15 January 2008

A little bump in the road.

I never thought I would say this.

I feel saturated. Fully and utterly saturated. As of this week, it feels like pregnancy and birth are the only things left for the media to talk about. Whereas I used to get a little rush reading about the latest pregnant celeb, seeing the snaps of her belly in a tight maternity top or delighting in stories about weight gain, for some reason this week, pregnancy in the news is no longer exciting. From someone who lives and breathes pregnancy (without actually being pregnant), this is a very bizarre turn of events.

I've been trying to work out why celeb pregnancy hasn't been doing it for me lately. Is it just the latest crop of preggos that I find to be utterly boring? Is it possible that I have read too many tabloids for one lifetime? Then it occurred to me. Pregnancy is now a career booster for celebrities and the birth of a child is treated like an 'event' rather than a private family affair. More than 400 articles are devoted to the 'birth' of Christina Aguilera's son whom she had by elective caesarean (which is not mentioned anywhere). For someone who claimed she did not want to have the media involved in her pregnancy by sheepishly failing to 'announce' that she was knocked up, that she and her husband sent decided to send out a press release just undermines the 'privacy' she was supposedly trying to achieve. Why would she do that? Because pregnancy and motherhood are clearly boons to the careers of celebrity women and it would be a mistake not to cash in on the tabloid baby showers.

Now that all of these celebs are pregnant (I hesitate to even give a complete list it has grown so spectacularly in the last few months), pregnancy is an PR exercise. No one is willing to say how they really feel and every pregnant celebrity, it seems, feels the need to pay lip service to 'good' motherhood. I swear if I read if one more celeb using the words 'wonderful' or 'amazing' to describe her pregnancy, I think I will hurl. When Halle Berry recently said she wished she could be pregnant 'forever', it was like nails grinding on a chalkboard. Nicole Kidman is 'thrilled' to be pregnant along with the rest of the world as the 600th rumour about her non-existent baby bump has finally come true and no doubt, motherhood at 40 will eclipse all of her independent achievements to date.

I'm just over it. What happened to the frank pregnant confessions of both elation and utter disgruntlement? I'm so sick of celebrity women going on about how great and easy pregnancy is and lapping up the adulation for daring to be naked and pregnant on a magazine cover when only last week it was decided that British mother Louise Manning is set to win up to £200,000
because she was harassed so profoundly at work. Forced to resign when she revealed she was pregnant, Manning's boss sent a memo stating:

"Louise’s pregnancy has quite naturally had an adverse effect on her ability, motivation and dedication."

Mothering is not easy and for many companies, pregnancy is the WORST career move a woman could ever make.

This is the world we live in. It's not all designer prams and expensive birthing suites. Average women, it seems, have to quite literally fight for their 'right' to have a career during pregnancy. Surely the birth of a child is a major life achievement for any woman but quite often it comes at the expense of her ability to achieve a work/life balance. The celebrities who rave about how easy pregnancy is completely undermine the everyday realities that most women face trying to juggle a family with a career or even in staying at home without the luxury of a nanny or a chef.

Source: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article3176474.ece


Amanda said...

The disparity between a celebrity's gushing account of pregnancy and childbirth and the experiences of the average woman is lamentable, but you have to wonder whether the celebrities are being entirely honest about their experiences. As you so rightly point out, pregnancy and childbirth have become opportunities for self-promotion and huge amounts of career-boosting publicity. However, this is a double-edged sword - one wrong move, or flippant comment taken out of context (Angelina Jolie's comment about baby Shiloh being a 'blob' comes to mind), and suddenly all that publicity can have a decidedly negative effect.

Perhaps this is why celebrities stick to overwhelmingly positive reports of pregnancy and childbirth, spouting their cute clich├ęs while glossing over anything less savoury in their experiences. So who's to blame? The celebrities themselves, the media machine... or the public that is so quick to hold celebrity mums up to judgement?

Carolyn McIntosh said...

Note Nicole Richie and Christina Aguilera's babies were born in the same hospital one hour apart. That surgeon made a pretty bob or two for two hours easy work. I wonder if the babies needed to go to the intensive care unit because of breathing difficulties? Never mind Mums will be back in bikinis next week.

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