TV presenter Kate Humble’s honesty about never wanting children is brave and commendable

By Nina Steele 

There is a tendency for people in the public eye who do not have children to say that they would love to have them. It is almost as if there is an unspoken rule never to say they don’t want children in case it damages their careers.

A few weeks ago, we were reminded that the only reason why TV presenter Anthony McPartlin, one half of the TV duo Ant and Dec, does not yet have children, is because he and his wife have been struggling to conceive. He is reported to have said: “We would love to have a family so fingers crossed. If we’re blessed with children, then we’d be over the moon”. Since having children is obviously seen as an advantage and a boost to a celebrity’s career, those who have chosen to be childfree often feel reluctant to speak out.

Which is why I applaud Kate Humble’s honesty on the subject. It is not an exaggeration to say that many media outlets are obsessed with celebrity pregnancies. As I have written before, not a day goes by without a story about a pregnant celebrity in one of the tabloids. Also, society’s innate bias against childless women means that often, only male celebrities can get away with saying openly that they do not want children. For a woman still in the prime of her career to come forward in the way that Kate Humble has done is quite remarkable.

We learned that the very thought of having children made her have a ‘panic attack’ and that ‘she was lacking a maternal gene’. She goes on to say “by choice I have said I do not want to have children, and that still seems to be quite odd and you do still seem to be quite judged for it”. Being well aware of the stigma around this issue, she felt compelled to come forward to help other women out there who have also made the choice not to have children. Of this she said “women could turn around and say, at last there’s somebody there in the public eye who feels the same way we do.”

Whatever we think of celebrities, the fact remains that they have the power to change public opinion. If all we hear about is celebrities gushing about parenthood, then the perception will always be that having children is what we are all meant to do. If however, more childfree celebrities come forward as Kate Humble has done, then the message that you can have a full and happy life without children, will gradually sip into the public consciousness.

Kate Humble

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