December 30, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

They did it to cute kids. They did it to revisionist Westerns. And in 1994 Hollywood took another good idea — motherhood — a bit too far. Real life was apple pie, as Michelle Pfeiffer, Vanna White, Annette Bening, and Gabrielle Carteris all gave birth; a Sports Illustrated cover girl appeared pregnant in the swimsuit issue; and David Letterman got upstaged by his mom’s reports from the Lillehammer Olympics. But on the big screen, birthing was in a strenuous stew. Arnold Schwarzenegger, sporting a prosthetic belly, got in touch with his female side (or front) in Junior. From a uterine vat’s gothic ooze, Kenneth Branagh delivered Robert De Niro’s zipper-faced Creature in Frankenstein. For women, the going got extra tough. In Angie, Geena Davis got pregnant, dumped her boyfriend, felt every pain of labor (”The day you pass a 10-pound bowling ball through the head of your d—, I will sing the whole f—ing score of Phantom of the Opera,” she tells her obstetrician), and agonized over motherhood. It was a role Madonna had wanted, but come to think of it, she would.

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