Birth Stories: The Joy and Angst of '40 Weeks'


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I didn't want to hear the details of anyone's birth; I definitely preferred to cut to the "everyone's doing fine" ending—which is the birth-story equivalent of "happily ever after." Details about length of labor and strength of pushing were TMI and, I thought, greatly exaggerated to scare people away from parenthood.

Of course, now that I've birthed two babies I simply can't get over the fact that women do this every minute of every day. And I've become one of those people who will not only listen to a birth story, but press for details. Wait, what time did you feel the first twinge? How dilated were you when the doctor showed up? My own births were fairly standard, but I still wrote the full story of my daughter's birth and would talk about it or my son's subsequent (and very similar) birth for hours if you let me.

If you feel the same, and you've already streamed all the episodes of "A Baby Story" that you can, there's a documentary movie being released called 40 Weeks that I recommend. It follows more than a dozen women on the path from pregnancy test to pushing and manages to capture so much joy and angst, it really is a wonder to see. And there's lots of payoff with the real births at the end! You can check for a screening in your area, or, starting March 1, download it from iTunes for $14 or buy the DVD for $17. Here's the trailer!

The movie is sponsored: Cord Blood Registry, Mederma skincare, and others helped fund it—so expect some product plugs. But I really loved how candid and honest all of the parents are in the film, and how they don't shy away from describing the craziness of pregnancy and unpredictability of birth. There are a lot of good stories in it; some of them are sure to remind you of yours—or prepare you for what's to come!Jessica Hartshorn is the Entertainment Editor at Parents and the Senior Lifestyle Editor at American Baby, where she is literally paid to talk about pregnancy, birth, and babies all day.

Image: 40 Weeks

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