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Pregnant characters carry a life of their own

11 mins read

Lately, on my TV binges and highly anticipated week-to-week shows, I cannot help but  notice a trend: a trend of strong, badass pregnant women.

This representation is not one that many people may think about and this surprised me. There is so much stigma toward pregnant women in the media. While in said media they are most often looked up to as strong and important for carrying a life within them, characters’ actions toward them show the opposite.

Offred (also known as June Osborne) and Nick Blaine having a quiet moment after finding out about her pregnancy in season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

I have seen pregnant women on TV have emotional episodes, be portrayed as irrational, comedic, or weak. And their portrayed weakness makes the strong male characters protect them during their time of need, which just lessens the importance and strength these women have.

However, many current television shows are taking a stance against this notion that pregnant women are damsels in distress. Because, while these pregnant women carry a life inside them, they also carry a life of their own.

From being a spy, a rebel who cuts off part of their own ear in order to try and escape a harsh regime, a character that stands up for themselves, or to being a person who leads an entire army of criminals, these pregnant women know no bounds.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a show about war in the 18th century, a dystopian of the loss of human rights in the near future, a post-apocalyptic teen show, a show about superheroes, a romantic comedy and soap opera satire, or the next big Netflix original, these trends can be found throughout television.

Below is a compilation of just some of the strong, independent pregnant women found in current mainstream television. WARNING. There are many spoilers along with graphic descriptions.


Brianna Randall Fraser

TV Show: Outlander

The girl went 200 years back in time, got married to her love, got raped and then was reunited with her long lost father the next day and soon after found out about her pregnancy. Brianna has been through so much on this show that I originally had two whole paragraphs written about her. After becoming pregnant, she continued to stand up for herself and fight for the values she believes in. Brianna shows that just because you go back in time 200 years, does not mean that those old values are okay. Thank you, Brianna, for showing people how it’s done.


Charmaine Diyoza

TV Show: The 100

Diyoza leads an entire group of criminals comprised entirely of men and has been pregnant for over 200 years. Yes, that’s correct. After becoming pregnant, she spent 107 years in cryo sleep, was awake for a short time, and then was put into cryo sleep for another 131 years. Ignoring the fact that she’s in charge of an army of weird men who like to kill people and listen to bad music, her pregnancy transcends time. Diyoza is very  strong and extremely independent. While pregnant, she was attacked and managed to kill her attackers as if it was nothing. Hell yes.


June Osborne/Offred

TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale

If you want a strong, independent, fierce pregnant woman it’s June Osborne (also known as Offred). After being forced into a life of sexual servitude, where her sole purpose was to be a breeder, she became pregnant. (Side note: Thank God it’s Nick’s baby and not Fred’s) However, she didn’t let that life diminish her spirit. During the time of her pregnancy, she was almost hanged (the rope was even around her neck!), she cut off part of her ear, was a fugitive, was raped yet again by Fred, had her first born child taken from her for a second time, saw her lover get shot, almost got taken out by a wolf, and then gave birth alone in an abandoned house. Enough said.


Marsali Fraser

TV Show: Outlander

At this point, I almost feel like I should be writing a list about the strong pregnant women found season after season in Outlander: Claire Fraser, Brianna Randall Fraser, Jenny Murray, and Marsali Fraser. Marsali is one of the most strong-willed characters in this show. She never refuses the opportunity to stand up for her husband, Fergus. And, while that may seem against the grain for strong independent female characters, her husband does the same for her. Together, they treat each other as equals in the 18th century and she owns the decisions she makes and does not let other characters deter her from her wishes.


Lois Lane

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TV Show: Supergirl

The news of the famed intrepid reporters pregnancy was exciting, yet not entirely shocking. In the pages of DC Comics, the reporter of steel has been a mother for years. In this years CW crossover Lois made her “Arrow-verse” debut on the familiar Kent Farm alongside her timeless partner, Clark Kent and his glorious cousin Kara. Her introduction was brief but epic in the first crossover episode featured on “The Flash”, and we didn’t see the First Lady of comic-dome until the culminating battle where, while pregnant, she wields an extraterrestrial powered axe and battles a mega powered overlord in an effort to assist in the saving of the multiverse.


Lyla Michaels

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TV Show: Arrow

Lyla is the powerhouse Director of A.R.G.U.S. Formerly a solider, spy and leader of Task Force X, Lyla can handle her own. She somehow managed to settle her action packed life in order to eat for two. Post pregnancy Lyla was, and still is, a strong mother who faced adversity after adversity. Lyla is the only person on this list who’s had a daughter, and then a son, but is a mother of only one child. This is thanks to the flashpoint event caused by Barry Allen.


Jane Villanueva

TV Show: Jane the Virgin

Jane is one of the only characters on this list who exists in a contemporary world—a world like ours. However, just because she isn’t in the world of superheroes, dystopias, or is a time traveler, does not mean she isn’t just as strong. If anything, it makes her strength and courage feel more attainable. She goes after her dreams and stands up for her family at any cost.


Janine

TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale

In a show where most women do not even have a last name, let alone are allowed to use their real first name, Janine tries to hold it together for the life growing inside her in a world that seems dead around her. The Handmaid’s Tale is a brutal show. So brutal that Janine has endured having her own eye cut out when she showed disagreement for the harsh regime at the beginning of season one. After losing part of her sanity and being forced into sexual servitude, Janine keeps hold of her love for other people. While she doesn’t necessarily fight back physically, like some of the others on this list, she never fails to stand up for her friends and be strong in a world that purposefully places her at the bottom of the totem pole. And, that is more than enough to earn her a place on this list.


Honorary Mentions

Jenny Murray

TV Show: Outlander

Jenny is one of the fiercest characters on Outlander. Especially when she gets pregnant. Pregnancy couldn’t stop her from searching for her brother in a forest of enemies waiting to kill her and her sister-in-law. She is a force to be reckoned with.


Malorie

Movie: Bird Box

Yes, this is a list about pregnant women in TV shows, but I couldn’t exclude Sandra Bullock’s character, Malorie, from Bird Box. This is a movie that has been so prominent in the media lately, and there’s a reason for it. For the majority of the movie, Malorie is fighting and surviving as a pregnant woman, and she crushes it. It’s so great to see a movie of such high caliber have the protagonist be a pregnant woman played by a well-known actress. This movie helps to break stereotypes while telling a captivating, thrilling story.

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Brianna Taggart

I'm a journalism, communications, and digital writing/literature & design student who watches way too much TV and gets too emotionally invested in fictional characters. I'm also a hiking and adventure fanatic. Find passion, you lovely people.

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