Unless you've been living under a rock or queuing to buy a house, it's been almost impossible to avoid the slew of celebrity pregnancy announcements over the last fortnight. And in true social media era style, it's all gone a bit ice bucket challenge with varying degrees of one up(wo)manship. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, presumably had an entire army of PR minions to carefully manage her announcement, but other expectant mothers in the public eye found their own ways to break the news to the media, who seem to keep their eyes firmly focussed on the stomachs of every well-known thirty-something woman. No one can eat pizza anymore.
Twitter is the virtual platform of choice for most of our yummy-mummies-to-be, with the exception of Jennifer Maguire whose pregnancy was accidentally revealed by her co-host on the 2FM breakfast show (but we know nothing really happens by accident in the media). As the ice bucket madness was drawing to a close (the phenomenon that became so big it should have had its own closing ceremony) Dawn O'Porter made it exciting all over again by revealing a very prominent bump which she proceeded to douse with a glass of water. Amy Huberman was a little more subtle, but left fans in no doubt with a clever tweet about her outfit of the day and ending with an unambiguous reference to her bump.
These women are smart, funny and in control of their careers, so it stands to reason they also want control of such a personal revelation, rather than have a tabloid print photographs of a barely-there bump (as happened to Una Foden) to provoke wild speculation at a time when they may not be ready to make an announcement. But do such witty public disclosures put yet more pressure on other women to do the same? You would think not with something as personal as pregnancy, but yet last week, Twitter was awash with 'ordinary' women saying their thunder had been stolen, and now everyone they told their good news to just said "Oh! Just like Kate/Amy/Dawn (insert other famous pregnant lady here)"
But how on earth can thunder be stolen in a situation as personal as pregnancy? Regardless of how an announcement is made, every mum-to-be (whether royal or regular) will then go back to the morning sickness, flatulence, sore boobs, expanding waistline and mild panic about how much a buggy costs.
But some people have always been a little over enthusiastic about telling the world they're with child. A few years ago I received a group email from a woman I had once worked with (for a very short time I might add). The subject was "Great News!!" and attached was a photo of a pregnancy test bearing the portentous blue line. I am not kidding. This woman who I barely knew had peed on a stick and sent me (and a hundred others) a photo. I emailed her back a note of congratulations, deleted her email, and chalked it up to a moment of hormonal madness. But it didn't end there. Every Monday morning, our lucky group received another email, updating us on the progress of the pregnancy. We were told how she was feeling, what size the baby was now (usually comparative to a nut or piece of fruit), and on occasion, a scan. Every week until she gave birth. By the time the baby was 'the size of a large apple!!' I was fed up, but how do you ask to be taken off an email like that without coming across as a cold hearted cow? So I stuck it out and am now a semi-qualified gynaecologist as a result.
Naturally I am delighted when I hear someone is expecting, no more so than when it comes to good friends who may have been trying for some time, (but if I only worked with you for three months, please don't feel the need to update me weekly). We all understand what a momentous event it is for the couple and their family. But equally, once the announcement has been made, everyone else moves on, and at the risk of sounding harsh, most people will forget about it until they hear a baby has arrived. Except of course for Amy Huberman. She could update us on her bowel movements and we'd be riveted. Which reminds me of the email my aforementioned associate sent when baby was six months old entitled "First Solid Poo!!". I deleted it unopened.