I was listening to an audio book the other day at work (I won’t say which) but as the story moved on, I could see a scene coming that I was dreading. Now, mind you, this was a fluffy kind of story so serves me right for being annoyed by the fluffy scene, but I could see that the story was about to come to a childbirth scene and I wanted to fast forward with the quickness.
I closed my eyes and prayed the author would not go into detail, but my prayers went unanswered. Then I thought to myself, Karen, why are you SO annoyed with childbirth scenes? Is it because you’ve never given birth?
Um…that’s a big fat no. I don’t want to read or see child-birthing scenes, not because I’m put off by it, or I’m squeamish—I work in a Perinatal Center for crying out loud—but it’s because it’s all clichéd to me. Unless someone dies during the birth, or the baby comes out as a green alien, I’m not interested in reading a childbirth scene.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve worked with pregnant women for quite a while, have witnessed my share of childbirths that I know that anyway to make childbirth entertaining enough for it to be part of a book, tv show or movie, then the writer is going to have to fall back on some clichés. The panicked father, the rushing to the hospital, the mother cursing the father for putting her through all of the pain, the mother cursing the staff and begging for drugs…ENOUGH!
Really, my main problem with the childbirth scene is that it rarely ever moves the plot along. It’s always used as a device to either inspire comedy with the screaming mother and the bumbling father, or it’s used to stir emotion as the parents stare down at the precious bundle of joy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love babies, will probably have one…one day, but if it’s not moving the plot, leave it out. And for as many childbirth scenes as I’ve read, I have yet to read one that really needed to be there. I’m starting to feel the same way about wedding scenes in books.
As much as I hate to say never, I don’t think I’ll ever incorporate either one of those types of scenes in any book I write. Will I have pregnant characters? Probably. Will I have characters who get married? Yup, I do believe I will at some point. But will I actually write the childbirth scene or the wedding? No.
So tell me, what things will you never write about?