Beyoncé's Incredible, Miraculous Pregnancy

The hype around the superstar suggests that no one has ever had a child before.

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In Beyoncé's case, the better question might be what parts can't we consume. Last week Sasha Fetus frenzy kicked into overdrive, going far beyond the daily bump watches reserved for mere mortals named Beckham and Hudson. For one thing, Beyoncé's bump watch has become a breast watch, with celebrity blogs tracking her changing cup size -- Bey's breasts growing overnight! – and marveling at the jaw-dropping revelation that pregnant women's boobs swell.

It's also become a global countdown to rival Y2K: Beyoncé's announcement last week of her February due date sparked such balanced coverage as, "Looks like Valentine's Day isn't the only thing the world will be celebrating next February!" And then of course there's the fake-bump conspiracy -- a surreal story line that took a turn for the even more surreal last week, when bloggers identified Beyoncé's womb as "collapsing" on camera as she sat for an interview on Australian TV. It must be a prosthetic! There's a secret surrogate carrying Jay-Z's seed!

I've given birth three times in my life, and while I never took maternity fashion to new heights by rocking leather shorts, I think I can speak for many a mother when I say that the contortions of a womb with a baby inside it are endless, occasionally frightening and not necessarily meant to be freeze-framed in high definition and plastered across the Internet. If you don't already know this, you should stop watching clips of Beyoncé bending down to sit in a chair and spend some time around a pregnant woman.

A Mom-to-Be Who Knows Her Place

There are a few celebs who seem to understand that their pregnancies don't signal the second coming. Alicia Keys' earth mother/goddess phase fell well within the bounds of normal navel-gazing; Mariah Carey was downright cagey for months (though she's now ready to give her twins the Barbara Walters treatment).

But you have to cross the Atlantic to find a celebrity who truly "gets" her place within the history of childbirth -- a woman like Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former supermodel, singer, glamour icon and wife of French President Nicholas Sarkozy. The first lady of France is due any minute now.

Bruni-Sarkozy -- who appeared in Woody Allen's recent Midnight in Paris, once worked the runways for Dior and Chanel and at one point dated Mick Jagger -- is no stranger to the spotlight. Today she is easily the most watched woman in France. But when she was asked about her pregnancy in a recent BBC interview, she uttered a word you'll never hear coming out of Beyoncé's mouth in any context, much less regarding the arrival of her firstborn: "banal."

"There isn't much to say," the first lady of France told the British news service. "So many women are expecting children and giving birth, and it's so uninteresting for French people." The absence of self-involvement was so shocking, her comments became the anti-bombshell bombshell -- with People promptly packaging the story under the blaring headline, "France Is Not Interested in My Baby." Well, Carla, you tried.

Bruni-Sarkozy likely has her own reasons for staying low-key: At 43 she's an older celeb mom, and she has gone on record as saying she is superstitious. There's also the issue of her husband's often slipping, sometimes plummeting popularity, and the role that some argue she has played in it. With 27 weeks to go as Sarkozy tries to carry a second presidential victory to term, I have to think that part of his wife's subdued state is a political calculation.

There are cultural forces at work, too: Lately in France, it's the mistress, not the mini-me, who has gotten the public salivating. "Carla was a scandal to begin with," says Rosanna Hertz, professor of sociology and women's studies at Wellesley College. "She's [Sarkozy's] third wife; he's much older than she is. If anything, the baby normalizes them, and the country probably really doesn't care."