31 August 2007

Jana Rawlinson: Supermum

The headlines are screaming with praise for Jana Rawlinson (nee Pittman) and her 400m gold medal in Osaka. The most interesting aspect of the news stories written about her win is the shock that Rawlinson made it back into fighting form following the birth of her son last year. Apparently she trained twice a day, six days a week in the lead of to the birth. Her husband and coach, Chris says:

"The day Jana actually gave birth she did a 30-minute run and I remember running the last 15 minutes and I was absolutely knackered. She put the hammer down with 15 minutes to go and this was the day she gave birth. I was feeling the stress as it was only suppose to be a 30-minute easy run, but she went hard and that just set the tone for what she has got now."

Of her win, Jana says:

"Have a baby and you can do anything. I mean how can you have a baby eight months ago and then do this. This is honestly the highlight of my life."

On one hand, Jana's quick postbaby shape up is always a sore point for the average woman struggling just to get herself to the gym but on the other hand, Jana proved her critics wrong by succeding when everyone thought motherhood would be the end of her.

What do you think?

Source: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22330795-14822,00.html

What is an 'authentic' experience of pregnancy?

I have to say that after posting 'Pregnancy is not a time for indulgence' http://babybumpproject.blogspot.com/2007/08/pregnancy-is-not-time-for-indulgence.html
I did not anticipate such strong reactions to this woman's story. In fact, the post has been the source of a bit of a blog commenting war in which the woman who so generously provided her story has been castigated for sharing her experience. I've felt uneasy about this whole situation. As the moderator of the blog, I feel like everyone is allowed to say what they think, however I think nasty comments just defeat my purpose in setting up this site: for women all over the world to talk about pregnancy without reservation and without judgment.

As some of the responses to this particular post bordered on hurtful, I thought maybe I shouldn't allow them to be posted. However, in the end I decided it's not my place to censor anyone and instead, it would probably be more productive for all of us if I take a moment to tease out some of the anger shown toward this particular woman who was actually quite brave in saying (in defiance of popular beliefs about pregnancy) that when she was pregnant she did not overindulge.

I'm not here to say who is 'right' or 'wrong'. I'm just interested in the fact that some people are suggesting that this woman's experience of pregnancy is not 'authentic' because she doesn't talk about having stretch marks and cravings. I think this is clearly a source of tension when it comes to talking about pregnancy weight and prenatal nutrition. Isn't funny that when it comes to celebrities we are all quick to jump up and down about how unfair and ridiculous it is for everyday women to feel the need to try achieve an unachievable body shape, yet, when an everyday woman discusses her positive health changes in pregnancy, everyone gets critical?

I've found in my own research speaking to women that it's not celebrities that are meaningul in women's lives, it's mothers, sisters and best friends who are our greatest sources of inspiration, advice and of course, serve as our bases for bodily comparison. I wonder if the critical comments toward this woman who lost her baby weight quickly are really a reflection of other women's bodily anxieties.

For a very long time, it was only in pregnancy that women were allowed to be 'fat' and not conform to the ideal of slenderness that so plagues our current popular culture. Now, however, as the recommended weight limitations for pregnancy are becoming more stringent and doctors are limiting the amount of calories pregnant women are meant to consume, I think that is a real source of anxiety for women who feel guilty for eating chocolate or having cravings or not being able to do exercise in order to stem their overall weight gain. The idea that women should have stretch marks and crave chocolate is so culturally entrenched when a woman says she hasn't experienced these things, it makes the women who do feel inadequate understandably. However, your experience of pregnancy does not necessarily have to be written on your body in order to be legitimate.

Anyway, my point is this: let's address the real source of anger and not criticise. Everyone's experiences of pregnancy and motherhood are different. If your experience differs from those of the various women I have posted about, please write in and share. We cannot learn from one another through anonymous, nasty comments.

28 August 2007

Naked pregnant belly causes frenzy in North Dakota

Just when you think that baby bumps really are the new black, it only takes a few folks in North Dakota to shock you into the reality that naked pregnant bellies are not as swish, hot and happening as we would like to think (or maybe just me).
According to the editor of The Forum, this picture caused quite a stir for the readers of last Sunday's edition. As the humble denizens of North Dakota perused their weekend news, it seems a few folks nearly choked on their cornflakes when they saw a blooming belly staring them in the face.
Among the reactions:
“I’m shocked you would run that photo, let alone on the front page,” one woman caller said Monday morning.

