Monday 26 September 2016

Jen's big lunch has her in the baby club

A big lunch can have you pegged as ­pregnant, says Sarah Caden, now it's open season on the uterus

Sarah Caden

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

Actress Jennifer Aniston is seen walking in Soho on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Actress Jennifer Aniston is seen walking in Soho on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Actress Jennifer Aniston is seen walking in Soho on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Jennifer Aniston is seen out in the West Village on June 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
Actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Justin Theroux arrive at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California January 17, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Bloated story: Jennifer Aniston said she is not pregnant. Photo: Amy Graves

Last week, Jennifer Aniston enjoyed a big lunch. A "delicious big lunch", in fact, with the adjective chosen to emphasise that the actress is not apologising for slightly overindulging and feels no guilt about a little bit of holiday gluttony.

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The reason that Aniston's spokesperson had to make this statement about her eating habits was to counter pregnancy rumours that began when the 47-year-old Friends star was photographed after said lunch. She was in her bikini, having suncream applied to her back by her husband, actor Justin Theroux, and her tummy looked a bit round.

It was round in the way it might be if you slouched or felt a bit bloated or were in the early stages of pregnancy. The rumour mill went for the last option, because otherwise she was looking a bit bloated, which is a total no-no.

The pregnancy-denial statement from Aniston's people the following day not only mentioned the size of her lunch, but also said that she was also "feeling safe on private property." At this stage of her life and career, Aniston must know that the long lens is no respecter of privacy, but it's the pregnancy part that must come as a bit of shock.

Jennifer Aniston is seen out in the West Village on June 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
Jennifer Aniston is seen out in the West Village on June 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
Actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Justin Theroux arrive at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California January 17, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Actress Jennifer Aniston is seen walking in Soho on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

Pregnancy is public property these days and if womb-watch was once off limits, it is no more. If you have a uterus - and particularly a celebrity uterus - it's everybody's business.

There was a time when pregnancy was private in the extreme and it wasn't that long ago. Only a generation and a half ago, you wouldn't have commented when you noticed that a woman was pregnant. You certainly wouldn't have offered opinion on their relative greatnesss or neatness, and even using the latter euphemism for 'small' shows my age, I suppose.

Now, there wasn't anything wonderful about this near taboo. In Ireland, at least, one reason you didn't draw attention to the pregnancy was because to do so was to draw attention to the act that created it. God forbid. And also, the human body and its functions were considered shameful. Good riddance to all that.

But in the age of competitive oversharing, we have swung painfully far in the other direction, to the point that pregnancy is fair game for commentary from pre-conception to when the last pound of pregnancy weight is shed.

There seems to be a Kardashian example for everything that is wrong with the world, but Kim's pregnancy charting is likely to have warped the procreation process for a whole generation. You can laugh at the outlandishness of Kim and co, but their online output is a template for the oversharing generation.

Only last month, she shared her delight at hitting her pre-baby weight of 136lbs. Of course, there was an Atkins hashtag on this celebratory photo of her weighing scales - everything is work, baby. And Kim had been giving regular updates on her loss.

Bloated story: Jennifer Aniston said she is not pregnant. Photo: Amy Graves
Bloated story: Jennifer Aniston said she is not pregnant. Photo: Amy Graves

In January, just over a month after giving birth to her son Saint, she had lost a reported 30lbs, but she had 40lbs to go, which, clearly, she shed in only five months.

That's 70lbs weight loss in six months. That's five stone in six months. That's not advisable in anybody's book. But that's the snapping back for you. Wisdom and good health are irrelevant. Proving yourself to be doing pregnancy better than anyone else is paramount.

"Snapping back", however, which started as a celeb phenomenon, is now a real pressure on ordinary women. Because we're all on show now, and a certain standard has been set, whether we like it or not; and if we're not performing properly at every point in the baby-making game, then we're failing. And it's women failing, obviously. And it's other women pointing out how women are failing, because men don't care. It's not them being judged and it's not them doing the judging. We women are doing it to each other and ourselves.

Last year, US model Chrissy Tiegen took a stand against the modern tendency to unashamedly pry into a person's pregnancy plans and explained how such prying hurt her and her husband, singer John Legend, as they struggled to conceive. All over the world, women came out in support of her, supporting the idea of the uterus as the one last private place.

And yet, when Tiegen became pregnant by IVF not long after, hers was a gestation overshared at every step. On the one hand, she was sending a hopeful message to people going through fertility treatment, but surely a single interview or statement would cover that. Instead, she shared every twinge, every hiccup, every expansion of her bump - another awful euphemism - and then a flood of pictures of her new baby, Luna. It sort of wrecked the pre-conception message of "keep your nose out of my uterus" once she invited us in.

Maybe it's an age thing, but Jennifer Aniston has never been one for oversharing, which makes last week's invasion into her uterus more unfair.

She has said that she and Theroux, her second husband, would like a family, and the fact that her ex, Brad Pitt, has six means she's a focus for fertility pity.

After the reports of her allegedly expectant state, Aniston chose to issue her denials through a spokesperson and kept her own mouth shut. But she was photographed in the following days, "showing off" her flat stomach in a series of really not very tight vest tops.

She did not appear to have eaten any big meals, delicious or otherwise.

Sunday Independent

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