With many couples choosing to delay having children, it’s becoming increasingly normalized for couples to intentionally remain childless. Some women go so far as to advertise this choice without apology, indicating their lives and careers are better now than if children were part of the equation.
But there continues to be a market for baby items galore, gossip over celebrity baby bumps, and the infamous ‘mommy wars’ because many people do still welcome children into their lives.
Here are nine women from a variety of backgrounds with different reasons to celebrate their motherhood and the fact that their lives have been enriched, not ruined, by the demanding and rewarding role of mom…
1. Kerri Walsh Jennings: Perspective and passion
“My priorities are my faith, my family, and my career,” the Olympian said to NBC’s Joe Fryer. “They [her kids] gave me that perspective and balance I thought I was missing. It took my game and my desire and my passion for life to the next level. I am hugely indebted to my children.” “My children have taught me so much. I want to be better because I’m their mommy,” she continued. “I want to be their best role model.”
2. Adele: Purpose
Her son, the singer says, “makes me very proud of myself. When I became a parent, I felt like I was truly living. I had a purpose, where before I didn’t.”
3. Beyonce: Her proudest moment
As someone with notable career success, she says “[o]ut of everything I’ve accomplished, my proudest moment hands down was when I gave birth to my daughter Blue.”
“I feel like I have something that has grounded me so much more,” the singer says. “Family has always been important. I’ve always had my mother and my father and my husband. But it’s just. . . .” She pauses. “Life is so much more than. . . It’s not defined by any of this [fame, money, attention, etc.].”
4. Kelly Clarkson: Real self-worth
“I never thought I was going to be a mom, so it’s very much changed my world in the most awesome way,” the singer said. “I love what I do, but I feel like I relied on my career a lot for my self-worth,” she said. “I’m a mother and a wife and have this whole other thing going on.”
5. Margaret Thatcher: Greatest bond in the world
Famed Prime Minister of Great Britain and mom to twins Carol and Mark said: “The fact is that women have children, and this mother-child bond is the greatest bond in the world. It’s far better to make something of it than try to act as if you had never had it.”
6. Blake Lively: Heart and happiness
“All the things I feel like I’m good at are thanks to my family . . . Family is at the heart of everything I do.” “This is the happiest time in my life, and I could say that every day,” the actress says.
7. Jill Abramson: Family forever
“I decided to have children at a pretty young age.” the journalist and former executive editor of the New York Times told Politico Magazine.
It was the very early 1980s, when the social instructions for women who wanted a big career were to wait until 35 or later, until one’s career was well-established. ‘That was a daring choice,’ she told me. ‘And it’s the happiest choice I made in my life, because now I’m reminded that jobs come and go, but your family is forever.'”
8. Bethany Hamilton: Blessings
“I’m loving being a mom and watching him [her son Tobias] grow,” the professional surfer told the Daily Mail.
“The first time he smiled gave me so much joy it was insane and there is never a dull moment in my life now . . . I have a wonderful husband and a son and a magical career. That is a lot of blessings to be thankful for.'”
9. Liv Tyler: Personal strength
“My favorite thing about being a parent is that I learn so much from the push-and-pull dynamic of mother and child,” the actress said. “Having children, I learned about my own strength.”
Preach it, ladies.
These nine women are examples of people who have kids alongside notable careers, proving that parents’ lives can be greatly enriched by the challenges of motherhood, as the childless by choice crowd seems to believe is impossible.