If you have ever been unlucky enough to watch a childbirth scene on commercial television, you would know how impractical it is…

It’s always the typical chronology of a woman’s water breaking, dramatic screaming, and the cries of a newborn. I have seen so many of these portrayals that I thought something was wrong with me because my water did not break. 

I was not aware that only about 15% of women’s water breaks during childbirth! Mine had to be manually ruptured right before I pushed the baby out. 

Netflix’s ‘Pieces of a Woman’ is a beautiful story told by a female writer, Kata Wéber. 

I was fascinated from the beginning. 

The opening scene is of colourful couple getting ready for parenthood. I saw a wobbling pregnant woman that struggled to sit down on a chair due to her ‘ready to pop’ tummy. The dialogue they have does not feel scripted. They made it as real as possible, with one person talking over the other like actual conversations go at times. 

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We need more truthful interpretations on our televisions about the experiences we go through as women.

For 24-minutes, we see one continuous, well-written scene of Vanessa Kirby giving birth to her first child. She wrestles with contractions as her on-screen husband, Shia LaBouf, times them and tries to help her through the pain. 

I laughed as I witnessed the drama, and laughed even harder as she kept hollering “what the f#@k?”.

That is the question every mother asks, as they experience pain that no amount of prenatal classes can prepare them for. 

Most moms have hilarious hospital stories from the day they gave birth. I remember vividly how I swore at my husband as he tried to rub my tummy in the middle of a contraction. He was trying to soothe me, but I wanted to kill him.  

One lady told me how she was walking naked in the passage of the maternity ward at Baragwanath Hospital because she had no idea what to do with herself when she had a contraction. My late sister told me once how she was trying to lift the hospital beds during contractions. 

Vanessa tossed and turned on the floor, making the creepiest sounds, and continued swearing away. 

Heather Marcoux of Motherly says that “the 24-minute birth scene will scare pregnant people.”

But rather they know the truth than still hold on to the fallacy of 2-minute births, waiting on the amniotic sacs to erupt because Karabo Moroka from Generations almost gave birth in her office elevator. 

Then we turn around and ask “why did no one tell me that childbirth is this long and painful?”.

Women often tell me how scary and beautiful my own birthing video is.

Their biggest takeaway from watching is “if Karabo can do it, so can I.” 

Sadly, Vanessa’s birthing experience ends traumatically with her losing her baby, and the rest of the movie is an emotional journey of a broken woman in a broken relationship. 

But finally, we see the ordeal and beauty of childbirth and see the maternity panties that get ads banned

We need more truthful interpretations on our televisions about the experiences we go through as women. Like Heather says, “we need more women in writer’s rooms.”

No one can tell our stories better than we can.