In some alternate universe, a distant political galaxy unlike our own, Chelsea Clinton might be able to have her first child quietly. No one would care about the size of her baby bump. If and when Hillary Rodham Clinton announces a presidential run, her status as a grandparent would receive exactly the same scrutiny as her male predecessors who were grandfathers. That is not the country we live in.
Here is what to expect now that Chelsea Clinton is expecting: Her child, due in the fall, will arrive just months before Hillary Clinton may announce her next run for president. Even nonfamous women find that when they are pregnant, “your body becomes a public object,” as Julia Cheiffetz, a book editor and new mother in Brooklyn, put it. So imagine what could happen to Ms. Clinton, whose entry into motherhood could coincide with her family’s kickoff of a billion-dollar campaign in which biography and family are central strategic assets. Most pregnant women make a birth plan for when they go into labor: what to pack, how to get to the hospital.
Chelsea Clinton’s arrangements might involve disguises, private security consultants and public relations strategy. Ms. Clinton has been in the public eye for so long that she may be prepared for this kind of pregnancy. In 1992, at age 12, Ms. Clinton was featured in the “Man from Hope” video broadcast at the Democratic convention, assuring voters about her father’s character in the face of accusations of marital misconduct. Her graduation party at Stanford included two receiving lines, one for those who wanted to meet her father, another for meeting her mother, a fellow student recalled. Her 2010 wedding drew so much attention that her parents had to turn it into a covert operation, barring cameras and keeping the location secret.