunted house and needs to get out of there as soon as possible. She has some serious supernatural stuff coming after her, and she is definitely marked for death.
Orrrrr she just might be pregnant. Pregnancy has a way of taking all the things inside your bed and literally making your nightmares come alive in techni-colour. Vivid dreams, sometimes indistinguishable from real life can make our nocturnal life rather interesting.
Some people attribute the dreams to fluctuating hormones that give your mind a veritable cornucopia of synthetic LSD to make your unconscious life just as weird as your wide-awake and pregnant one. Others say that a pregnant woman is much more likely to wake up, either because her bladder insists on it or an internally-based kick to the ribs jolts her awake.
The more time you spend waking up during a night, the more likely you are to remember a dream that you just had, and if you have trouble going back to sleep, you’re much more likely to dwell on it, increasing recall. While most of the time these dreams are harmless, increased frequency of nightmares can lead to exhaustion.
So if all your dreams do is weird you out a little, it’s probably okay. However if you just recently moved into a rickety old Victorian house that was the scene of a gruesome murder a hundred years ago, maybe it’s time to listen to what the octopus has to say.
7 The Posession
It begins innocently enough. The toilet paper roll isn’t changed. Someone drank all of the juice. It begins to creep in on your periphery – a seeping red that blinds you and calls for blood. Then you find that someone left their dirty dishes at the side of the bed and your pillow is covered in crumbs.
There’s a ridiculous heat, steam starts coming out of your ears and the next thing you know you’re standing over a cowering partner, brandishing a knife and screaming like a Valkyrie. Ten minutes later, you’re calmly making a sandwich when you find out you’re out of mayo and burst into tears. You partner cradles you on the kitchen floor while you sob into the very shoulder that a few minutes ago you threatened to stab.
Thanks to the silver screen, everyone knows that sudden and violent mood swings are one of the first signs of demonic possession.
It also happens to be one of the major symptoms of pregnancy. Mood swings can be linked to a lot of things in pregnancy. Hormonal surges can cause your emotions to fluctuate wildly – it’s kind of like having PMS, but for a much longer duration and often more violently.
But you can’t blame everything on hormones – having a baby is a huge change in lifestyle and can be associated with a lot of emotions: stress about money and jobs, joy over having a new addition to the family, wondering whether or not you are really ready to be a parent.
There’s also the very-real and acute fear that the child will end up actually being the spawn of Satan and you’ve triggered the coming apocalypse. It’s okay to feel apprehensive about the pregnancy, the upcoming birth, and the hectic, sleep-deprived part that comes afterwards.
Talk it out with the people you love – voicing your concerns allows you to work things out and will make you feel calmer and happier. Be sure to voice how you feel – don’t bottle it all up. Everyone has worries about parenthood.
So be happy - there’s no evil spirit trying to force its way inside you. That’s because what’s causing it is already inside of you.
6 The Silence of the Lambs
Your body is changing. Slowly but surely, you can feel it. It begins innocently enough, with a sudden change in appetite. What used to be your favourite food has sudden become revolting to you.
You find yourself standing blankly in front of the pantry, eating out of a can of beans that looks like you desperately pried it open with your teeth to get at the sweet stuff inside of it. One day, your husband finds you hunched over in the kitchen in the middle of the night, eating marshmallows, peanut butter, kale and oatmeal all mixed together with a wooden spoon.
You find yourself craving something else…something meatier as you skulk around the house, eyes darting around for your next odd meal.
Food cravings are part of being pregnant. Sometimes they are caused by hormones, which changes the way you taste and smell food. Other times they might signify a deficiency in something – craving red meat is usually an indication of a bodily need for protein and iron.
Sometimes, no one knows what causes them. Pica, a condition that can be pregnancy induced, is characterized by craving substances that have little to no nutritional value, such as clay, paper, and dirt. Food aversions and food cravings are an expected part of pregnancy.
Even if they mean you can’t be in the same room as a cooked egg for almost a year, there’s very little harm in them, unless you start craving things that aren’t usually considered acceptable by most of society.
So if you find yourself looking for a certain type of meat dish to have with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti, maybe just skip that particular craving and stick with a banana – your partner will thank you for it.
5 The Alligator People
Your skin pigmentation changes, and suddenly you’re covered in zits and a weird rash. Skin tags start popping up everywhere. No matter what you do, your skin just won’t clear up. You find yourself wearing heavy clothes, and decide that maybe you’re better off investing a cloak to cover yourself with while you lurk about the shadows.
