22 September 2011

New research project!!!

Oh it has been such a long time since I've posted here...but let me tell you, I have been a busy little bee. Now, that I've finally gotten my self sorted out I can tell you about an exciting new research project that I am starting. Basically, I am looking for pregnant women in Hobart, Tasmania.

I am looking for participants who are willing to share their experiences as pregnant women. If you are 18-50 years old and pregnancy (approx. 3-4 months or 12-16 weeks), I would like to invite you to take part in a research project that would involve taking photographs of yourself and your life during pregnancy/postpartum (digital camera provided) and then talking about the photograph you have taken in a series of interviews.

If you live in Hobart and this sounds good to you...please get in touch.


15 April 2011

Mariah: the pregnant oversharer

There is a point when sharing every morsel of information about your pregnancy is too much information. Case in point: Mariah Carey. She has posed on 2 magazine covers naked and pregnant, posts incessantly on Twitter and has broadcast the intimate details of every aspect of pregnancy and her relationship with her husband for the world since the first announcement of the pregnancy. I'm over it. Just on her website, her 'team' has posted that her fans can choose her twin babies' first outfit.

While social media has it's benefits, you wonder why some of these celebs are constantly posting. Is it the fear of being alone? Are they comforted by knowing that someone, somewhere in the world will be there reading their thoughts? I wonder why Mariah doesn't want to keep some of this to herself. Sure she gets paid for all of the magazine covers but when you have the media in your face all of the time, wouldn't you want to have just this one thing that you can have that's just for you?

Tori S. preggers

So no one could be more excited than me about Tori Spelling's announcement of her third pregnancy! I followed her first two pregnancies and now I have a third opportunity to make fun of follow her incessant whingeing insightful thoughts about weight loss and dieting. She debuted her new bump on EXTRA this week after announcing her little bun in the oven on Twitter. According to the Chicago Tribune, Tori surprised her husband Dean with the news: “I wrapped up the pregnancy test in a box and bow and gave it to Dean as his Valentine’s Day gift,” she tells People. “He was beyond surprised.”


21 March 2011

Ryan Phillippe/Alexis Knapp debacle

Rage: So the word is that Ryan Phillipe's ex, Alexis Knapp is pregnant with his child. What annoys me is that everyone has been writing about this woman as though she is trying to con Phillipe into giving her money/support. A recent headline from US read that she 'blindsided' him with news of the pregnancy. She is saying she doesn't want any help from him. She's happy to be pregnant and just thought he should know. I love how it's the woman that gets judged for getting knocked up while men get treated as though they really didn't think that having sex would potentially lead to a pregnancy. PUHLEASE!

Food for thought!

A Breakdown on Birth
Via: Ultrasound Technician

07 March 2011

Kourtney Kardashian loves breastfeeding

For once in a blue moon, this post is devoted to saying how great Kourtney Kardashian is for revealing that she breastfed her baby Mason for 15 months before weaning him. The Daily Mail reports that she wrote:

Kourtney wrote: 'My love affair with breast feeding has come to a sad end.

'I seriously could cry just thinking about it being over. I love what a beautiful experience I had with my son and just wanted to share it.'

She says she gained 5lbs since stopping breastfeeding.

When did you wean your baby?

02 March 2011

Eva Herzigova bares all

Oh my! Eva Herzigova, 37, features on the April cover of Bazaar, 7 months pregnant with her second child. She reflects on motherhood the second time around:

"Being pregnant is less about being sexy than being sensual. You feel very feminine. There are all these special hormonal enhancements.

"You really blossom, especially in the first three months: my skin and my hair were in great condition; my breasts were like 'wow'; it was like I'd had a facelift and breast-enhancement surgery. It's amazing refinding the body that you used to have in your twenties."

25 February 2011

Breast milk arrives in a cone

It doesn't take much for retailers to try and cash in on motherhood.

A London restaurant, the Icecreamists, is now selling 'Baby Gaga', or breastmilk ice cream.

According to the Daily Mail, the ice cream is served by a waitress dressed up as Lady Gaga.

British mums were asked to donate breastmilk online. If you want to try the ice cream, save up, because it's going to set you back about $22.

Wouldn't all of this donated breastmilk be put to better use if it was donated to actual babies? And shouldn't the restaurant consider donating a portion of the very hefty proceeds from this ridiculous product to a breastmilk bank?

