I wish she’d have that baby already! I’m so tired of the exhaustive and exhausting coverage of Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. There’s something creepy about all the attention being paid her protruding belly and those of other celebrities who appear to be parading their “baby bumps” for the paparazzi. While it’s great that women don’t feel they have to hide for nine months or disguise their expanding waistlines in pastel tents with bows, there’s now pressure on young women today to have attractive, even sexy baby bumps (“The Baby Bump is the new Bikini” – NY Times, May, 2013) that simply melt away the day after the baby is born.
I don’t recall feeling or looking sexy during my “dark ages” pregnancy. There were silver stretch marks, and painful twinges, itches, internal hiccups, strange discolorations, jerks and tugs and the feeling of being possessed by a body snatcher. And losing that “adorable” bump took lots of effort and lots of time post partum.
What I do remember was all that attention from friends, relatives, and strangers! Though I don’t recall perfect strangers putting their hands, unbidden, on my pregnant belly, there was that barrage of intrusive questions that seemed perfectly normal. Now I, like the other sixty somethings, find myself accosting women who are enceintes:
When is your baby due?
What are you hoping for?
Do you know what it is?
How are you feeling?
When do you stop work?
What names are you considering?
Do you have all your stuff ready?
Are you going natural?
Who’s your doctor- doula- midwife?
Is your mother coming?
We all (even some men) smile and gush and probably annoy our daughters, their friends, and those pregnant women in Walgreens. In her book Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture shape the Way We Parent, anthropology professor, Meredith Small, says that the urge to ogle pregnant women and little babies is embedded in our genes. Humans evolved to feel protective about moms-to-be and babies-to-be. Lots of attention and care ensure that babies, our own and others, will grow and thrive into adulthood. One theory posits that women historically lived longer than men so they could provide extra nourishment for their daughters, and babysitting for their grandchildren, while their daughters and daughters-in-law were out gathering berries for dinner. Things haven’t changed all that much; I know lots of sixty-somethings who are providing childcare for their grandchildren, so their high charging adult children can get those high-quality berries.
I predict that Kate will have her baby, a girl, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 11:43 PM. They will name her Charlotte. What will I win if I’m right?