FORMER Friends star Jennifer Anniston set the record straight about her personal life last week, sparking a debate about motherhood in the process.
The 49-year-old actress spoke out after relentless speculation about her relationships after she split from second husband Justin Theroux.
She said: “The misconceptions are “Jen can’t keep a man,” and “Jen refuses to have a baby because she’s selfish and committed to her career.” Or that I’m sad and heartbroken.”
“No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me.
“They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally.
“There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?”
Here, we speak to two women, one a mum, one not, to see what they think.
Tracey’s Story: Why does anyone care if I have children or not?
Some people are meant to have children and some not.
I’m one of the nots and am always being asked why, asked to justify myself. Why should I?
It amazes me that these expectations still exist. Go to uni, get a job, meet a guy, get married, have babies.
Great, if that’s what you want, but it’s not for me.
Jennifer Aniston’s comments really resonated with me. Why are people so concerned about my relationship status and what does it matter to them whether I choose to have children or not?
No one ever asks a parent why they chose to have a child – so why is it acceptable the other way around?
I know that, nine times out of 10 there’s no malice intended, but it gets wearing.
At the age of 42, I’m still reassured by well-meaning folk that I’ll change my mind when I meet the right guy.
I think not.
Thankfully, I’ve never felt the need to be validated by having a man or children and have never yearned for someone else’s life instead of my own. I’m having a great time doing all the things
I’ve wanted to do and I have no wish to swap that for nappies and parents’ nights.
I remember once being told by a now ex-friend that if I had children I would “get it”.
Get what exactly? That her love or her worry had more value because she’s a mum?
There are plenty of ways to add value to this world and the misconception that a 40-something unmarried, childless women is somehow lacking hacks me off.
I work. I write, I’m a volunteer riding instructor at Riding For The Disabled. I’ve got great friends.
Some are married with children, and some are single girls always ready for a night out or a
last-minute city break.
I love my life. Some people are meant to have children and some are not. I’m one of the nots.
The friends I choose to spend my time with are all the family I need.
Samantha’s story: Being a mum is all I ever wanted. This is my dream
I have always wanted children. It was my one dream as a little girl; to grow up and become a mother. My siblings and I had a very happy childhood and I was inspired by own parents and the wonderful family they created. We are extremely close.
I was quite young when I had my first child, but from the minute she was handed to me there was an instant bond. I had felt nothing like it before. I found it easy being a mother, it came naturally. I have gone on to have three more children, my youngest six months ago and have felt the same way with every birth.
Despite the pain of childbirth, all the sleepless nights that followed and all the worry that goes with raising children, I would not change a thing. The joy I get from being a mother is 100 per cent worth it. I have never known love like the love I have for my children. There are no words to describe the strength of it. And there are no words to describe the joy they bring to me. Not a day passes when they don’t make me laugh or smile. I could not imagine a life without children.
And for me there is no more important job than being a mother. The children we raise will be the adults of tomorrow. They will take over from us. It is our job, as mothers, to make sure they learn from us and become the best adults that they can possibly be; that they make the world a better place.
Everyone is different, and has different opinions, and you have to respect that. Just because motherhood is everything to me, it is not the same for everyone and I accept that.
There are women who choose not to have children, and that is their choice, I would never criticise that choice. And then there are those women who would love to have children but are not able to, and my heart goes out to them.
In my opinion having children is the greatest gift in life. I am so grateful that it has been given to me.