24 February 2011

Real Housewife reveals all

I must admit that Real Housewives of Atlanta has been my guilty pleasure and the reason I watch the damn show is because I can't get enough of Kim Zolciak with her big hair and bad singing. Anyhow, to get you up to speed, Kim dropped Big Poppa and is now with a new man, football player Kroy Biermann. She's 6 months pregnant and of course, because Kim doesn't do anything small, she has posed for this week's edition of Life & Style in lingerie. Among other things, Kim says she's eating more than she has in her previous pregnancies and that she feels 'more in touch with her body now', whatever that means.

14 February 2011

Rachel Zoe doesn't eat during pregnancy: shock/horror

For anyone that follows Rachel Zoe, stylist to the stars, you would know that she's pregnant and if you have really been paying attention, you would have noticed that it is almost impossible to tell that she is 8 months pregnant. Blamed for making Nicole Richie and various other celebs stick-thin in order to fit into her fashion, Zoe has recently been quoted by a "source" in In Touch Weekly as saying that she is not used to eating 3 meals a day which is why she hasn't gained much weight during the pregnancy. One doctor speculates she hasn't gained more than 15 lbs (and with her tiny figure, you can hardly tell).

For the sake of your baby and all of the women who religiously follow your every move, please eat up. Low birth weight babies are prone to a host of health problems! Besides pregorexia chic is so 5 years ago....

05 February 2011

Pink shows off her belly in her own gorgeous photo

Wow. I just fell in love with Pink.

Tired of having unflattering photographs (like this) taken of her during pregnancy by the paparazzi, Pink has hit back with her own gorgeous pregnancy photo (above) that she uploaded to her Twitter feed this week saying:

"ALRIGHT... because paparazzi of today have absolutely no photograhic skill or artistry whatsoever, and their pictures are hideous...."

Gotta love the fact that 1) she screwed the tabloids out of money from photo sales and 2) she has taken control of the documentation of her pregnancy. WIN!

Miranda Kerr boasts about being stretchmark-free

Oh Miranda Kerr. You know when I was all pro-Miranda a few weeks ago when she published that lovely breastfeeding photo on her blog? Well, it didn't take her very long to start to start to use her pregnancy to push some of her organic beauty products on other mums. This week, in her blog, the supermodel boasts that she doesn't have any stretch marks following her pregnancy with baby Flynn:

"I am so excited and just wanted to share with you how my pregancy skin routine has helped me to prevent any stretch marks. As you know I had a huge belly (carrying a 9lb 12 ounce baby) and was convinced I would have stretch marks as a result. But I am so happy to report that my combination of daily body brushing and applying KORA Organics Body Lotion twice a day have helped me to prevent stretch marks."

She didn't get any stretch marks. I'm irked by the fact that she has decided to use her lack of stretch marks as an opportunity to sell $45 moisturiser to her readers. Firstly, who the hell has $45 to spend on bloody skin cream? Secondly, there is no evidence that creams actually work in preventing stretch marks. Scientists are divided as to what you can do to make them appear less prominently on your body. There is no evidence to suggest, however, that you can prevent them entirely. Genetics appears to play a significant role as to whether you are prone to getting them when you are pregnant.

So, in short, I would have liked to hear about Miranda's post-baby body minus the sales pitch.

04 February 2011

Pregnancy sex is safe

You can tell Valentine's Day is just around the corner because headlines are ablaze with news that sex during pregnancy is safe (that is, if you were previously worried about getting it on before) so basically you can shag until your heart is content without fear of going into early labour.

The news comes from some Canadian doctors who published their study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. My guess is that they basically have done a review of earlier studies (although I can't find a citation for their article anywhere)....

Sex during pregnancy is still taboo to talk about as I found when I was writing an article for Cosmo Pregnancy about sex back in 2008. It seemed really strange for me at the time considering that maternity lingerie, for instance, was making its mark in the maternity market and we had already been exposed to the idea that pregnancy is sexy via celebs. I was supposed to interview women about their pregnant sex lives and let me tell you, it was hard to find women who were willing to talk and have their photos taken for the article.

Anyway, were you/are you worried about doing the deed while pregnant?

02 February 2011

J.Lo blah blah blah

J.Lo won't be giving pregnancy advice anytime soon.

"Everybody gives you a lot of advice when you are pregnant, which I find a tiny bit annoying, so I'm not going to give any."