“There are just some things best seen only by a woman and her doctor,” remarked another man.
Is it a generational thing or are there really people out there who find pregnancy inappropriate?
We all bang on about how 'mainstream' pregnant bellies have become, how pregnancy is finally out of the closet and how much easier it is to be out and proud...yet, the humble folk of North Dakota think Demi Moore is a maternal minion of hell for burning our retinas with that photo and ushering in an era of tight maternity tops and pregnant silhouettes.
Are preggo gals in North Dakota still wearing pinafores and oversized bows, puffy sleeves and Peter Pan collars?

27 August 2007

Shanna Moakler: 'I'm not even close to my pre pregnancy weight'

Here's an entry from Shanna Moakler's MySpace blog about losing baby weight (she hasn't yet), stretch marks and c-sections:

On her weight gain:
I've already addressed my "weight" some what, but I have to say and I guess I really cant say it enough, I'm not even close to my pre pregnancy weight, I've had 3 c-sections...(Atiana was breached) even so I would most likely have tried to have a "C" anyway...its just what feels right to ME! I had my first daughter very young and it was easy to bounce back...the other 2 not so easy..either way I always end up at 160!!! I can start at 115, 125, or 130...I'm gonna end up at 160 at 9 months! With that....I truly feel my weight doesn't even begin to drop no matter how hard I exercise, no matter how much I "portion" my food until 9 months after...( I don't know how this effects breast feeding mamas they say that really does help get you back faster...) I dont feel my body comes even close to being normal for a good 2 yrs after each baby! I dont beat myself up about it....because I had a BABY!!

On losing weight:
I didn't eat entire pies or pig out on junk...I gave life and no one can ever or should make a woman feel bad about her body when she just had a baby. I think it's vile when people pick on woman after given birth and highly unrealistic to expect woman to get right back to their pre pregnancy shape in 3 months...yes it does happen....but it's rare in my eyes. like I have said before most hollywood moms that you see have A LOT of help!! Trainers, nutrionists, plastic surgeons, lipo dissolve, chefs, and the time to work their little butts of! Nevermind the NOT so healthy ways of going about it..and a lot you see its their FIRST baby!!. Even so I do try everything I can to get back ( healthy of course!) , I have yet to have any plastic surgery..but I would love to one day have another baby and I can promise you I'm gonna get it all done after that one!! lol! but for now...after giving birth I get a post partum corset and I wear it for like 2 months straight!! It helps and C-section mamas its a must have!

On her food:
I do exercise 3 times a week (cardio,weights) and I do power yoga on the off days..I have my food delivered so its portioned correctly and I allow myself every sunday to eat whatever I want!!!!!! and yes i to fall off the wagon on this schedule...but I do the best I can do.... and I'm lucky...my papa likes my body just the way it is!

On stretch marks:
STRETCH MARKS- yes I have them! They aren't that bad, but they are there...it really to me is about heredity and gaining weight gradually...woman your gonna get fat or gain at LEAST 20lbs...( and to me those are the lucky ones) its better to gain it at a pace then just POP and get horrible stretch marks, they say there really is no lotion or oil that can help but I do it everyday anyway!! ( palmers coco oil) and of course you can get your marks lazered..and it does help..but they will never go away :( I highly advise getting pregnancy massages as much as possible and if you are on a budget then put that daddy to work!


26 August 2007

Katie Price: 'I want to be a yummy mummy'

Life must be hard for Katie Price. According to the Sunday Mirror, Price is in a race to get back to her best, most fabulous self including some post-birth botox, a boob job and a bit of vaginal tightening. According to her, 'men lose interest' when women don't make an effort...*rolls eyes* Did she really say that aloud?

Here is a bit from the interview:

How much weight did you put on?
I put on 3 stone this time, which was the most ever. I put on a stone and half with Harvey, 2 stone with Junior so with each pregnancy I get bigger and bigger.

Do you enjoy being pregnant?
I hated it. I’d have kids any day of the week but the nine months leading up to it I hate. I felt sick for the first six months, and I got sciatica down both sides. I hate my body when I’m pregnant ’cos I look fat and frumpy. I know it’s caused by being pregnant but I still hate it, having to wear horrible, frumpy clothes. I know smocks and pumps have been the fashion this year but I still hated it.

