How Laura Whitmore reclaimed her own narrative with that joyful baby announcement
Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
This is why Laura Whitmore’s viral pregnancy announcement is such a breath of fresh air.
Laura Whitmore has confirmed that she and Iain Stirling are expecting a baby – and she’s made sure to share her pregnancy news on her own terms, too.
Sharing a photograph of a Sweet Child O’ Mine babygro on her Instagram, Whitmore wrote: “I’ve always tried to be protective over the personal side of my life.
“A lot of things are just for me and my loved ones and we’ve chosen not to share publicly.”
Predicting that members of the tabloid press and eagle-eyed fans would be zooming in on her stomach before too long, though, Whitmore continued: “[That being said,] I want to now share good news as it’s our news to share – and, I’m gonna be honest, because it’s starting to look like my lockdown beer belly is out of control.
“Iain and I are expecting a baby early 2021.”
Stressing how difficult it’s been to keep her “happy news quiet,” Whitmore went on to explain that she “wasn’t hungover like everyone thought. In fact I was completely sober filming the entire series of Celebrity Juice, which is quite the accolade!”
“We’d appreciate our privacy respected,” she finished. “But we just wanted to spread some love and a reminder of the beauty of life.”
It should go without saying by this point that, for far too long, women in the public eye have been seen as “fair game” when it comes to invasive media speculation over whether or not they are pregnant.
Grossly magnified photographs of their stomachs are splashed over front pages, accompanied by leading quotes from dubious sources – and thus the public are invited to share their opinions on the matter, too, leading to much speculation on social media.
It’s a phenomenon that Jennifer Aniston felt compelled to comment on in her essay, ‘For the Record’ (which she penned for the Huffington Post).
“I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news’,” she wrote.
This sort of tabloid gossip, Aniston said, perpetuates a “dehumanising view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance… is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go?”
Highlighting the impact it would have on young girls to see famous women’s bodies picked apart in this way – as well as the implicit suggestion that as a woman, being pregnant is the ultimate goal – Aniston added: “Yes, I may become a mother someday. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe.
“I resent being made to feel ‘less than’ because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: ‘pregnant’ or ‘fat.’”
She concluded: “Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone… We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete.
“We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”
In taking ownership of her pregnancy announcement, Whitmore has denied the press the chance to comment and speculate on her changing body before she is ready. She has underlined the fact, too, that this is her and Stirling’s good news to share – no one else’s. She has allowed her followers to share in her joy, bringing a smile to many faces during these strange times, whilst gently reminding them all to respect her privacy at this time.
And, perhaps most importantly of all, she has opted out of the festishisation of pregnancy that we so often see in popular culture. Instead, she’s kept things simple, understated, and devoid of hyperbole – which feels quietly respectful to all those who cannot have children, who are struggling to conceive, who have experienced difficult or traumatic pregnancies, or who do not want to become parents at all.
As such, Whitmore’s post allows us to wholeheartedly wish her well without feeling any pressure to follow suit (“Good for her, not for me!”).
Because, as she makes abundantly clear, this is her journey, her body, and her reproductive choices.
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