30 June 2007

Gaby Reece stays fit during pregnancy

"In May, Gabby Reece told TODAY viewers how to get into shape for bikini season. Now, she'll be showing them how to stay in shape while pregnant".

The athlete, model and writer announced that “I'm a little over three months pregnant” to TODAY's Natalie Morales and Hoda Kotb. The due date is Jan. 2".

I try to tell women, 'You're not dead. You're not fat. You're pregnant,'” Reece said.

Of course she doesn't feel 'fat'. She's 6'3'' and effortlessly striking. She's a fitness guru, professional volleyball player and will create a line of workout DVDs for pregnant women. But nevertheless, I applaud her message.

Myleene Klass does a 'Demi' for Glamour

If you are pregnant and a celebrity (even a C grade reality contestant), you haven't made it until you've posed naked and pregnant on a magazine cover....

"Miss Klass, 29, who was a swimwear-clad contestant on I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!, appears naked save an engagement ring and gold butterfly-design necklace on the cover of the latest edition of Glamour magazine".

Kristy Swanson: the latest of the celebrity mum brigade in the race to lose baby weight

Kristy Swanson, who rose to fame after Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been speaking out alot lately about her battle against the bulge since the birth of her son in May. She is the new spokesperson for Medifast to lose about 35 pounds (approx 16kg).

"I already needed to lose about fifteen pounds before I had my baby so I want to not only lose the baby weight but also a bit of extra weight I already had before I got pregnant," says Swanson.

"My weight has always fluctuated through the years and I've tried many different ways to lose it but I've always gained it back before."

I found an interesting interview from the show Showbiz Tonight on CNN where she talks about getting cast on Criminal Intent to portray Anna Nicole Smith only four weeks after the birth and how her baby weight played a role in her getting the job:

She says: "Well, the phone call came in and my agent said that Criminal Intent called and said, we know Kristy just had a baby, but how does she look, because that`s how Hollywood is. They want to know is she skinny or is she fat right now".

"It`s Hollywood. He says, look, she had a baby. She`s a little chunky right now. So they said, OK, you know what, this is going to work just fine, because the character just had a baby. So it`s going to be perfect. We want her to come do the show. Will she come do it, even though she just had the C-section and just gave birth? Would she come to New York for us?"

Also found another really interesting interview about celebrity pregnancy featuring Rebecca Odes, author of the new 'hip' pregnancy book, From the Hips as well as Kristy Swanson:

Note: AJ Hammer is the host

Jill Dobson is from Star Magazine

Felicia Stoler, host 'Honey, we're killing the kids'

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You know, there`s been a baby boom in Hollywood lately, and everywhere you turn, celebrity moms have bounced back to their pre-pregnancy weights in record time. So what is going on here? How do celebrities who have babies whittle away the pounds so quickly and what kind of message is that sending to regular women out there? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

REBECCA ODES, AUTHOR, "FROM THE HIPS": We live in a celebrity- obsessed culture. And the idea of celebrity pregnancy and motherhood has suddenly become hot.

HAMMER: Hot indeed. Just look at the red carpet moments that some celebrities have become famous for. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, it`s not because of the dress they were wearing, but how good they looked in it so soon after having a baby, like super model Heidi Klum, who`s red carpet moments sizzled right after the last two of her three pregnancies.

FELICIA STOLER, HOST, "HONEY WE`RE KILLING THE KIDS": When Heidi Klum was on the red carpet after having her baby, she looked great.

HAMMER: So great, Heidi made it seem as if losing the baby weight was a piece of cake. In this picture, taken at the Golden Globes, just two months, that`s eight weeks, after the birth of her third child, Heidi doesn`t even look like she`s just had a baby. But getting back her bodacious body after child birth isn`t something new for the super model. Klum strutted herself down a different red carpet even more quickly after she delivered her second bundle of joy.

DOBSON: Just seven weeks after it was born, she walked the runway for Victoria`s Secret in lingerie and looked amazing.

HAMMER: Judge for yourself. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the video, and it`s no secret, Klum shed the pounds fast. But Klum isn`t the only star whose body bounced back quicker than her baby could say ga ga. In fact, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can show you these pictures of Angelina Jolie, who many say looks even thinner than before she had baby Shiloh.

DOBSON: Angelina Jolie, after giving birth to baby Shiloh, actually looks thinner than ever before. And, of course, she`s chasing around four kids. She`s busy with her career and her world traveling.

HAMMER: And traveling the world with fiance Tom Cruise, new mommy Katie Holmes shed all her baby weight in just seven months, just in time for her big day, the celebrity wedding of the century.

