Thursday 12 December 2019

Claire O’Mahony: Celeb wombwatch only makes the lives of ordinary mums that much harder

We're only a week into 2013 but already it appears that it's going to be the year of the celebrity baby. 'Wombwatch' – terrible word – is going to be unavoidable.

That there is already a strong baby-bump obsession is a fact. When Beyonce announced she was pregnant in 2011, there were an incredible 8,868 tweets per second on Twitter, following her news.

Of course, a celebrity doesn't even have to be pregnant to become part of the pregnancy rumour mill – all it takes is a little post-lunch bloat for the "is she/isn't she?" speculation to begin.

Arguably, the world's most famous victim of Wombwatch is Jennifer Aniston. If the 43-year-old actress had actually been pregnant as many times as the tabloids had claimed, she would have at least 18 children by now.

However, if you thought that the frenzy of interest surrounding the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy was over the top, best to batten down the hatches after last's week's news of another royal baby that will be born this year – but this one will be the progeny of rap and reality TV royalty, namely Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

You don't really need to know who 'Kimye' – as they have been deemed – are to appreciate that we will be subjected to every detail of Kim's pregnancy over the coming months. Confinement, as pregnancy was traditionally called, will not apply here.

As is fitting for a couple who live out their lives through the paparazzi lenses, Kanye shared their happy news with the world live on stage at a gig in Atlanta. After saying "Stop the music", the rapper then declared: "Make noise for my baby mama right here," pointing to his girlfriend who was sitting in the audience. She, apparently, had no idea that he was going to break the news like that, but when the minutiae of her life is already known to her 17,101,027 followers on Twitter, Kanye's public revelation was unlikely to have sent her into a state of shock.

It's not just good news for the couple personally – it's good news for E! Entertainment, which has commissioned another two series of 'Keeping Up with The Kardashians', and for the burgeoning Kardashian empire, as no doubt Kim – who already hawks clothing lines and perfumes and is the face of numerous brands including a diet pill – will find lucrative ways to make the most of this pregnancy, and baby.

In keeping with the family tradition of giving everyone a name beginning with a K (there's also mother Kris, and sisters Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie and Kendall) this baby should probably be called Kerching!

As for the Windsor baby, ever since the news was announced on December 3 of last year, speculation on everything from the baby's (or babies', maybe it's twins) name, gender and upbringing to Kate's pregnancy wardrobe and food cravings have been given column inches.

The coverage has abated a little bit now but you can expect it to ratchet up as milestones occur, such as the first proper photo of Kate's bump, with things completely exploding around the time of the birth in July.

But why the fascination with what is one of the most natural things in the world and something that about 134 million women do a year?

For the ordinary pregnant woman struggling with indigestion, extreme fatigue and varicose veins, the glamorisation of celebrity pregnancies is not helpful and the post-pregnancy precedent that many celebrities have set of bouncing back into shape a few weeks after the birth, especially not.

The Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima took to the catwalk a mere eight weeks after giving birth to her daughter, in skimpy red lace underwear.

While common sense suggests this is beyond the capabilities of most women, it still creates the notion that maybe, just maybe, this is something new mums should aspire to.

Wombwatch also feeds the objectification of women's bodies and commentaries on their weight. As the online magazine 'Salon' put it in an article: "Get out of Jessica Simpson's womb, the tabloid obsession with celebrity baby-bumps reduces women to their uterus."

But, of course, new babies are always good news and we are now accustomed to delving so far into celebrities' lives that we know what they snack on and where they buy their bed linen, so pregnancy was never going to be any different. But just be warned: it's going to be a long six months.

Irish Independent

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