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It's Bec to the old ways

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It's Bec to the old ways


13 May 2005

I HAD never pegged Bec Cartwright as a serious method actor, but it seems she's pregnant in real life, just as she is on screen in Home and Away.

The latest golden girl shining among a tribe of pop princesses (Delta, Holly, Britney) has shocked her legion of young fans by getting pregnant.

The news has raised eyebrows, mainly because she only got engaged to father-to-be Lleyton Hewitt 3 1/2 months ago -- and is three months pregnant.

But she's also about to have a child at age 21.

And she looks set to throw away a promising career in TV in favour of marriage and motherhood.

In doing so she's bucking a well-established trend of older mothers having fewer kids and is instead a throwback to a previous generation of young mums who quit their jobs once they got married.

As such, she's setting a dangerous example to her young and impressionable fans, many of whom will be avidly lapping up the romantic dream Lleyton and Bec are selling in interviews.

"What feels right to you, you don't second guess yourself," Bec said earlier this year. "For us, it just felt so awesome right from the start."

Bec's future as trophy tennis wife is already clear. "It'd be fantastic to win another major with a new baby and my new wife around me," Lleyton told New Idea.

It's fine if you're a millionaire or falling pregnant to one, but it's probably not a good idea for most 21-year-olds to become pregnant to a guy they've only known well for a few months and then quit their job to look after the baby full-time.

Interestingly, before meeting Lleyton, Bec herself was a career girl on the rise with a Silver Logie and a star turn on Dancing with the Stars to cement her ascension to the A-list.

Hell, she's even been named the spunkiest Aussie on the 100 FHM magazine sexiest women list.

Yes, she's obviously going places, because the domain name beccartwright.com has been colonised by perverts pushing naked pictures and Christian singles.

But what if the air-brushed matching teeth-and-tan facade crumbles and "our" Bec goes the way of Lleyton's former fiancee -- once known as "our" Kim.

You won't read about that scenario in a paid interview in New Idea.

Bec would be left with a baby to raise on her own, and by that time the next soapie star snapping at her heels will have taken her post as Australia's favourite girl next door.

While the sun always shines at Summer Bay, it will be a dark reality for many young girls who set out on the journey of young motherhood with a lot less financial protection than Bec.

Fewer than one in four mothers these days can afford to ditch their job when they have kids -- and you can bet most of them are a lot older than 21.

Former journalist Virginia Haussegger has just written a book arguing that feminism has failed because her generation was promised they could "have it all".

As Virginia herself found, putting her career first in her 30s has left her childless in her 40s. I'm not sure just where Virginia was while her clock was ticking -- surely she knows the basics of biology?

And why blame others for her own choices? But she is right that it's harder than ever to "have it all".

Bec's gushing acceptance of traditional motherhood is a case in point.

If she puts her own career first here in Australia, her marriage will suffer because Lleyton's job requires year-round international travel.

And the demands of a regular TV gig and recording career are hardly going to leave time for three-hourly breastfeeds.

It's easy for Lleyton to claim, as he did in New Idea, that family comes before tennis, but he's only got the chance to combine the two thanks to Bec giving up her work altogether.

Hewitt has said the baby is "obviously going to be our main priority", before going on to detail plans to keep his top ranking in tennis.

So what he really means is that the baby is going to be Bec's top priority.

THE possibility of Lleyton scaling back his tennis career so Bec can stay in Summer Bay doesn't seem to be an option.

It's a pity because many women have hoped that his generation of men would be the first able to successfully combine work and family.

I wish the couple well, but I also hope that others don't follow their example.

A Bec and Lleyton love match is the sort of game that could turn foul for the rest of us.

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What a load of s**t,Haven't they got anything else better to do than write about Bec and Lleyton. Leave them alone it's there life it's up to them what they do there adult's for christ sake.What the hell has it got to do with everyone else as long as there happy it's no one else's bloody businuss what they do. young and having a family so f**king what.I was 19 when I had Tom Plenty of "real "woman juggle there career and family.Good luck to them and I hope it all goes well for them.