DOBSON: Katie Holmes had one of the biggest celebrity weddings ever exactly seven months after giving birth to baby Suri. So she had real motivation. She knew she was going to be wearing that wedding dress in front of the whole world.

HAMMER: Just seven months for Katie, just seven weeks for Heidi. It`s got us asking, are celebrities who lose baby weight this quickly sending a bad message to regular women out there? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went right to nutrition expert Felicia Stoler.

STOLER: When people see celebrities lose weight very quickly, it`s very difficult for them to comprehend that they could even lose weight that quickly. It`s so unrealistic for most people to lose weight that fast after pregnancy.

HAMMER: So what`s the secret? Well, let`s face it, celebrities have a team of people who are ready, willing and able to whip them right back into shape.

STOLER: They have trainers. They have people cooking for them. There`s probably a nanny and a baby nurse taking care of the kids. So they can get some good rest that most of us don`t have the luxury to do.

HAMMER: Celebrities sure do live lives of luxury, but they also need to work to support those lives. So when the casting call comes, they need to be ready.

DOBSON: Part of the reason celebrities lose the weight so quickly is because they really want to send a message to all of Hollywood that they`re ready to get back to work.

HAMMER: But there are stars like Jennifer Garner, who say making play time with the baby she had with hubby Ben Aflack is just as important as looking good. Garner tells "In Style" magazine she was in no rush to shed the baby weight saying, quote, "You`re supposed to look a certain way when you`re a celebrity. But I want to take care of my baby. And those two things don`t mesh very well." And once in a while, Hollywood stars and their baby weight do mesh, when the part calls for it. Actress Kristy Swanson tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT her agent called her soon after she delivered her baby boy to say hey, don`t lose all that baby weight so quickly, because there`s this part.

KRISTY SWANSON, ACTRESS: Well, the phone call came in and my agent said that "Criminal Intent" called and said, we know Kristy just had a baby. How does she look. You know, because that`s how Hollywood is.

HAMMER: And the "Law and Order" episode Kristy was cast for, playing the part of the late Anna Nicole Smith soon after she gave birth to her own baby, Dannielynn.

SWANSON: But this is Ava`s big TV debut. Let her shine.

HAMMER: Kristy tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that she is determined to shed the weight, but she`ll do it at a healthy pace.

SWANSON: It`s sort of my job to stay in shape. But right now, I have the excuse that I just had a baby. So --

HAMMER: Kristy, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, having a baby is good enough reason for gaining weight. And if somebody gives you lip about not shedding it fast enough, you can use what nutrition expert Felicia Stoler says is a healthy guideline for taking the baby weight off.
STOLER: It takes nine to ten months to put on all that weight. It should take about that amount of time to take it all off afterwards.

HAMMER: Because, after all, having a baby is hard work. And while losing the baby weight is also hard, doing it right is the right way to go.

29 June 2007

Pregnancy & Birth: July/August

This month my research is featured in Pregnancy & Birth magazine:
'So much for it being the one time you can relax about your weight---for those women who are slaves to the scales, pregnancy is a minefield' (pp.29-30)

Drea de Matteo: 'I Feel Fat, but I Feel Great'

Actress Drea de Matteo, the 'sexy' Soprano's star, is four months pregnant and apparently all she can say about it is how 'fat' she feels. I find this incredibly interesting because I would say the majority of the women in my study have referred to themselves as 'fat' and not pregnant more than once in the course of our interviews. In fact, in this short blurb from the People website she refers to the size of her body three times in only 6 paragraphs, and two of those mentions use the word 'fat'.

On her pregnancy:
"I feel great. I just feel fat, but I feel great."

On her body shape:
"I feel like I'm carrying the baby in my [behind], it's so big."

On the gender of the baby:
"We don't know what we're having yet. But I use 'she,' because I'm getting so fat, I think it's a girl!"

And one other thing, I decided to indulge my incessant craving for celebrity gossip by buying the latest NW the other day. I was particularly intrigued by the cover which caught my attention as it shouted 'Pregnant Stars In Crisis' featuring:

Kate Hudson: alone and pregnant

Nicole Ritchie: pregnant and on her way to the slammer

Salma Hayek: 'fat' and pregnant

Katie Holmes is also featured on the cover but is apparently not suffering from a body 'crisis' and is instead praised for her amazing post baby body. This NW cover is such a good example of the ways in which the celebrity body becomes the receptacle of cultural anxieties surrounding discourses of body size, marriage and 'good' motherhood. Also, notable and perhaps unsurprising is that the bodies on display are women's bodies; these are represented as being outside the boundaries of 'normal' and transgressive.

