Amy Schumer’s new three-part documentary Expecting Amy hits HBO Max this week and Motherly got an advance look at the series that takes a really deep dive into Schumer’s journey from newlywed to new mom.
If you thought you knew everything about Schumer’s pregnancy (she basically documented it in real-time on Instagram) the documentary will prove you wrong. Expecting Amy is one part diary, one part vlog and 100% honest.
For those who followed along with Schumer’s pregnancy in real-time, the series can feel repetitive, but maybe that’s the point. The thing Schumer is trying to get across, the point she keeps repeating, is that she didn’t fully understand how difficult pregnancy can be until she experienced it herself.
In one scene Schumer is asked if she resents being pregnant, or the tour she signed up for before realizing how hard her pregnancy (famously complicated by hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness that can last all day and result in dehydration and hospitalization) would be.
“I don’t resent being pregnant,” she says. “I resent everyone who hasn’t been honest. I resent the culture and how much women have to suck it the [expletive] up and act like everything’s fine. I really resent that.”
At times the documentary can feel like a repeat of May 2019, when Schumer clapped back at commenters who felt like her pregnancy was dragging on.
“Oh yeah does it feel to everyone like I’ve been pregnant for a long time? It must be getting annoying to you all that I’m still pregnant Well imagine how I feel,” she captioned a photo of herself bumping out in a sonogram room.
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Through Expecting Amy we don’t have to imagine how she felt because as viewers we are feeling the experience with her, and that means that sometimes it does drag on. There are many scenes of Schumer vomiting into bags. As a viewer, it’s a lot…but, again, that’s the point.
Back when she was pregnant and getting flak for broadcasting her puking sessions on social media, Schumer wrote: “Amy is still pregnant and puking because money rarely goes to medical studies for women,” suggesting that hyperemesis gravidarum doesn’t get as much attention as conditions that impact men.
And while more people suffer from erectile dysfunction than hyperemesis gravidarum, let’s consider that five times as many studies are done on erectile dysfunction than premenstrual syndrome (PMS) when about 19% of men are impacted by erectile dysfunction but 90% of women experience symptoms related to PMS.
The documentary shows that so much of pregnancy is still so mysterious, even to women of childbearing age and certainly to many medical providers. And that is so wild—almost as wild as Schumer eating mozzarellas sticks while on the phone with a Netflix executive.
That conversation with Netflix led to her special, Growing, which stands as one of the most honest depictions of pregnancy we’ve seen on TV, and Expecting Amy lives up to the honesty Schumer gave us in that standup special.
The honesty doesn’t end with Schumer’s pregnancy, as the series also takes us behind the scenes of something else Schumer was so real about in Growing: Her husband, Chris Fischer, and his recent diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
“I knew from the beginning that my husband’s brain was a little different than mine,” she explained in the Netflix special.
In the HBO Max doc, we get an inside look at how the couple’s relationship led to Fischer learning more about his non-neurotypical brain.
“You have paid attention to my behavior in a way that nobody had before, and noticed things because you’re very observant and kind of put together the pieces,” he tells Schumer in one scene.
The dad-to-be (at the time) explains that getting diagnosed was very empowering, and impacted his relationship with Schumer in a very positive way, as the couple were able to get professional advice on how best to communicate with each other.
At one point Fischer says: “This morning I woke up so happy and grateful. The more I understand about it, the more excited I am.”
The doc is the evolution of a family. A wife learning more about her body, a husband learning more about his brain and a couple welcoming their son, Gene Fischer.
There will be more moments of evolution for this family, as the couple revealed back in January that they are exploring IVF and hoping for a second child…but for now their IVF journey is on hold due to COVID-19, and Gene remains an only child. One day he will be able to watch Expecting Amy and know how much his parents wanted him.
[A version of this post was published May 5, 2019. It has been updated.]