Surely Peter gave you plenty of reassurance?
Pete’s got the charm. He was always telling me how beautiful I looked but I didn’t believe it. I think he just said nice things to shut me up.

Did you feel under pressure to get back into shape fast?
No, but the weight’s still coming off quite quickly. I’m following my juicing plan and I’m just so busy with the kids. I’m normally 8st 2lb and I’m already down to 8st 12lb. I want to get back into shape for me, not because people think I should. I want to be a yummy mummy, not a Molly mum.

A Molly mum? What’s that?
When some women have kids they let themselves go – I call that a Molly mum. They don’t bother dressing up and forget about themselves. It’s important to look good because in some cases I think the man would lose interest and disappear.

We hear you made a big effort for the birth...
I had my hair blow-dried, that was a priority. And I put on my perfume and had my eyelashes, eyebrows and nails done. I didn’t want to look bad and scare the baby!

Have you been exercising to help you get back in trim?
I don’t do exercise. I’ve got this Hypoxi machine which is meant to be good for your bum and thighs, and I’ve still got a bit to lose from there. Luckily I don’t have cellulite, but I think that’s because of genes, my mum doesn’t have any either.

Will you be having surgery to help get your perfect figure back?
I’m already booked in for my boob job, that’s happening later in the year. I’ll still have big boobs but I want them a little bit smaller and perter. I’ve already had my Botox, I don’t hide anything. I’m thinking about getting tightened down there too, and if I have it done I’ll talk about it. I never make a secret about what I’m doing with my body.

So you fancy a designer vagina?
I wouldn’t do it for that reason. It’s just that when you’ve had kids you’re not as tight as before, and when you cough or sneeze you leak sometimes! But Pete likes me the way I am.

Source: http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/showbiz/celebsonsunday/celebfeatures/2007/08/26/you-have-to-be-a-yummy-mummy-otherwise-men-lose-interest-98487-19667207/

24 August 2007

'Pregnancy is not a time for indulgence': Real life story

I think it's really important to let women speak on this blog in their own voices, so I'm posting an email I received from one woman who agrees with the new guidelines regarding the importance of mantaining a healthy weight in pregnancy and not overindulging. Feel free to respond with your own stories, thoughts and opinions.

"At nine months of pregnancy I weighed 117 pounds. I do not think pregnancy is a time for indulgence. I was never more disciplined than during my pregnancy. I think that ideally pregnant women should not eat fatty, junky, or processed food, every bite should be nutritious, every meal and snack proportioned healthily and not for a manatee. Of course, there's no such thing as perfection so every once and a while everyone is going to have a treat, but it's so important not to go overboard. Pregnancy with a single child normally only requires about 200 extra calories a day (like a handful of almonds or large banana). And exercise is so important. Being pregnant is like being told that in 9 months you'll be running a marathon, and the prize is a child that you'll love more than you ever imagined possible. I wanted a safe labor and birth for the benefit of both me and my child and did yoga and Pilates regularly and walked at least a couple miles a day. One day before my due date I went into labor. Labored for 6 hours, pushed for 15 minutes (receiving no IV, no epidural, or drugs of any kind), and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who was 20 inches long (51cm) and weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces (about 3kg). Her pediatrician couldn't believe her APGAR score. She said it was the highest she'd ever seen. And because of the good health of both me and my baby, we were sent home early by approval of the doctor."

"I returned to my flat-stomached pre-pregnant size in about 5 days post-birth. My daughter will be a year old in a few days and I am still breastfeeding and making sure I eat nutritiously. Both my daughter and I are very active and love to play. She crawled at 5 months and took her first step at 8 1/2 months. She's running now and definitely gives me a daily workout. It's more important to me than ever to stay fit and not carry any extra weight because I need all the fitness and energy to keep up with her and have fun together** It's definitely possible for the average woman to be thin, attractive, and a mother (I have only one child but I know mothers of two, three, six, and seven that are thinner than I am). I'm a stay-at-home mom and wife and have no personal trainer or any of that stuff."

You can download the report from the Institude of Medicine about weight gain in pregnancy:

22 August 2007

Bodies after baby

I was very surprised to come across this article in the Mirror in which four women describe how their bodies have changed after having babies. Most of them are very frank and candid descriptions of the realities of stretch marks and postbaby bellies, such a stark contrast to the scripted body loving bullshit that celebrities spout with only a mere mention (or none at all) that they have spent 10 grueling weeks whipping themselves back into shape.