Whereas Hayek, Hudson and Ritchie are subject to ridicule, Katie Holmes is featured as a icon to admire (and this has not always been the case. Remember when Holmes was derided for being too 'fat' after her pregnancy?). On one hand the featured celebrities are uncomfortably exposed (their relationships, their bodies, their vulnerabilities) and on the other hand the unparalleled visibility provided to us as readers feeds our hunger to see the most popular celebrities teetering on ambiguous territory. Moreover, rather than seeing celebrities like they come from another planet, tabloids like NW serve up the failings of Hollywood's A-list like a three course meal full of melodrama replete with humiliating photos in an unlicensed display of humanity.

26 June 2007

The truth comes out: Liv Tyler wants plastic surgery

Remember my post a few weeks back about Liv Tyler? http://babybumpproject.blogspot.com/2007/06/liv-tyler-on-losing-baby-weight.html

Yeah, I was all gushy about how fantastic she is for being as level headed as a celebrity mum can be about losing baby weight and living up to cultural expectations of slenderness. WELL! I just came across this little beauty in Allure magazine and it appears that Liv has been spinning various stories about her weight loss post birth, the most recent of which she admits to working out like a maniac and wanting plastic surgery!

Not that there's anything wrong with that (who am I to judge?)...but why do celebrities feel the need to lie and say they 1) don't exercise at all 2) only do Pilates or 3) don't care about the extra weight. Can we all please just be honest and admit that losing weight post-baby is really hard? And yes, if you're an actress and your body is your bread and butter, you have to work even harder.

On plastic surgery:
"I’m definitely going to have some, I’m sure. Especially when you see what happens to your body after you have a baby.”
On the baby weight:
“I was trying to get back into shape, so I went to the gym every day, sometimes twice a day.”
On looking good in Hollywood:
“I have to make a living. I guess I could sell my house and go live a really simple life in a trailer somewhere.”

24 June 2007

Jenna Elfman on becoming a mother

When I was in the grand old US of A back in December perusing the shelves of my local Chicago Border's, I came across this mag called Plum which is a pregnancy zine devoted to women 35+...I thought it was a pretty novel concept, yet still mildly conformist and taking advantage of a demographic of women that is quite obviously having lots of babies and in possession of a nice pool of funds to thoroughly commodify motherhood...but alas I digress...after I finished photographing the myriad shelves of motherhood mind candy (at least 25 different magazines!) I decided to purchase Plum in the interest of research (especially because we are stuck with only 3 major pregnancy/mothering magazines here in Australia..boring!)

Anyway, this is the point of my post. Jenna Elfman, the lovely lady we used to know as the quirky Dharma from the show Dharma & Greg, is pregnant and due in July. She's a pretty hot woman and, at 35, fits squarely into the yummy mummy category. She's on the cover of the new edition of Plum and interestingly reveals why she waited 'for so long' to have kids (she and husband Bodhi have been married for 12 years). She says:

"I always felt my body changing would create a huge barrier to my career. But I started looking around at the actresses I admire -- Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Rachel Griffiths -- and all the ones I admire have children. Actually, the most successful actresses all have children".

Isn't it a sad commentary on the state of celebdom when actresses have to worry about their bankability and body shape before they can allow themselves to have children? Ive been thinking about this quite a bit lately especially in light of the whole celebrity adoption phenomenon.

Is Hollywood adoption the solution to the post-baby battle of the bulge?

I've decided that women like Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts can go off and have babies and 'lose their bodies' because they are extremely successful and will always be sought after no matter what. Whereas, if you're low down on the Hollywood food chain, and you go off and get pregnant, no one will be asking after you.

21 June 2007

Give the girl a break!

This morning I found no less than 152 (literally) articles devoted to the possible existence of a burgeoning TomKat babybump. Apparently a 'cunning attempt' to hide her blooming belly whilst watching a soccer match tipped off the paparrazzi that the Dawson's Creek sweetheart is baking another baby...that is until this morning as pictures from the Packer wedding surfaced showing an extraordinarily stunning Holmes frolicking in the ocean with little Suri in a black bathing suit that says French Riviera glamour more than knocked up. No, ladies and gentleman, Katie Holmes is not pregnant.

And why do we care so much if she is?

As a culture that pays fawning tribute to celebrities merely on the basis that they are breathing, we are desperate for images of the fattest, the thinnest, the most drug addicted or divorced. Whereas a celebrity marriage story is over before you can say ‘pre-nup’, pregnancy provides us with a 40 week fix like a hit of Hollywood heroin straight into the vein. Needless to say, I'm over it.

I can't help but wonder, since when did wearing a loose top become an invitation into a woman's womb?

