Monday, 20 February 2012

Amanda Holden: heroine or harridan?

There she goes again, Amanda Holden sways across the front pages in sky-scraper heels. It's Britain's Got Talent auditions time. 


Under normal circumstances the battle of the frocks is the best line the showbiz hacks can come up with, but not this time. 


Amanda Holden, 41, gave birth to Hollie Rose on January 23 - this January 23, four weeks ago. And her birth came after the tense pregnancy that follows the horrible still birth she suffered last year.


But gutsy Amanda has come out on top. Only three weeks after Hollie arrived, Mandy donned her fake tan, her magic knickers and her best smile... it was show time at the BGT auditions. 


Of course I'm jealous. I never looked that good, not even before I had babies. Not long ago I came across a picture of me about four weeks after Boy Three was born - I looked horrible. Lumpy, blotchy and defeated (and probably a few other of the dwarfs that failed Snow White's audition).


If I remember rightly, at four weeks that nasty double barrelled dwarf seeping-damply is still hanging around. (If you don't get this reference, then you've clearly never given birth so best not even think about it.)


But I'm not judging any woman's right to work while breeding, it's not my place. I found a childminder for Boy Two  around the time that nasty photo was taken. Neither am I dissing the fragrant Ms Holden. Indeed, I've said it before - the woman's a trooper


While Amanda was being papped and admired for improbable sveltness in the face of fecundity, I was paying a few visits. 


My sister was getting to know her second child, the adorable Baby M. The family is doing fine although the hungry nights are a little trying. I was impressed when she and her partner threw a party for their older boy's third birthday. Not only was her house tidy, she was wearing a coordinating outfit and doing sentences. 


Meanwhile, another friend is settling at home with her third. A difficult birth and emergency c-section meant things didn't quite go as she'd planned them. But she is still cracking jokes... even ones about babies whose colic manifests in the small hours. 


So what's my point then? Good question. Amanda is entitled to do what she likes with her work-life balance. It really isn't any of my business. And I have no doubt at all that Hollie will lack for nothing - a few hours in the arms of dad/granny/nanny while mum earns a crust will do her no harm at all. 


My problem is that Amanda standing there trim, clean and coherent in a clean frock, makes all the new mums who battle to make it out of their PJs feel even worse about themselves. Those who are swamped by hormones, nappies and sleeplessness look at her and wonder where they are going wrong. 


In an uncharacteristically sensible and reasonable article, the Daily Mail revealed that new mums need at least a year to recover or return to "normal". 


Then where does this leave Mandy? Should she stick to form and remain buttoned up about the superhuman effort these photocalls have taken? Or should she make other new mums feel just a bit better by offering a vote of thanks to Spanx and some tips on getting sick off sequined frocks?


There are already enough photos of La Holden around so, instead, you're getting one of my adorable new nephew Baby M. 

















18 comments:

  1. Interesting post! Amanda is, like everyone else, entitled to do whatever she wishes whether it be 4 weeks or 4 years after the birth of her daughter. I have to admit though I was a bit perplexed that she'd even want to come back to work so soon especially after what had (sadly) happened with her previous pregnancies. I wouldn't want to be away from my newborn. She is fab though, I think she must be an inspiration to new mums out there too. For me though, the last thing on my mind was getting in a fancy frock LOL I just wanted to sleep...!

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  2. It's utterly horrible when one has just given birth. No-one warned me about the carrier bag of stretched skin I would carry in front of me for years. And I've always wondered how these slebs cope with Seeping-Damply in their so-soon-after-birth pics.

    The same was said after French cabinet minister Rachida Dati went back to work WITHIN A WEEK of giving birth. For goodness' sake: most of us don't have an army of nannies plus family to hold the baby. Most of us have to cope more or less alone. Good for her, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up if we can't meet her standards as it's just not real life for most of us.

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  3. I think that's the thing about her at the moment. It must be taking the most enormous effort to turn out all gussied up like that. I'm glad you think she's an inspiration.

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  4. msalliance, no they don't tell you all that stuff - probably just as well though. You're right we shouldn't beat ourselves up about it.

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  5. You know my views on the situation Ma'am. While I think it's admirable that Amanda Holden has "bounced back" so miraculously, I too think it doesn't do those of us who struggle any favours. I wish celebrities felt it was more important to enjoy those precious early days/weeks/months with their babies and families instead of having to primp themselves to look the way they "used to". I would rather not see her for a few months than stare agog at her amazing frame only 4 weeks after having a life-threatening c-section. I'll never look like Amanda Holden but I wouldn't give up the precious time I've had with my Sam to do so. That's far more important to me. ;)
    Karin

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  6. Hi Karin, Thanks for your comment. You're right seeing a 'perfect' vision of motherhood really doesn't help ordinary people. x

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  7. I think that new mums are likely to realise that she has a whole host of people who are helping her!? Maybe a stylist, chef, maternity nurse, night-nanny, cleaner, housekeeper, etc... It would be self-destructive to try to compare our ordinary lives with hers - would it not?

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  8. Sally, You are right, but I think that sometimes our celeb-strewn culture has the effect of distorting things.

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  9. Yes, especially when us mums are hormonal and sleep deprived!

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  10. I am torn on this one, but I think I sway towards celebs like this not doing much for new mum's as I think many would find it hard to see someone who had a difficult birth and apparently a life threatneing complication less than 4 weeks ago, stepping out looking like she does (incidently I had 14 blood transfusions after my 2nd boy and was in ICU 3 days) and 4 weeks post birth no amount of makeup, fake tan or helpers would of got me looking like that!!). While she is an inspiration for being a working mum, overcmoing some horrendous experiences and everything, she doesn;t do much to promote normality and even though many don't want to admit it, we all look up to the celebs and compare ourselves to them and want to be like them - if we didn;t there would be no need to photograph them or write about them.

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  11. It's a difficult one this as many have already made comments about, how others are made to feel ect (but have you noticed most photos are stright on, not a side photo where baby bump might still show?) which I first felt, also how could you move on so quickly from such a trumatic birth? But she has probably got loads of hands on support that make that smile possible. I think she will have gone back to work so quickly as she would not want to miss out on work opportunity. There will only be so much work she will do and therefore celebereties have to take the work when it comes, sometimes they don't have the luxury as us normal mums have of taking mat leave.

    I am however with the majority and can't think of anything worse than leaving baby at only a few weeks old.

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  12. The Rambling Pages, I agree, she is an inspriation, but not much help to those who are struggling.

    Mrsshortiesmind, You're right, she is probably under quite a lot of pressure to get back to work and knows that her kind of work doesn't last forever.

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  13. Well you cant beat a nip or a tuck *not really* - but the question that I wasleft with is how Amanda is psycologically coping - she had a particularly traumatic birth. The daily mail wrote that? Blimey. Wonders never cease!

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  14. Older Mum, I have wondered how she is coping. She has had to process such an awful lot, I'd be astonished if she is doing as well as it seems. However, it's probably very important to her to put on a front and be seen to cope.

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  15. Question is was it really Amanda's choice? Or has her chosen career path forced her to do it? I can't see her wanting to leave her baby so soon after her tragic loss. And what about breast feeding? Is she?

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  16. Pinkoddy, Good question. She has chosen a fairly brutal career.

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  17. I don't know she's done it frankly. Like Amanda, I haemorraged during and after the birth of my eldest daughter. It was an emergency; an absolute nightmare for my husband because he didn't know if he'd have a wife or child alive at the end. Even with transfusions, it took me months to physically recover so I don't know how she's doing it. I looked so ill after my birth.

    No doubt she has loads of support but you still need time to recover from childbirth even if you don't have the complications. What worries me most though is the example she sets; will people expect all women to just bounce back like that?

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  18. Deb, I don't know how she's done it. I wonder if it isn't some sort of denial of what she's been through. Today she's quoted as saying she needed to get back to 'normal'.

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