One woman says:
"I used to be a nicely-toned size 14 with a washboard stomach. Now I'm a poorly-toned size 16. I can cope with the extra inches on my thighs and bottom, even my saggy post-breastfeeding boobs, but it's the bottom of my tummy that really bothers me. It just hangs there, all loose muscle and shrivelled skin".

However, as much as I was happy to see some real life depictions of post-baby bodies, the article has to end by suggesting ways women can prevent saggy boobs and bellies and big thighs. *Sigh* Why couldn't the article just begin and end with women's own voices? Why do we always have to resort to reinforcing normative images of femininity? That women are never 'good' enough unless their stomachs are perfectly taut and tight and their boobs are perky. The women featured in this story already seem to feel like they aren't 'good' enough now that their bodies look different, why place more pressure on them by suggesting that they should have done something to prevent the post-baby 'damage'?

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/yourlife/2007/08/21/what-really-happens-to-your-body-when-you-have-a-baby-89520-19666203/

20 August 2007

Nancy O'Dell drops her baby weight in 9 weeks

According to People, Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell has dropped her baby weight in only 9 weeks (shedding 24 of 30 lbs).

On her weight loss: "Breastfeeding is the best diet," she says. Plus, she adds, "I want to eat healthy for her, so it's easy to say no to pizza."

On working out 4 weeks after the birth: "I called up my friend Lisa Rinna and said, 'I want your body, who is your trainer?'" she says.

Source: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20052059,00.html

17 August 2007

Salma Hayek: baby on board

TMZ is calling Salma Hayek's larger-than-life baby bump a 'baby mammoth' as if somehow she can control the size of her pregnant belly and has just chosen not to. Salma looks like any other pregnant woman to me and it's only because we keep being bombarded with ridiculous photos of Nicole Ritchie who is finally on the brink of looking normal that people think pregnant women should look 'skinny' at the same time they are creating new life.

16 August 2007

Heidi Klum shows off postbaby body in new Jordache ads

Heidi Klum's name is raised whenever anyone talks about setting the bar a little too damn high for women post-baby. Now, less than a year after having her third child, Heidi gets her gear off again in the new Jordache jeans ad campaign. She says she keeps fit just being an everday mum:

"I have three children," she tells PEOPLE. "That keeps you busy all the time. I work and we do a lot of things that are active. We work in the garden. We jump on the trampoline. I just started playing tennis with my husband. We climb in the tree house with the children. We go to the park and feed the ducks. We are always mobile."

I'm thinking it's a little more than climbing trees that keeps her looking so svelte.

Jail is the new pregnant

I love the Huffington Post. When I read this, I seriously laughed out loud.

15 August 2007

'Eating for two' is out the window

Say goodbye to the old adage that in pregnancy you can 'eat for two'. It looks as though the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is going to review the medical guidelines of weight gain in pregnancy. According to doctors, women are gaining too much weight and should only be consuming 300 extra calories per day and should gain no more than 35 pounds.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/08/14/diet.pregnancy.ap/

Mums who eat junk food give birth to overeaters.

I love science. Seriously, since when did it become okay to test out theories on rats and then apply them to human beings? According to the Vancouver Sun:

"Children whose mothers eat junk food during pregnancy and breastfeeding are more likely to overeat, choose an unhealthy diet and grow obese later in life, according to research using rats published on Wednesday."

Right. Apparently the appetite mechanisms in rats and human beings are similar so this new research has shown that baby rats get a taste for unhealthy foods when they are born and therefore, fetuses should develop the same unhealthy taste for junk.

Why is it that women and their eating habits in pregnancy continue to be constant sources of moral panic and shaming. In my own research, I've found that pregnant women struggle with food in a way they've never had to before in terms of feeding themselves and feeding their fetuses almost as if they were competing interests. Compounded by all the 'rules' of eating in pregnancy, scaring pregnant women into thinking that if they have a few donuts somehow their babies are going to be overeaters for life makes me really angry.

My mum lived on Baby Ruth bars (it's an American thing) for 40 weeks and a sugar addict I am not.

