Top tip for you all: unless you can see the baby making its way out of the womb, never ask a woman if she is pregnant. And never ask said woman’s mother about her daughter’s reproductive status… especially if that woman’s mother is Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson.
“Princess Eugenie baby: Did Princess Eugenie just drop MAJOR hint she’s pregnant?”
And, with that salacious headline, the Express sent the rumour mill into overdrive. Ever since the article was published on Tuesday 28 May, countless other tabloids have followed suit – with tabloids and so-called ‘feminist’ magazines alike jumping on the “intrusive theories about a woman’s reproductive status” bandwagon.
While celebrating American businessman Ernie Boch Jr.’s philanthropic work at an event in Massachusetts, Fergie took the opportunity to address the rumours being spread about her daughter’s womb.
“No, she’s not pregnant,” she can be heard saying in a clip which is being circulated on Twitter. “I’m just going through what the journalists say and they’re all here, so I just thought I’d fill it in.”
So what did Eugenie do to warrant such an onslaught of speculation? Well, somewhat ridiculously, it all comes down to some photographs of her leaving a fancy Mayfair restaurant. Not only had she dared to wear a “flowing dress”, but she had also clutched a bouquet of flowers over her stomach. A hand, too, had grazed her belly as she exited – something which OBVIOUSLY had nothing to do with the fact she’d just enjoyed a delicious meal. And – according to the Express, at least – the floral design of her outfit was a dead giveaway, too.
“Strong patterns are a known styling technique to distract viewers from the person’s figure,” suggested the report.
Right. Because that’s a thing, apparently.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to make money by gambling on the innards of a woman’s womb, then, somewhat depressingly, you’re not alone. According to Cosmopolitan, bookmakers.tv’s odds on Eugenie announcing her pregnancy have dropped to 8/13, suggesting a flurry of peopling have been placing bets on the topic.
“The odds of Eugenie and Jack sharing some good news soon have taken another plunge with the latest betting definitely suggests there could be an announcement around the corner,” said a spokesperson for the site.
Ugh. I can’t believe I’m having to do this AGAIN, but here it goes: it is genuinely never OK to speculate about someone’s reproductive status. Firstly, because it is a deeply personal subject: there are so many reasons why a woman may or may not have children; she might not want them, she might not want them right now, she might not be able to have them at all. And secondly, to literally GAMBLE on a woman’s fertility basically implies that she’s nothing more than a walking, talking womb. That her implied role in life is to spread her legs and bring forth a child. That, despite the fact female entrepreneurs alone were responsible for a massive £3.5 billion contribution to the UK economy in 2015, despite the fact that the proportion of women starting a business nearly doubling from 3.7% in 2009 to 7.1% in 2012, despite the fact that more of us are choosing not to have children, we are still living in a warped Gilead reality.
Blessed be the fruit, and all that jazz.
Yes, Eugenie is part of a hereditary monarchy – but she currently works at London-based contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, and acts as a spokesperson for several scoliosis charities. Unlike senior-ranking royals, she doesn’t undertake official engagements – other than the odd charity or weekend event – and she is not paid for royal duties (Prince Andrew “supports both of his daughters [Eugenie and Beatrice] financially from his private income”), either.
She is, in short, her own person – and she is absolutely worth more than the sum of her ovaries. And, yeah, maybe she is pregnant. Maybe she is pregnant. But, unless she decides she wants to tell us that she’s pregnant, we need to stop with all the thoughtless comments about her “baby bump” and all the “clues” she’s definitely NOT giving us. And we need to make a conscious effort to turn our back on these speculative stories, because they feed into this toxic narrative that women need to be mothers to be complete.
Below: Princess Eugenie at Horatio’s Garden.
As Jennifer Aniston – another woman who has been the subject of countless “IS SHE OR ISN’T SHE PREGNANT?” articles – famously noted: “The sheer amount of resources being spent by press trying to simply uncover whether or not [a celebrity is] pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children…
“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”
With that in mind…
When is it OK to ask a woman if she’s pregnant?
I’m repeating myself here, but the answer is simple: unless you can see the baby making its way out of the womb, do not ask a woman if she is pregnant. Ever. It doesn’t matter if she says she feels nauseous in the mornings, or she is wearing a baggy empire-waisted outfit, or she is avoiding alcohol. It especially doesn’t matter if her belly has popped so far that you have to back up 10 steps so that she can turn around.
Why? Because it is absolutely none of your business, unless she decides to make it your business. So please wait for her to confirm her news, in her own time, and in her own way. Thanks.
Please note: this article was originally published in May 2019, and has been updated to include Fergie’s comments.