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.


janina said...

The medicalised environment that women birth their babies in also has an effect on mental well- being. The 'biochemical shift' does not happen so readily in women who birth at home and experience what is known as 'ecstatic birth'. The effects of the hormones of love, pleasure and transcendence, excitement, and tender mothering ensure that the mother and baby bond instantly and if this bonding process is interjected and disturbed, it can be detrimental to both mother and baby's emotional well being. It is difficult for me to feel sorry for Brooke Sheilds all the same.

Tsismosa said...

Well, I think it was good that Brooke Shields tried to take care of herself when pregnant, and she obviously liked BEING pregnant. PPD is much more common in women who underwent IVF to become pregnant.

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