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A Letter from Brooke: On Motherhood—and its Many Forms

Welcome to April! We've finally made it into Spring, and this month we're talking about something that's incredibly dear to my heart: motherhood.  

For me, motherhood was the only thing I'd known for sure that I wanted to do since I was a really, really young person. I remember an interview when I was about 11: someone asked me what I wanted to do if I wasn't an actress, and I said I wanted to be a mother. I feel really lucky that I was so clear about it, because a lot of people struggle with the pressure to have children. To state the obvious, it's a true commitment: they take time, they cost money, and you're NEVER not worried or fearful that they're going to die. And then all of a sudden you wake up and they're in college! My older daughter recently went away to school, and I've been joking with her—half-joking, really!—that she should quit school and live with me forever, and we can be like Grey Gardens together. 

A strange and amazing thing about having children is that they're NOT you. They're their own human beings, and what's more, they're these youthful, flourishing bodies, which, when I look in the mirror, can feel...odd. It can be hard not to be jealous of your children: you're watching them bloom while you enter a different stage of life. I think that can be why mothers and daughters can have such fraught relationships. But by far, the positives outweigh the negatives. I marvel at my girls. I love them so much that I can feel it in my whole being. 

An important part of the conversation about motherhood is including those women who, for whatever reason, have not chosen it. I happen to be of the ilk that I thought I would die if I didn't have children—I went through IVF seven times, I lost my first, I went through so much because that's what I wanted. But it isn't for everyone, and it isn't fair to impose motherhood as a standard on women: there are so many ways to be maternal and supportive, and procreation is not the only way to make your mark on the world. For the friends of mine who don't have children, their life is conducted the way they want it to be. They make their own marks. And for what it's worth, I have a feeling not having children is why Betty White lived to be 100!  

Everything in life is about choices, and we're here to celebrate all the choices that we've made and have yet to make, whether we have children biologically, adopt, or nurture our communities in other ways. 

I said to my daughter Rowan the other day, "I would want you to be my best friend." I can't! I'm her mother! I can't go out to the clubs with her. But I like her so much—forget about love, I like and respect her so much. And no matter the logistical nightmares, the worries, the responsibility, and the heartbreak, I would choose that feeling every time. Here's to the mothers, the stepmoms, the mother figures, the aunties, the godmothers, the friends. Everything we are is because of you. 

xo, Brooke


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