The United States has experienced a small, short-term baby boom, what demographers call a “boomlet,” demonstrating that the U.S. is one of the most fertile wealthy industrialized nations in the world. The year 2006 introduced 4.3 million new babies to the country, mainly courtesy of a growing population, especially Latinos, said a report from the Associated Press (AP).
While one-quarter of the boomlet was due to high Latino birth rates, women from a variety of other ethnicities also got busy with the babymaking. However, says the AP, the fertility rates for the Latino cohort is about 40 percent higher than for the rest of the population. The U.S. seems to be leading the boomlet way, ahead of every country in continental Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan, says the AP.
Media watchers have long commented on the Hollywood baby boom, with seemingly every celebrity from Nicole Richie to Halle Berry to Christina Aguilera showing off their baby bumps. Meanwhile, celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, former wife of film star and new baby daddy Brad Pitt, have become victims of rumor and suspicion. During the Aniston-Pitt divorce, one celebrity magazine speculated that Aniston was reluctant to get pregnant, thus changing her famous figure and causing tension between the two. (Aniston vehemently denied these rumors, stating that she really does want children).
“One of the huge changes over the last 10 or so years is that all the celebrities have been having babies and their pregnancies and recoveries have been all over the media,” Michal Ann Strahilevitz, marketing professor at San Francisco’s Golden Gate University, says. “It is getting to the point that when a celebrity hits 35 and has not had a child, you start to see stories speculating as to why she is not trying to become a mom. Baby bumps and babies have become the new accessory every female celebrity needs to get ‘before it is too late.’”
“Having babies not only brings media attention, but it makes many (not all) celebrities seem more human and likable. Of course, the effect that having a baby will have on a celebrity’s image depends enormously on that celebrity’s age and how responsible she seems to be both as an expectant mother and as a mother.”
“Age is another huge factor in how we react to celebrity motherhood. Women over a certain age who are trying to have a child are inspired by celebrities who are having children into their late 30’s, 40s and even 50’s. These celebrities who have struggled with challenges and then pulled it off are seen as inspirational to other women who want to become mothers at an older age.”
For later-in-life mamas, hip mommy site Planet Mom features a tee announcing, “Like wine, moms improve with age.” Similar items touting so-called “older moms” have proliferated in recent years.
“One final effect worth thinking about—when expectant mothers and new moms are seeing all these celebrities having babies in the media, it creates the illusion that having a baby is no excuse for not staying fit and glamorous,” Strahilevitz says. “This means expectant mothers…feel they should be elegant. There are lots of high-end fashions for expectant moms. The baby bump is no longer something to hide, but something to highlight and proudly display.”
During her recent pregnancy, tough television newswoman Nancy Grace donned a shirt recalling Al Pacino’s famous Scarface line: “Say Hello to my Little Friend.” Once baby comes, sassy moms may enjoy sporting Planet Mom message tees saying things like “PTA Reject,” “Juicebox for them, Cocktail for me,” and “I need a playdate.”
“Then there is the post-birth pressure to look fabulous. So many celebrities parade their flat stomachs just weeks or months after giving birth,” Strahilevitz says. “Of course some of them have personal trainers, personal chefs and a full time nanny. Still, moms feel the pressure to follow their example.”
This leads to a range of products, Strahilevitz states, which will target moms-to-be and new moms. “Marketers are hitting both pregnant woman and women who gave birth with a huge range of products to make them feel beautiful and sexy from the start of their pregnancy to the first year or so after they deliver. It is not just about the unborn child or the baby anymore.”
Nutrisystem Weight Loss System used one of it famous spokespeople to recount her first weight loss experience with them, then her post-baby success, which enabled her to return to her pre-baby (post Nutrisystem) weight. Look for more post-partum success stories in all avenues of the weight loss business, as this boomlet reveals more post-baby bodies.
And, for moms who achieve the coveted hot babe body, Planet Mom offers a tee just for them: “Trophy Wife.”