Sarah Sands: Carla closes the clinic door and keeps her mystery

 

Share
Related Topics

At the start of the film We Need to Talk About Kevin, that Via Dolorosa for mothers, Tilda Swinton as Eva endures a violent and sweat-soaked labour and, once her nemesis is born, she gazes blankly ahead, while her husband rocks the baby.

So unlike Carla Bruni's childbirth in Paris last week. The first lady was still parading her chic bump in haute couture days before Giulia arrived. The look was naughty Gigi. She sought her husband's manly protection to get her to the hospital, or clinic, as it is described, which sounds somehow sexier. But then she shooed him away to save the eurozone, or whatever it is he does at the office. Carla was prepared to sacrifice her husband for the sake of her adopted country. More to the point, perhaps she did not want him to see her panting in a non-Jane Birkin manner.

The case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the New York chambermaid was cited as an illustration of the divide between French principles of pleasure and privacy and America's right-based culture. Surely, Carla Bruni's childbirth is a better one.

First, she complains poutily about cigarette and booze deprivation. Can you imagine Michelle Obama saying this? Come to think of it, Mrs Obama's homilies about exercising hard, bringing up the kids, putting education first, would produce a little cat's yawn from Mrs Sarkozy.

Parisian mammas are not going to be digging for vegetables or high-fiving children. Carla, particularly, picks her photo opportunities carefully. Even Woody Allen could not stop her flirting with the camera in her cameo role as a guide in Midnight in Paris. Her ban on cameras at the clinic and her haughty refusal to display her daughter Giulia, could be attributed to a French reverence for personal privacy. Or Carla would not be seen dead before her figure was restored and her hair girlishly glossy again. Samantha Cameron, with her savvy retail marketing background, requested a decent interval before appearing in front of the press with Florence.

Carla may well wish to wait until Giulia is old enough to sit beside her mother at the Paris fashion shows. In the meantime, truckloads of flowers and baby Dior must be heading for the Elysée Palace. She won't thank me for raising this, but France's first lady is almost the same age as Cherie Blair at the time she gave birth to Leo, while Tony Blair was in office. Blair, despite the cares of state, was fully supportive, sticking by his wife's bedside for six hours and giving a knowledgeable account of it to the press: "It was an ordinary, natural birth, though it was quite a long labour, so Cherie is quite tired now."

Carla would certainly regard this as too much information. Who wants to be described as being knackered after an "ordinary" birth? She prefers a veil of mystery over the logistics. Childbirth is an ugly business. You would not coo and squeal watching an appendectomy, so why witness something which will forever cloud your view of the female organs?

The Carla philosophy of childbirth may be unfeminist and anti-progressive, but I dare say men will regard it with secret envy and some women with a nodding sense of reality. Do men really need to be at the birth? My generation demanded it, but these days, many women ask their mothers and girlfriends instead. Maybe it is a female experience after all. Which has the nicer ring to it – hospital maternity ward or Temple of Diana?

Sarah Sands is deputy editor of the 'London Evening Standard'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape