The Baby is the scariest show about motherhood I’ve ever seen – and I can identify with it

A Baby falls from the sky. A childless woman catches it in her arms. Boom! That’s it. she is a mother It’s unexpected, that’s for sure. The woman is 38 – about the age when all your friends are having babies. To say it’s an easy delivery is an understatement. No IVF. No adoption. No sperm donor. No demonic mix-up at birth. You didn’t even need a partner. It might sound like winning the lottery for someone desperate to have a baby like I was: I went through eight grueling rounds of IVF to have my first child. But this woman ended up with a baby she doesn’t want. The baby is so scary dogs bark at it — and it’s killer.

Welcome to Sky Atlantic’s new eight-part horror comedy The baby, which starts this week. It’s wildly refreshing; a haywire in-depth look at women’s conflicting feelings about motherhood and babies – our own and other people’s. We’ve seen a wave of weird and groundbreaking shows about motherhood: BBCs hometownSky’s breederand Apple’s To attempt. And yet, The baby is the scariest series about motherhood I’ve ever seen. Besides, I can identify with it.

Natasha’s introduction to parenting is brutal. In one scene where she’s driving home with the creepy baby hidden in a white laundry basket in the front seat of her car, she looks just as shocked as I do as I leave the hospital with a newborn. She is thrust into the mother world without warning: children’s parties from hell, sh*t befalls her when she changes her first diaper; Sleep deprivation; Other People’s Helicopter Parenting. But while the other moms worry about raising their voices in a moment of desperation, or kids eating a sweet treat—all those nagging mom issues, which annoy me too—Natasha has a kitchen knife on hand in case her baby pulls a quick one.

I wasn’t a reluctant mother like Natascha. She is played by Michelle de Swarte, who had a supporting role on Netflix The Duchess, Katherine Ryan’s bitchy single mom sitcom. She spends most of the show trying to get rid of the baby. But I understand what it’s like to be consumed by motherhood, where every waking moment is about a tiny person’s needs, not your own. I’ve had moments where I thought, “Oh, I’ll just go to the coffee shop and get a strong coffee.” But no. Suddenly I couldn’t go out without a stroller or baby carrier – if the baby was asleep, I had to wait. I also felt chained to the bunk. The baby, however, amplifies it — and gives us an extreme version of what we fear will be the worst parts of parenthood. It takes parental burnout to a new level.

All moms have bad days, including me. But Natasha’s are pretty bad by anyone’s standards. She is stuck with a murderous child with violent powers. This baby controls. It’s manipulative. And it turns Natascha’s life upside down. It does Rosemary’s baby and Baby Damien in The Omen look like stuffed animals in comparison.

In one nursing scene, the baby bites off her nipple and gives her a cheeky, blood-soaked smile while his eyes turn a demonic red color. It could be a bad dream that she wakes up from in a cold sweat. But their everyday life is even worse – the baby continues to go on killing sprees. It’s symbolic; Will a baby ruin your life?

Providing a link to the baby’s traumatic past, Heather says as a Witch Woo character, “He’s going to level your life. Destroy your relationships. And if he has it for you, he will destroy you.” It sounds more like drug addiction than a baby.

This is how many people see parenting: a loss of freedom. I also remember all the horror stories when I was expecting my first one – the birth itself almost put me off. But unlike Natasha, I really wanted children. I wasn’t afraid of what was to come – and it was a no-brainer. My kids slept all night as babies and I didn’t even realize they were biting.

Still, like Natasha, I’m not the idealized version of motherhood—all perfect, happy-clapping fun. I am a busy, working single mother who often gets lost. I yell at the dog and kids and apologize five seconds later because I’m overwhelmed. I burn the fish fingers because my mind is elsewhere, and I once gave my kids a day off from school because I just couldn’t handle the school run anymore.

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It wasn’t until The baby last episode, however, that it really struck me how much I relate to this horror show. Natasha eventually fully embraces motherhood, and her sister, Bobby, is shocked at the state of their home. It’s packed with baby essentials: soothing flashing lights around the crib, toys, kitchen shelves stocked with baby powder milk, and a bathroom full of wipes. It looks more like a kindergarten. The baby has taken over.

Natasha’s life is turned upside down when the creepy baby falls from the sky into her arms

(© Sky UK Limited)

“It’s like my apartment now,” I scream in horror. I look around – there isn’t an inch of my house that isn’t littered with toys, including a five foot tall Barbie house right in the middle of my kitchen. But I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s the norm now. Maybe, in a way, my children had taken over my life without my even realizing it? You may be loose, but I have no place for myself – mentally or physically.

The baby sent me back to when my kids were babies – mine are four and six now. It isolates. Just like Natasha, I was lost in babyland. As friends and family dropped by, I couldn’t concentrate—it was all about another sip of apple puree. I’ve also lost friends to motherhood – I know what it’s like.

But, as we hear Heather say, “He may look like a baby… but he’s made of something very old, he’s our fear of being unloved, he’s a bottomless hole of need.” It’s good to see more challenging depictions of motherhood — at least the reality can’t be half as bad.

The eight-part series ‘The Baby’ premieres on Thursday 7 July on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/the-baby-sky-atlantic-motherhood-rosemarys-baby-omen-b2116118.html The Baby is the scariest show about motherhood I’ve ever seen – and I can identify with it


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