06 March 2007

Is rehab the new baby bump?

So who else out there is feeling terribly sorry for Britney Spears? As the media continues to portray her as a nutcase, parading around with no underwear, shaving her head, attacking paparazzi cars with a golf umbrella and all of the failed attempts at rehab, no one has been talking about what some insiders claim is the real cause of Britney's pain: post-natal depression. Whereas Brooke Shields became the poster girl for PND awareness coupled with her best-selling account of her darkest times, our dear Britney, once heralded as America's sweetheart, is the next celebrity in line to go to rehab (with no mention of her PND). Has rehab become the new baby bump?

Also, I was just perusing The Guardian this morning and found another article about Gwen Stefani (see previous post) and how much she hated being pregnant. This is incredibly interesting to me because Stefani is consistently quoted as loving motherhood and not being able to wait to have a second baby. She says:

"I was surprised how much I didn't enjoy pregnancy," she admits. "Having something growing in your stomach feels so unnatural. Your body's changing and you can't control it. You just feel gross. I was having to get up on stage wearing bathing suits, looking fat. Nobody knew I was pregnant except me. They were constantly having to add extra panels into my costumes. To be honest, I was feeling pretty bad about myself."
(for full article see http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,2024019,00.html)

When did women start referring to themselves as 'fat' in pregnancy? My own research is trying work out what the fear of fatness in pregnancy means. Out of the 40 women participating in The Baby Bump Project, I have been amazed by the number of women that refer to themselves as 'fat' and not pregnant as if the weight gain is a failure more so than biological necessity. Pregnancy brings not only a changed body but also a changed lifestyle. My thought is that some of this fear around fatness has to do with anxiety around having children. Wearing maternity clothes and seeing the numbers rise on the scale means that you are not yourself anymore. The body you have always known is different. Many women are consumed with 'getting back into their jeans' because it's a sign of more than just getting the top button done up; it represents a return to the old 'you'. As Stefani says, 'Then after three months, I was like, enough's enough, I want my life back. I'd gained 40lb, so I went on a diet.' Regaining control of the postnatal body is equivalent to regaining a sense of identity.

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