Monday, January 14, 2008

Knocked Up

Before you even ask, NO, I am not knocked up again. But is it me, or is everyone else?

I’m not sure if this is just because I’ve recently developed a large tumour in my brain that compels me to seek out gossip (because, obviously, there’s no other rational explanation for my shameful secret) or if it’s because the press has developed an irrational fixation on pregnant celebrities, but it seems that at any one time, there seems to be some frantic celebrity baby watch going on that will continue at fever pitch until some nosy bastard snaps the first photo of the little blob in public, at which point everyone loses interest.

It seems strange to me that women in the public eye who get pregnant are the source of such endless fascination as (I’ve been told) it’s actually pretty common among members of the female species. I suppose the state of pregnancy is always slightly unusual to the casual observer due to the really quite alarming physical characteristics of the condition, namely, the enormous, animated belly poking out in front. Although other conditions, including gross obesity, also have this characteristic, pregnancy is different. It’s a condition that’s treated reverently and with a certain degree of respect. Therefore, when an A-lister gets into a family way, it is though the light of heaven shines straight out of her ladyplace.

The recent must-have item in Hollywood seems to be an unplanned pregnancy with a boyfriend who spends most of his time running a nightclub paid for with your money and playing Xbox. Obviously chic. Condoms? SO yesterday. And One can’t possibly be expected to remember to take EVERY SINGLE LITTLE PILL in that wheel thingy when you have 15 trips to Starbucks to make in one day.

Press releases from publicists could almost be fill-in-the-blank: “ _________is expecting her first child with boyfriend, Cheaty McWorthless. The couple are thrilled and delighted”. Of course, from just about any photo you care to dredge up, it’s patently obvious that __________ is anything BUT thrilled and delighted, because in fact, __________ was a day away from canning Cheaty McWorthless’s ass when the dreaded plus sign appeared in the little window of the pee-pee stick. Solo pregnancy in show business guarantees headlines in the Enquirer. But pregnancy with a seemingly doting partner gets you People, US, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and a shitload of free baby swag from every trendy specialist boutique. So obviously, Cheaty gets to stay on, being a loathsome sponge until the baby shows up, at which point she is free to sell the story; “I Left Him for the Sake of My Baby” garnering massive public support and securing a guest spot on Oprah.

Then of course, there is the all important matter of a cool name, because god forbid you do something so prosaic as name the child after your grandmother who loved you dearly and baked you things, although you can be forgiven if your grandmother was called Edna or Fanny. (IF YOU HAVE A GRANDMOTHER CALLED EDNA OR FANNY, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT BY THE WAY. I HAD A GREAT AUNT EDNA WHO WAS A LOVELY, LOVELY WOMAN.) I have to admit to falling victim to the peculiar name bug when looking for names for The Prawn. I don’t mind telling you that some of the casualties of the girl’s name list were Kestrel, Lirael and Lyra. (for you literary buffs) But naming an A-list baby seems to be a task that causes famous parents to take leave of their senses and bestow their offspring with monikers that will no doubt make up an entire chapter entitled “How My Parents Fucked Me Up” in their future autobiographies. While Apple is a lovely name for a fruit, a computer and a small, photogenic girl, it is not necessarily a name that will ever look right on a credit card or eventual social security check. Indiana is a fabulous name for a state or an archaeologist, but unless he’s willing to wield a bullwhip in the school yard, no so much for a little boy. (Although I have a sneaking suspicion that in a state of hormone induced madness, it might have been one of the names that I suggested to the Rock Star if the Prawn had been born in possession of a winkle.)

The part of pregnancy that the public rarely ever sees is the downside, which involves miscarriage or infertility. Pregnancy announcements are made and then there is a deafening silence if something should happen to go wrong. In addition to the insanity that surround celebrity pregnancies, it would be comforting once in a while if someone who regularly found their face on the cover of magazines might come out and say, “yeah, that happened to me too” rather than slinking away to hide (although this is probably a more natural reaction) so that other women struggling with the same problems could feel slightly more normal and know that not all pregnancies lead to a) endless lunches at the Ivy or b) an actual honest to god baby. Although it is not entirely a surprise that women in the public eye who have had trouble conceiving don't want to spill their guts in a national glossy. Someone like Nicole Kidman, who had a rather public miscarriage around the time that her marriage ended, must now be utterly shitting herself and being forced to do it in front of every long lens in the business when she's probably doing the same thing that all of us have done; freaking out and checking for blood on the toilet paper.

So we have yet another 6 or 7 months or so before the latest round of unwed celebrity mothers are fit to pop. Let’s hope they’ll use the time wisely. Count their blessings. And get rid of Cheaty’s X-box.


PiquantMolly said...


I'm thrilled for Nicole Kidman, but it must be so terrifying for the paps to be following your every move and scrutinizing every inch of your body when you have a history of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

The rest of it just makes me tired. Nicole Richie, Lily Allen, Christina Aguilara (though at least she named her son Max, which is normal), Jessica Alba, the whole deal. I want to take a nap.

PiquantMolly said...

P.S. - It's sad, but I'm always proud of those celebrities who will talk about their infertility and losses. There's a good list on babyfruit:

Thalia said...

I was hoping nicole had already got to 12 weeks or so so that she wasn't under all this pressure in the media spotlight - is that not right?

I agree I have the most respect for those who are honest about their difficulties, like marcia cross. And all those accidental pregnancies, I despair. What ever happened to birth control?

Brandy said...

I can't stand when celebs talk about "accidental pregnancies" as if they didn't even know it was a possibility. Ugh. You completely said the things I think about these people. And I most definitely respect celebs like Courtney Cox who stood up and basically said getting pregnant and staying pregnant is hard sometimes. Thanks for the great post!

SaraS-P said...

Is Lyra a His Dark Materials tribute? (or am I merely a children's literary buff?)

Laughed at this post a lot.

rockmama said...

Yep, Lyra is from His Dark Materials. I think it's a beautiful name! Lirael is from Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy.

lisalou said...

What a great post! As always, I am a fan of your wit and writing.

BethE said...

My grandma was named Edna!
But I admit, not going to pass that name on to future offspring.