21 December 2006

6 weeks

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"The preggo brain seems to have kicked in now as well…… I keep finding myself doing the stupidest things. I’ve put the toaster in the fridge, empty bottles in the fridge, forgotten to do any washing. I’ve also completely missed our turn-off on the way home and not even realised for about 10mins when I was completely out of Melbourne! Oh yes, and it’s very difficult to cook dinner in the oven on 0 degrees too I found out!! Haha!Ahhh the joys of pregnancy! But I’m LOVING absolutely every second of it!!"

20 December 2006

early days

"Here is a shot of my belly at 5 weeks and 3 days. I am all belly normally you see, and the thais* often think I am at least 6 months along....wahhhhhh....."

*she is in Thailand at the moment*

19 December 2006

birthing boost

I was just reading that Jana Pittman had her baby, Cornelius (what is it with famous people and obscure baby names?!)

Read about it here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/people/janaa-baby-joy/2006/12/15/1165685877310.html

Then I saw this article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the benefits of 'heightened fitness' postpartum

Supermums are on drugs, naturally/Jacquelin Magnay/December 9, 2006
AFTER giving birth, mothers have a six-week rush of extra red blood cells, a hormonal cocktail that aids endurance and strength, and a gobsmacking jolt of awareness of their toughness in surviving childbirth.

Physiologically elite athletes can benefit from this window of heightened fitness, presuming of course that the late-night feeds and disjointed routine are as under control as the leaking of all things from all places and the sore back from softened ligaments caused by the pregnancy hormone, relaxin.

In the East German doping regime of the 1970s and 1980s, and in the Russian gymnastic program in the 1970s, there were reports that coaches encouraged athletes to get pregnant up until the 16-week mark and then abort, so that the athletes could train harder and perform better from the supply of another pregnancy hormone - human chorionic gonadotropin.
HCG boosts the production of steroids in women. Pregnant women also have extra erythropoietin (EPO), which helps supply oxygen to the body and enables athletes to train for longer periods.
(I seriously hope this isn't true.....)

But it is more well known that the East German doctors would induce abortions in their athletes because of the birth defects caused by female athletes taking steroids.
There have been many examples of supreme athletes bouncing back from motherhood quickly.
Olympic champion Marion Jones had a son in June 2003 and was back in training four weeks later.

Irish runner Sonia O'Sullivan resumed training 10 days after giving birth, at the urging of her coach and partner Nic Bideau, and then backed up to win silver in the 5000 metres at the Sydney Olympics.

i heart NY

I just had an exhausting weekend in the Big Apple...I survived the crushing crowds of Christmas crazed shoppers on Fifth Avenue and took in the spectacle that is the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (so cheesy but something to cross off on my once in a lifetime list) and the chorus line moves of the infamous Rockettes. Also, got in some great runs in Central Park. I succumbed to a Sex and the City tour of New York which sounded ridiculous but actually brought me to some areas of NY that I had never before explored. Found a great little maternity shop in the Village which I photographed obsessively. NY mums are interesting (well, at least the ones that I saw): firstly, all of them are dressed to kill with Gucci belt bags, Prada sunglasses, Kate Spade nappy bags and the latest in Bugaboo. I swear I have never seen more Bugaboo than in NYC. Bleeker playground in the Village (a very posh area known as the home of SJP, Liv Tyler and a long list of celebrity mums) was the hub of well-heeled mums and their bubs. Everyone had a pram that probably cost more than my car...And the children! Dressed in baby North Face (expensive American outwear), Burberry and Gap, NY kids look just as amazing as their mothers. I didnt notice as maternity shops as much as I noticed the overwhelming number of specialty children's clothing shops and baby accessory stores. Strangely enough, I was flipping through the channels in a moment of brief shopping respite in my hotel room and landed upon an interview with Liz Lange, the doyenne of fashionable maternity wear here in the US. Lange started her business in the early 90s and was basically the first designer to do stretchy material for pregnancy..and look how far we have come! Her big break was in 1996 when Cindy Crawford was pregnant with her first child and considering the choices at the time were pretty minimal, Crawford only wore Liz Lange and the rest is history. Lange is exclusively contracted to supply maternity wear for all Target stores here (too bad Target Australia doesn't contract her as well!). She has a pretty amazing story and I am hoping to make contact with her in the next few weeks.

13 December 2006

Dr. 90210

As I have reignited my relationship with good old American television, last night I was watching a reality show on E! called Dr. 90210. You can get acquainted with the show here:


Seeing as plastic surgery is one of the most barbaric acts women (for the most part) can willingly inflict upon their own bodies, why not document surgeries in minute detail?! Needless to say, I've been hooked and I can't really explain why. Last night, I had the misfortune of watching the story of a single mum of two planning to undergo a labiaplasty, vaginal tightening, breast augmentation and lift and brazillian (yes, brazillian) butt lift...and this was done all at once. The doctor basically told this woman that childbirth basically 'ruins' the birth canal which is why her vagina is so loose. He told her he could completely erase any trace of having had two children.

I am pretty uncomfortable with the whole discourse of 'choice' and plastic surgery. I tend to think if you are really unhappy with how you look, then you have a right to do with your own body as you please. However, it is pretty unbearable to watch the absolute butchery women put themselves through in order to have a tighter vagina or 'perkier' breasts. The naked bodies of these women are poked and prodded, and more generally exposed to the flock of surgeons tearing into their skin, pulling out tissue and sewing them back up. It's really a horror to watch but perhaps so compelling because it makes you (or well, me) think about why people do this to themselves and also for the voyeuristic pleasure in seeing a complete bodily transformation (without exercise or good nutrition). The show tends to avoid showing the extreme pain involved in recovery. We just get flashes a few weeks post-op when the women are absolutely gushing about the results and the women parade around in bras or bikinis for all to gaze upon their tight and toned bods.

