Friday, 17 September 2010

Baby, wait

Maybe it's because I'm a man, and will never experience the joys of weak bladder control, elasticated waste-bands and the sensation of excreting a living human being out of my extremities, but pregnancy doesn't sound like my idea of a good time. As Rita Rudner once said, "Life's tough enough, without having someone kick you from the inside."

But actually, pregnancy is the easy bit. You get to eat all sorts of crap and blame it on the 'cravings', double your portion size because you're "eating for two" and always get a seat on public transport.

The hard work begins after you've had the baby. But it's not the sleepless nights or interminable conversations about the smell of baby sick that seem to get women down. It's the expectation that they'll snap back into shape like a rubber chew-toy.

It can't help matters that celebrity sprog-droppers manage to drop the weight in less time than it takes to hand the baby over to the nanny and order a car to Mahiki. For many famous mummies, the weight loss is quicker than the labour itself. What nobody ever seems to mention is that many of them book themselves in for an eight-month C-section (before the major weight-gain kicks in) and have the fat sucked out while they're still in the stirrups.

But is this really the healthy way to go? Not according to Julia Llewellyn Smith, who's written a coruscating critique of the trend in today's Mail. She feels "deep unease" at the sight of Denise Van Outen "cavorting on a Dubai beach in a leopardskin bikini" just five months after giving birth. If she thinks that's bad, she's obviously never heard her sing.

She laments the fact that "we’ve had to endure every female celebrity from Nicole Kidman to Myleene Klass flaunting their fabulous figures almost hours after giving birth." And she puts this unhealthy trend down to the celebrities' 'overweening narcissism' - although she's at least grown-up enough to acknowledge that these extra-yummy mummies work "in an industry that judges women on their bodies, and pictures of skinny post-natal celebrities are nothing new."

She's right - they're nothing new. In fact, it seems as though every day brings with it more paparazzi photos of famous faces (and their bodies), just weeks after straining to the point of constipation and screaming for epidurals. And where do those pictures appear? In Julia's paper of course.

Try searching the words 'baby weight' on the Mail's website, and you'll find an astonishing 4930 articles on the subject. 247 pages of them.

You can read all about Tamzin Outhwaite's magic pants, Halle Berry's flat tummy, Colleen Rooney's weight loss, Katie Holmes' slimmer figure, Nicole Richie's diet, Rebecca Loos' bikini, Octomom's trim new shape, Tina Hobley's makeover, Natasha Kaplinksy's work-outs, Javine Hylton's new body, Bethenny Frankel's post-baby look, Myleene Klass' return to modelling, Christina Milian's divorce diet, as well as good old Denise Van Outen's beach adventure.

If Julia wants to know where this unhealthy trend originated, she really needs to inspect the glass house she's throwing stones in.

The Mail seems to have invented an entirely new idiom - it wants to have its cake, eat it, and then purge. Bulimic journalism, it's the way forward...

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