Source: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=5fed1943-835b-4b84-97bf-c89b8134bb09&k=81306

Also thanks to Claire from Inside Beauty who so nicely linked to this blog to promote healthy fashion/body/beauty awareness. Check them out http://5resolutions.blogspot.com/

13 August 2007

Isla Fisher: baby weight is not a worry

The Borat baby is on its way and Isla Fisher is chilled out with the prospect of having a few extra kilos lingering after the birth. Racing back into the gym is not high on her list:

"That's just so not me," she told the Sunday Express newspaper. "Besides, I suspect I am going to be a bit too preoccupied with my personal life to think about any of that stuff."

Good on you, Isla. Here's to hoping you stay sensible!

Source: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,22234662-5001026,00.html

11 August 2007

Helena Bonham Carter pregnant at 41: Miracle or Media Malarky?

This headline from the Telegraph intrigues me:

'Helena Bonham Carter pregnant again at 41'

Yes, indeed HBC is pregnant with her second child..but the 'again at 41' part is the kicker. Do people really think that women's ovaries shrivel up and die when they age past 35 or something? The word 'again' reads like getting pregnant at 41 is a miracle akin to the immaculate conception. 'Again at 41' as though women are selfish for choosing to bring children into the world when they are past a certain age. 'Again at 41' as if to say 'Silly woman! Everyone knows that women over 40 are past their use-by date!'

Despite all the mumbo jumbo about pregnancy risk in 'older' women, the truth is the number of women getting pregnant over 40 has doubled.


Cosmo Pregnancy: Sex and the pregnant girl

I'm excited to report that my latest feature article in Cosmopolitan Pregnancy is on the newsstands (p. 84).
You can access a preview of my article 'Bumps in the Night' in which I interviewed some fabulous women about sex in pregnancy here:

Jaime Pressly on her freakishly fast weight loss

And more from Jaime Pressly in USA Today on her weight loss and starting filming again, ironically enough, knocked up and ready to deliver on My Name is Earl.

"I was back in the gym when he was 10 days old, working out with my trainer," she says. "I'm almost back to where I was before."

I read in another source that Jaime lost the first 10 lbs on a liquid diet immediately after the birth (sounds really safe, eh?) and spent 3 hours in the gym every day to drop the rest (apparently only 5lbs left to go).

"I personally don't think I look smoking hot, but Eric [her partner] tells me I do. I think he's biased," she says (it must be hard when just plain hot isn't good enough for you?!)

As for playing her pregnant character again on the show, Pressly says:
"I'm going to deliver the baby on the show. I'm coming back in shape and I have to wear a fat suit," she says with a sigh. "Incredible."

Goodbye babyweight, hello narcissism? Incredible.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-08-09-jaime-pressly_N.htm

10 August 2007

Baby bumps are big in China

According to reports out of Shanghai, pregnant women are getting professional portraits of their burgeoning bellies inspired by none other than the woman who is on the brink of having her license to exist revoked, Britney Spears. Ever since Brit posed for Harper's Bazaar nude and knocked up, Chinese women (mostly with successful careers and university education) are feeling more comfortable showing off their bumps and having a keepsake photo (especially in light of China's one-child policy). After all, remembering a pregnancy is obviously more important when it's only supposed to happen once.

I was so excited to find this report because I have been looking for this kind of information for the past year, although I have been particularly focused on Japan. As I have been corresponding with various scholars in the United States as to whether there is a similar term for 'baby bump' in Japanese (and apparently there is no direct translation), I have been unable to find any information about whether Asian women are as interested in showing off their bumps or doing pregnant portraits like many women in the US, Australia and the UK. Now, to find that the trend is catching on in China confirms some of my theories about the global nature of the media and how women feel about their bodies in pregnancy.

Source: http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200708090090.html

09 August 2007

Totally Tori: back into her jeans

In an exclusive interview with Access Hollywood, Tori S reveals “In four months, I’ve lost almost all my baby weight. I’m feeling really good. I just got back into my regular jeans yesterday.”

“She started to tear up,” Dean [her husband] said.

I find it really astounding that 'getting back into your jeans' has become the benchmark for success of the postbaby body. Every single woman in my study mentioned that getting back into her jeans was a primary goal. So what does it mean? Fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes is the most symbolic moment when a woman can identify with the person she was before she was pregnant. It's like her pre-pregnant 'self' is not lost anymore. As motherhood brings forth so many life-altering changes, fitting back into your jeans is a reassuring moment when things can feel a little bit the same even though they are really so different.

