Celeb Single Moms Setting Bad Example?

Actress Jessica Alba appears onstage during MTV's "Total Request Live" at the MTV Times Square Studios Nov. 13, 2007 in New York. Getty Images/Scott Gries

What's up with Hollywood and the baby bump?

Jessica Alba is pregnant. The 26-year-old is due this summer.

And, just like a lot of the other A-list celebrities who've given birth, announced pregnancies or adopted recently, Alba isn't married.

As Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman noted Thursday, many other stars are choosing to forgo the walk down the aisle but opt for having a child, anyhow.

Susan Sarandon never wed her partner, Tim Robbins. Goldie Hawn never said "I do" to Kurt Russell. Sharon Stone adopted three children, two after she got divorced. A single Meg Ryan also adopted. And Oscar-winner Halle Berry isn't waiting for wedding bells. Her baby is due in February.

Young stars such as Alba and Nicole Richie embracing unmarried motherhood seem to be part of, and perhaps leading a trend.

The National Center for Health Statistics shows childbearing for single moms reached a record high in 2006.

And Diane Debrovner, Senior Editor of Parents magazine, says stars having kids out of wedlock makes it seem glamorous.

"I think," Debrovner told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Thursday, "because of our media obsession with celebrities and their every move ... they set the bar at what is sort of socially acceptable and fashionable in many ways."

She says she's sure that makes it more likely the average woman will look at the single celebrities and say, "If they can do it, why can't I?"

"The rate of births out of wedlock is higher than ever," Debrovner observed. "I don't know if celebrities are the main reason fueling that trend. But I think that the media make us feel that, if celebrities can do something, that that's something we should aspire to.

"And, absolutely, their life is very different than the average woman. And I hope that people remember that when they see these stories in the news.

"They have resources that most women don't have. They probably have a team of nannies waiting in the wings and a personal trainer at home.

"There are millions of wonderful single parents in this country and their children can thrive. But the reality is that, logistically and emotionally and financially, it's much more difficult to be a single parent than a parent with a partner."

Why is the number of single moms rising?

"I think that there are more women who are focusing on their careers and have not met the right man, for whatever reason, and their biological clocks are ticking," Debrovner replied, "and they decided this is an experience they don't want to miss, and they are making the decision to have a child on their own. There are celebrity examples of that. ... They have the resources to make that easier for them. That's a decision that more women are making now."
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