More women than ever before are choosing not to have children and yet, unlike men, many child-free women find themselves under a harsh spotlight, often being grilled by friends and strangers alike asking deeply personal questions surrounding their reproductive choices.
And now Kate Humble, who was propelled to fame thanks to her presenting role on TV show Springwatch, has addressed the issue.
“The worst thing about being famous is when you have to justify in an interview a decision or point of view you feel is incredibly personal and nobody else’s business, which brings me back to the subject of children and the fact I don’t have them,” she told The Mirror, criticising the public for considering a “child-free” woman to be “extraordinary and fascinating”.
“I don’t like that sort of thing where you feel expected to justify things when you shouldn’t have to.”
The 48-year-old went on to reveal that she realised she would never want children of her own when she was 14.
“I don’t think I had even started my periods and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do,” said Humble.
“It was as fundamental as somebody saying, ‘I knew I was gay when I was a young teenager’ or ‘I knew I was transgender’.”
Read more: “Why I chose to have an abortion aged 35”
The Springwatch presenter made sure to underline the fact 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,.
Last year, 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 told Marie Claire 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