It’s time to vary the best way we speak about superstar being pregnant
It is nearly impossible to flip the pages of glossy lifestyle paper or scroll through social media without facing articles speculating on a celebrity’s baby bump or analyzing their “post-baby bikini body”. This fascination with famous uterus is an extension of the way we do Glorification of procreation In our culture in general, and frustratingly, the media obsession with how pregnancy and fertility in general are discussed narrows.
This reproductive surveillance not only perpetuates a culture of obsession with childbearing bodies, it also removes much of the physical toll, financial cost, and burden under the carpet. The result? A large proportion of the people who try to get pregnant operate under unrealistic expectations, are burdened with feelings of guilt and shame, or are completely excluded from the conversation.
Dr. Lila Hakim, psychologist and director of the Toronto Interpersonal Relations Center, says that her patients often “express confusion about what the norms are” about conception and fertility, and that confusion can come from the way they are fertility is covered by the media.
“It develops ideas [that the fertility journey doesn’t require] lots of resources – financially, in terms of time and support, ”says Hakim, who specializes in family education and fertility issues. “Instead of seeing the whole thing, this splinter [of coverage] creates expectations that people may then compare themselves to and say, ‘Well, how come that doesn’t happen to me?’ This can be quite confusing because people don’t necessarily have access to the same resources and no trip is the same. “
It’s also about expectations. When we see a celebrity in their 40s and 50s having a baby Story behind pregnancy is told too seldom. Brigitte Nielsen is an exception. The Creed II actor, who used IVF to have a daughter at the age of 54, has been open about the realities of this process. “You take a lot of medication. It is very expensive,” She told The Guardian in 2019. “You always think you’re going to get pregnant, but most of the time the call comes and they say, ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s devastating. ”Nielsen compared her chances of getting pregnant with winning the lottery – and she belongs to a privileged group who can afford the ticket price.
“It’s lonely,” says Canadian fashion designer Laine Gabel, the creative and owner of the Mildred Handmade brand from Hasting County, Ontario, whose fertility problems are due to endometriosis, her sister disease adenomyosis and fibroids. “This is how I feel when it’s like a simple pregnancy announcement. I scroll past it quickly, I don’t click. I mean, I still cry every time I see contractions on a TV show. “
Gabel points to the element of ableism inherent in the way we talk about pregnancy, which does not recognize that not all reproductive organs function the same way. EndometriosisFor example, a chronic health condition that can cause pain, fatigue, organ dysfunction, and infertility can lead to scar tissue on the reproductive organs that make conception difficult. In addition, the drugs used in fertility treatments can cause: Flare-ups of endometriosis.
“If there were more general recognition and understanding of the complexities of these things, we would have more empathy for the average person who is sterile. We wouldn’t just say, ‘So when do you have kids?’ It’s not just that basic body function for everyone, ”she says.
But that’s slowly changing. While social media feeds continue to be populated with rounded bellies and aestheticized depictions of the newborn life of strangers, they have also become a platform for the recent breakthroughs in the kind of conversations we have. In early 2020, Amy Schumer used Instagram to describe her IVF experience– up to the number of egg cells removed (35), the fertilized (26) and the healthy embryos that resulted from them (one). And last summer, as Chrissy Teigen shared the loss of her family With her third child, along with a series of personal photos documenting the partial rupture of the placenta that led to her miscarriage, she gave open and permanent permission to thousands of women to mourn a loss that has been out of the question for so long. It is a step in the right direction, but there is still a way to go.
“You still don’t hear from people who use donor eggs,” says Dr. Carrie Schram, a Toronto doctor who practices low risk fertility and obstetrics. She explains that women in their mid to late forties and beyond often use this method. “I think this is the area of fertility that is still very taboo … When you look at donor eggs, there is no discussion.”
The battle to conceive continues to be treated like a dark secret or, at best, a private affair, while celebrity fertility coverage has largely focused on the tiresome Shock clock and excessive childbirth Announcements. But celebrity pregnancy stories are getting a platform on both traditional and social media because there is a guaranteed audience– measured in clicks, likes and reshares. We, the audience, deal with these stories regardless of how they transform women’s bodies into objects with a single purpose: reproduction.
“Reproduction is highly exalted. Sure, it’s part of who we are and what we do as a species, but that also applies to every other species that exists, ”says Schram. “I think that creates a lot of binary distinctions that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Fertility is a spectrum, and whether or not you have a harder time getting pregnant at 40, it actually has nothing to do with your worth as a person … I think your worth as a person should be, ‘How kind are you? Are you contributing to other people’s lives in a meaningful way? ‘ Not: ‘Has a sperm reached your egg cell and implanted itself efficiently?’ “
Gabrielle Union put it best when she suggested that the way we are currently talking about pregnancy requires a complete rethink. “For so many women … people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want children?'” Union said People prior to the release of her 2017 book We’re Going To Need More Wine, in which she opened up about “eight or nine miscarriages.”
“A lot of people, especially people with fertility problems, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest with whatever happens. People mean it so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can do. “
And while we don’t expect this notion of entitlement – which can be seen not only in the media but also in politics and our daily lives – to go away anytime soon, a change in the way we think about Talking about celebrity pregnancies, paving the way for more meaningful conversations. Fertility in the future.