The whole concept of plastic surgery is obviously not a new topic of discussion for feminists but I have to say, I was really surprised from the marathon of episodes I watched (due to my still screwed up sleeping) a good proportion of episodes were devoted to 'fixing' the postnatal bodies of new mothers. Whether it's a tummy tuck or a vaginal 'reconstruction', mums in California are turning out in droves to have the erasure of their maternal bodies documented for the show. Maybe this is just another 'only in America' thing but it's all a bit too sci-fi for me.

Listening to Mothers

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that American women are experiencing unwanted medical interventions in childbirth. I remember interviewing my mother for an undergraduate women's studies subject about her pregnancy/birth experience. Mum gave birth to me in 1980 in a private hospital with an obstetrician at quite possible the height of medicalised birth in America. She told me that not only was she given an episiotomy without her permission, her obstetrician also yanked me out with forceps because he couldn't be bothered to let me take my time down the birth canal! And let's be honest, he wanted to go home (it was 10pm). That was 26 years ago; it's a terrible realisation that women are still undergoing interventions in birth without their consent.

Here is a nice piece from the Boston Globe reporting on The Listening to Mothers II report by Childbirth Connection , a New York group founded in 1918 to improve maternity care:

For expectant women, it's not too much to ask
By Tina Cassidy December 8, 2006

09 December 2006

all is revealed...

These photos were submitted by a fantastic woman, nearing her due date....

home sweet home

Well, everyone...I've made it back to the US in one piece after approximately 3 days of air travel via Sydney and Tokyo. I have to say, I had a few truly 'lost in translation' moments in my brief Tokyo experience and flying Japan Airlines. My first observation: the Japanese are very lovely and gracious people. My second observation: a decent number of Japanese wear face masks (a la the SARS scare) at the airport which threw me a bit. My third observation: everyone speaks English. My fourth observation: from the very small bit of it I experienced, I have to say, Japanese TV shows are extremely bizarre. I saw alot of men 'wearing' stuffed animals and so much fluoro circa 1987. I hope to expand upon these very cursory observations in a few weeks time when I'm back in Tokyo for a proper visit.

And let me just say..I'm in winter hell. It's about -3 in Chicago right now and I am dreaming of a 37 degree Melbourne summer. I need to thaw out my fingers...more to come later...

05 December 2006

birthing body

The belly of a
new mother: one week postpartum

This is what she has to say:

'Well, that tummy and boobs belong to me. I'm pretty happy with the way my body looks. It feels so much more able. Those last weeks of pregnancy, (I was one week over), were really S L O W, I was still walking around every day, but sleeping was awful. Every day the tummy is retracting, I can bend!!! I have a clevedge that I never had before. I can make streams of milk! My baby has put on a kilo since she was born, that's 11 days ago. I made a perfectly healthy baby with that body. I couldn't be happier. Cheers R'

back to uncle sam's land

Well, everyone my American sojourn is about to begin and you can rest assured I will be bringing you tales of pregnancy, motherhood and celebrity antics from the frontline. As my journey this December will take me through the winter chill of Chicago, New York and a brief respite in Raleigh, I am perhaps the most excited to check out American maternity shops and having the chance to unreservedly gaze at American pregnant bellies. I've already organised some interviews and will have my camera at the ready to photograph anything and everything fabulous, fashionable and maternity.

Following the tour of America, I will be in Tokyo and I must say, the Japanese have some of the most interesting rituals surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Whilst there, I'm hoping to catch up with some Osaka mothers as well as La Leche in central Tokyo..and I won't even get started on the maternity shopping...so different from what we know in Australia and America from what I can tell thus far. This is a great resource, a sort of Japanese maternity design for beginners: http://www.pingmag.jp/2006/05/22/east-meets-west-maternity-design/

I simply cannot wait to get my hands on some Japanese parenting/pregnancy mags...

Anyway, more to come.
::From here to maternity::

Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission.

how childbirth went industrial

I received this tip from Christine (www.christinemorton.com) through ReproNetwork (my new favourite virtual community!) this morning, a must read:

Dear Friends:
In early October the New Yorker Magazine published an article "How childbirth went industrial." The author, Atul Gawande, is an AssistantProfessor of Surgery and an Assistant Professor in the Department of HealthPolicy and Management, at Harvard Medical School. Henci Goer, one of the presenters at the NAPW Summit, has prepared a detailed critique: "How Childbirth Went Industrial: A Deconstruction," and Mothering Magazine has made it available on their website:


Here is a link to the New Yorker article:


04 December 2006

it's a rough life, jen

This article caught my eye in People magazine:

Jennifer Garner – whose daughter with husband Ben Affleck, Violet, turned 1 on Friday – has only recently been working to get back to her pre-pregnancy action-star form. "I'm in the worst shape ever," the size 6-8 ("definitely more an 8") actress, 34, tells Elle magazine in its January issue. "My trainer just shakes her head and says, 'This is a disaster.' " Though she kicked butt as the star of Alias and Elektra, these days, she says, "I am as physically unfit as I've probably been in my whole life. It's such a horror in front of the mirror with no clothes on." Lifting her sweater to reveal her midriff, she says, "You still have that little bit of extra skin, know what I mean? But still, it's enough for people to think that you're knocked up."

