22 responses to “Absurd Birth Scenes – The Meaning Of Life”

  1. Janet

    The most realistic hospital birth portrayal I’ve ever seen. It makes me wonder what experiences the writers had that they perceived it in this way. Worshipping the machines that go ping is the most important part of hospital birth. Women are viewed as irritating side effects of the birth process, babies do get taken away and frightened. Yup, 10 out of 10 for realism.

  2. mommymichael

    I do love monty python.

    “nothing dear, you’re not qualified.” I said that even before I hit play. I will probably always remember this line because of how much it irritates me. So close to reality! Also, was this baby pulled out as a footling breech? lol

    Off topic: Speaking of absurdity and truth (while nothing about birth and babies) you’d be surprised how close to reality Down Periscope is when it comes to submarines and navy life.

    1. jelikin

      I’ve never heard of down periscope. My knowledge of submarines is what I remember from “journey to the bottom of the sea” and “hunt for red October”.

      AFAIK all submarines have a large, swivelling periscope on the captains deck, a captain’s seat that hangs from the ceiling, many vertical metal ladders that run through small holes in the floors (thus nobody in the crew was fat or in a wheel chair), absolutely no carpet or soft furnishings (just grey decor) and most essentially a green screen sonar radar that sounds like an old pong arcade game in an echo chamber. Oh and lot and lots of torpedoes!

      Do the movies lie or is it just in birth scenes?

  3. Hannah

    I’d never seen the whole scene, its amazing how spot on it is??? The stuff about Postnatal depression and finding out about the birth later is chilling..

  4. Dr, Leigh Dick-Read

    You do realise, of course, that the Meaning of Life short is one of our most seriously inportant education aids. Can’t you see women eagerly cueing up for hospital births after seeing that?

  5. Gloria Lemay

    Good one, Lisa & J. There’s a whole new generation of young women who are preg right now who’ve never seen this. Good to have it “preserved” on this site. I thought that all the Monty Python guys were medical students at some point. I think that’s how they met.

    1. jelikin

      No, The monty python team all studied different things. They didn’t even go to the same universities. As a group they met up later after they got into television independently, although some of them had already formed writing partnerships with each other.

      Being a stickler I just checked the details on wikipedia

      Graham Chapman – Medicine @Cambridge
      John Cleese – Law @Cambridge
      Terry Jones – English @Oxford
      Michael Palin – History @Oxford
      Eric Idle – English @Cambridge
      Terry Gilliam – Various subjects in the US

      Not surprisingly I think Graham Chapman comes across very well as a Doctor. He has that air of superiority and pomposity. None of the others (except Cleese) could pull it off. Perhaps it’s taught at med school or more likely medicine just attracts people with superiority complexes!

  6. Gloria Lemay

    Ahhh. . . very good to know, J. Are you going to post the next birth on the film, too “Birth in the Third World”? That’s a good one, too. “Get it will you, Deirdre?”

    Saw on Twitter that Lisa’s hobknobbing about with Sarah. I’m green with jealousy.

    1. jelikin

      Birth in the Third World? I don’t remember seeing that. Are you sure it’s in the same film. We’ve actually got a birth scene back log occurring, but always on the look out for new ones. They pop up in the most unlikeliest of places. Ironically, the movies that are not about birth have the most realistic scenes. Typically they are not based in hospitals either. e.g. Perfume and Children Of Men (both in the queue).

  7. Gloria Lemay

    Yes, it’s the very next bit on the video. Shows a woman with a huge family washing dishes with her teen daughter, baby falls out on the floor and she says to her daughter “Get it will you, Deirdre?”. . . completely the opposite of the techno machine that goes ping one.

    1. jelikin

      I’ve redone the video clip and included the third world bit. Well remembered.

      Aye, some women have babies and just have to get on with life. None of this holidaying in hospitals.

  8. tutleymutley

    I’m an NHS midwife – I once was trying to support a woman who was having twins – the room was full of people all shouting and bustling about – I remember her saying “s’cuse me, is there anything I can do to help?!” – absolutely true! I haven’t seen this clip in years – it’s uncanny how well it predicted where birth is headed!

  9. Sue Ablao

    Love it! Count on MP to show the absurdity of …anything!

  10. Kez

    So true! I had to laugh though. Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Helen

    Oh wonderful. I haven’t seen a bit of Python in years (not since before my daughter was born anyway!) and I’d forgotten just how funny they really are!

    Utter geniuses the lot of them and I loved the two scenes. Who needs a patient when you have the most expensive machine in the hospital eh? :o )

  12. Elsabe Burger

    Great clip! I use it at every one of my classes. When I ask the moms and dads if they find anything wrong with the clip they are quite reluctant to answer, not knowing what to say. It is only once they are given the information over our 2 day workshop that the lights go on. It is very sad, as we have a 70% + caesar rate in South African private hospitals. Yet, the poor moms start out wanting normal births, or so they think …….

    1. Elsabie Orris

      Funny you should mention the c section rate Elsabe…. When I was pregnant (I live in the UK) one of my South African friends asked me when I am having my section!? I had no idea what she was on about…. Further investigation showed me that the labout and delivery system in SA is going the same way as in the US unfortunately. I was very fortunate to have a easy natural hospital birth in the UK and will have my next baby at home as it is offered to woman over here (actively encouraged in our area) for their second birth.

  13. Brianne

    I loved this post, I found it interesting that this is the birthing scene that people call the most accurate. Can I ask where you got the quote from Terry Gilliam?

  14. Rachael

    Aww, you should have included the one from the “Every Sperm is Sacred” scene when the baby just falls out and she doesn’t even pause with the dishes. Of course, she has about 50 kids.

  15. SuzyQ

    As funny as Monty Python is, and the sketch is great…well, bottom line for me:
    If I hadn’t given birth in a hospital, my daughter would be dead. Confirmed. Period.
    I personally am very happy I never let the likes of Ricky Lake let me risk my child’s life.