Social media and weekly mags are filled with the latest pregnancy announcements from celebrities. Some of the announcements are about celebs we’re sure are too old to be pregnant. So are these celeb pregnancies real … or are they make-believe?
In the past celebs took a break from socials and avoided the paparazzi then all of a sudden there’s a photo of them with a baby and we were all left thinking “umm why didn’t we know?”
Then we moved on to the post-baby selfie taken in a bathroom. We get a glimpse of the private lives of celebs so once we’re done checking out their bathrooms (and let’s be honest we all scour the products we can see!) we move on to the celeb themselves. Again let’s be honest, most of us gasp a little at the lack of baby belly (known in some circles as a mum-tum). Then … I’m sure we’ve all done it … we start googling how they’ve done it - do they have a personal trainer? Personal chef? What exercises are they doing to get that rocking bod so quickly!
What’s really going on? Let me myth bust
Let’s start with some facts. Celebs are human just like the rest of us. They aren’t immune to fertility challenges. They are:
Born with the same number of eggs all women are born with;
Their egg quality (and quantity) declines as they age just like all women;
ARTs aren’t guaranteed to work just like for the rest of us.
The difference is, celebrities have other means at their disposal - means that aren’t commonly known to their fans - because they don’t want us to know. They have an image and lifestyle to curate.
Also, being ‘pregnant’ (the quotation marks are deliberate … more on that further down) is huge business for celebs. It’s such a huge business that it is often hard to tell the difference between an advertisement and a personal announcement.
Celebs are offered huge endorsements from every aspect of the pregnancy industry. There’s endorsements (and big pay cheques) for pregnancy tests, prenatal yoga classes, clothes, doctors (obstetricians), maternity clothes … the list goes on.
Then there’s the baby paraphernalia like nurseries, neon signs, strollers, designer baby clothes endorsements. Remember in Sex and The City when Charlotte asks Miranda what type of mother she wants to be. When Miranda says “a good mother” Charlotte then says “but a marsupial mom or a stroller mom?”
The reality is celebs also have plenty of money. They can easily afford expensive ARTs, fund surrogacies (in the US you can pay surrogates) and even (gasp!) pay high sums to adopt babies.
When I was training with Dr Alice Domar from Boston IVF celeb pregnancies were a hot topic and the common question was whether celeb pregnancies (particularly for older celebs) are actually real!
In Hollywood the art of realistic strap-on pregnancy bellies has been perfected. In movies and TV shows there is a strap-on for every stage of pregnancy. So it makes sense - and certainly isn’t unheard of - that a star would use a strap-on pregnancy belly to convince fans they’re young enough to still become pregnant and have a healthy baby. It’s no wonder fans marvel that they’ve gotten into shape so quickly after having their baby …
Myth bust: they’ve used a surrogate and strapped on a prosthetic baby belly to appear pregnant. They’d be horrified if their fans knew or thought that they were too old or had infertility challenges. They are human too but don’t really want us to think so. It’s so sad!
But it’s not all bad … some celebs share their fertility struggles (and we love them for it)
Through social media we know so much about the lives of celebs it’s sometimes easy to forget we don’t actually know them. We know how they celebrate their holidays, where they go on vacay, when it’s their birthday (and usually what they were gifted …).
You follow their every move, trust the products they use (even when they’re paid to do so) and you follow their lifestyle advice. You feel invested in their life.
So when you see a celeb sharing their fertility struggles it’s really heartening to know you aren’t alone. No matter how much fame you have, no matter how much money you earn, how big your house is and where you vacay, even if you're famous you can still be infertile or struggle with fertility.
When you see a celeb you admire posting about their loss, heartbreak, anxiety about the future, or relationship challenges you feel it all. You feel aligned with them. You feel seen. More importantly you feel supported by their tweets, Insta stories and you get lost in the supportive comments from fans and other celebs. You aren’t alone!
Sometimes though celebs get it wrong
Remember when Ed Sheeran said all we had to do was “just relax” when talking about the infertility journey he and his partner Cherry were on. I’m sure he didn’t mean to be flippant by saying that. But the fact is his comment lacked empathy and wasn’t well informed.
From my understanding the couple were in the early stages of “investigating” their fertility journey (not sure what actually means … maybe that’s just me). They had a holiday in Antarctica and managed to get pregnant while on their holiday. So Ed puts the miracle pregnancy down to them being in vacay mode and more relaxed.
The truth is there’s no doubt relaxation contributes to unlocking your fertility
While simply going on a holiday may seem like the perfect solution - it’s simple and affordable, but it doesn’t actually relax your system. If it was that simple everyone would just go on vacay and miraculously get pregnant, right?
So what can you do?
In the MindBody Program For Fertility we use MindBody medicine which incorporates a relaxation response to truly calm the autonomic nervous system. We also use
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you understand your emotional response to life and support you to build helpful thought processes to deal with difficult situations, and coping skills to deal with the grief, loss and unpredictable nature of your fertility journey.
Communication skills and assertiveness training to empower you with your personal and medical relationships.
Biofeedback and self-hypnosis to develop the skills to be able to listen to your own body and heal your system.
Trust me when I tell you, these MindBody treatments can have a huge impact on the success of your fertility - whether that’s becoming pregnant naturally, staying in treatment longer or helping your body receive and work with ARTs.
Anyone who tells you to ‘just relax and it’ll happen’ has never felt the pain and heartache of the infertility rollercoaster journey. They’re doing their best and mean well but they don’t know the ins and outs of infertility, and they have no idea how their words feel for you.
Remember, this fertility journey isn’t a sign you’re broken. It isn’t because you’ve done something wrong. You aren’t being punished. Your fertility doesn’t define you - it hasn’t defined Sarah-Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian-West, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama and the countless other famous - and not so famous - women who’ve experienced infertility.
Reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about how the MindBody Program for Fertility can help you unlock your fertility.
Don’t be deceived. Money and fame doesn’t make infertility any easier. You aren’t alone. There is support and you are loved! To quote Bruno Mars “you’re amazing, just the way you are”.