I’m no great admirer of schadenfreude, but there are times when I wish the goddess of stretchmarks and cellulite would pick her victims more selectively.
Seeing Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen step out in her bikini this week, displaying a washboard stomach and thighs firmer than Michelangelo’s David just five months after giving birth, I have to admit my sisterly feelings of warmth towards her shrivelled like the average new mum’s milk-supplying breasts.
When I read that she’d criticised some pregnant women for treating their bodies like ‘garbage disposals’ and congratulated herself for being ‘mindful of what she ate’ I felt positively criminal towards her.
We also saw pictures of Denise van Outen looking entirely baby fat-free this week and she only had her daughter three weeks ago!
Depressingly, van Outen was one of those women who kept telling us in interviews that she’d be taking the time to ‘enjoy’ her daughter when she arrived, and to hell with vanity.
But like so many before her — take a bow Anna Friel, Carly Zucker, Myleene Klass, Nicole Kidman — it looks like she was spinning us a yarn, that old one where celebrities tell us they’re just like us, then two weeks later it’s ‘Oops, where did I put that two stone of flab? Gosh, it must have fallen off!’
There are a number of annoying things about this trend, which seems to have got more extreme as time has gone on, with the likes of van Outen and Klass ‘springing’ back into shape within days of childbirth.
It creates a horrible pressure for normal mothers, who used to bond over their angry red stretchmarks and voluminous lumps, but who now often feel insecure because of them, having been shown in numerous pictures of high profile women that their post-baby shapes and sizes aren’t inevitable.
I’m sure the same pictures lead some men to expect the same near-miracles of their own partners too, which is a recipe for relationship disaster.
But worst of all is the basic deceit involved. Despite telling us how much they’re enjoying the sleepless night of baby-bonding and how any weight loss is down to ‘breast-feeding and running around’ after their (immobile) new child, it’s clear these women are throwing themselves into demanding exercise and diet regimes within moments of giving birth.
They’re not ‘just like us’, they’re in thrall to nutritionists, personal trainers and, most insistent of all, intense personal ambition.
Some celebrity mothers will also have had tummy tucks and/or liposuction — a doctor at a well known London maternity hospital once told me it wasn’t unusual for women having elective Caesareans to ‘throw in’ a tummy tuck around the same time.
And I hate to state the bleedin’ obvious, but while I wish I could have the science-defying body of a Giselle, I do wonder how much time these women have to just hang out with their babies.
Celebrity, fame, money — they have a dangerous effect on human beings and sometimes the obsessive need to sustain them becomes an addiction as obtrusive and blindsiding as any other.
Babies don’t roll around on blankets smiling at you and tugging on your nose for long. That lovely period during which kids grab your hand every time you walk beside them passes painfully quickly too.
Some celebrity mums will only realise those times have passed and they’ve missed most of them when it’s too late. I wonder if having toned abdominal muscles will make up for that.