With Britney Spears’s Pregnancy Announcement, the Princess of Pop Is Finally Free

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Oh, baby, baby, Ms. Britney Spears is pregnant. Britney already has two teenage kids from her previous marriage to K.Fed, and she’s now expecting her third child with first-time papa and actor Sam Asghari. The news found me not so much excited as relieved. We’ve had so much major Britney news of late that more trouble and strife would have tipped me over the edge.

Where to start? Last year saw a sisterly spat between Britney and Jamie Lynn (not unconnected to the press circuit of Jamie’s tell-all memoir). As it simmered down, some of us felt the sharp drop in Britney’s biblically long, emoji-heavy Instagram captions, which served as a rare moment of true mindfulness. But her announcement post felt more succinct—meandering from food baby to baby baby. I’m reading into the short text like a palmist with a juicy hand, but Britney does feel calmer here, less retort-y.

I also think it’s great (for want of a better word) that she’s spoken about her perinatal depression. It’s so patently obvious looking back that Brit was in pain and mentally anguished in the months after her second son was born. Images of her shaving her head and attacking paps were delicious gossip, but now we feel like impolite bystanders rubbernecking the brutal unraveling of a young woman. We’re all complicit, but the people closest to her were unwilling to press pause on the machine of her fame. The hit factory needed a sabbatical, but rather than let her rest, Britney’s agency was all but erased.

Britney’s choke-hold conservatorship was terminated last November after a rather gut-wrenching plea from Spears herself: “I would like to progressively move forward…to be able to get married and have a baby.” Rumors of a mandated IUD feel even more true in light of the announcement. Britney has control of her body back, and she’s striding forward with zest into family life. It feels pretty bleak to state out loud, but isn’t physical autonomy the ultimate freedom? To go where you please, to procreate at your own will. To have that returned is a sort of fairy tale.

All babies mean something, but Britney’s tot is an act of defiance. It’s somewhat silly to say, but with the baby announcement Britney is being reborn as well. We’re witnessing the genuine action of Britney with nothing between her and us. There’s nothing disingenuous about Before Brit, but there’s a lot of artifice that comes with a life on the stage and more than a decade of court control. There have been so many cycles of Britney Spears, each one conducted by a record company with an agenda (that’s showbiz, kid) or a family that’s seized their main asset. But this new era of Britney is completely on her own terms: no smoke, no mirrors. 

And in a way it doesn’t matter what Britney does with the rest of her life; I will always be interested, imprinted as she was on my adolescent self. But it’s not the pregnancy that makes me happy. It’s simply that this woman who was so heavily controlled—financially, physically, and, I assume, spiritually—has a chance to do whatever the hell she pleases. It’s not about babies or weddings or albums; it’s not about sisters or fathers or fans that adore. It’s simply about Britney doing Britney. Making choices for herself on her own time. Could anything be more free?





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