From the Womb to the World: A Study of Pregnancy Narratives by Celebrity Moms in India

Article Summary by Pratyusha Pramanik and Ajit K Mishra

This article delves into how celebrity moms in India are crafting their public images by sharing their pregnancy experiences publicly. Even though motherhood is highly glorified in India, women often have little control over their choice to become a mother and how to become a mother. Patriarchal norms have historically used motherhood to maintain social and family order, leading to the idealization of mothers while preventing them from sharing their own experiences. Because of this, despite the significant changes in their lives, women have typically been expected to be silent about their motherhood experiences. In the early 20th century, women were expected to uphold traditional values and avoid modern influences, limiting their ability to document their pregnancy journeys. This lack of freedom was often due to limited education or restrictive family dynamics. Over time, scientific approaches replaced traditional midwifery, increasing access to medical facilities, and bringing in an overall change in the experience of motherhood.

With social media and a changing economy, modern maternity in India has become more public, with celebrity moms now sharing their pregnancy stories and challenging old beliefs and practices. By examining pregnancy narrative by Kareena Kapoor Khan (Pregnancy Bible (2021)), Tahira Kashyap (The 7 Sins of Being a Mother (2021)), and Kalki Koechlin (The Elephant in the Womb (2021)), this article explores how modern views on motherhood are forming in India. As celebrities transition from being seen as sexual figures to maternal ones, this phase is crucial for their careers. In India, there’s significant interest in pregnancy rumours about female celebrities. Paparazzi often fuel these speculations right after a star gets married, and sometimes even before, since premarital pregnancy is still a taboo subject. As a result, celebrities carefully shape their public images during pregnancy, moving away from the past trend of staying out of the spotlight to openly sharing their experiences. These celebrity moms talk about their changing bodies, obstetric violence, postpartum complication, and different birthing methods; they adopt both traditional as well as a modern view towards pregnancy and childcare. This shift helps bring conversations about motherhood from private to public spaces, encouraging a wider discussion about pregnancy and motherhood in India. This change highlights the evolving nature of modern motherhood in India.


Read the full article on the Medical Humanities journal webpage.


Pratyusha Pramanik has obtained her PhD from the Department of Humanistic Studies, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, India. Her works have appeared in popular and academic journals like Café Dissensus, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Media Watch, and others. Her areas of interest include Gender Studies, Film and Literature and Indian Writing in English.

Ajit K Mishra is an Associate Professor of English in the Department of Humanistic Studies, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi. His research interests are narrative studies, visual culture, and communication for health, life, and work. He is particularly interested in finding ways to examine the correlation between health practices and communication in India.

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