Not sure about your count, but by mine, Jessica Simpson's been pregnant now for at least 11 months.
In the most recent US magazine, the singer/reality star/fashion-designer who has been visibly full term since January said she's due to give birth to a baby girl in "a matter of weeks." Weeks? Wait a second, is that even medically possible?
Yes folks, Simpson, who is currently pictured nude and engaged in a strenuous battle to cover her nether regions on the cover of the U.S. Elle magazine, has spent the last several months making the rounds of talk shows and tabloids while continuing her duties as a reality-show "fashion mentor" and semi-retired pop star.
She's been showcasing her fantastic fecundity for so long now that a growing number of fertility experts (okay, me and my sister Meg) have concluded she has entered into the medically miraculous state clinically known as celebri-placenta interminus, a.k.a. the Fourth Trimester.
Originally discovered by Demi Moore's private gynecologist back in 1991 as a way of allowing her extra prep time to tone up for the now-infamous Vanity Fair cover by Annie Leibovitz, the fourth trimester has slowly gained popularity over the past two decades and is now standard medical practice among stars hoping to maximize the bounce from their bumps.
The common wisdom in Hollywood circles today is, if you're going to bother getting pregnant (instead of, say, using a surrogate, adopting or just borrowing a poor person's baby), you might as well milk the moment for all it's worth. (Lame lactation pun not intended.) Fertility doctors have figured out a way to extend the normal human gestation period through regular doses of Kombucha tea in combination with a vacuum-sealed silicon implant fitted just above the celebrity's cervix, to prevent the baby from emerging before the publicity schedule is complete.
The procedure, which costs roughly $70,000 (U.S.) and is said to be extremely painful (but totally worth it) accounts for the recent boom in pregnant red-carpet photo ops, concert appearances, award presentations and acceptances and airbrushed nude photo spreads.
Nicole Richie, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham are all said to be devotees, as are political wives such as Samantha Cameron and Carla Bruni, both of whom recently leveraged the fourth trimester for maximum political currency on the campaign trail. Most amazing of all, perhaps, is the way many high-profile expectant mums these days opt for a fourth trimester while simultaneously defying the time-space continuum to have a scheduled C-section at 37 weeks. The miracle of life, indeed!
Obviously I'm joking, but let's get back to Mama Simpson, shall we? The baby, a girl named Maxwell – Maxi for short – is already tipping the scales at 10 pounds plus. Simpson's amniotic fluid levels are said to be oceanic, and she feels (I know this, because she told Jimmy Kimmel) "like a bowling ball is sitting on my hoo-ha … when my water breaks it's going to be like a fire hydrant … I'm read to push!"
After that outburst, I'm good and ready for Simpson to give birth already – although it's with decidedly mixed feelings that I find myself willing her to kindly empty her uterus since there can only be one result, and that is several weeks of "exclusive baby photos" – when of course what we all really need is a rest from the ubiquitous Jess herself. Can't Simpson see that her never-ending pregnancy has left me exhausted, emotional, nauseous, constantly hungry and mysteriously bloated? True, I'm five months gone myself, but I'm sure it's got nothing to do with that.
In fact, what I find weird and irritating is that simply by being a sentient human with the vaguest of interests in celebrity dross, I somehow know more about Jessica Simpson's pregnancy and unborn child than I know about my own. For instance, I know Simpson fears her daughter may prove athletic like her father, a former football player called Eric Johnson.
"I swear I will croak if she asks me for a pair of Nikes instead of Christian Louboutins!" the star has said. I also know she had a Charlotte's Web-themed baby shower at which deep-fried Oreos were served, and that Jessica Alba and Ellen Pompeo were in attendance. I do not want to know these things. But sometimes, when I'm not paying attention, the Internet spams my brain.
This is how the Fourth Trimester works. It allows more time for the pregnant celebrity to insinuate her belly firmly into the public consciousness, the ultimate status boost for the drunk (Richie), bitchy (Beckham, Jolie) or recently humiliatingly dumped (Simpson) celebrity in desperate need of an image makeover.
Unlike 20 years ago, when the sight of Demi's naked bump truly had the power to shock, today there is an entire branch of the tabloid media devoted almost exclusively to photos, commentary and speculation about knocked-up chicks. Almost makes you long for the days when studios hid starlets away to give birth in the back rooms of Bel Air mansions, then fed them celery sticks until they were red-carpet-ready again. Almost but not quite.
In any case, let's hope Simpson gets pushing soon. Not sure about you, but her pregnancy has me ready to pop.