Birthing Babies is Big Business in Hollywood

Kourtney Kardashian and Bethenny Frankel: two famous moms who share their children with the world.I want you to remember back to your stay in the hospital right after you gave birth. You were tired, but happy, and ready to show off your beautiful bundle of joy to the world -- well, your friends and family anyway. You took pictures, cuddled your little one, and sent out e-mails, texts, and maybe even a Facebook post declaring your love for your new addition to your family.

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Now, I'd like you to imagine that those first photos you snapped of your baby had to be so closely guarded that you couldn't even send them to your own mother for fear that they would be leaked to the press. For some famous parents, that's the reality of starting a family in the spotlight. But it's not because they want to shield their children from the media. For many, it's because they spent months leading up to the birth brokering deals to see who would pay the most money to publish the first images of the happy family.

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The New York Times recently ran an article entitled "The Baby Bump," and it explored the business behind getting pregnant and raising kids in Hollywood. The numbers are staggering, and it goes far beyond publishing pictures in a magazine. There are clothing lines, book deals, baby products sales, and even endorsements for weight loss plans and exercise routines. And, according to the article, this practice benefits reality stars and non A-list celebrities the most.

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It seems like a contradiction, I know. You would think that the super-famous would be the ones to make the most money, and in general, they do. But there are two big differences. One, many A-listers tend to shy away from this kind of product placement when it comes to their children. And two, if A-listers do happen to sell baby pictures, they usually donate the money to charity instead of depositing it into their own bank account.

For example, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sold pictures of baby Shiloh to People Magazine for an undisclosed amount of money, which they donated to charity. And Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon have launched their own photo Web site chronicling snapshots of their twins. They ask only that if you use an image, you pay for it, with those proceeds going to the Fresh Air Fund's Camp Mariah.

Now, I don't want it to sound like I begrudge the famous (or somewhat famous) for benefiting off their children. My thought is that the paparazzi are going to hound the uber-famous relentlessly until they get photos of the babies, so the parents may as well be the one to control how those images are broadcast. It just boggles the mind about the amount of money these stars are raking in. The New York Times reports that some celebrities get $5,000 per tweet just for mentioning a company in their 140 characters. For one tweet!

I have a child, and a Twitter account. While I don't think I would sell my child's photo to the highest bidder to cover a tabloid magazine, I'll be happy to dress her in fancy duds and then blast a tweet about it. Where do I sign up? Anyone? Anyone?

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