Springwatch’s Kate Humble suffered “panic attack” at thought of having children

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Kayleigh Dray
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Kate Humble has made no secret of the fact that she doesn’t want to have children – ever.

And now, in a new interview, the 48-year-old has explained that she suffered a “panic attack” when she sat down to discuss the idea of starting a family with her 55-year-old husband Ludo Graham.

“[I had] what I can only describe as a panic attack,” she told The Telegraph.

The couple – who have been married for 25 years – have always been certain that they did not want to have children. However, after having their reproductive choices questioned incessantly, they decided to sit down and discuss what they would do if one of them had a change of heart.

During the conversation, Humble attempted to picture herself as a mother – and quickly found herself overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety.

“I broke down in tears and said: ‘I cannot do it’,” she said.

Humble continued: “It was kind of a primeval response [and] I don’t know where it came from.

“It was so strong, and that was the moment that I thought: ‘I’m never going to change my mind.’”

It is not the first time that Humble has publicly addressed her reproductive choices.

In a previous interview, the Springwatch presenter revealed that she was 14 when she first realised that she would never want children of her own.

“I don’t think I had even started my periods and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do,” she said.

“It was as fundamental as somebody saying, ‘I knew I was gay when I was a young teenager’ or ‘I knew I was transgender’.”

Humble added that she did not decide to prioritise her career over having children – and she has never considered it to be a sacrifice.

“You get these women who are uber-super women and want a career and kids but for me it wasn’t a choice of career over kids,” she said.

Humble is not the first woman in the spotlight to criticise the media’s obsession with “child-free” celebrities: Jennifer Aniston, Kim Cattrall, and Oprah Winfrey are among those who have called it out for what it is – unnecessary and deeply misogynist reporting on people’s personal choices.

Humble is, however, one of the first to draw a parallel between these reports and the mitigating effect that they have had upon her mental health.

A panic attack is a sudden rush of intense anxiety and physical symptoms – and can happen suddenly, often for no clear reason.

Symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • What feels like an irregular or racing heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • A choking sensation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling fingers
  • Ringing in your ears
  • A sense of dread
  • Feeling constantly on edge
  • Bursting into tears

They usually last somewhere from five to 20 minutes, and are caused by your body going into “fight or flight mode”.

If you suffer from anxiety, or experience panic attacks on a regular basis, experts advise that you visit you GP to explore the number of treatments available.

You can find out more information – including a series of approved self-care tips – on the Mind website.

Images: Rex Features



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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.