Everyone takes notice when a successful woman like Oprah Winfrey says she doesn’t regret not having children

By Nina Steele 

Oprah WinfreyThere is no doubt that the prejudice against childless people, particularly women, is born out of a lack of awareness around the issue of childlessness. When you have been told since a young age that we are all meant to be parents, in many cases, it becomes extremely difficult to accept that there is another way. Which is why it matters for someone of Oprah Winfrey’s calibre to remind the world of what she, a childless woman has accomplished. Not only is she materially wealthy, she has also been in a relationship with the same man since 1986. That is longer than the average length of a marriage today, which is estimated to be around 12 years.

Not a week goes by these days without reading stories of loneliness in old age. It is now clear that relationships, not children, are what will ultimately determine the fate of a person in later life. For a long time, people have been lulled into a false sense of security, believing that all they needed to do was have children and their old age would be taken care of. It is now clear that while this may have been the case for past generations, it no longer is so today.

As Oprah Winfrey shows, the richness of a life is not how many children you have, but rather, whether you have people in your life who will always be there for you, no matter what. Not only can she count on her partner Stedman Graham, she also shares a strong bond with her best friend Gayle King, whom she has been friends with since 1976.

Talking of best friends, I recently got back in touch with my childhood friend after 20 years. She and I were inseparable as children and then teenagers, back in the Ivory Coast. Even after all these years, the strong bond that we once shared is still there. She chose to move to London because of me. Only time will tell how our friendship develops, now that we are two fully grown women, although my intuition tells me that she is one of the few people I can trust.

Going back to Oprah Winfrey, like many other happily childless celebrities, she is a role model. With someone like her around, how can anyone still have any doubts that life is what you make of it, not what society tells you to do. Instead of worrying about fitting in with what society considers to be the norm, she courageously chose to stick with what makes her happy.

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