Are mothers of the world supposed to feel a connection to Jen because she hasn't yet regained her slimmer than slim Hollywood form in an refreshing admission of normality? Or are mothers out there just gritting their teeth, trying to get past the fact that she has a trainer? And why do all of these magazines insist on sharing the intimate details of celebrity body size? I don't need to know that Jen Garner is a size 8 and frankly, I'm pretty sure the average mum doesn't need to know that either. I feel sorry for her. Such pressure!

29 November 2006

smoke filled wombs

'Women who smoke during pregnancy may be programming their children to become smokers as adolescents'
-Mums-to-be hand down addiction, Michelle Pountney, November 29, 2006, Herald Sun

As I was skimming The Sun this morning (and in general over the past few weeks), I was struck by 1) the amount of articles written about motherhood or pregnancy 2) the equally prescriptive nature of the articles particularly with regard to moral imperatives surrounding women's preconception/pregnant behaviours.

I will be the first to admit that even though I am wholeheartedly a feminist and adamantly support choice for women in every form, when I see a pregnant woman smoking I can't help but stare. I am not necessarily staring to be critical of her behaviour but perhaps more out of surprise; I think you have to be pretty courageous to smoke in public when you are pregnant considering the ridiculous level of surveillance women must negotiate when they are visibly pregnant. Beyond the disparaging looks imploring 'bad mother', it wouldn't surprise me if pregnant smokers are actually scolded by strangers for their culturally 'inappropriate' maternal behaviour.

The article in the paper today highlights perhaps relevant health information however it also highlights and instigates a more troubling representation of the fetus as person that is unequivocally in conflict with its mother. Moreover, the well-being of the fetus, particularly in anti-smoking campaigns during pregnancy, takes precedence as a public actor and holds a valuable position in the cultual imagination more so than the mother. For instance, as this article suggests, babies become 'programmed' for nicotine addiction in utero which is clearly dangerous. However, I find it interesting that this article (and many others like it) never suggest that a woman should stop smoking because the behaviour is consistently cited as being unhealthy not just for the fetus but for her. Smoking during pregnancy is considered as not only a personal failing on the part of the woman but also as a social problem:

'...mothers who smoked during pregnancy were younger and less likely to have finished secondary education, had lower family income, were more likely to be depressed, had poorer partner relationships and were more likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy'.

In this example, smoking is attributed to and vilifies young, lower-class mothers and makes no reference to middle-upper class who invariably smoke during pregnancy as well. In this sense, women who smoke are not only blamed for hurting their own babies, they bear the brunt of a social epidemic that results in teenage pregnancy and threatens 'healthy societies'.

Perhaps seemingly innocuous in this guise, I think the legitimation of pregnancy surveillance and fetal protection in popular media only fuels and perhaps strengthens the moral judgments placed on women's agency in reproduction and engenders a feeling of public protection for fetuses as vulnerable and in need of rescue. In framing pregnancy as a conflict between mother and fetus, the 'rules' of pregnancy are not only enforced by women themselves but by the government and in social, legal and medical policies. Where will it stop? Will women be banned from smoking during pregnancy? Will women be charged with 'fetal abuse' if they are caught? Currently, legislators in South Australia have banned smoking in cars where children under 16 years are present. Is this an enfringement of the rights of parents or is it a well-meaning measure by a government that cares?

Now, dont get me wrong: If I were pregnant, I wouldn't smoke. I understand the risks and I wouldn't take a chance. However, it is this expanding recognition of the fetus as a person and in possession of rights that are in conflict with the rights of the mother that has me worried. In this example, it is not necessarily the smoking aspect which is of concern as much as how and why women's choices are being circumscribed. As the image above demonstrates, the glowing fetus is the only relevant actor and is entitled to a smoke-free womb as juxtaposed against the dark, shadowy figure of the irresponsible mother. Is smoking a reliable indicator of a woman's commitment to her pregnancy and by extension, her baby?

For more information on this debate, consult the work of feminist scholar Laury Oaks, in particular 'Smoke-Filled Wombs and Fragile Fetuses: The Social Politics of Fetal Representation', Signs, 26(1), 2000, 63-108 or her book Smoking and Pregnancy: The Politics of Fetal Protection (Rutgers University Press, 1999).

22 November 2006

stimulate your brain

Good reading...A few of these articles reference 'The Mommy Myth' by Meredith Michaels and Susan Douglas, a fantastic text that definitely inspired the creation of The Baby Bump Project...

For Baby and Me: The tales of a feminist mother http://www.academinist.org/mp/archive/december04/empioa2.html

Cover Moms

The Mommy Wars

The Mommy Mystique

Making babies: ideals, technology and politics

Image source: Rebecca Hahn http://rebeccahahn.com/b&w/mommy%20myth.html

19 November 2006


This just made my heart break...she may be a model and a D-grade actress but it makes me very, very sad that she is talking about losing weight this early into her pregnancy....

Jaime Pressly, four months pregnant, already has plans to shed the babyweight she has yet to gain. She told Us Weekly, "I want to lose the baby weight by my 30th birthday!" The baby is due in May and she turns 30 on July 30, 2007. The self-admitted fitness freak said, "Three weeks after I have the child I'll be back in the gym 4-5 days a week two hours at a time."
Source: Us Weekly and http://www.celebrity-babies.com/

caesar wear

Clearly the maternity industry has found a new niche and just when I thought all resources had been tapped...I discovered this today.... apparently Hollywood is all abuzz about these...I wonder why...*sigh*

'Czela Bellies CesareanWear is specifically designed for women who have recently undergone a delivery by c-section. Czela Bellies' patent pending design provides for a level of comfort never before available. Internal ultra soft padding provides a layer of luxurious comfort between binding waistbands and your recent "ouch area".The padding provided by this uniquely designed undergarment allows you to wear your old pants, shorts and skirts (or maybe even some well deserved new clothing!) more quickly and confidently after delivery.'

