Gillian Anderson on the “pressure” of motherhood: “It's that constant tug of war”

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Kayleigh Dray
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In WE: A Manifesto for Women, Gillian Anderson and co-author Jennifer Nadal delve into the issues that women today face.

Now, in a new interview, the actor – who has daughter Piper, 22, with ex-husband Clyde Klotz, and sons Oscar, 10, and Felix, eight, with former partner Mark Griffiths – has discussed the “pressure” women can feel once they become mothers to spend every moment with their children.

She tells You magazine: “[Maybe other mothers have] tougher nerve endings.

“[I do the] right thing [and play but] my kids can sense it's not easy for me. I struggled when Piper was little as well.

“I remember getting restless and feeling this pressure that I should be doing something else, but when I was doing something else feeling this pressure that I should be with my child.”

Anderson adds: “It's that constant tug of war...and I don't think I'm alone with that. I try to be tolerant and patient.

“How I am in the house depends on my time of the month: I'm either embracing of the noise or it’s nails on a chalk board. But they know that it's just Mum. There's an acceptance and a lovingness.”

In another interview, the 48-year-old actor and her co-author, Jennifer Nadel, told Red that women need to remember that they are their own person before they have children – and stressed how important it is not to neglect oneself after becoming a parent.

“[Having children] is a big invitation to abandon yourself,” said Nadel. “I had this image that we were just husks – we give birth and then our biological function was to serve the creatures that we've given birth to. And that's b****cks.”

However, Anderson went on to clarify that, while she prefers to continue working (she’s currently starring in The Fall, has returned to her iconic role as The X Files’ Scully and recently published WE), this is not necessarily the best course for everyone.

And, no matter what women decide to do with their lives, she insists that we should support one another in our choices and individuality, 100%.

“It should be okay for women to make the decision that they're deciding to give up work and go and be with their children, and that whatever becomes important to you can be okay to talk about,” she said.

“Any version of oneself is valuable and valid.”

Images: Rex Pictures


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.