This morning Jennifer Aniston touched on something that comes up in my personal and professional life from time to time. In her interview with Carson Daly, she spoke about the constant pressure to get married and to have children.
Jennifer Aniston told Carson: “I don’t have this checklist of things that have to be done and if I’ve not checked them, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth or value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child."
I get what Jennifer is trying to say.
I’m the only anchor on TODAY's Take who doesn’t have a child. I’m not married, obviously. During Wednesday morning's Take segment, I explained how people say to me that 'I don't get it,' that I'm not an adult somehow, that I'm not a woman because I don't have a child. I’m taken aback by the idea that that empathy is bestowed upon you only because you are a parent.
Since the discussion with Al Roker and Willie Geist, there’s been a lot of positive response on Twitter from people who appreciated my saying that compassion and empathy should not be equated with parenthood.
I'm going to be 44 in a couple of weeks. I can only imagine the beautiful changes having a child brings to your life. I have three nieces and a nephew who say I am like their mother and although I don’t compare it to being home with a child every day, it’s a blessing.
But it is alienating sometimes, as a single person that people assume something’s wrong or that you don’t like kids, or don’t want kids. Or more importantly, that you’re not a woman or a sensitive human being.
At a recent event, I felt blocked in by a couple of women— career women —on the whole parent issue. When did that become OK? Because you are childless doesn’t mean you haven’t tried. I want kids someday, but I don’t like it when people make the assumption that a person without a child is not a relevant part of the conversation, not an adult.
It happens to people who are married without children. And it happens to people who have only one child, there are always people who say to them, “when you have two, then you’ll get it.” Or “you won’t understand until you have a girl.”
There’s always this goal post, the idea that you don’t get it, until … When does that end?
Every experience changes our perspective. The question is, are you more of an adult, more of a woman, if you have a child? I believe, as a person who wants a child someday, I am no less able to want the best for children and the best for this world. Not to diminish the spectacular and beautiful journey of parenthood, but don’t make me feel I am half an adult if I don’t have a child.
Caring has nothing to do with being a parent. I care because I’m a human being.