J Lo added, "But I did read What To Expect When You Are Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. You can go day-by-day with that. It's awesome."

Hmm. From someone who doesn't like being told what to do, how could you actually enjoy reading one of the most prescriptive guidebooks for pregnancy available?!

Miranda Kerr: cover of Vogue Australia

How on earth did I miss this??

Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr (who just gave birth to her first son Flynn with partner Orlando Bloom) was the first woman to appear pregnant on the cover of Australian Vogue this month.

Inside the accompanying spread, there is also a photo of Kerr naked and pregnant.

Kerr also posed naked and pregnant for W, snapped by legendary photog Patrick Demarchelier.

"For me, family is life," Kerr, 27, told the fashion magazine who photographed her nude from the side while she caressed her baby bump.

"The decision to start one wasn't complex at all," she added.

28 January 2011

Blossom preaches on parenting

Oh, you know it's a good day when you get to talk about Blossom (aka Mayim Bialik) in a post. As quite possibly one of the foremost fashion influences in my life when I was 13, Bialik (now with a PhD in neuroscience, 2 kids, a revived acting career and voice of 'attachement parenting') has a new role as 'mommy blogger' (gag!) for Today (US), the breakfast 'news' (who are they kidding) show.

In her first post, Bialik has managed to press a few buttons with her writing about a typical day in her life as a parent. Now, whilst Bialik has been something of a postergirl for attachment parenting and natural childbirth, in this post she claims that she isn't in to labels and just does what feels right to her (even though she has referred to herself as living in an attachment parenting household before). Fair enough.

According to the actress, "This is not some fandangled new Hollywood trend. We parent the way people have parented for hundreds of thousands of years. So hang on to your hats and prepare for a view into my household."

What annoys me, however, is that following her abhorrence for being labelled, she then provides a laundry list of several things that she and her husband do regularly as part of their parenting (for example, co-sleeping, extending breastfeeding, baby wearing, 'gentle disipline'). Now, if she doesn't want to refer to these actions as 'attachment parenting', I'm not sure what else you would categorise them as. Instead of discussing why she thinks what she does works best for her family, there is a tone of self-righteousness in her descriptions.

For example, "Natural birth is not something to “try for” and feel bad you couldn’t do. Our country needs to step up to the plate in educating women about the benefits of natural birth, and we need to help women actually do it – not just hear about it." Okay, well if she is trying to say that women shouldn't feel badly about themselves if they are not able to have a natural birth, it doesn't make sense then to append that with a statement implying that women should be having natural births because they are better.

If Bialik is aware of all of the stereotypes of attachement parents (" I know what you’re thinking: AP parents are self-righteous, privileged, over-psychoanalyzed martyrs who (especially if they are celebrities) pretend to have the time, energy, patience and abundant love to be with their kids all the time without giving them any limits, boundaries or sense of independence.") then perhaps she should change people's minds about AP, live up to the label and be proud of it, rather than playing in to those very same stereotypes in her mightier-than-thou attitude to parenthood and, out of fear, refusing to identify with a community of parents who practice what you preach.

27 January 2011

'Family shields' in Arkansas 'protect' young shoppers from gay parents

It's times like this that I remember that everyone in the US actually doesn't share my worldview nor do they live in a blue state. Just as Elton John and his longtime partner David Furnish have welcomed their new baby into their home, Harps (with 60 retail stores across the US) have placed a 'family shield' (like the covers you generally find over porn mags) over the picture of Elton and his family on the cover of US weekly in order to 'protect' young shoppers. The company claims that they have not done this in every store but only in response to customer complaints. The photo has hit the internet thanks to @jennhudd, a Harps shopper who was appalled by the shields she saw in Arkansas (and promptly tweeted!). What is so hilarious is that while some parents must have complained about the US weekly cover because they think gay parenting is disgusting, unnatural or objectionable, these are probably the same parents that are happy to allow their children to play violent video games and who wouldn't bat an eye at the porn mags or other similarly degrading images of women that their children are exposed to everyday. In effect, this 'family shield' is suggesting that the depiction of two men in a long-term, loving relationship as partners and parents is equivalent to pornography. That a 'family' photograph is in need of a 'family' shield is laughably ironic but also so, so sad.

If this is appalling to you, call Harps on 877-772-8193 or use their contact form if you'd like to register your complaint.

UPDATE: Turns out Harps has decided to remove the family shields at the one offending store.

