As you’re probably PAINFULLY AWARE, Kate Middleton is pregs. The jig was up when she was admitted to the King Edward VII hospital in central London for morning sickness a few days ago and an offish announcement was made by the palace post haste. (I was REALLY hoping the statement would begin, ‘Hear ye, hear ye.’ It didn’t.)
Predictably, a media circus has erupted and poor Kate is probably wondering why she can’t puke her royal guts out in peace. My Twitter feed for the last few days has been dominated by royal fetus stories and charmingly antiquated headlines such as “Excitement has spread to the former colonies.” (WHAT.)
Of course, while this is the first time Kate has been pregnant FOR REALZ, she’s been preggo, like, 12 times in the past year and a half if you were to believe the covers of tabloids — and those are just the American ones.
It’s astonishing how much we — and I’m using the royal (ugh) we, here — care about what goes on in other ladies’ uteri. The fact that SOMEONE FAMOUS IS PREGNANT is an INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPING STORY. Let that really sink in for a moment. Forget climate change and AIDS! SOMEONE FAMOUS AND PRETTY IS PREGNANT!
Kate can look forward to being put on “bump watch” (BARF) and countless ensuing headlines about how fat her face is and how that fetus better have a penis. First she won’t gain enough weight — KATE PUTS BABY IN DANGER; WILL LOSES MORE HAIR — but then she’ll get too fat and take too long to lose it (BATTLE OF THE BULGE, YOU GUYZ). The press will fawn over her glowing pregnancy skin and even shinier hair — that is until she gets papped pushing a pram in yoga pants. WITH GREASY HAIR. Record scratch.
It’s also an equally big story when a celeb ISN’T pregnant — see: our collective obsession with Jennifer Aniston. Jen is an attractive, wealthy, successful woman — yet we’re all wringing our hands because she’s OBVIOUSLY miserable because she’s childless and TERRIFIED of dying alone. That’s been the narrative for seven really long years. The fact that the world was so happy — no, RELIEVED — when she got engaged to Justin Theroux is VERY UPSETTING. Remember: you need a man — and a baby — to be happy, ladiez!
Because dramz creates juicy stories and juicy stories sell papers, tabloids create conflicts; Aniston vs. Jolie, yes, but also more insidiously among celeb moms to be. Because it’s never about a woman going through a life-changing, emotional and often scary thing; it’s about WHO CAN BE PREGNANT THE BEST. Who stayed impossibly thin, with a cute, tiny volleyball tucked under her Oscar gown. Who lost the weight the quickest. Who has the best-dressed toddler. Whose marriage didn’t crack under the weight of postpartum depression.
Pregnancy is a very competitive sport, apparently.
Us mere mortals aren’t immune, either. Women feel like failures because they’re not in a size 2 six weeks after pushing out a kid. They hear what people say about celebs like Jessica Simpson (poor, poor Jessica Simpson) and internalize it. Are people going to talk about me like that if/when I get pregnant?
VOM. I dream of a world in which famous ladies could get pregnant (or not) without it becoming a thing, and that white dudes in positions of power stopped handing out unsolicited opinions about what goes on in my baby cave. Calgon, take me away!
Jen Zoratti is a Spectator Tribune columnist and freelance music scribe. Follow her on Twitter @JenZoratti.