Pregnant and in the Public Eye

Who’d want to be famous and pregnant?

Remember when celebrities disappeared when they got pregnant? It was like they just dropped off the radar for a while. We didn’t see their kids until they were older either. Then, a few years ago there came some obsession with pregnant celebrities and now we have all of these stupid “baby bump watches” and we have paparazzi stalking people who have newborn infants trying to get the “first pic”. Can you imagine being a week old and and having dozens of flashes going off in your face? When did we get so invasive of people’s privacy that we now want to watch a celebrity give birth? We’ve got radio hosts calling hospitals to get news on Kate Middleton, who wasn’t even 12 weeks pregnant yet. People don’t like to announce a pregnancy before 12 weeks, just in case they have a miscarriage. However, we have every magazine declaring anyone who has eaten a burrito to be pregnant. What if a celeb is 8 weeks pregnant, and doesn’t want to announce it yet? It’s none of our business. Then what happens if she loses it. Or decides she isn’t going to keep it? How many actresses are forced into keeping a pregnancy because in this day and age they’d never be able to have it taken care of?

Today, Chrissie Swan went on radio and television to confess that she’s 5 months pregnant, and hasn’t been able to quit smoking. Now, I think that drinking or smoking while you’re pregnant is terrible. I don’t see why people can’t go without a drink for 9 months. In the grand scheme of things, it’s less than a year of your life to make sure that your kid gets off to a great start.

I hate smoking. I smoked when I was younger. I’m not going to hide it. I did it out of boredom, or to be cool, or something. I started in Honduras, where everyone did it. I gave it up for a while, then took it up again. I gave it up for good when I met Matt. He wouldn’t date someone who smoked, and I thought he was worth giving it up for. Turns out he was. 🙂 I hate places where people can still smoke cigarettes, and hate smokey bars. However, I have the occasional cigar, and I enjoy a glass of whiskey. We all have our vices….

I have had discussions with people who were pregnant, who continued to smoke, or drink. Going out to dinner with one of my best friends, she ordered a glass of wine when she was 8 months pregnant. Matt and I were asked her what the fuck she was doing. She said he doc told her it’s ok. We didn’t agree with her, and we told her we thought it was a bad idea. However, I would never, ever, tell her she was a bad mother and she didn’t deserve to have kids. When working at a restaurant back in Australia, I was a cook, and the only non-smoker. It would piss me off when everyone else left me working while they had their ciggie breaks. One of the waitresses got pregnant, and she kept smoking. I asked her why she wasn’t giving it up. She said she was terrified to. She had gone cold turkey the last time she had gotten pregnant, and had a miscarriage. She thought that the stress of quitting caused her to lose her baby. She wasn’t going to go through it again. I begged her to at least cut back. She was a heavy smoker.

But here’s what I’ve learnt over the past few years. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and wiser, or if it’s having been thrust back into the spotlight again a few years ago. But, I think we should stop judging other people so much. I couldn’t stand to be pregnant in this day and age. Matt and I had already decided not to have kids years ago. But watching the absolute public speculation and vilification of expectant mothers these days is just sad.

Yes, people should put an investment into their future kids. Yes, they should give them the best start possible. But here’s the thing. Everyone has a different idea of what that is. Somehow, in this day and age, everybody has a fucking opinion of what is right and what’s wrong when it comes to the thing growing inside someone else’s uterus.

Reading over blogs, discussions and twitter, it’s interesting to see it’s the men who are being the total heartless judgmental ones over the Chrissy thing, while women, who don’t agree with it, and also think it’s abhorrent, are at least a little gentler on her, and saying things like I don’t agree with it, but I feel sorry for her. Interesting that men, who cannot bear a child, and who are free to continue to drink and smoke for the 9 months their partners are pregnant, are the most judgmental when it comes to pregnancy. Women, who actually get to experience pregnancy, are obviously a little more empathetic. I feel sorry for pregnant women these days. They are no longer considered a woman. They are simply a carrier for an embryo. Everybody is constantly passing judgement, during the pregnancy, and then afterwards. Whether you give birth naturally or get a c-section, whether you breast or bottle feed, or what type of diapers you use. Then there’s the judgement over whether you lose weight quick enough afterwards. Poor Jessica Simpson was picked on the whole time she was pregnant. People kept passing judgement on how much she was eating. She was getting too big. Her pregnancy was lasting too long. She didn’t lose the weight quick enough. Now, they’re complaining she got pregnant again too quickly.Any time Jennifer Aniston turns down sushi, a magazine declares she’s knocked up. Maybe she just didn’t feel like raw fish that day. But heaven forbid she gets a craving for it while she is. Hilary Duff got the mummy police all over her after she smoked a cigarette outside a nightclub after her son was born. Jackie O caused a furore after being snapped bottle feeding Kitty while walking down a street. C’mon people. Is it really going to endanger a kid to be fed while a parent is walking? Just because some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time doesn’t mean other people can’t multitask. I don’t see why the whole world has to stop just cause the kid is hungry.

People will bitch if you bottle feed a kid. They complain if you breast feed in public. How would people know if you had pumped your own breast milk and was bottle feeding it the kid, unless you’re Kourtney Kardashian and can film it for your reality show?

Pregnant women have become nothing more than an incubator. Nobody cares about her wellbeing. They don’t give a shit how she feels. Her only job in life is to provide a nice quiet vitamin filled space for a possible person. No pregnancy is guaranteed, perfect incubator or not. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s very sad, but sometimes babies die. It doesn’t mean it was the mother’s fault. But she better watch out, because you can bet someone is there who is going to point out that she did something that caused it. Never mind that’s she probably grieving, completely heartbroken, is having all kind of extra emotions from all the hormones. People will lay a guilt trip on them anyway.

I think it’s time people started to look at themselves in the mirror. Look at your own faults. See if you’re perfect before you openly criticize someone else. Yes, we all love to gossip. We all are guilty of talking shit about someone else. But don’t say something behind someone back that you wouldn’t say to their face. Don’t get on the internet and start talking about someone like Chrissie being an awful mother who deserves a smack over the head, unless you’re willing to say that to her face. Then, try to remember she’s 5 months pregnant and is going through a shitstorm of emotions and doesn’t need your judgement. It’s hard enough for people to ask for help when they need it. When you’re famous, you’re not allowed to be vulnerable. You’re not allowed to appear weak. Asking for help would be admitting to both of those things. How does a celebrity reach out and ask for help. Who do they turn to? How can they get the help they need without it being something else for people to scrutinize and form another opinion on, or yet another paparazzi shot or magazine article?

If nothing else, I hope Chrissie is now able to quit smoking. I just hope the stress of being in the public eye and getting all this negativity thrown at her doesn’t do more harm to her kid than the one cigarette a day she was smoking.