Nov. 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM ET
Confession: I’m a grown, married woman in my 40s with two kids and was completely sucked into Stephanie Meyer’s "Twilight" series a few years ago.
I read all four books in one long weekend and when I got to “Breaking Dawn,” and the whole baby-birthing scene, I was horrifyingly transfixed.
Another shattering crack inside her body, the loudest yet, so loud that we both froze in shock waiting for her answering shriek. Nothing. Her legs, which had been curled up in agony, now went limp, sprawling out in an unnatural way. “Her spine,” he choked in horror.
The next sound jolted through me, unexpected, terrifying. Like metal being shredded apart.
Sure, as moms we know childbirth is no picnic. But add vampire craziness, like the baby busting out of Bella, cracking her ribs along the way, not to mention a vampire-fang C-section of sorts and loads of blood, and, well, it just makes you want to stay FAR AWAY from having a baby, not to mention making one.
Which is precisely why all those teenybop Twihards – including my middle-school daughter and her pals -- who have swooned and mooned over the otherworldy vampire/werewolf romance and its buffed and beautiful characters, should go see the latest Twilight saga movie “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” which is rated PG-13 and opens Friday.
By all accounts, Kristen Stewart’s Bella has a childbirth scene that’s just as gruesome as portrayed in the book.
Robert Pattinson, who plays red-eyed, hottie vampire Edward, described part of the scene to the Los Angeles Daily News (which, by the way, calls it “perhaps the ickiest birth scene ever filmed”):
"Basically, it was Kristen lying there. It was her head with this emaciated dummy; it just looked so authentic lying there, covered in blood. You just realized human beings' frailty, and there's no way not to feel that when you're looking at it.”
Pattinson seems pleased the fourth film enters into adult territory, the Daily News reports, adding the actor’s “still trying to wrap his head around where the tween-adored, carnally toothless fantasy has gone this time around,” with its sex and pregnancy and more emotionally mature material.
I’m with Team Edward on this point, but for different, more selfish reasons: How can sex scenes (where the bed is broken), and pregnancy (where a belly moves freakishly, due to the half-vampire/half human creature inside) and a (nearly-fatal, frighteningly bloody) childbirth NOT be a deterrent to hormonal teen girls?
My daughter and her friends were around 10 when they first started asking to read "Twilight." At the time, there was a big debate among us moms on whether they were too young. We all – at varying times -- decided the romance part of the tale was over their heads; the fantasy part, ridiculous but harmless. (And getting a 5th grader to read a 498-page book? Amazing.) That said, many of us drew the line at letting them read “Breaking Dawn,” because of its mature content.
But now they are 12- and 13-year-olds, with real-life (albeit, so far innocent) boy crushes on courtly, hunky Edward-types and loyal, athletic Jacob-types. These boys, thankfully, walk around in gym shorts and hoodies and don’t seem to have any supernatural powers, unless you count throwing a baseball really hard or running fast on the football field. And the "Twilight" theme of idealized romantic scenarios is becoming a little too real.
Isn’t it worth a try to quash it -- or at least slow things down -- with a $10 movie ticket? And I’ll throw in some popcorn. With butter. And a ride, there and back, to the theater.
Pattinson says of "Breaking Dawn’s" ghastly birth scene: "There was no easy way, at all, that you could hide from the reality of it.”
I translate that message to this one for my daughter and her friends: Boyfriends can lead to sex, which can lead to pregnancy, which can lead to childbirth. That is reality.
So, young ladies, by all means go see "Breaking Dawn." Here's hoping it will scare you so bad you’ll want to hide from it.
Kavita Varma-White is a writer, editor and mom of two tweens. In between cheering at numerous soccer and baseball games, she's a contributing editor for TODAY Moms and MSNBC.com.