When a babe has a baby of her own

Spare a thought for today's model mother: she's no sooner out of labour than she's back on the catwalk or the cover. But where are the stretch marks? By Ruth Picardie

Child as fashion accessory we've seen before: American supermodelette Niki Taylor plus one-year-old twins on the cover of Harper's Bazaar; little Le Bon-ettes toddling along the catwalk. But something new is happening to babes and their babes.

In the latest OK! Weekly, Pamela Anderson welcomes readers into the beautiful Californian mountain-top home she shares with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and their nine-day-old baby, Brandon. "Making love when Pamela was very pregnant was just unbelievable," says Tommy, gently. "Before you ask," adds Pammy, smiling, "I'm feeding him myself. Yes, they work!" Here they are snapped sharing this beautiful time together, proud dad Tommy in leathers, pierced nipples and "Mayhem" tattoo, little Brandon clamped to a mogul-size cigar. Pammy's the one in crop top, PVC trousers and six- inch heels.

In the latest issue of Vogue, meanwhile, "model mothers" (pun intended) Debbie Dietering and Meghan Douglas frolic thinly on the beach in red mules (pounds 100) and body-skimming jersey (pounds 390) to "show how effortless holiday dressing can be", while babies Orion and Kelly are - yes, I'm afraid so - fat, not crying and totally unsmeared with baked beans.

Now we all know celebrities aren't like the rest of us, but this is ridiculous. While the American baby bible What To Expect The First Year warns post- partum mothers to expect fatigue, sometimes bordering on exhaustion; pain, discomfort and numbness in the perineum; continuing bouts of constipation; breast discomfort and nipple soreness; achiness in arms and neck; backache; and noticeable hair loss, Pammy - all shiny hair and glossy lips - looks like she's about to have sex. "As it happens," she explains, "I've already lost all the extra weight except for 5lb." Six months into motherhood, meanwhile, when most of us are learning to live with our stretch marks and sagging stomachs, Debbie and Meghan look as if they have never given birth.

Clearly no one expects the modern mother to make her first public appearance propped up in bed in a pink flannelette nightie and thereafter appear in M&S floral separates. Nevertheless, something very odd - even by Californian standards - is going on. Demi Moore posed in body paint for Vanity Fair seven months after giving birth to her second child. Rachel Hunter modelled a swimwear calendar just 12 weeks after her first child was born. Yasmin Le Bon was back on the catwalk 20 days after Saffron came along. And now Pammy puts on her PVC trousers after nine days.

All mothers suffer from the cult of perfection that surrounds pregnancy and birth. We are supposed to bloom for nine months; experience existential bliss during the primal joy of drug-free labour; bond instantly with the blob we have just produced; fancy our husband the next day; and be back to a size 10 by the six-week check.

Have just a little sympathy, therefore, for the A-grade celebrity, who has to be even better at motherhood than anyone else. Pammy loved being pregnant ("It made me feel more sexy, more womanly, more feminine. Carrying a baby made me feel like a real woman. I wasn't a little girl any more."); her labour involved "no gas, no air, no epidural; breastfeeding has been "no problem at all". Now, says Pammy, "the only time we fight is over who's going to change the baby, because we both want to". And, naturally, the blubber has simply melted away.

Even C-list Hello! fodder like Jane Seymour feel the pressure to perform post-natally: at 44, after her third pregnancy, having just produced twins, she told the magazine: "Ten days after the Caesarean I weighed two pounds lighter [sic] than when I started - which is unbelievable. I lost weight. And I didn't lose my stomach muscles, which is amazing, because first of all when you have a twin pregnancy, normally the muscles split. Somehow or other, I guess from all those years of ballet, it hung in there. I don't know where the skin went. I was huge. I was 1541b and I'm 1161b now. So almost 401b disappeared."

Of course, money makes it easier to be a perfect mother. Pammy Anderson looks bouncy not because of all the silicone she is carrying but, presumably, because she has a housekeeper to sterilise the dummies, a driver to pick up fresh supplies of Pampers, a maternity nurse to get up in the night - and, of course, a personal trainer to help with those pelvic tilts. Even Jane Seymour has her own gym.

But the mystery of the post-natal superbabe is more than projecting perfection, for the celebrity mother is compulsive in returning to her pre-pregnant shape. Rejecting a body double, Demi Moore postponed filming of her forthcoming schlocker, Striptease, to allow her time to get in shape after the birth of her third child. Six days a week, personal trainer by her side, she rose at 4am and spent two hours in her gym, before slipping into quality mom mode. Then it was back to sit-ups (2,500 a week), cycling, running, swimming, aerobics ... a titanic struggle against nature, or what's left of it, since Moore has reportedly had breast implants; liposuction on her thighs, stomach and bottom; and pockets of fat removed from behind her knees.

With Yasmin Le Bon and Rachel Hunter, the effort is understandable: a model is, after all, just a body. Presumably, Hunter's swimwear catalogue helped to pay the nanny - or maybe that was the fee as presenter for the US high-achiever's TV series How To Make It The Best Nine Months Of Your Life. Whatever, Debbie and Meghan are simply signalling to advertisers that they are ready to work again. Similarly, swimming champion Sharron Davies resumed training a few days after giving birth so that she could compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

But Pammy Anderson is not just a model. She has put the Playboy centrefolds behind her to become the biggest television star in the world. Demi Moore, meanwhile, has shut the door on her trailerpark childhood to become the highest-paid actress in Hollywood.

Strangely, Moore's co-stars - Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal, Michael Douglas in Disclosure - have never appeared nude on the cover of Vanity Fair. Strangely, her co-stars have never had to get up at 4am to work their buns. Strangely, David Hasselhof is the boy hero of Baywatch despite the fact that he's obviously in his forties.

For in the looking-glass world of female stardom, women have to be babes, however powerful they are, however well-paid and however young their babes. No doubt Madonna - pregnant but ever-watchful of her fading stardom - will be working out during the delivery itself, before welcoming OK! into her lovely private hospital.

John Walsh's column is on page 21 of Section 1.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

    £35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave