The minute you begin trying to conceive, something bizarre happens: Every other (female) celebrity on the planet suddenly is spotted shopping for a $3,000 retro-style British pram. It’s true. As I’m patiently waiting for each period not to appear, I am bombarded with images of delicately swelling icons. Almost simultaneously, Gwyneth, Sarah Jessica, Brooke, Julie, Angelina, Britney, Courtney, Reese, and the Kates (Hudson and Winslet) are in the family way. Six-pack abs are out and burgeoning bellies are in! Rotund tummies are the new Birkin bag and mine’s on backorder.
At first, you might feel a special kinship with these women, but then you realize that’s an absurd notion. Why?
Because these women are not actually human, so comparing your pregnancy to theirs is like bank account or botox-free brown line to theirs. When you are twelve weeks pregnant and you look like John Goodman, it does nothing for your already fragile ego to see photos of Prada-clad kabillionaires with popsicle-stick bodies who are twice as far along as you are.
Here’s what we all need to remember: Celebrities have a team of overpriced personal trainers and live0in chefs monitoring their every move and morsel to make sure they gain exactly the least of amount of “healthy” baby weight as possible.
(Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Debra Messing, both of whom appeared to be pushing maximum density at the end—and looking radiant, healthy, and gorgeous in the process, I might add. Alas, even these relative heifers were back into their size negative-four jeans five minutes after giving birth, so you can still hate them.) Celebrities also have publicists who, I would guess, sometimes make up fictitious due dates, so maybe when the photo says “Julia Roberts is eight moths pregnant” (and she looks like she might be a bit gassy), maybe she’s only four months along. Rumor has it many gestating starlets even request—and are granted—early inductions to avoid putting on those last few dozen pesky pounds.
Do not, however, harbor any resentment towards these women. Think of all the things you have they don’t: When you gain sixty-five pounds and no longer have a discernable neck, your puffy face will not be plastered on the covers of international tabloid magazines. When your child emerges from your body, you don’t have to worry about some paparazzi lowlife lurking in the hospital bushes trying to snap and sell the first photos for millions of dirty dollars; you can traipse down to Sears Portrait Studio and get started for as little as $4.99. You won’t have to kill yourself trying to string together random letters of the alphabet in an effort to make up the strangest and most ridiculous baby name in creation. John, Jake, Allison and Amanda are lovely names! You can pick one that already exists and be done with it. You probably won’t be asked to pose in Playboy’s “Yummy Mummy” spread or saunter down a Victoria’s Secret runway in your barely there, diamond-encrusted skivvies a mere eight weeks after delivery. (And while I’m sure Heidi Klum is a nice person, I hope for your sake she’s not in your mommy-and-me class.) My sister tells me “nine months on, nine months off” is sensible, feasible approach to pregnancy weight gain. It’s times like this that you really appreciate that you’re sister isn’t Uma Thurman.
Even though you have all these reasons to be glad you’re not, say, Cindy Crawford, and even though you are going to temporarily suspend your subscription to Us, People, and Star, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of an expecting supernova at some point during your efforts to procreate. When you do, you may be gripped with envy and resentment. In honor of the Buddhist practice of mindful meditation, I suggest recognizing these thoughts and feelings, writing them down, and letting them go. It really is the healthy, tolerant thing to do. And because we’re in this together, I’ll walk you through it.
Find a quiet, serene place where you can think and compose freely. Take a few deep breaths, and conjure the beautiful images of all he famous fertile females whose likenesses are being broadcast around the globe right this minute. Allow your affection and admiration for them to spin and swirl around you like a magnificent white light.
Now, begin that list…
Jenna McCarthy is a writer whose work has appeared in over forty national and international publications including Self, Allure, Shape, and Glamour. She lives in Santa Barbara, where she enjoys sculpting playdough and scrubbing crayon from her walls.