Source: http://www.accesshollywood.com/news/ah6392.shtml

08 August 2007

Geri Halliwell: Stick figure!

For the love of Jehovah. How skinny is Geri Halliwell?! Rumours abound that Posh has been cracking the proverbial whip over her fellow Spice Girls to get their bodies in top shape for their upcoming reunion tour. Geri looks as though she has gone on the starvation diet and her new 'partying lifestyle' according to the Daily Mail is making her a 'bad' mother. Apparently, her daughter Bluebell is always with the nanny. *Yawn* I've already been through this with Britney so I won't get into the whole 'bad' mothering thing again but it's really depressing. I'm sure her daughter is looked after very well. Aside from that, seriously, Geri is way skinny! (and I say that out of shock, not necessarily approval).

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=473909&in_page_id=1773

Katie Price at the centre of breastfeeding controversy

Once again, Katie Price (aka Jordan) is at the centre of heated debate as she spruiks the joys of formula in an interview this week with Ok! magazine. Apparently, Jordan is feeding her newborn dauughter Princess formula and in one of the images in the magazine she is feeding the baby with a clearly labeled bottle of SMA formula. In Britain it is illegal to advertise formula for babies under 6months. Whilst Price has no formal arrangement with the company as a spokesperson she says:

"It's brilliant. I have 20 crates of teats and bottles," she told the magazine. "I don't have to sterilise or heat anything, you literally take the teat out, screw it on, and throw it away. "I don't care what people say - you don't have to breastfeed ... I don't want a baby drinking from me - the thought of it makes me feel really funny."

The National Childbirth Trust wants to bring action against SMA as a result.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22207994-5012974,00.html

07 August 2007

Freebirthing: the debate continues

The Washington Post published an article on Freebirthing recently which is being talked about all over the web as if freebirthing (unassisted childbirth) is a new concept. I find it frustrating that every article about the ostensibly positive/empowering aspects of freebirthing inevitably has to be 'balanced' by the its horrors. Women giving birth by themselves is just too damn threatening for obstetrics. In the article, the journalist writes,

'Some experts worry that vulnerable or gullible women will be misled into thinking that giving birth alone at home is a viable, even reasonable, alternative'.

Vulnerable? Gullible? This kind of language makes me so angry. The whole point of freebirthing is to reinforce the point that although women can have safe, enjoyable assisted (hospital) birth experiences, the available options for birth are actually quite a bit more wide ranging. Women are not simply passive dupes of biomedicine or culture. Why wouldn't homebirth be a reasonable alternative? It is the the cultural/biomedical discourses of childbirth that suggest that birth is dangerous and women should constantly be aware of their 'risk' that encourage women to fear unassisted birth. In Australia, for instance, only 1% of women give birth at home. What really bothers me is that journalistic diatribes weighing the pros and cons of freebirthing inevitably render the complexities of birth null and void by failing to find a middle ground between doctors, midwives, doulas, and the actual women who are giving birth. Why do women have to choose one or the other? And why does the journalist have to use feminist health organisation, Our Bodies Ourselves, to perpetuate and substantiate the idea that somehow all feminists see freebirthing as inherently dangerous?

If the most negative aspect of freebirthing is unpredictability as numerous obstetricians suggest, these claims only reinvigorate the historical and 'patriarchal' constructions of women's reproductive bodies as chaotic, closer to 'nature', wild and in need of control. It is precisely the 'unpredictable' nature of women's reproductive bodies that has led to birth control pills that eliminate menstrual periods completely, that has given rise to obstetrics as a profession, that suggests that in pregnancy women are not capable of managing their own bodies but must be monitoried endlessly right down to the type of food they consume. Perhaps we should worry less about women subverting the dominant social expectation that birth must occur under a clinical gaze and instead seek to halt the biomedical/cultural insistence that women's bodies are passive, weak and in need of management.

Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/07/27/AR2007072702164.html?sub=AR

Britney's 'bad' mothering according to Us

Seriously, when did Us magazine become the authority on parenting? It never ceases to amaze me how what once was a fairly daggy celeb rag selling copies only for its good photos has become the American celebrity goss mag hovering on the same plane as People. Today, emboldened by its market share of gossip hungry twenty and thirty-something urban women, Us derives some perverse delight in castigating Britney Spears for everything she has done 'wrong' which according to the editors is 'bad mommy behavior'. Who writes this rubbish? As I said in my last post, when are people going to leave Britney Spears the bloody hell alone? Why is it that we have to constantly rehash the car seat incident, the falling over that nearly caused her to drop the baby. Some of the slides in the Us gallery show Britney going out with her family minus the children. When did it become illegal to leave the kids at home with the nanny? What really gets me going is this antiquated notion that 'good' mothers must be selfless at all costs. Today, the cultural expectations placed on the shoulders of mothers are so heavy that doing your best is not good enough anymore; motherhood entails a set of behavioral guidelines that women must follow and against which they are judged. I find it really interesting that Britney always seems to be the target of this 'bad' mother discourse particularly when most photographs of Spears show her with her children. How often do you see other celebrities with their children regularly?

To view the slideshow: http://www.usmagazine.com/britney_baby_drama

06 August 2007

Katie Price: 4 weeks postbaby

Katie Price vowed to lose her baby weight only 3 weeks after giving birth to her new daughter 29 June.

'I'm determined to get back into my bikini after the baby,' she says. 'I'll be back in it in 3 week, sitting round my pool and enjoying the sunshine.' Jordan, 29, is sure her favourite juice detox diet will do the trick and is confident she'll reach her goal.

Out in London a few nights ago, 'Jordan' proved she's well on her way just a month after giving birth in a figure-hugging yellow dress.

'I honestly don’t know why [I’ve lost the weight]. I’m so busy looking after the kids I forget to eat lunch because I’m just not feeling that hungry.'
'I should have a great body soon because I’ve lost nearly all the weight, then I’m going to get my boobs done in December.'

What more could she possibly do to her boobs?

04 August 2007

I'm a hypocrite. So sue me: Another Nicole Ritchie post

So yeah. Maybe a few days ago I said how annoyed I was that everyone and their mother was expending way too much brain power on the pregnancy of Nicole Ritchie. However, I am finding myself uncomfortably fascinated by her publicists' ability to manufacture answers for her to the 'hard-hitting' Diane Sawyer questions that continually repeat she has 'never had an eating disorder' (because after all, you would have to be eating at some stage to have one) and that she was never 'close to death'. So even though Nicole was pushing more drugs than Corey Haim, revealing an eating disorder is ostensibly much worse for her career.

"I eat all the time, especially now. I'm constantly hungry. I'm eating at least every hour," she said. "And just like any mother, you want to take the best care of yourself, especially while you're pregnant. I'm definitely eating healthier now."

With pregnancy comes weight gain and Richie says she's prepared for it, saying she has already gained 10 pounds. "It's what my baby needs and to me, numbers don't mean anything. If I gain 40 pounds, if I gain 50 pounds, then that's obviously what my body needs to do. I'm totally OK with that," she said.

Ritchie is quite possibly more vacuous than Paris Hilton. Why she deserves a three part series on the state of her health on American television really astounds me (and of course I continue to be a part of her media campaign by continuing to write about her. For shame!).

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3443916&page=1

03 August 2007

Oops, she did it again: save Britney or save her sons?

Speaking of moral panics, it fails to surprise me that Britney Spears is once again being castigated as the 'bad mother'. If putting 'soda' in bottles or fending off the prying lenses of the stalkarazzi are the worst things that this woman has done as a mother, I'm not sure that she is really 'dangerous' as tenuously truthful Us Weekly (apparently a trusted source of parenting advice these days) shouts in this week's headline.
There is a difference between dangerous and clueless. When I was a kid, one of my childhood friends was given juice in a bottle every night when she went to bed and her teeth all rotted. Her parents weren't trying to cause her lifelong dental problems. They were young and didn't have a clue. Britney doesn't have a clue. And you know why that's okay? Because she has a whole team of nannies to do the things that she isn't able to do herself. As much as people want to bang on about the 'crisis' situation in the Spears household, I am sure that those kids are very well-looked after (even if it's not necessarily by their own parents). There are plenty of parents in the world who actually abuse their children. The claims that she is most definitely 'bipolar' and her behaviour erratic seem a little harsh even if they are true.
According to Us, when Britney and her children stayed in a Pacific Palisades home:
“She ate tacos on the bedroom floor!” a source says of the home. “She got crumbs and grease everywhere. She let her babies and her dog roam the floor. She left the bed a mess – I don’t know what’s wrong with her.”
Shock! Horror! A mess! She's not responsible but she's certainly not dangerous.
Britney has been constantly scrutinised since she became a mother and I find it interesting that the 'bad mother' media slant never seems to change despite the fact that her behaviour has not always been 'erratic'. And why is it that Kevin Federline comes off looking like Dad of the Year? This is the same guy who left Shar Jackson WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT, leeched off Britney for a few years, partied like a rockstar and only NOW decides that he wants full custody of the children ostensibly so he can get more money out of their divorce settlement.
Lay off the girl. She's making a lot of tabloid magazine editors very very wealthy as a result of all the salacious gossip bandied about regarding her personal life. No wonder she's going crazy.