If a caesarean scar is described as only an 'ouch' area, I am guessing the designer of this product has forgotten that a caesar is considered major abdominal surgery....sorry to be graphic but I thought the inclusion of an image from a caesar might help to illustrate my point...

18 November 2006


As I was perusing Good Weekend in today's Age, I noticed the buzz word of the week was SMUM: smart, middle-class uninvolved mother

Seeing as I am always on the look out for linguistic nuances and interesting tid bits from pop culture I was intrigued to find that in addition to yummy mummy, slummy mummy and MILF, we now have a term for mums who think mum-ing is tedious, mindless and altogether boring..another means of categorising identities that are socially incompatible. The implication here is that women cannot maintain a pre-motherhood identity and that identity is not dynamic. As these terms are thrown around in pop culture, no one really focuses on the fact these they are not positive connotations; all of these buzz words are short for 'bad mother'. If SMUMS are too self-important to be involved, SCAMs (Smart, Child-Centered, Active Moms) are 'the superachieving moms who hand-letter birthday invitations, spend their days in imaginative play with their toddlers, bake from scratch and joyfully embrace each moment spent with their supergifted offspring'. Why do women have to be at war with each other? and where are all of the buzz words for lazy and uninterested fatherhood?!

On one hand I thought, if someone finds motherhood such an arduous task why would they bother having children in the first place? On the other hand, perhaps this seeming confession is the resounding experience of women who feel too guilty to express their angst in a culture that looks down on women who can't just do it all. Is this just another backlash against the overly romantic-Leave it To Beaver- view of motherhood that no one can live up to? Isn't it possible to be ambitious and a mother without having to choose?! SMUM is not really a new concept; I mean who can forget Betty Friedan and the 'problem with no name'. However, it is definitely a critical juncture in culture and/or feminist history and perhaps rather un-surprising that the un-interested mother gets slammed for being well...uninterested...children are prized like little jewels, the birth rate keeps creeping just below replacement level, sophisticated medical technology makes fetuses 'people' even before they are born and women can be accused of 'neglect' for drinking a few glasses of wine during a pregnancy...

Here are some related articles:
I found this nice summation at Word Spy http://www.wordspy.com/words/SMUM.asp:

SMUM n. A woman who finds motherhood and her children tedious and uninteresting. [Acronym from Smart, Middle-Class, Uninvolved, Mother.]

Example Citations:
In her new book, Mommies Who Drink, U.S. actress Brett Paesel confesses she would rather hit happy hour with her friends than have "fun with felt." And the blogosphere is exploding with posts from mothers telling the dirty truth that motherhood is, well, mind-numbing.
Dubbed SMUMs — smart, middle-class, uninvolved mothers — these women are no longer willing to feign interest in watching Barney for the 538th time.—Rebecca Eckler, "Motherhood is boring," The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2006

So now it's on between the SMUMs and the SCAMs (Smart, Child-Centered, Active Moms — my coinage). SCAMs are the superachieving moms who hand-letter birthday invitations, spend their days in imaginative play with their toddlers, bake from scratch and joyfully embrace each moment spent with their supergifted offspring.

I know (and have been known to like) these women. I even have moments when I wished I had their game, but I can only be the SMUM that I am: distracted, well-meaning, ambitious for myself. But my kids know I'll always be there for them when the chips are down, even if I'm not actually going to get up to serve them any chips.—Erica Schickel, "Smart Moms Admit: Kids Are Boring," Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2006

Earliest Citation:
Why did Helen Kirwan-Taylor have a second child when she finds motherhood utterly boring?
Was she shallow enough to simply want a 'matched pair' — she admits 'matching shoes to a skirt' is very important to her. Or did she think her first child needed a sibling for the entertainment she wasn't going to provide herself?

As a psychologist, I find her attitudes disturbing and ridiculous. They encapsulate the worst of modern motherhood and are prevalent in a group I call SMUMs — Smart, Middle-Class, yet Uninvolved, Mothers.—Pam Spurr, "Sorry, but My Children Bore Me to Death!; This mother's extraordinary confession in yesterday's Mail provoked a firestorm of controversy. Here experts and readers have their say," Daily Mail, July 27, 2006

17 November 2006

just dont offer me any marble cake...

A very honest pregnancy journal featured fortnightly in The Guardian

Just don't offer me any marble cake ... While filming Doctor Who actor Tracy-Ann Oberman was shocked to discover she was pregnant. Here the first-time mother introduces her fortnightly column chronicling her fight to get back in shape for TV
Tuesday October 24, 2006 The Guardian Photograph: Eamonn McCabe / Guardian

Last November, as I battled a shiny Cyberman on the set of Dr Who, I momentarily caught sight of my reflection in his chest and for the first time in my life thought, "Hmm, not bad, the yoga's paying off." Elle McPherson could still sleep soundly - the title of The Body wasn't about to be ripped from her - but having returned from a yoga retreat in Tuscany I was feeling OK. Don't get the idea that I had chosen this for myself. It was a surprise anniversary present from the fitness-obsessed husband. The Tuscany bit I didn't mind but four hours of intense yoga a day, no thank you. Something gorgeous from Agent Provocateur would have sufficed. But I loved it and returned to Blighty with a sense of wellbeing, tone and hitherto unknown determination and was managing two gym sessions, one ashtanga yoga and a bit of power walking every week, plus downing spirulina juice and wheat-free bread like there was no tomorrow. For someone who had spent most of her adult life looking not bad for two children (without having had the children) I was almost on nodding terms with my true figure.

