When you’re a woman over 30 who doesn’t have children, it can feel – in a world of primary-school reading groups and soccer presentation nights – like you’re the odd one out. A walking taboo.
And the question of why you’re not like the others can hang in the air at every unfamiliar social function.
Inspired by a piece in New York Magazine, we bring every woman living awesomely without kids some support and ammunition – the very best words on living child-free from 15 excellent public people.
1. Julia Gillard
“I’m not sure I could have [balanced having children with my career]. There’s something in me that’s focused and single-minded and if I was going to do that, I’m not sure I could have done this.” – Australian Story, 2013
2. Ellen DeGeneres
“Honestly, we’d probably be great parents. But it’s a human being, and unless you think you have excellent skills and have a drive or yearning in you to do that, the amount of work that that is and responsibility — I wouldn’t want to screw them up! We love our animals.” – People, 2013
3. Helen Mirren
“It was not my destiny, I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn’t care what people thought … It was only boring old men [who would ask me]. And whenever they went, ‘What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl,’ I’d say ‘No! F*** off!’” – Vogue, 2013
4. Renee Zellweger
“Motherhood has never been an ambition. I don’t think like that. I never have expectations like ‘when I’m 19 I’m going to do this, and by the time I’ve hit 25 I’m going to do that’. I just take things as they come, each day at a time, and if things happen, all well and good. I just want to be independent and be able to take care of myself. Anything else is just gravy.” – the Late Show With David Letterman, 2008
5. Ricki-Lee Coulter
“We both don’t want kids… I don’t know whether it’s my experience [being raised by a single, teenage mum] as a kid, but I know how crazy my life is and how all over the place it is, and you have to be selfish to do what I do.” – Daily Mail, 2014
6. Khloe Kardashian
“People assume I’m desperate for a baby. And yes, I would love to have a baby. But I’m 28, and I’ve been married three and a half years. I love my life, but it doesn’t feel incomplete right now. Please. People want to assume that I’m devastated [about Kim’s pregnancy]. I couldn’t be happier.” – Redbook, 2013
7. Gloria Steinem
“I’m completely happy not having children. I mean, everybody does not have to live in the same way. And as somebody said, ‘Everybody with a womb doesn’t have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer.” – Chelsea Lately, 2011
8. Oprah Winfrey
“I never had children, never even thought I would have children. Now I have 152 daughters; expecting 75 more next year. That is some type of gestation period.” – Extra TV, following the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in 2007