New celebrity pregnancy trend is keeping it under wraps
A CELEBRITY story that may have escaped your radar among the bushfire coverage recently was the somewhat shocking Instagram announcement from Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden that they had welcomed a surprise baby daughter, Raddix, into the world while none of us were looking.
The news came via a short text quote shared on Instagram (with no image) that read: "While we are overjoyed to share this news we also feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy. So we won't be sharing any more details, other than the fact she is really, really cute!!"
Keeping impending baby arrivals off social media has become somewhat of an increasing trend among the A-lister pack since it was championed in 2018 by Kylie Jenner.
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star may have shared every other aspect of her family life with the world, but she decided that her pregnancy was where she drew the line.
"I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness," the then 20-year-old wrote.
But Diaz and Jenner are not alone. A host of Instagram's largest influencers have followed suit, also waiting quite a while to announce (Leandra Medine and Pandora Sykes waited around six months before sharing their news), while celebrities like Eva Mendes were able to avoid the rumour mill up until birth.
Pregnancy is riddled with complicated emotions; elation and anxiety, awkwardness at your fast-growing baby bump and rapidly changing body, sadness for the impending loss of your autonomy, concerns about what it will mean for your career.
The idea of adding unwanted advice from strangers, and however-well-meaning commentary about every choice you make along the way, seems like a mental health disaster in the making for many, myself included.
I stayed in my happy baby bubble until around the six month mark, when I began to experience the pointy end of people's suspicion. "Why aren't you telling people?", they asked, as if my keeping it off social media was some kind of conspiratorial plot to garner more attention.
With the increase of overblown announcements, elaborate gender reveals, professional photo shoots, and pre-planned outfits and hair and makeup for arrival announcements, it personally felt tacky to share.
By modest comparison, I have 17,000 followers to Cameron Diaz's 6.2 million and Kylie Jenner's 156 million. On the rare occasions that I forget my Keep Cup and share a snap of a takeaway coffee on my social media feed, I am instantly inundated with judgment about my lack of environmental awareness. Imagine what the comments would be like once a pregnancy was added to the mix.
It's bad enough in real life for us preggos. Among the unsolicited comments and advice you're forced to endure from strangers, I've also had far too many 'you look so huge for your due date' comments, as well as the predictable 'you shouldn't be eating that' and 'don't drink that' levelled at me. As a first-time parent, it hurts and it makes you feel inadequate and anxious. I can't imagine adding a social media storm to that.
Psychologist Jocelyn Brewer explains the new trend to keep pregnancies under wraps by saying, "We want to post authentic and compelling content on social media and often feel there are certain expectations of us. Equally, we might not want followers or friends on social media seeing the most intimate parts or lives - that feels inauthentic - and so, many women opt to tell their nearest and dearest in real life only. The conundrum of what to share, when to share, and who to share it with can be stressful."
Eventually, I found the right moment to share the news and used it to discuss a number of important issues surrounding some of the more concerning attitudes toward pregnant women, accompanied by a very, very far away snapshot taken while on my babymoon (a pre-baby honeymoon. Trust me, they're a thing.)
Since that initial announcement, sharing has felt easier - maybe because I felt I'd taken the opportunity to clearly define my boundaries, maybe because I had passed the scariest first months and felt more safe that everything was going to be fine. Or maybe it's just because I'm more comfortable telling people who give me unsolicited advice to f*** off.
And as Diaz mentioned in her announcement, the next social media hurdle is going to be the new addition to our family. How do you share your life without sharing your child?
According to Brewer, by the time your child is just five years old, "there will be 1,000 images of them on the internet."
And while the birth of your family's newest addition may feel like the biggest breaking story to have ever happened to date, babies are not fodder for social media engagement.
Because at the end of the day, kids are kids, not content.