Adichie channel 4

A few weeks ago, Chimamanda Adichie successfully popularized the term “performing pregnancy,” which essentially means publicly acting out being pregnant according to a culturally prescribed script.

Not wanting that for herself, she stayed away from the public eye all through her pregnancy. She defended her decision against a culture where women were placed under undue pressure to fulfill certain expectations about pregnancy. All this came out during an interview with David Pilling of the Lunch with FT series.

Her position didn’t sit well with people who saw Adichie’s statement as been overly judgmental of women who choose to publicly share their journey to motherhood.

Well, Adichie is not bothered by these criticisms. In a recent interview with UK’s Channel 4 News, she not only reiterates her position on the issue but also throws a bit more light on what exactly she dislikes about the push to make pregnancy into a public spectacle.


There is an idea of Pregnancy and trendiness, pregnancy as a trendy thing that I feel very uncomfortable with. And I deeply dislike expressions like baby bump. I just find it vaguely irritating. You know you’re supposed to take pictures and show off your baby bump. For me, it was actually a deeply introspective time thinking about how my life is going to change forever and just the enormousness of bringing a human into the world. And it was a sacred time for me, so I wanted to share it with people I love.

Speaking of her daughter, she says:

I want her to be normal and ordinary. I don’t want her to think it is normal to have her picture in the newspapers because it’s not. Just because your mother happens to write and sometimes have her picture in the newspaper doesn’t mean you get to. It’s important to me to start off really early to protect her and have her just be normal and ordinary.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “I deeply dislike expressions like baby bump. I find it vaguely irritating” Subscribe

  1. nhlanhla 2016/08/15 at 5:56 am #

    I feel you babe,tell it like you supposed to…

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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