Natalie Imbruglia’s Instagram post serves as yet another reminder that there is no one set narrative for women.
Natalie Imbruglia has confirmed that she is pregnant – but she’s not prepared to let the news distract anyone from the fact that she’s celebrating a huge milestone in her career.
“I’m very happy to announce that I have just signed a record deal with BMG,” she said, alongside a photo of herself and her team. “I have been busy writing for the past year and a half and can’t wait to share these new songs with you all!”
Predicting that members of the press and eagle-eyed fans would be zooming in on her stomach within moments of the post going live (such is the world we live in), Imbruglia made sure to share a second image – this time of her growing bump.
“And as you can see from the pic, there is another announcement,” she continued, joking that she hadn’t “swallowed a watermelon”.
Imbruglia continued: “I’m expecting my first child this autumn. For those of you that know me, this has been something I have wanted for a very long time and I’m blessed that this is possible with the help of IVF and a sperm donor – I won’t be saying anything more on that publicly.”
She added: “I’m so excited about this next adventure… a new album and I’m going to be a mum!”
Naturally, in amongst the flood of congratulatory messages on Instagram, there are those who have felt the need to comment on Imbruglia’s age. On the fact she is “doing it alone”. On the identity of her baby’s father.
However, as we all know, these questions are symptomatic of a society that feels the need to push one particular narrative on women.
From a very young age, we are force-fed this idea that a woman’s success is based on her ability to find (heterosexual) love, get married, and have a baby or three. That she should have done this by, ooh, say 30? And that, if she doesn’t manage to do so, that she has somehow failed at life.
This narrative begins early, with Disney films and plastic dolls. And it continues throughout our lives, with countless reports on celebrity romances, marriages and baseless speculations about a woman’s reproductive status.
“I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news’,” she wrote.
This sort of tabloid gossip, Aniston said, perpetuates a “dehumanising view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance… is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go?”
Highlighting the impact it would have on young girls to see famous women’s bodies picked apart in this way – as well as the implicit suggestion that as a woman, being pregnant is the ultimate goal – Aniston added: “Yes, I may become a mother someday. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel ‘less than’ because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: ‘pregnant’ or ‘fat.’”
She concluded: “Here’s where I come out on this topic: 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… We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”
We need more women to, like Aniston, dispute the sexist narratives that are forced upon women. And that is why Imbruglia’s post is so very, very refreshing.
Because, in taking ownership of her pregnancy announcement, Imbruglia has denied the press the chance to comment and speculate on her changing body before she is ready. In combining the announcement with news about her upcoming album, she has underlined the fact that women should never be forced to choose between their careers and a family. In opening up about her own IVF journey, Imbruglia has broken the stigma around infertility and reminded women everywhere that they should ever be made to feel ashamed of their fertility struggles.
And, in revealing that she is using a sperm donor, Imbruglia has scored a slam dunk for womankind – because she has reminded the world that sisters can well and truly do it for themselves.
You can’t say better than that, can you?