So imagine my surprise, dear reader, when, returning to the Dr Who set post-Chrimbo hols in India, I was suffering from constant nausea. How was my new health regime letting me down? I went off to the nearest doctor (a real doctor, not Dr Who) for a blood test assuming I had picked up Delhi belly, only to be told that I had, in fact, picked up a baby. Amazing, miraculous and totally unexpected. At 37, I was going to be a mummy, a role I had only vaguely entertained without developing the whens and hows. Imagine my further surprise to discover that not only was I going to become a mummy but I was going to become a "celebrity" mummy.

This became apparent when, after an early viability scan (they do that for us older mums) - a Sunday tabloid was tipped off and announced that I was up the duff before I had told family or friends. Next, two well known celebrity periodicals started a minor bidding war for the post-birth photos and a host of other requests followed. How long was I intending to keep the baby weight on for? Would I keep a pregnancy diet journal? (No.) Would I allow myself to do a post-pregnancy fitness video? I figured that I lacked the necessary discipline for this, even for hard cash and the thought of failing at something that even Jade Goody has twice mastered filled me with enough horror to eat an entire packet of Jaffa Cakes. I also had a coterie of paparazzi following me. I think they hoped to catch me doing something illicit and newsworthy like having a fag (in the manner of a heavily pregnant Kate Garraway a few months back) or my waters breaking in public. The offers culminated in the request to attend Birth Night Live on Channel 5 complete with a live caesarean. For one horrible moment I thought they wanted me to have the live caesarean. I graciously declined. Watching somebody else's c-section might shatter the illusion of what I had been assured could be a beautiful experience. On the upside of this madness, Bugaboo gave me a gorgeous pram.

Losing control of one's body is a process that in the past I could pretty much regulate. I would crash diet for filming. If I had a blow- out one weekend then I would up the protein intake and exercise output the following week. I relied on a good cleavage and a small waist and dressing to enhance those assets. But after 18 weeks my shape was changing beyond belief, despite barely keeping down any solids. The waist thickened, then disappeared, the cleavage became less pert and more petrifying, the stomach just got bigger and bigger. I couldn't shimmy; I waddled. I had to ditch the Gina s and discover the Birkenstock. How miserable - I was losing my figure before I had even found it. Then something miraculous happened. Liberation! The sickness subsided and I embraced my pregnancy and relinquished control. I wore my baby belly proudly and with glowing skin and shiny hair I became comfortable in my own (not inconsiderable amount of) skin. I may have been the size of the Hindenburg but I got more compliments during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy than at any other time in my life. What a life lesson in the beauty of being relaxed and at ease with oneself.

Towards the end, however, I started to panic, looking at photos of Geri Halliwell looking super-slim two hours (or whatever it was) after having her daughter. Angelina Jolie: amazing. Katie Holmes (all right, she's about 12 but it didn't help): amazing. How did they do it? I also hated myself for buying into this crap. I have been on enough photo shoots and seen the unrecognisable results to know the power of Photoshop. I once thought that Mariah Carey was looking pretty foxy on a front cover only to realise on closer inspection that it was me. Still, how could Posh Spice walk out of the Portland hospital looking that svelte? It had to be down to the scalpel, the airbrush or a phantom pregnancy. The rumour once was that Posh had discreet tummy tucks at the same time as her caesareans. Never having considered cosmetic surgery, I found myself mid-birth, high as a kite on gas and air and the epidural asking, "How much for a Mend It Like Beckham?" Perhaps it was worth remortgaging the house to skip the months of dieting ahead. The medical team chuckled and told me that such an operation was definitely an urban myth, that the reason said celebrities were so trim is that they practically moved a Power Plate and personal trainer into the delivery suite and that a tomato juice and a celery stick was considered a post-birth treat. Boo!

I despise the culture that has turned pregnancy weight into an issue. I very much believe in nine months on, nine months off, or in an ideal world, nine months on, two years off. Mind you, as a "celebrity" mum you're damned if you lose it quickly and damned if you don't. A girl still has to work for a living. Double boo!

Six weeks on and as I stare down at my beautiful daughter all thought of my weight seems trivial in the face of this miracle. On the other hand a potential television project looms and I would like to do it. And I would like to be reacquainted with my pre-pregnancy size. There are no healthy short cuts, no crash diets, no Vacunoughts (wearing a rubber wetsuit and attaching yourself to a vacuum cleaner as you work out), no colonics.

My old friend Melinda Nicci is a personal trainer and nutritionist who specialises in pre- and post-pregnancy fitness. She is adamant that women must slog it out slowly and surely thus taking care of themselves and their babies. Mel will guide me through the journey ahead, which is good because I would never even make it out the front door alone. The good news is that she says breastfeeding mums should absolutely not diet as they have to keep the fat supply to produce milk. The bad news is that breastfeeding does not need the extra 1,500 calories a day I had been banking on, but a mere extra 300 which should be made up of proteins and complex carbohydrates. Exercise, she says, should start slowly and build up gradually, particularly post-caesarean, and most women should wait until their six-week check-up before even contemplating a sit-up. For the time being, I have been told to keep doing my kegels (pelvic floor exercises), to walk 30 minutes a day and to pull my stomach muscles in at all times. This sounds do-able, but it is going to be touch and go.

I have just got back from a 30-minute walk with the baby. I am about to do a feed and I am famished. I have stuck a picture of Jade Goody, post-second baby weight loss video, on the fridge as an incentive to stop myself reaching for the marble cake my mum dropped in yesterday. I'll keep you posted.