15 June 2007

100th posting: what lies beneath

Welcome to my 100th post! I can barely believe that just over one year ago I started my interviews with pregnant women from all walks of life in Melbourne and around Australia for The Baby Bump Project. Now, more than 200 interviews later, I'm in the process of writing up my PhD research and embarking on the journey to make The Baby Bump Project into a book.

When I started this research, I had no idea how my life would change as complete strangers invited me into the most intimate moments of their lives, sharing their stories of bringing forth new life. And new life there is. 40 new babies born to 40 remarkable women. I can't thank you enough. As I have spent countless hours transcribing hundreds of hours of interviews from the shockingly horrible first few halting conversations to the interviews that are so arresting the hairs on my forearm stand on end, I can honestly say that I have become a 'listener'. I've always been more of a 'listener' than someone always waiting to talk, however, this project has taught be to become a real listener.

Although my pregnant women (and I call them 'my pregnant women' as a term of endearment) each have a unique bodily history to share (before, during and after pregnancy), I have been able to recognise alot of myself in the stories I've heard, not because I've had the experience of being a mother, but because as women (and I apologise for universalising the 'sisterhood') we all to some degree have a particular (and slightly peculiar) obsession with our stomachs.

Women who have the power to love their bodies in all of their feminine glory are blessed with a confidence that many women in this world never allow themselves to feel. As Eve Ensler writes in The Good Body, 'the tools of my self-victimisation have been made readily available'. The magazines and the blonde, flat stomach-ed ideal seems to always be waiting at eye-level in the supermarket or on the television. The desire for the perfect body in and out of motherhood is an arresting, unsettling and unachievable proposition in our world that is so preoccuppied with flab, diet books, the obesity 'crisis', and celebrity. I can't help but wonder, will women forever be prisoners of their bodies (self-imposed or otherwise), distracting our intelligence with daily surveillance of slight imperfection, no matter how much exercise, cosmetic surgery, or dieting we may punish ourselves with?

As women, we are in a constant dialogue with our stomachs. In pregnancy, bellies take on a new meaning; I am yet to meet one woman who was not both awed and frightened of the transformation of her stomach in pregnancy.

Our stomachs are our most serious committed relationship. A woman's pregnant belly protrudes through her clothes, sometimes her confidence, and even her ability to be a little invisible sometimes.

Yet, on the other hand, women have never felt so attached to their stomachs in the same way they do when they are pregnant. The jab of a tiny foot in the small hours of the morning is worth a thousand battles looking sideways in the mirror at that little pouch of skin that sits on the top of your waistband.

I have learned from my interviews that, despite the Hollywood nuclear reactor pumping out standardised images of motherhood, in pregnancy, women do not have to be afraid of their fullness or afraid to be seen. I think to myself, why do we spend so long trying to get rid of the best part about us? Our soft bellies are the carriers of the future.

Now that should make some of us take our stomachs seriously.

On giving birth

Interesting post about the closure of birth centres in the States from the Huffington Post;

13 June 2007

Paid maternity leave: It's long overdue!

Marie Claire is launching a campaign for mandatory paid maternity leave in Australia.

If you want to support Marie Claire's campaign calling for government-funded paid maternity leave, join their protest rally on Thursday, June 14 at 12.30pm in Martin Place, between Castlereagh and Pitt Streets, Sydney. That's tomorrow, ladies!

If you're not located in Sydney, visit their website to register your support or leave a comment:

If any of you do end up going to the rally, please give us a shout and I'll publish your wrap up of the event!

Liv Tyler on losing baby weight

I have always appreciated Liv Tyler's (daughter of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler) strong sense of self and relative disregard for the sweeping trends of mainstream celebrity. After having her son, Milo, with husband Royston Langdon, British rocker of the band formerly known as Spacehog (who I did see once in Chicago in a former life and I have the t-shirt to prove it, Liv basically dropped off the Hollywood radar. She jumped the LA ship back to the Village (Greenwich, that is) and lives in a pretty sick Manhattan brownstone with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and a hefty handful of happily under-the-radar New York celebrity mothers.

When I was gallavanting around Manhattan last December I had this secret wish that I would randomly run into Liv or SJP as I stalked Magnolia Bakery and all the Village maternity shops. Alas, I came away with nothing but some deliciously sweet cupcakes and alot of photos.


Liv was profiled in the 10 June edition of the Sunday Herald sunday magazine. She has some refreshing things to say about being a mother and the pressure to lose weight postbaby (and she's not killing herself to be thin, almost 2 years since the birth of her son).

