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Childbirth as performance art? Top 10 reasons this is a bad idea

Oct. 20, 2011 at 12:16 PM ET

Microscope Gallery /
Marni Kotak stands in the Brooklyn art gallery where she will give birth in front of a live audience.

A performance artist named Marni Kotak is planning to give birth before a live audience in a Brooklyn gallery. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising considering some of her other shows have included re-enactments of her own birth and losing her virginity in a blue Plymouth. She’s calling her exhibit “The Birth of Baby X” and although her due date is more than a month off, she’s already made herself a birthing room and according to the gallery website, remnants from the final days of pregnancy and the birth will be added to the exhibition as it progresses. Remnants? Like what, her mucous plug? Her dignity? I’m horrified.

But wait, she's not going to stop after the baby gets here. She plans to keep going with an exhibit called “Raising Baby X,” in which she will put raising her child from birth to college on display. Even in the age of reality TV shows like "Teen Mom" and "Jersey Shore," this is a gross overshare. Marni says, “I have decided to do this because I want to show people that, as in my previous performances, real life is the best performance art.”

Um, Marni? I beg to differ.

Microscope Gallery /
Marni Kotak calls her exhibit "The Birth of Baby X" and says it's performance art.

Is it too late to talk you out of this? God I hope not. As a mom of three kids who’s gone through two births, I can tell you there are so many reasons this is a bad idea. But here are my top ten.

1) Pooping yourself in public is not art.

2) Screaming “I will never have sex with you again!” at your husband while you are transitioning should never be followed by applause.

3) Breastfeeding. At three a.m. when you are sleep-deprived and hormonal, propped up on fourteen pillows sobbing while trying to get your baby to “Just latch! Please! Come on, you did it at the hospital! Why won’t you eat now?” you may not want a crowd.

4). The in-laws who aren’t nearly as helpful as you hoped while you were pregnant. They said they’d be there for you, that they’d stay a month and make dinner and babysit. And then a week later they suddenly flew to Vegas for a “vacation.” That’s not art. It’s reality.

5) Those upcoming teenage fights:  “You didn’t even want me!! You just wanted PERFORMANCE ART!” *doorslam*

6) Newborns are only interesting to people who are not their parents for a week, tops.

7) Postpartum depression can really bring down an audience.

8) It’s tough enough as a parent to make decisions about your parenting without feeling judged. Trust me when I tell you that the very last thing you need as an unsure new mommy is bad reviews.

9) We all know what happens to child stars.

10) WE DON’T WANT TO SEE IT!

Marni, I sure hope I’ve given you something to think about. But if you insist on going through with this, just know, I warned you.

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is a writer, mother, comedian and all-around really special person. Her latest book is "I'm Kind of a Big Deal," she blogs at Baby on Bored and she co-hosts The Parent Experiment.

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