16 November 2006

finally someone speaks the truth!

Jennifer Garner credits nursing, moderate exercise and eating with loss of baby weight

Actress Jennifer Garner, who is proud mama to Violet Anne, 11 months, says that she lost her baby weight over time because, "I wasn't about to jump on the celebrity mom bandwagon of getting super-skinny, super-quickly. I am more concerned about keeping healthy and spending time with Violet than anything else."
She credits nursing, moderate exercise, and eating correctly for allowing her to lose the weight. Jennifer said, "[I lost weight] breastfeeding! That and a moderate exercise and eating plan with the help of my personal trainer."

This week's OK! Magazine describes celebrity moms like Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Brooke Shields, weight loss and fitness plan strategies post baby. They spun, ran, walked, yogaed, pilatised, detoxified, and hiked into their new mom bodies.

Source: Celebrity Baby Blog

14 November 2006


It's finally here! Read my article 'Im not fat, I'm pregnant' in this month's edition! You can purchase Cosmo Pregnancy at your local newsagent: http://cosmo.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=161324

Would love your feedback so please share any thoughts!

13 November 2006

this definitely sets a new record

Stewart, 60, was happy to let Penny Lancaster carry their newborn son Alastair Wallace as they arrived at Miami International Airport yesterday.
With his arm through hers and looking decidedly sleepy himself, it seemed likely Miss Lancaster could have ended up carrying her fiance as well.
"Rod looked absolutely exhausted. Penny seemed all right," said a fellow passenger. "He was holding on to her for support and it looked as if he might fall over if she didn't keep walking.
"I don't know if the baby is noisy but it looked like he could have kept them up all the way."
Miss Lancaster, 34, is made of stern stuff. She regained her shape within 10 days of giving birth to her son at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in North London.

As a wise pregnant woman wrote to me yesterday about this clip: 'How do you "lose" your shape? I always thought it just changed, and that the change was kinda essential for growing a whole new human'.


12 November 2006

Celeb Ump Watch

love this...

bump watch

it's amazing how many baby bump videos have been posted on You Tube. not only are there heaps from pregnant mums showing some pretty amazing fetal movement but also heaps of send ups on celeb pregnancy and a whole lot of britney and k-fed bashing. it's definitely worth a look....

11 November 2006

the rise of the alpha mum

alpha mum (AL.fuh muhm) n. The dominant woman in a group of mothers.

As if motherhood wasn't hard enough....apparently successful motherhood is achieved by hiring as many people as possible to allow you to work 100 hour weeks; your child is 'gently structured', plays with developmentally appropriate toys and has a nanny, babysitter and night nurse. The alpha mum has a business plan for her child and treats motherhood like a profession.


Be sure to check out the newest edition of Cosmo Pregnancy on 13 November for my latest article, 'I'm not fat, I'm pregnant', profiles of 7 pregnant mums!

05 November 2006


As I read the original Vogue article about Brooke Shields, I remembered that despite Shields trying to have a perfect pregnancy and eating all of the 'right' foods as the magazine suggests, Shields was one of the first celebrities to actually discuss her experiences of postnatal depression. You might remember, around the time that Shields released her book 'Down Came the Rain', Tom Cruise appeared on the Today show in America and stressed that women had no business taking drugs for depression; that women like Shields should snap out of it and stop complaining! Eventually, Tom apologised for his comments perhaps because his own wife (Katie Holmes) (well, soon-to-be) had just given birth and he realised the error of his ways. Anyway, ever since Brooke Shields discussed her PND a flood of celebrity mums started to discuss their experiences of depression in the media; Katie Price, Courtney Cox, Marie Osmond and Carnie Wilson.

You can read more about celebs and PND here:

Here is an editorial Brooke Shields wrote for the New York Times right after Tom Cruise went on his wild rant on the Today Show:

Isn't it ironic? Many mothers feel so much pressure to perform motherhood and pregnancy like the celebrities, thinking that they never have any problems with all of their money, hired help, impeccable nutrition and styling. Just looking at that photo of her on the Vogue cover (and you could replace her with any pregnant celebrity- it's all the same) would make any mum want to lose her lunch over the apparent 'ease' with which Shields experiences pregnancy. Many of the women in my study have a very complicated relationship with the media; many of them love to read about celebrities but have very realistic ideas about what their own bodies are capable of, whereas celebs are rich and famous and basically get paid to look fantastic all of the time. However, many of the same women still wouldn't mind looking like Brooke Shields or Angelina Jolie whilst pregnant and do feel pressure to look fabulous. Wouldn't it be nice if that Vogue article about Shields or any of the other lifestyle magazines that profile pregnant women actually talked about some of the not-so-great bits about being pregnant instead of glamourising and romanticising motherhood so much. Maybe Brooke Shields wouldn't have had such a hard fall postpartum if the media just let her be a normal mum and not a super mum.

04 November 2006

why my bump isn't vogue

This is a fantastic piece written in response to this Vogue cover with Brooke Shields in 2003:

Why my bump isn't in vogue By Zoe Heller
This month's issue of American Vogue has a picture of a pregnant Brooke Shields on its cover. She's posed in the familiar, Demi Moore-style three-quarter turn, with belly in defiant profile and face (bearing the statutory pregnant woman's expression of moony, I-am-with-child contemplation) staring directly at the camera. In the interests of sex appeal, she has had a bucket of water thrown over her, causing her sheer silk, mustard yellow Krizia halter neck to cling provocatively - but, you know, tastefully - to her curves.

I happen to be three months pregnant myself and when I came across this cover in the racks at my local supermarket, I had just returned from a visit to the obstetrician. In that slightly dotty, monomaniacal state of mind that pregnancy can sometimes induce, it seemed at the time imperative that I buy the magazine and find out how Brookie was handling her second trimester.

Back home, I paused only long enough to prepare my mid-morning "snack" (fried potato, eggs, bacon, buttered toast) before settling down for some celebrity scoop. I was about halfway through the article, when I came across the following passage:

"...now that she is pregnant, she is taking great pleasure in fostering her changing shape. She eats every few hours, very aware of the vitamins, minerals, and protein in her meals and snacks - like the soy shakes she has for breakfast and the pickled-ginger chicken salad we ate with chopsticks at the Zen tearoom after yoga." I stopped for a moment to glance at the hash browns trembling on my fork. Soy shakes? Zen tearoom? "Brooke decided early on that she wasn't going to hide under oversize maternity clothes," the text continued, "opting instead for Donna Karan in wool crêpe. `You'll never see me in a muumuu' [she says]."

At this point, I decided to take a rain check on Brooke's pregnancy journey and flick through the rest of the magazine. This, as it turned out, was the Shape issue - Vogue's much ballyhooed annual "celebration of physical diversity". Along with short, tall, curvy and skinny women, the Shape issue celebrates women who are having babies, and in addition to cover girl Brooke, there was a four-page photo spread of young, pregnant models wearing things like a "Christian Dior baby pink silk dress with crystal detailing" and a "heather and ecru horizontal striped sheath by Michael Kors".

Needless to say, none of them looked remotely pregnant. They all had long skinny thighs and Olive Oyl arms. Their breasts were the size of ice-cream scoops. They did have slightly protruding bellies. But if it hadn't been for the accompanying text, you might have assumed it was a feature about models suffering from mild wind. Or models who'd just eaten a big Christmas dinner. "Pregnant women's bodies are sexy," one of them was quoted as saying. "I wear tight T-shirts to show mine off." Oh, really, I murmured sarcastically, shovelling down my hash browns in an increasingly angry, wolfish manner.

"My pregnant and non-pregnant style is the same: rock romantic," another commented. (She, it was noted approvingly, was "keeping her weight gain to a minimum with yoga".) Oh sure, I muttered, spreading some extra butter on my toast.

To be fair to Vogue, it wasn't trying to depress me and make me feel inadequate. Au contraire, this sort of story offers itself as an emancipatory document. Vogue wants to help women embrace their fecund selves, to free them from the bad old days of pastel smocks and sensible shoes and third-trimester "confinement". It wants to let them know that pregnancy can be sexy and fabulous and a ton of fun!

Why is it, then, that most pregnant women read such stuff with tears of exasperation running down their chubby cheeks? Why is it that the cheerful advice about form-fitting clothes and weight-reducing yoga does not sound to them like the clarion calls of liberation, but the tolling bells of a new oppression?

This is perhaps because your standard-issue pregnant woman feels she has quite enough to cope with, without having to strive for sex appeal and glamour. If it were simply a matter of slinging something silken over her adorable "bump", that would be one thing. But her bump is more likely to be an unwieldy mountain, accompanied by a vast, quivering bum, a pair of enormous, marbled breasts, and a triple chin. No amount of Krizia dresses - or, for that matter, yoga sessions - are going to allay these grim developments. While the maternity sacks of yesteryear might have been dreary, at least they let a woman surrender to the inevitable in comfort.

Nowadays, not even child-bearing earns you a reprieve from the duty to keep your upper arms tight and your Manolos on. You've got to look like Sarah Jessica Parker - a snake who's swallowed an orange - or you're not doing it right.

In the seventh month of my last pregnancy, my Upper East Side doctor earnestly and repeatedly urged me to attend Weight Watchers meetings because I was 10lb (okay, maybe 20) over what he considered an optimum weight. "But I've spent my life watching what I eat," I pleaded. "Can't I let the weight thing go, just while I'm pregnant?" Absolutely not, he said. I might get gestational diabetes. And besides, my spouse would find me unattractive.

If I had any doubts about how repressive the era of "liberated" pregnancy has actually turned out to be, they were put to rest after the Oscars this year, when I encountered at least half a dozen people who crowed, with a mixture of horror and Schadenfreude, about how "fat" the nine-months-pregnant Catherine Zeta Jones had allowed herself to get. Even though the poor woman, who was minutes away from giving birth, had tricked herself up in Versace and heels, it wasn't enough. She had still not adequately camouflaged the fact that she was about to bear a child. Women of the world, the counter-revolution starts here. Dump your Manolos, break out the peanut butter. It's time to bring back the muumuu.

You Tube

Well, I decided to get on the bandwagon and upload my TV appearances to You Tube for all to enjoy. To watch any of them click on the link:

A Current Affair 'Pregnant and Proud': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGneSAPPSbI

Mornings with Kerri-Ann: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UooTIFe1dv8

01 November 2006

yummy mummy syndrome

I was just perusing Google* and doing a bit of research (seriously) about celebrity pregnancy (as I do) when I came across this ridiculous website which just confirms my purpose in starting this blog: http://www.gorgeousgetaways.com/packages_postpregnancy.htm

I have heard about these cosmetic surgery 'getaway' companies but I guess I never really gave it much thought in relation to postpartum 'mummy tummy'. Anyway, I was appalled to discover that women are being encouraged to spend upwards of $10,000 to 'turn back the clock' on their post-pregnancy bodies (not only do you get surgery, you get an island getaway as well! Sounds great. Sip a fruity drink while your surgery wounds are weeping and your body bloody and bruised). The suggestion that postpartum mums are only able to 'regain control' over their bodies (as if it was ever lost) through invasive surgery is a fairly frightening insight into just how much Australian culture is suffering from Hollywood celebrity-itis and the pressure placed on average women to perform motherhood and pregnancy like very rich, very famous celebs. As the stories about Katie and Angelina have finally started to disappear, now we have to look forward to Kate Moss and her second pregnancy; impossibly thin, impossibly stylish and with a look that is so unattainable for most women. As this piece from the Daily Telegraph notes, she's a damn hard act to follow:

This is also a good article from The Age in 2004 and still very relevant, perhaps written at the height of the cult of yummy mummy:

And what is it with all of the damn articles about fertility lately?? Why is it so hard for people to accept that the majority of women are choosing to having children later in life?? Some people in the media like to speculate that the cult of celebrity motherhood is encouraging women to wait longer to fall pregnant. As yummy mummy-hood is thrown in our faces everyday, they suggest the idea that women have to 'bounce back' just like Elle or Posh post-baby is a serious deterrent to motherhood. Basically, that all of us gals are just passive recipients of pop culture; that we don't think about what we read or what we see in a considered, thoughtful way. Even though I tend to agree that celeb pregnancy puts pressure on everyday mums, I don't agree that it's connected to fertility. The facts: more women are in the workforce and are seeking tertiary education. Women are becoming more independent and financially stable (we don't need men to 'keep us'- screw the patriarchy!). Whilst the Howard government is so keen on having women* pop out babies as fast as they can (and willing to pay!), who the hell is going to look after the babies? Oh right. The women. Hello? Gendered division of labour!!!

*if Google was a Mr., I would definitely marry him. How do I love thee! Let me count the ways...
*white, middle-class hetero and partnered but preferably married women (Oh the horror for old Johnny H. to even think about lesbian couples having babies too! )

30 October 2006

Mornings with Kerri-Anne

Thanks to those of you who watched The Baby Bump Project's debut on Mornings with Kerri-Anne on Friday. Filming the show was a hoot! I flew to Sydney the Wednesday before airing and met up with two terrific mums I found through some frantic advertising on various pregnancy forums. I think the two kids on set with us had the most fun playing with the toys on the stage and looking at themselves in the monitors as we were taping.

Look out for BBP on Today Tonight coming up soon! Will let you know....

Hey has anyone seen the new photos of Britney since the birth?? She had a caesar and it seems like she's lost nearly 15 kilos in less than a month...looks a bit dodgy!

Read more about Brit and her post-baby body here:

And..a nice antidote to all of the celeb postbaby hoo-ha from the Sydney Morning Herald:

36 weeks and looking fab!

23 October 2006

Why all the fuss about bumps?

This blog is based upon a subject, which for many women compromises one of the most significant periods of their lives. Pregnancy is not only something that most women will experience at least once during their lifetime but also a prominent topic of discussion in our everyday lives. Whilst our popular culture is currently saturated with images of celebrity pregnant bodies, thin postpartum bodies and images of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ motherhood, such an intensive focus on the pregnant body is only a recent phenomenon. Not only has pregnancy become culturally fetishised but it has also engendered the creation of a term to symbolise its popular representation, ‘baby bump’ or the ‘visible manifestation’ of a pregnancy.

In 1953 when Lucille Ball appeared on television pregnant, the word ‘pregnant’ was rarely uttered publicly given the implication that pregnant women are sexed bodies, they have sex, and their ‘baby bumps’ are only a reminder. Demi Moore created controversy with her nude, pregnant photograph on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 1991. Dripping in diamonds, Moore’s photograph evidenced that the pregnant body is a body to be looked at and not hidden beneath infantalising maternity frocks. With this knowledge, I realised that as pregnancy becomes increasingly visible and technologised, this has opened the door to thinking about the fetus as ‘person’ in public culture and particularly, the focus on ‘baby bumps’ in visibly pregnant bodies constructs the fetus as public property.

A term that has only been used in the last two years, ‘baby bump’ is increasingly becoming the defining feature of a pregnant woman’s body. First entering the Western cultural lexicon in 1987 in a British style article in The Guardian, a passing reference to maternity wear not looking as good ‘after the bump has disappeared’ seemed innocuous at the time. As celebrity pregnancy is celebrated in a global tabloid culture, it seems as though there is no other word to describe a growing belly other than ‘bump’. Not only does the ‘bump’ recognise a pregnancy but it also symbolises a growing fetus that is thought of as a separate person or ‘baby’ even before the birth. The ‘bump’ particularly takes on a life of its own in the media, almost to the point where popular culture forgets about the existence of the woman.

The Baby Bump Project is devoted to telling your stories of pregnancy, how you coped with a changing body, the beautiful bits of pregnancy and motherhood (and the not-so beautiful bits) and sharing your 'bump' photos from pregnancy and even the 'bumps' postpartum.

How to share your story

If you would like to share your own experiences of having a 'bump' with other mums-to-be and mums-already, email your story to me on babybumpproject@yahoo.com.au and I will post your message for others mums to read and learn. Feel free to include any handy hints for coping with the pressure (body or otherwise).

Make sure to include images of your bump or your body during pregnancy or postpartum so we can all share in how everyday mums look and feel. If you have a Flickr account, join our group The Baby Bump Project and post yourself in the Bump Gallery (otherwise send me your images and I can post them for you).

Share in the backlash. Talk about the bump.
Creative Commons License
The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.