21 January 2011

Clijsters slams pregnancy rumour with panache at Oz Open

Oh if only all famous women responded to unsolicited uterus updates like tennis pro Kim Clijsters.....This little tidbit from Melbourne made my day:

Here's the story: David Cup coach Todd Woodbridge texted one of Clijsters friends, Rennae Stubbs speculating that Clijsters was pregnant again, specifically: "She looks grumpy and her boobs are bigger."

Stubbs told Kim about th e text and as Woodbridge interviewed Clijsters on court after her second round win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro at the Australian Open, Clijster's decided to get Woodbridge back...(you can watch the deliciously mortifying footage here)

"You thought I was pregnant," Clijsters said.

Woodbridge, turning a deep shade of purple, shot back, "Well, I guess we've got to ask, are you?"

Clijsters said that no, she wasn’t, but that wasn't the end of it. She read out the text to the crowd:

"You said: 'She looks really grumpy and her boobs are bigger!'"

Woodbridge was mortified, saying: "Well that's the end of my TV career, so thank you very much."

I just love this. While women have alot of reasons to absolutely hate celebrity mums for all of their money and seemingly easy lives, I have to say that the unsolicited uterus speculation really gets to me. It's no one's business to ask a woman if she's pregnant and a million other inappropriate reproductive questions. Clijsters was absolutely correct in making this clear to a man who had no business inquiring about her body based on stereotypes (I mean seriously, 'looking grumpy' could describe most working mothers around the world on any day).


20 January 2011

Nicole Kidman has new baby

In a surprise to the world, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban revealed that they have welcomed the arrival of their new daughter, Faith Margaret through a surrogate in the US. While surrogacy is a fairly standard procedure among couples in the US and abroad, Kidman and Urban have sparked controversy by referring to their surrogate by the technical term, 'gestational carrier'.

"It all sounds like terms from a lawyer-drafted contract -- ghastly," one person tweeted.

That Kidman and Urban most likely paid the surrogate is also the source of debate. While the couple say that they went to the US for the surrogacy because they can fly under the radar more easily as a celebrity couple, it is well known that surrogacy for payment over basic costs is illegal in Australia.

I would guess that Nicole Kidman using the technical term because it helps her to distance herself and her new baby from the birth mother: She clearly wants to be known as the 'mother', whereas the surrogate is just the womb.

Miranda Kerr: first photo

How gorgeous is Miranda Kerr and her new bub? Miranda recently posted this beautiful photo on her blog that she is enjoying motherhood and that her natural birth was no cake walk.

"On the 6th of January I gave birth to our beautiful little son Flynn. He weighed 9lb 12 ounces (a very healthy and big baby boy). I gave birth to him naturally; without any pain medication and it was a long, arduous and difficult labour, but Orlando was with me the whole time supporting and guiding me through it. I could not have done it without him."

I love that she has chosen to be honest and say that natural birth is beautiful but it's not easy....AND she's showing the world that she is breastfeeding!

Natalie Portman compares self to whale

Just as Natalie Portman waxes about how unflustered she is about gaining pregnancy weight, at the Golden Globes (side note: did you see her Victor & Rolf gown? AH-MAZING), she says: “I hope I’ll get to lie in bed and eat popcorn and watch TV for the rest of it,” she laughs. “Not always be out in public looking like a whale, but it’s all nice energy that everyone is showing.”

Nat? You were setting such a good example!

Gwyneth Paltrow needs dose of reality

Once again Gwyneth Paltrow confirms just how out of touch with reality she really is. In response to a GOOP reader's query about combining a successful career with motherhood, Paltrow's answer is simple: a $2,300 coffeemaker, a personal trainer, and an assistant.

16 January 2011

Maternity clothes: keep or castaway?

