When someone mentions “Sex and the City,” the first topics
that come to mind are usually shoes, fashion, New York City and, of course,
Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte. Pregnancy and parenting aren’t
typically anywhere near the top of that list.
Despite the show’s flaws—the transphobia, the
overwhelming whiteness, the stereotyped portrayals of non-whiteness, the materialistic
gluttony, the movies (ugh!)—I think that SATC’s depictions of pregnancy and
parenting get a lot right.
In fact, back when I was a single girl myself, the show
taught me a thing or two about having and raising kids. Here's the collected wisdom from hit show:
Before pregnant Miranda “pulled her own finger” and referred
to herself as a “walking whoopee cushion,” the only pregnancy symptoms I knew
about were morning sickness and big bellies.
I first watched this episode with the man who would become
my husband and the father of my children. Thanks to Miranda giving voice to the
gasses, he and I were prepared for three very farty pregnancies.
2. Pregnancy makes you horny.
Though I’m embarrassed to admit it, I once believed the myth
that you couldn’t have sex of any kind when you were pregnant. Watching SATC
helped to dispel that myth. (And my husband and I thank the show for that.)
Pregnant Miranda felt voluptuous. She might not have always
felt sexy, but she wanted to have sex. She did have sex, too. She even referred
to herself as “horny.” Seeing a pregnant person have sex on the show was one thing.
But seeing a pregnant person claim their sexual agency was quite another.
“Why do they call it ‘morning sickness’ when it’s all
fucking day long?!”
Miranda couldn’t have said it better. This SATC quote became
the tagline for every first trimester I experienced.
4. You don’t have to do the whole “you can do it—push, push!”
thing during labor.
Miranda calls on Carrie to keep everyone in the room calm
during her labor. She doesn’t want any cheerleading. She doesn’t want “any of
that, ‘push push—you can do it’ shit.” She just wants quiet. Defying the “out-of-control, raging woman” trope so
prevalent in pop culture, Miranda is indeed quiet, calm and relatively in
control during her birth.
As someone who’s had three weird first meetings with my own babies, I know that these moments have their own sort of poignant beauty.
When I first saw this episode, I was years away from having
children. But I knew then that I would want a quiet, calm and “push-push-free” atmosphere
when I gave birth someday.
5. The moment you meet your baby can be weird.
“This is weird. It’s like there’s a giraffe in the room,” Miranda
says when she first holds her baby, Brady.
When parents see their babies for the first time, there
aren’t always fireworks of joy and adoration. There isn’t always a feeling of
love at first sight. Sometimes the moment is just plain weird. And that’s OK.
As someone who’s had three weird first meetings with my own babies, I know that
these moments have their own sort of poignant beauty.
6. Babies make it hard for you to carry on adult
No SATC devotee can forget the moment when Miranda, breasts protruding
out of her nursing bra, attempts to carry on a conversation with Carrie and
nurse her new baby at the same time. Miranda is frantic and unable to follow
her train of thought. Carrie is nervous and unable to stop looking at Miranda’s
“That’s what parenting a newborn is like every single day,”
my sister told me before I had kids. “You see that panicky look on Miranda’s
face? The lack of focus and concentration? That’s it. Right there. Every single
time you try to have a grown-up conversation.”
Years later when I had a newborn of my own, I remember
finding comfort in that panicked expression on Miranda’s face. It was an expression
that I grew to know well, and used often, as a new mother.
Postpartum Miranda didn’t instantly fit back into couture. Her clothes were loose and her body was round.
In a culture where celebrities get entire magazine cover
stories lauding them for “getting her body back” mere weeks after giving
birth, it was wonderful to see a television character embody—quite literally—a
bit of reality.
8. Non-parent friends might not “get it” after you have a
The “it” is the overwhelming, exhausting and mind-melting
work of caring for another human being.
Sometimes non-parent friends can help you in ways that been-there, done-that parents would never dream of, with the most marvelous, hysterical acts of love.
On SATC, Samantha has an especially difficult time
appreciating Miranda’s transition to motherhood. In Carrie’s words, she doesn’t
realize that Miranda is “drowning.”
9. But they can still be there for you in the most
wonderful, unexpected ways.
Though she might not “get” just what Miranda is experiencing
as a new parent, Samantha still finds her own way to support Miranda. She lets
Miranda take a coveted hair appointment. She watches baby Brady while Miranda
is gone. And when Brady’s vibrating seat breaks, Samantha uses her new vibrator
to keep it running.
Sometimes non-parent friends can help you in ways that
been-there-done-that parents would never dream of, with the most marvelous,
hysterical acts of love.
In my own experience, one of my non-parent friends brought
me a six-pack of beer and a bar of dark chocolate after my first baby was born.
“I know it’s not the usual baby gift,” he said, “but …”
“Say no more. It’s perfect,” I assured him.
And in the most marvelous, unexpected way, it was.
10. And the very best of friends will stick with you even
after you have morphed into your new-parent self.
After becoming a mother, Miranda is still snarky, driven and
fiercely intelligent. But she’s also beholden to a new set of values,
priorities and experiences. She has a baby. And that baby has changed her.
Carrie sees this change. And, as she kisses Miranda goodbye
before leaving her apartment, she says, “Miranda, you’re a mother. But it’s
OK: I won’t tell anyone.”