What with her three adopted children, recent birthing of twins, and husband Brad’s increasingly haggard mug, the rumors that Angelina Jolie is pregnant again have compounded an already drama-riffic life. Everyone is sick of hearing about this lippy femme and her do-gooding and her cat-fighting and her award-winning and her baby-making, but no one can stop talking about her. The woman collects children like antique spoons! It’s as if the sheer repetitiveness — adopt child from impoverished country, get knocked up and spend nine months looking fabulous, trot down red carpet eight seconds after giving birth, adopt child from impoverished country — has everyone mesmerized.
Perhaps Jolie knows what many other celebs do; a bun in the oven is a great career boost. Or, if you happen not to be famous already, it can catapult you into the limelight. Your pregnancies just have to be qualitatively or quantitatively bizarre.
Take the first pregnant man, for instance. Thomas Beatie was all kinds of inconspicuous before getting knocked up; now he’s big news. Mind you, another man-born-woman (or FTM, or XX-dude, or whatever) named Matt Rice gave birth to a bouncing baby boy almost a decade ago. It’s unclear why this is being ignored. Nevertheless, the title is Beatie’s, despite the fact that once side effects forced him to stop taking testosterone, he essentially became a post-double-mastectomy woman, many of whom also get pregnant.
And now the “first” pregnant man is pregnant again. Beatie and wife Nancy will (assuming all goes well) give birth to a second child almost exactly a year after their daughter was born. I, for one, am thrilled for them. Have all the babies you want, you stable, supportive couple. Just maybe take a year off next time before you sow your seeds. It’s entirely possible that the Beaties have lunged into this second pregnancy so soon after the first due to Thomas’s hormonal situation (he has to lay off the testosterone in order to make the babies). It can’t hurt, however, to cash in on public interest before it grows stale. If the first baby got them on “Oprah,” the second is sure to get them a sit-down with Barbara Walters, and I’ve heard whispers of a TLC special in the offing.
Speaking of bad television, a series of Discovery Health Channel appearances has finally led to a full-time reality show for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. No family has been more lambasted for exploiting their unusual fecundity than these stars of “17 Kids and Counting.” The couple’s religious beliefs have led them to forgo birth control, a common enough practice among conservative Christians. Less common are double-digit families living off their TV earnings. I’m not saying the Duggars don’t love each of their now-18 babies. I just think they might be caught in a vicious cycle of having the babies to get on the reality show to earn the money to have the babies.
Whether it’s to land another Vanity Fair cover, or to pay for little Joshua James Jim Joe Bob’s wedding, children have become a sort of financial aspirin. It’s totally not my place to question Angelina’s motives, or Thomas Beatie’s, or the Duggars’, but is that going to stop me? Are you kidding? People will judge. The only way out is to stay out of the spotlight, keep your baby bump on the couch, and feed it Doritos.