For those of you that have been following BBP for awhile, you already know that much of my passion for pregnancy aside from all of my ranting about 'fat' and bodies is maternity fashion. I can't get enough of it and I love to follow the trends. Nevertheless, while it may appear that women are overwhelmed with choice now when it comes to choosing what to wear, when I was writing my PhD thesis back in 2006, there was almost no academic work being done on the topic. So I'd like to think that I'm a bit of a pioneer ;-) ANYWAY, one of the more fascintating things that I realised was that as I talked to pregnant women I became more interested in was what women did with their pregnancy clothing once they were no longer pregnant. Were the clothes given to a pregnant friend? To a second hand shop? Thrown in the bin? For many of the women in my study, even though they hated a lot of the clothing that they had to wear (maternity jeans are never perfect no matter how expensive or designer they are...), several women said they were hesitant to just get rid of them even if they were not planning on having another baby any time soon or ever. This article by Kate Haas for Salon is excellent because it reminded me so much of some of the themes that came up in my research about maternity clothing when it comes to the circulation of pregnancy clothes between women (mothers and daughters but also girlfriends) and the emotional significance of clothing during pregnancy but also more generally (for example, wedding dresses). Haas recounts having her mother offer up her old maternity clothes and not being interested in them given their preponderance of horrible patterns, ugly buttons and generally unflattering shapes. She doesn't want to wear them but at the same time realises why her mother kept them for so long.

Did you inherit maternity clothes from your mother? Your girlfriends? Did you keep your clothes or did you pass them on? If you kept some of your pregnancy clothes which items did you keep?

Possibly another book mums don't need...

As I have been re-visiting my hometown of Chicago for the last few weeks, I find myself gravitating to my favourite bookstores, the majority of which are now overrun with Alison Sweeney's new tome, The Mommy Diet. Sweeney, host of the The Biggest Loser (US) claims that this book reflects her new found sensitivities surrounding pregnancy weight gain and the pressures to lose baby weight quickly. While I am usually all for positive reading material for new mums when it comes to body image, there are several things that bother me about this book. Firstly, Sweeney (in spite of what are probably good intentions) is inextricably linked with a television show that puts ordinary but very obese individuals through the paces to lose extraordinary amounts of weight in a short period of time. While she acknowledges that this environment led to her own anxiety about losing weight postpartum, I still think that it is difficult for other mums who are inevitably going to read this book to separate her from the context from which she has become famous. Secondly, while Sweeney reiterates that the book is meant to be a book for 'healthy' pregnant and post-pregnant bodies, I find it bizarre that a book that is meant to be about 'health' or mindful eating/exercise has the word 'diet' in the title. Call me crazy, but I think most of us have pretty explicit pictures of what 'diet' means and it usual brings to mind pictures of restrictive eating and lots of exercise in order to lose weight which I think seems to contravene what Sweeney is intending to do with the book. The book is a month-to-month guide to weight loss which, to me, isn't much different than any of the three million other books on the market that purport to be 'different' and all about 'health' when really they are just diet books in disguise. I think the whole premise of the book is hypocritical. Although Sweeney says that she didn't lose her baby weight quickly, nevertheless, she lost it and I think she would be lying if she suggested she didn't have lots of support to do so.
Has anyone out there actually bought the book or have you seen it? What do you think of it?

15 January 2011

Portman pounded with pregnancy questions

As all eyes around the world have fixated on Natalie Portman for her dual roles as ballerina in Black Swan and mum-to-be, Portman has been asked endlessly about what she is eating, how she feels about pregnancy and whether she is worried about gaining weight after allegedly losing 20lbs for her role in the movie. I laughed to myself, however, when I read today that Portman is planning to step out of the spotlight after the birth. I wish her the best of luck with that. If the first few months of her pregnancy are any indication and considering that she has four movies coming out in 2011, the chances of Portman having a little privacy are slim to none. She is being a good sport about the interest in her life:

“It’s very positive interactions, I have to say,” Natalie told MTV News of the public knowing about her pregnancy. “The weird thing is … people knowing something that is so private but, I mean, you get used to that. It’s just wild to walk down the street and have a complete stranger be like, ‘Congratulations!’ It’s so nice, but it’s a new experience to have people know that much about your most private things. [But] it’s all good.”

Let's hope so.

13 January 2011

BBP resolves to have head no longer in sand

Geez..has it been this long? A new year and a renewed commitment to blogging as my new years resolution. For those of you who have been wondering where I have been, well, I've been traveling around the world on a much needed holiday after a wild and wonderful year of research and teaching.
I have returned to the world of pregnancy to relish in the thought of supermodel Miranda Kerr pushing out a 10lb baby, Kate Hudson carrying the love child of a rockstar, Natalie Portman announcing her pregnancy in the midst of her publicity tour for Black Swan in which she plays a ballerina gone mad and Kelly Preston and John Travolta presenting their new son Benjamin to the world via the most relevant news source, People magazine.
When it comes to parenthood, what are your resolutions for 2011?
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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.