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! )
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.