On the joys of motherhood:
"I love being a mum. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I think I had alot of anxieties about what it would be like to be the child of someone like me. I didn't grow up with nannies- I grew up with my mum, my aunt and my grandmother, and I was a little suspicious about what it would be like to go back to work and have a nanny look after Milo."

On her weight:
"I wasn't one of those women who just dropped pounds instantly when I was breastfeeding. Actually, I became so homely, I was ravenous for things like doughnuts and cakes."

On the media pressure to be slim:
"I can remember walking down the street one day when Milo was probably six or eight months old, and a photographer took my picture. I was wearing a very unflattering shirt and a pair of sweat pants, and when the picture appeared in a magazine, they ran a caption asking if I was pregnant again. When I saw it, I said 'I think the holiday is over.'"

How she tried to lose the weight:
"I did a million different things. I was on a strict protein diet and then a raw diet, and then colonics and fasting. And I did pilates, yoga and worked out with my trainer. I rode my bike, I ran, I tried everything under the sun. I have lost a good 4.5 kilos, and I feel great. But even though I'm a size 6 [Australian size 8], my back and shoulders are still broad, so there's no way I will ever be a size 0. I'm really quite sensible about all that".

11 June 2007

Bump to Baby

Check out my article 'From Bump to Baby: Gazing at the fetus in 4D' in the latest edition of Philament, the arts and humanities journal from the University of Sydney:


Obese mums-to-be should lose weight during pregnancy

As I have discussed in previous posts, the media and biomedicine consistently villify overweight pregnant women for 'risking' the lives of their babies and themselves. Many obese pregnant women are discriminated against even in Victoria hospitals and often required to lose weight before the hospital will take them on board for their antenatal care. Moreover, a number of studies have suggested that obese women are more likely to suffer from gestational diabetes or require a Caesarean because excess fat complicates natural birth.

Apparently a new study from St. Louis University is saying that obese women do not have to gain ANY weight during pregnancy and in fact, they can lose weight safely without doing harm to the unborn baby. The principal researcher, Dr. Raul Artal, says:

"We found that obese women do not have to gain any weight, and, in fact, can lose weight and it won't hurt the baby. Pregnancy is an ideal time to start an exercise and fitness program, particularly for women who are obese."

Quite obviously, there is nothing wrong with encouraging pregnant women (and all women in general) to maintain a sensible weight coupled with a healthy lifestyle. However, does anyone else find it bizarre that this doctor would suggest that pregnancy is the best time to start a fitness program?

Women should want to be healthy for themselves, not just because they are pregnant. That might sound a little strange, but the chances of maintaining an exercise/nutrition program are really low for women who are doing it just because they are pregnant and worried about the baby. What happens after the baby is born? As I've said before, it may not be medically 'ideal', but there are plenty of overweight women who give birth to perfectly healthy babies. Pregnancy is not a time to stigmatise women who are already undeniably painfully aware of their body size in a culture that valourises thinness over any other virtue.

Are overweight women going to be charged with child abuse for refusing to lose weight during pregnancy? Give me a break.

You can read the entire article here:

04 June 2007

Marcia Cross back in her jeans

Here's a tidbit for those of you who followed Marcia Cross' twin pregnancy this year...well apparently she's lost the weight and is looking fabulous *groan*

In other news, I've been manically working away on a detailed history of maternity wear which I hope to publish some of in this blog v.soon. Also, look for my comments on body image in the July issue of Pregnancy & Birth and in a new article on personal dopplers for www.iparenting.com

Will give you more details as they come!

Marcia Cross says baby weight nearly gone
June 1, 2007
As is usually the case with celebrity moms, actress Marcia Cross has wasted no time in losing her baby weight.

Just three months after giving birth to twins Eden and Savannah, the Desperate Housewives star says she has lost almost all of her baby weight. "I'm still working on it, but it's happening a lot faster than I expected," she tells People.

She credits her weight loss to working out at home with DVD's and at a gym in LA. Of course, let us also keep in mind that she probably has a nutritionist, trainer and nannies galore to help her!

She says she just has few more pounds to lose. "It probably won't happen until I stop breastfeeding!" Cross says.

Cross, 45, and her husband Tom Mahoney are enjoying being parents to their baby girls. "He's there every minute, and he's as madly in love with them as I am" Cross says of her husband of 11 months. "I don't know what I would do if I had one of those husbands who was just not interested."

"I'm so happy. Sometimes very tired, but mostly just a happy mother. I like to get [the babies] out now, just go out and show them the world. Say hi to the flowers."

Source: celebritypregnancy.com

Read more here about how celebs really lose the weight (and I dont think it's all just from pilates!)
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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.