Take comfort in knowing that these hormonally-induced changes will pass quickly enough, even if you find yourself feeling like the some sort of repitilian underbeast. With your temper, ravenous appetite and slowly developing waddle, soon you might be more at home in a swampy lagoon than in your current digs.
4 The Curse of the Werewolf
You’ve already had to deal with the mood swings and the crazy, out of nowhere food cravings when you reach the next stage in your transformation.Your hair becomes lustrous and thick, cascading down your back like a beautiful waterfall.
Finally, those hormones are doing something right because you look absolutely fabulous. That is, until you notice that you have to shave every day, and that by noon you have a five o clock shadow that rivals your weird uncle Andy’s.
Hair starts growing in unexpected places (again), and you’re left wondering if you’re going to have to buy an industrial sized box of waxing strips from Costco.
Again, changes in hormones can be held accountable for this particular problem. You hair has three main stages of growth: active, resting and shedding. When you’re pregnant, hormones shift this cycle so that your hair doesn’t shed nearly as much as it used to.
The diameter of your hair also changes, which means that your hair becomes much thicker. Unfortunately, the thickness and growth of the hair on your head often translates to the rest of your body as well. Don’t worry though – your hairy transformation will reverse itself shortly after birth, when you’ll lose the urge to howl at the moon and all of your hair will begin to fall out again.
It would be a sin not to include the movie “Alien” on a list of pregnancy-related horror movies. Many early life traumas can be traced back to a certain series of films that made every woman clench her legs together and hope that she would never ever have to feel the stirring of alien life in her belly.
When we finally do get around to that stage in life most of us welcome it, but soon find that legs under our ribs and repeated headbutting in the gallbladder can make us a little cranky. You never signed up to have an Olympian-level gymnast play havoc on your insides.
You might have to remind yourself to be grateful sometimes, but at least you can always be grateful that your baby won’t be born with a full set of teeth and acid for blood. And if it will, you have bigger problems to worry about than just some limbs playing bouncy castle with your internal organs.
2 The Blob
You’re standing in your kitchen, making yourself a cup of tea when you realize you’re leaking. The sad thing is, you’re not quite sure exactly where you’re leaking from. Have you peed a little? Is your bra damp? Have you lost your mucus plug, or did your water break? Where did all this ooze come from?!
No one ever told you that suddenly you’d be leaking fluid and mucus when you first got pregnant. No, all anyone ever talked about was that stupid glow that lasted just as long as it took you to break out in pregnancy acne before it was taken over by leaking colostrum, an excessive amount of saliva, and a faulty bladder, and a crazy increase in the amount of discharge.
You’ve been taken over by bodily fluids that you’re almost too afraid to name. Now you’re worried about leaving behind some giant trail of goo and a mixture of assorted bodily fluids like some sort of giant slug from another planet. At this point, you’re probably feeling like a planet as well. And you’re still hungry.
Don’t worry – all of this is normal. It’s just your body making the changes it needs – you’re nearing the end now, and the trail you think you’re leaving as you search for more food is almost behind you, figuratively speaking. Soon, it’ll culminate with one final gush of fluid in the supermarket that some poor sap is definitely going to slip in.
1 The Shining
Not long after your gooey finale, you will experience the miracle of childbirth. During this miracle of childbirth, there’s a small chance that your child’s entrance to the world will be a lot like that one scene in The Shining. You know, that scene with the elevator doors opening?
Yes, that one. A whole mixture of fluids are about to come out of you – all of them normal and expected. While it’s normal to be a little frightened by this part, most of the stuff that goes on during birth is pretty much ho-hum to the average obstetrician.
After a gush of fluids and your bloody show, the baby comes, and it’s quickly followed by the placenta. If you do have trouble with birth, there’s a good chance that a cesarean, or a fun little thing called an episiostomy will be performed.
Luckily, neither of them are performed with an axe. There can also be some hemorrhaging that occurs – both during and following labour. But modern medicine has gone a long way in both preventing and fixing this, so you have no need to worry.
There’s no doubt about it – pregnancy and childbirth can be a messy, nightmarish affair. You might be sick of it by the end of nine months, but rest assured it will definitely turn into a sappy family affair at the end. You’ll walk away, cradling the newest addition to your family, assured that you have gotten over the worst of it.
And you will have, until the sequel is announced.