On Love and Loss: A Review of the Movie "20 Weeks"

What I am not is a movie critic, but what I am is a woman who has been in the position that the couple in this movie finds themselves. And that is at their 20-week anatomy scan they learn that their baby has clear physical abnormalities and, pending the results of the amniocentesis, potential serious genetic defects. They are faced with having to make the heartbreaking decision of whether or not to terminate a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons.

What I liked
I felt there was a very accurate portrayal of what it is like for a couple during an anatomy scan that has just received devastating news. The ultrasound tech not answering any of their questions, the long wait for the doctor to come in and tell them what is going on, and the expression on their faces when hearing that their baby was not developing the way they should.

Ronin’s obsessive Googling of all the possible outcomes and Maya’s dismissive attitude about not even considering termination is very realistic of how a couple approaches a decision, and how they each cope in their own way.

What I disliked
The trailer of this movie was pretty misleading in terms of how the couple chose to proceed with the pregnancy. The end result was that their baby had no genetic issues but he would certainly have a hand missing four fingers. Because this was inspired by the real life experiences of the writer/director, it did make the movie a little more powerful.

But for couples who have gone through this and received a far more severe physical or genetic diagnosis, one that is absolutely fatal for the baby, the decision for Maya to not terminate seems like one that is not even up for deliberation. I went into the movie thinking I would feel less alone in the world of even having to consider a termination for medical reasons but instead found myself saying, “That’s it?”

I would never want anybody to experience the emotional pain that comes with hearing the worst possible news. And I am sure those that have had uneventful pregnancies will watch this movie and experience the tragedy that this couple faced, because anytime you hear that something is wrong with your baby it is absolutely crushing. Others that have received the worst of the news may see this film in a much different light. 

For all the mamas out there that have ever had the heavy burden of making a decision of termination for medical reasons of a baby you have fallen in love with…you aren’t alone.

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