World Breastfeeding Week: to breast or not to breast?

It's World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 Aug) and I thought I should say a little something. As the media bangs on about how critical it is for mothers to breastfeed their babies (higher IQs! stronger bones! bonding!), I thought that instead of agreeing and being politically correct, I would post a link from the New York Post for all of those mothers of the world who are feeling the pressure to breastfeed when they can't or just don't want to. The WBW website suggests that new mothers should 'save one million babies' by breastfeeding within the first hour of birth as "the first and most vital step towards reducing infant and under-five mortality". Point taken, but this suggests to me that women who do not do this are somehow going to do irreparable damage to their babies if they don't/can't breastfeed straight away. That doesn't seem like a fair call. Babies born to mothers in Brooklyn that aren't breastfed are definitely not on par with babies born in Africa somewhere that you see on TV, starving with bloated little bellies. I think 'save the babies' is better suited to babies born in abject poverty or to neglectful parents, not for babies born to mothers who aren't breastfeeding. Although I agree that breastfeeding is critical, there are moral panics surrounding 1) saving children 2) breastfeeding 3) being a 'good' mother. What are we we really anxious about? And why are 'non-breastfeeders' the precipitating factor of blame?

Apparently, NYC has banned the free formula given to new mothers on their way home from hospital. Journalist and mother Andrea Peyser thinks this is just another strike by the 'breastfeeding gestapo'.

Note: Please don't send me nasty emails about how I'm promoting the downfall of society by suggesting that breastfeeding isn't important or beneficial. Let's give the other side of the debate a little air time.


02 August 2007

Baby Bump Project lands in Canada (part 2)

Just a quick note to all of my favourite Canadians out in blogland:

I will be a guest on Adler Online - Canada's National Radio Show with Charles Adler at 2:40pm tomorrow. If you live outside of Canada, you can also listen online.

Corus Radio Network
Vancouver CKNW - Kelowna CKOV 63 - Saskatoon 650 CKOM - Regina 980 CJME - Calgary AM, 770 CHQR - Edmonton 630 CHED - Winnipeg CJOB 68 - London AM980 CFPL - Cornwall AM 1220 - Hamilton AM900 CHML - Toronto AM640 - Montreal AM940

Nicole Ritchie is pregnant. Is anyone surprised?

As I scanned Google News as I do most mornings, I just happened to notice that there were no less than 503 articles devoted to the exoskeleton that is Nicole Ritchie and her starving fetus. Now that (in the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw) the 'idiot stick figure with no soul' is on her way to motherhood (and jail), gird yourself ladies, every magazine cover, newspaper article and internet gossip site will waste words on her every movement, on her pleas for people to give her a 'fresh start' and for her to wax vomitous on the joys of being pregnant. If anything, Nicole will be constantly surveilled (not unlike other celebrities, but in an even more unsettling, all pervasive kind of way): everyone will question how much she is eating, whether she is gaining any weight and how quickly she 'bounces back' (as if there is anything to 'bounce back' to).

I suppose I could give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she made some mistakes and now she is paying for them, however, what really gets me fired up is that all of these young successful women (the Paris Hiltons of the world) do really stupid things and every decides to forget about their idiocy. In Ritchie's case, now that she is officially pregnant (4 months to be precise--could have fooled me!), no one is questioning her devotion to becoming a mother. Since when did motherhood become the easy way out? And who would have thought Nicole's vanishing body could actually sustain another life when she can barely sustain her own?

01 August 2007

Jaime Pressly is officially a stick figure

Jaime Pressly has shed all of her baby weight in only two months. Talk about setting the bar a bit bloody high.

TMZ has the picture you have to see:
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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.