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As much as i don't like bec the article has a point.Lleyton dosn't have to give up everythin it's bec doing that.And the baby being there main priority?More like her priority,so i agree with the article.

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Bec's brilliant new career


17 May 2005

SUSIE O'Brien questions Bec Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt's wisdom in having a baby.

Well, she clearly hasn't had much contact with young parents. I have. Four years ago I became one.

Just like Lleyton, I was 23 when my girlfriend of less than six months became pregnant.

While Susie hopes other young people don't follow this lead, I'd actually encourage young Australians to consider parenting as an option.

I appreciate Susie's concerns. She fears the possibility of an avalanche of unplanned pregnancies that will suddenly push young couples into stereotyped roles where mum stays at home with baby and dad works all day.

But this view is out of touch with the young's ideas and the way young parents are organising their lives.

Young parents are not falling for the trap that Susie fears Bec and Lleyton are headed towards.

Young parents have learnt quite a bit from the generations that have come before.

They are aware of the hurt of divorce, the potential loneliness of a single 30-something and the fear of missing out on kids as the biological clock ticks on.

And they don't want any of it.

One young mum emailed me about Susie's piece. "I was horrified to read the way she portrayed young parents," she wrote.

YOUNG parents understand feminism. Men and women respect the way they were raised and only want to improve on the way relationships are balanced and shared.

Young women continue to demand more of their men and young men are realising that life away from work and contributing around the home is a great thing.

By finishing with Home and Away, Bec Cartwright isn't throwing away her career.

Some may suggest it is actually a good career move.

Like many young mums she may now study or begin forging a new career path while looking after baby.

She is in the advantageous position of being able to tour the world with her baby and husband-to-be while he works.

She is only 21: when other women are stalling careers to have babies in their 30s, Bec will be raring to go.

Instead of being criticised, Bec should be applauded for her commitment to motherhood in the face of social pressure that forces new mums to return to work only three months after giving birth.

It's wrong to think people in their late teens and early 20s are too young or too immature to have children.

A recent Australian Institute of Families study showed young people did think about having children. In fact, 80 per cent of them want to have children.

In my recent research into young parents with OzProspect, I have found they are developing their own family-friendly work and study arrangements with little complaint.

One couple, with a two-year-old, both work part-time while one of them studies full-time.

They describe life as "full and fabulous", both taking responsibility for caring for their son, doing the housework and having time for themselves.

Their story is not unique.

I've interviewed single mums who are contributing more than their fair share to their communities.

I've met young rural families who work co-operatively to achieve the quality of life they want for themselves and their children.

Now it looks like Lleyton is going to miss the French Open. He is suffering a hairline crack of the rib after a fall in his home.

Now, I am not at all suggesting Hewitt is making this up, but he has played in the last 25 grand slams. He hasn't missed one.

Once upon a time a hairline crack would not have slowed Lleyton down.

But, he has fallen in love and is an expecting father.

He said, "The baby is obviously going to be our main priority".

I S it inconceivable that tennis, the fame and the competitiveness just aren't as important any more?

I think Lleyton is well aware of his responsibilities.

Bec and Lleyton represent the changing face of their generation.

They are going about their life their own way, making their own decisions and showing us that people in their early 20s are as mature and capable as anyone to be great parents.

DANIEL DONAHOO is a fellow at OzProspect, a non-partisan, public policy think-tank.

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Great article to balance all the other one sided views!! Becoming parents young is not a guarantee of anything either good or bad. It is all about the attitudes and values of the people concerned. Maturity can be a product of aging but it isn't always. Some people grow up, others just get older!!

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It's the whole media extravaganza around the union that makes the relationship so cynical. People are forced to make judgement because they are so in your face. Personally it makes me wonder if it's a publicity stunt gone wrong. If Lleyton wasn't such an arrogant pig then maybe I'd think 'Ahhh thats nice' but the whole thing just makes me bored. This is just proving the fakeness of the celebrity.

I don't wish them luck - they are loaded.

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