Women might be the gender taxed with childbearing, but it’s no news that motherhood isn’t for everyone. This, however, doesn’t stop questions from being thrown at childless women concerning their lack of offspring.
Even huge celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have been put on the spot and questioned on her marital status and why she decided to remain childless for years.
In her interview with People in October 2019, she opened up about having no regrets about her decision not to marry or have a child.
According to her, if she had married her partner Stedman Graham, it would have changed the dynamic of their relationship so much that they wouldn’t have been able to last as long as they have.
Winfrey Explains Why She Never Had Children
In an issue of People’s magazine which celebrates great Women Changing The World, Winfrey talked about why she never married or had children. The billionaire told People that after she met Graham at a charity event in 1986, and they got engaged, she once considered motherhood.
“At one point in Chicago, I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking,’ Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,” she said. Although this never came to be, Winfrey said that while on her show, she saw “the depth and responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother.”
“I realized, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is,'” she said.
“I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize the way I see other women do. It is why, throughout my years, I have had the highest regard for women who choose to be at home [with] their kids, because I don’t know how you do that all day long. Nobody gives women the credit they deserve.”
Winfrey Doesn’t Regret Her Choices
She also spoke about her relationship with Stedman and how she doesn’t regret any decision concerning it.
“I used to think about this all the time, that I was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and then I go home, and I have my two dogs, and I have Stedman, who’s letting me be who I need to be in the world. He’s never demanding anything from me.”
She continued, “Both he and I now say, ‘If we had married, we would not be together.’ I have not had one regret about that. I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfill it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she said. “Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal.”
Winfrey Was A Teen Mother
Although Winfrey doesn’t have any children now, she was a mother in her early teens for a short while due to a traumatic experience. In an emotional episode of “The Me You Can’t See” docuseries, Winfrey shared the terrifying experience of being sexually assaulted and raped by her cousin.
While recalling the trauma, the 67-year-old couldn’t hold her tears and broke down.
“At nine and 10 and 11 and 12 years old, I was raped by my 19-year-old cousin. I didn’t know what rape was. I certainly wasn’t aware of the word. I had no idea what sex was; I had no idea where babies came from; I didn’t even know what was happening to me.” She said.
She survived the gruesome abuse, got pregnant, and gave birth to a baby boy at 14; however, the child only lived for two weeks.
She Would Change Nothing Of Her Past
In a report written by The Irish Examiner, Winfrey opened up to David Letterman about some aspects of her experiences and how she truly feels about it now.
She said, “I buried all of my feelings about it. I really felt like that baby’s life — that baby coming into the world— really gave me new life. That’s how I processed it for myself.”
Winfrey also said that if she had the power to change anything, she would change nothing in her past because that made her who she is today. Her experience built deep empathy in her, which is one of the reasons she is now a powerful figure able to impact lives.
“I would take nothing from my journey,” Winfrey said. “Everybody’s looking for the same thing; I know what it feels like to not be wanted … you can use it as a stepping stone to build great empathy for people.”