More women than ever are choosing not to have children. And yet, unlike men, many child-free women find themselves under a harsh spotlight, often being grilled by family, friends and strangers alike asking deeply personal questions surrounding their reproductive choices.
And now Christine Bleakley – who found fame thanks to her presenting skills on This Morning, Strictly Come Dancing, The One Show, and more – has addressed the issue.
Bleakley is a stepmother to Frank Lampard’s two daughters from a previous relationship, yet certain media outlets and members of the public still persist on asking her when (and how) she intends to get pregnant herself.
“I am always being asked when I am going to have a baby,” she shares with You Magazine.
“Everyone seems to be fascinated by my body clock.”
Bleakley goes on to reveal that she has been forced to sit back on numerous occasions and read baseless reports in the press about her and Lampard’s “struggles to conceive” and their “IVF journey.”
“[But IVF] isn’t something we have thought about,” she tells the publication.
“I know friends who have torn themselves apart and jeopardised their relationship because going through IVF was so traumatic and I don’t know if I could do that to myself or Frank.
“I’m not one of those women who was thinking about babies at the age of 18, and when I first met Frank it wasn’t on the agenda.”
Bleakley adds: “If it happens, it happens, but right now all is well in my world as it is.”
Read more: “Why I chose to have an abortion aged 35”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a woman in the spotlight has been quizzed about her child-free status – and we doubt it will be the last.
A few months ago, Kylie Minogue explained that, in spite of all the fertility issues caused by chemotherapy and her more mature age, people still persist on informing her that she has ‘options’.
“Trust me, there's a point when the next person who says, 'Well, there are so many options', you want to scream,” she said.
“Of course, it's great there are options. It's marvellous! But when you're dealing with all the other stuff and things that you took for granted are taken away from you, it's like, yes there are options, but…”
And in 2016, Jennifer Aniston penned a blistering op-ed about sexist stereotyping in the media – particularly focusing on the stigma attached to so many women in the public eye, whether they’re single, divorced, or living a child-free lifestyle.
She later said that she was sick of being ‘shamed’ for her choices, saying: “I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.”
The moral of this story? Stop asking women if and/or when they’re going to have children.
Images: Rex Features