Belfast Telegraph

I’m not too pushed on this celeb baby boom

By Frances Burscough

With a veritable galaxy of stars all awaiting a happy event this year, you could say there's a bit of a baby boom going on at present.

Currently blooming away nicely are Peaches Geldof, Chantelle Houghton, Sienna Miller, Billy Piper, Konnie Huq and Stacey Solomon (to name but a few) — all of whom are very high profile and constantly in-yer-face from the newsagents shelves; so it's safe to say there's going to be a lot of celebrity baby talk ahead of us in the Spring and Summer of 2012.

Babies are a great PR angle after all. Who can forget the fuss that accompanied the due date of Nicole Kidman, for example? Before she popped her first sprog there were literally weeks of speculation from the tabloids and glossies about how she would go about it. Even her so-called ‘birth plan’ was allegedly leaked to the press, who then had a field day with all the details of her diva demands, such as a personal recording of classical flute tunes by none other than Sir James Galway.

The PR possibilities for a modern-day celeb with a baby on board now seem to be endless as more and more of them sell the entire access and cash-in the publication rights to the highest bidder. Top stylists on stand-by; hair by Garnier; make-up by Chanel; music by a maestro flautist himself whilst the entire performance is captured forever on a free CD in the Mail on Sunday. Or, better still, she might decide to do an ‘Angelina’ and rent herself a small yet picturesque African country and fly them all over on a private jet along with the camera crew.

But celebrity fads like pre-arranging an orchestral score to help you through delivery are unlikely to ever catch on with mere mortals in the real world.

In your typical NHS hospital, real women go into labour accompanied by the sounds of cussing and screaming from the next cramped cubicle. Soothing music isn’t a viable option, or it certainly wasn’t 20 years ago when I went into the Royal Maternity Hospital expecting my first-born.

During my pregnancy, my doctor, my health visitor and the ante-natal staff had all expressed the importance of making a ‘birth plan’. We were given an official form to fill in all about personal preferences— a sort of maternity wish-list — where you put down all your advance requirements.

Do you want a home delivery? If not, who do you wish to accompany you to the delivery suite? Do you want pain relief? If so which method? Do you want a water birth or to use apparatus such as a birthing chair? Etc etc.

But when push comes to shove — literally — and you’re in the throes of labour, none of it makes any difference. In my case the hospital staff didn’t even ask to see it. The ward was over-crowded, it was past midnight and many of the junior doctors on duty were like the walking dead. The guy who finally came to my bedside had been on-call for 20 hours but it looked like he had never used a syringe before and it took him five attempts to finally locate my vein. Don’t get me wrong — it wasn’t a nightmarish experience but it certainly wasn’t the stuff of calming symphonies either.

But back to the future and apparently Chantelle is busy planning her big delivery day and — of course — top of the list is her private soundtrack to help her through labour, which is going to be a “soothing mix of ambient vibes” to help the baby on its first journey.

I bet the full running order will be printed before long in one of the chat mags, so you too can do it like that girl from Big Brother.

In the meantime, here is my alternative playlist for a more realistic and down-to-earth NHS-style childbirth:

  • Breathe In Breath Out by Kanye West
  • Twist and Shout by The Beatles
  • For Crying Out Loud by Anita Cochran
  • Push Comes to Shove by Aerosmith
  • Anything by Squeeze and Primal Scream
  • Kicking and Screaming by Garth Brooks
  • I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross
  • Catch Me Daddy by Janis Joplin
  • Born Slippy by Underworld
  • Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

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