parent opinion

Cameron Diaz and the paradox of motherhood: You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

So it seems that Cameron Diaz has been a bit of a trickster. After leading the world to believe she’d ‘shut up shop’ on motherhood, she announced on the weekend that she has now become a mum.

Well, that’s the essence of the sensational headlines about the news, which pretty much say: Cameron Diaz has become a mum at FORTY-SEVEN and we never saw this coming so this is a SURPRISE.

Of course, Diaz hasn’t actually misled anyone about anything. All she’s done is not become a mum before the age of 45, after which everyone just assumed ‘it wasn’t going to happen for her’.

Which is why now the world seems to be very surprised that she has ‘suddenly’ become a parent.

And, more to the point: at 47-years-old.

That’s almost 50, you guys, which is god damn geriatric. Diaz should be on the aged pension, spending her days in a Florida retirement village playing bingo. Not becoming a mum for the first time.

(Interestingly, her husband’s age hasn’t been in any of the headlines. But that’s a double-standard for another time.)

 

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Regardless of the fact that a woman’s body and personal choices are precisely no one’s business, in reality, there’s still a public conversation about both of those things.

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‘Public conversation’ is putting it nicely; we’re bloody obsessed with seeing high-profile women, especially, having babies.

But the paradox is, they can’t be ‘too old’ (like 47) when they do.

Jennifer Aniston is a prime example; despite her stellar career, there’s been much more interest in her personal life, and if/when she will have a child. Kylie Minogue is another. Much like Diaz, if either Aniston or Minogue announced today the very thing the world’s been waiting 25 years to hear – that she’s pregnant – we’d turn it into a ‘Pregnant at 50’ headline.

Which is why, despite Diaz’s plea for privacy (and closing of comments on her Instagram post) nothing will stop people discussing whether or not she is now ‘too old’ to become a mum.

cameron diaz benji madden
Cameron Diaz and her husband Benji Madden. Image: Getty.

That is one of the paradoxes of motherhood; you’re judged if you’re ‘too young’ – there’s endless reality shows about them – and especially, if you’re ‘too old’ like Diaz.

Basically: you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

And, as Diaz would discover if she dared to read some of the things being written about her announcement, the rhetoric surrounding ‘older mums’ is frustrating.

Whenever it's announced that a woman over 40 has had a baby, a maths equation is applied:

"Oh, so when her baby is 18, she'll be 65".

This is followed with the sentiment that it's not fair to kids to have ‘old parents’ – or, to be more truthful – ‘old mums’.

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It's a judgey attitude, because not everyone is lucky enough, or decides to, have babies whenever they want. They're also allowed to change their minds later in life.

Side note... Some of our favourite celebrities on parenting. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

We need to accept that the When When When? of motherhood is only answered by When and If She Wants.

Sure, science may say there’s an optimum age for pregnancy – but is there one for motherhood?

Yes, there’s a difference.

In 2012, when she was promoting What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Diaz told Access Hollywood:

“I’m totally open to having my own family, however that may come to me.”

However that may come.

That’s a direct acknowledgement of something many of this week’s reports are missing: you don’t have to give birth to become a mum.

Perhaps Diaz has used a surrogate. Perhaps she’s adopted a baby. Perhaps the baby arrived prematurely.

Which is why going back and looking at photos from recent months to try to detect signs of a bump, as some media have done, seems like an odd thing to do.

The focus should simply be on Diaz’s announcement:

“She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family,” the overjoyed new mum wrote.

So, let’s forget about Diaz’s age, and even how this baby came into the world, and focus on being happy for the new parents.


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