Sunday, December 9, 2012

What Good Planners, These Royals

All week there has been soooo much news. Well, sooo much reported that's not really NEWS, per se, but seeing as how we live in an incredibly baby-crazy society, and we have a weird obsession with royalty even though politically they don't really hold any power, just lots of money, and they're not even OUR royalty, the airwaves and print and internet media is all over this royal pregnancy. Oh, Will and Kate, you "finally" sealed the deal. Really? "Finally?" That was splashed on a checkout tabloid (thankfully not my beloved PEOPLE magazine), over a smiling picture of the royal parents-to-be and next to a picture of Jennifer Aniston, who was reportedly also pregnant. I don't trust this particular magazine though, and feel intensely badly for Jennifer, because the media is always examining her midsection and calling her desperate for baby and plotting for baby and, my least favorite, "is it TOO LATE for baby?!?" Leave these people alone! Stop printing pictures that could just be overindulgence at dinner or a poorly tailored dress and calling it "Bumpwatch!" Gargh. The "finally" makes me mad directed to anyone, but with Will and Kate it's obnoxious--they've been married a year. They said openly that they wanted to enjoy marriage a bit before having a family. There is no FINALLY about it.

Anyway, I had written a blog post earlier about how it must suck to be a newly minted Royal Family member, the kind that is expected to be an instant breeder. See here for that post, "I'm Glad I'm Not a Royal." Again I wrote about my conflicted relationship with PEOPLE magazine. I devour it almost instantaneously, and it kicks off my weekend usually, but it almost always makes me sad with baby announcement after baby announcement, and detailed spreads on things like Snooki's nursery. Ugh. This time, my PEOPLE magazine pissed me off for a different reason. I'll admit, I read every word of the multiple-spread bonanza that was Royal Fetus coverage. I wanted to see if Kate was looking pregnant, and what cute maternity clothes she was wearing. I was disappointed, because even though she is incredibly slender and you would think a fetus the size of a sesame seed let alone a strawberry would show on her, she is purportedly only nine weeks along. Part of me was sad that she isn't granted any privacy at all and the world has to know about her pregnancy when it is so early and tenuous--she might have kept it a secret longer if she hadn't had to be hospitalized for a very serious condition where you can lose 5% of your body weight from excessive vomiting (a very REAL condition that is being treated pretty poorly in the media, I might add--she is not a wuss, it is not "just bad" morning sickness, it is a scary and pervasive medical condition that many women suffer). Part of me felt like this is the new thing, sharing your pregnancy in the first trimester, having everything work out just fine, and then sailing into your somewhat safer second trimester. I do realize I'm being sensitive and she didn't have a choice, plus what do I care really as this isn't a friend of mine, it's a freaking Duchess in another country who I don't know from Adam... But still. I was a little irked to find that she is still in single-digit weeks.

The part that really upset me was how the pregnancy's origin was discussed. First point of contention: "The baby news makes a very nice endpiece to the year. It couldn't be better planned." Enter more discussion on how the royal couple were very careful not to overshadow the Queen's Jubilee with baby announcements. What? People can actually plan this stuff??? I thought maybe the press was just being stupid and not realizing that conception is actually NOT an exact science and it's kind of rare to say "I want to get pregnant...NOW" and have it happen, like some magic wand is waved and POOF! Fertilization, implantation, and all that good stuff happens. When you know as much about how babies are made (or not) as I do, it is a freaking miracle that anyone can plan a pregnancy. Normal, fertile couples have only a 20% chance any given month of conceiving with all the incredibly intricate timings that have to happen between ovulation and sperm getting where they need to go and the egg being exactly where it needs to be in order to be fertilized and travel to the uterus to implant in just the right spot and then stay there. I do know people who said "I'm going to try this" and immediately hit the jackpot, and while I am happy for their success I won't lie. I resent them like people who buy a lottery ticket for the first time and hit the Powerball megamillions right off the bat. And now here are these people, who are under tremendous pressure to conceive, as it's pretty much their biggest job to produce an heir, and they turn out to be conception cyborgs who are genetically programmed to seal the deal on command. More quotes of fury... "[she is] around nine weeks or so, according to some estimates, given that the ever-cautious princess likely would not have become pregnant until after the couple headed home from their tour of Asia on Sept. 20th and stopped taking their antimalarial medication." The preciseness of this conception is mind-boggling. The short window and immediate success is impressive if infuriating to a woman who, with an entire medical team and precisely planned medications and procedures at her disposal, has yet to produce a non-royal baby. Of course, maybe they just got lucky. No one would make a 10 page article about a Royal Whoopsie, so maybe they made it seem well planned when really it was a romantic night of incredibly expensive wine that created this royal baby-to-be. But the images in my mind are a roomful of people, setting this up like racehorse studding, taking basal temperatures and testing royal spunk and telling the royal couple that they must have utilitarian conception whoopie at precisely the 8th bong of Big Ben on Thursday next in order to conceive in a well-timed and considerate manner.

Of course maybe it's only my twisted brain that thinks this way. Maybe I'm just as bad as all the magazines and talk shows for examining this poor woman's very public pregnancy so closely. But then again, I can't feel too badly for her because she IS living in a castle and the Royal Pram DOES cost a disgusting $3995, and the cost of my next cycle is probably contained in a few hangers in her closet. You can't marry a prince and not expect some scrutiny. So, I am by turns disgusted by the military precision of this planned pregnancy and also kind of want to give Kate a standing ovation. Under tremendous pressure she conceived pretty much on demand after age 30, and she and her husband in a weird sort of way did it under their terms (not within a year of marriage, like every other royal before her), honoring their royal marriage first. Brava, Royal Gestator. Brava.


  1. I always feel bad for Jennifer Aniston too! Your racecourse "studding" image cracked me up!

  2. I think anyone dealing with/has dealt with IF cringes a bit when they talk about the perfect timing of a pregnancy. I can vaguely remember 3 years ago thinking about when the perfect time of year to give birth would be-but clearly that didn't pan out....

  3. Me too! I remember thinking, "Gee, if this Clomid works out, we'll get pregnant right away and is that the best timing for school?" HAHAHAHA! I would give my right eye tooth to have gotten pregnant right away. Some people though just have magical pregnancy timing abilities. (I want that to rub off on us...)