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Finneran: About That Baby Bump

Friday, March 10, 2017

 

You are not fat. You are stunning. You are beautiful. You are a goddess.

You are not waddling. You are carrying a new life, more precious than gold. Your baby is a gift from God. Thank you for embracing life and for gliding so gracefully to your baby’s birth. Remember, that’s a natural maternal glide you have. It is most emphatically not a waddle.

THE SCENE:

It’s about 4:40 in the morning and I’m pounding away on the elliptical, fighting the onslaught of age and flipping through the various channels. Sports Center is running way too many commercials so I click over to one of the Boston news stations and there she is, a newscaster with a delightful baby bump.

Truth be told, I don’t know whether she was doing the news, the weather, or traffic. She could have been announcing the end of the world and I would still have thought that she was terrific. She was not hiding her baby. Say it out loud---She’s pregnant and proud!

THE INDUSTRY:

We know that Hollywood and television personalities can get caught up in appearances. The various and silly vanities of clothes, hair, facial features, and body types can dominate their days and their lives. Hollywood and the television industry are notorious for dumping “old” talent for young talent, with the industry’s definition of old being around thirty years of age. 

A few gray hairs or a few pounds can make one very expendable even though one can pronounce Worcester correctly.  Evidently institutional history and local knowledge mean a lot less to television executives than personal appearance. Which is why we often hear the verbal mangling of delightfully named towns such as Rehoboth, Scituate, Leicester, and Gloucester. Such is the state of things in the world of entertainment and ratings. It is not a world that I hold in high regard. There is not much to admire when the “breaking news” they present is about fender benders, lost dogs, and celebrity chatter.

Thus, it was particularly nice to see this woman, confident in her work and joyous in her pregnancy. She made no attempt to hide her baby bump, nor should she. She seemed to me to be making a silent but urgent statement, a statement of skill and pride in her work with a simultaneous message of excitement and anticipation about the baby she carried.

THE SOCIETY:

It’s a strange state of affairs when the entirely natural phenomenon of pregnancy is seen as a professional limitation or handicap. And it’s particularly galling to think that such judgements are driven by superficial assessments of superficial things such as one’s personal appearance. I happen to think that women are gifted multi-taskers and that one of their many crucial abilities and talents is carrying a baby to term. Since when did sustaining a society’s growth come to be seen as a limitation on one’s professional capacities? 

Of equal importance to establishing the social respect of and for women in the workforce would be the expectation that their male colleagues should shoulder some additional workplace responsibility. After all, if Joe from accounting limps into work on Monday, using crutches because he popped a hamstring in some weekend softball game, we all know that Mary and Joan from accounting will cover his sorry butt until he heals. Might not Joe from accounting reciprocate when Mary’s feet are killing her at the end of a long day when she’s in the latter months of her pregnancy? You know the old saying---sauce for the goose and sauce for the gander. By the way, all those male weekend warriors would buckle into a useless heap of humanity if they had to carry a baby in their tummies for forty weeks. I’m just sayin..............

Anyway, I digress. I offer my best wishes to that pregnant newscaster. 

Her joy made my day.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.
 

 

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