Lisa Markwell: What to expect when she’s expecting

The news that Peaches Geldof is expecting her first baby has been greeted with the usual array of positive and encouraging commentary. Oh, who am I kidding?

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The Independent Online



It has unleashed vitriol, scorn and quippery across the Twittersphere and beyond. There seem to be enough strands to this story to keep every snarky onlooker happy.

There’s her youth (22); her appearance (she seems to be much slimmer than in recent years); the youth of her fiancé (20); their brief relationship (affianced just since December) and – this is the biggie – her name.

Oh the ribaldry in imagining what Peaches and Thomas might call their first-born. Will it be Cream? Nectarine? Cashew Fairy Wigwam? Or (with irony levels set to 11) John or Susan?

It makes great sport but is not entirely helpful for a young woman who has inspired criticism since she was a baby – and let’s not forget it was her mother who named her, not a self-made affectation.

Her fluctuating weight, panorama of tattoos and attempts to carve out a career as a journalist/broadcaster/ model with varying (but never copper-bottomed) success are all par for the course in most teenage and early twenties individuals. The rest of us make our cock-ups and madly ill informed attempts at maturity in the privacy of our own circles, rather than in the glare of the spotlight.

A woman whose mother died in distressing and difficult to understand circumstances when she was just 11 might be forgiven for wanting to start her own family.

Ms Geldof’s publicist’s statement contains the following sentence: “Peaches is utterly thrilled and they have the full support of both of their families who are equally excited for the baby’s arrival.”

There’s something sad that such an announcement feels the need to clarify that the prospective grandparents are happy about this state of affairs. Imagine the faux-concern with which people would otherwise be pitying poor Bob Geldof.

But contrast Peaches with Lily Allen, who through her fertility travails overcame our ennui with her career, and who now inspires sympathy... most recently because her own mother leaked her baby’s name yesterday (Ethel Mary, for the record). Ex-It Girl Nicole Richie also gets the “yummy mummy” label now.

I’m no great fan of any of them; but it’s not very edifying to sneer at Peaches’ mothering skills before the girl has even had a chance to be a mother. By all means, let’s suck our teeth and disapprove if she’s ever seen carting her baby round nightclubs with Sprite in its baby bottle.