What did we ever do for news before celebrities invented pregnancy?
Surfing My Yahoo the other day, I found that the list of breaking news under the heading of “News For You,” included:
• A headline declaring, “Jessica Simpson ‘Really, Really Sick’ During Second Pregnancy.”
• A story about Kim Kardashian appearing on “Access Hollywood” to appeal for privacy during her pregnancy.
• Another story in which Elton John confirmed that he and his partner, David Furnish, are expecting a baby although neither of them is, technically, pregnant.
There also was a story about our government siphoning money from federal employees’ pension funds to avoid passing passing the debt limit. I’m not sure how that one made the list, although I suppose the situation is pregnant with possibilities.
But back to celebrities having babies, which, I suspect, has been going on since even before Lucille Ball was “with child.” Generally, though, we didn’t hear much about them until the kid was halfway to college. Now the first call a celebrity apparently makes when she leaves the ob-gyn’s office is not to her husband, if any. It’s to her publicist.
Because celebrity pregnancies aren’t merely news items anymore. They’re news headlines. Although they’re not actually official until they show us their baby bump.
We’ve gone from a time in which movie magazines were satisfied to tell us who was dating whom and which couple was heading for “splitsville” to an online era in which celebrities apparently feel obligated to provide photographic proof of their pregnancies.
As huffingtonpost.com gushed on its Huffpost Celebrity page featuring photos of famous distended abdomens:
“There’s nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman, especially when she embraces her new curves and flaunts her bare baby bump for all to see. And the same can be said for a countless number of celebrity moms-to-be, who have flaunted their blossoming bellies in bikinis.”
There are, to be sure, newsworthy pregnancies. Kate Middleton’s baby, for instance, may grow up to become the monarch of England some day. I’m not sure what Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby will grow up to be, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the king or queen of anything.
It’s not that I’m opposed to women having babies. Many women in my own family, in fact, have done it. And I wish the expectant celebrities many happy years of sleepless nights, spit up, soccer practices and other assorted joys of parenthood.
Still, I wouldn’t mind going back to a time in which the only expectations celebrities felt the need to chatter about when they were being interviewed involved the next movie or record they had coming out.