On BBC Woman’s Hour Takeover actor speaks out at being described as childless and says motherhood is not just about giving birth.
Kim Cattrall has spoken of her anger at being described as childless and said that she considered herself a mother, despite not having offspring.
In a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, which she is guest-editing on Monday, the Sex and the City actor says that being a mother is not just about giving birth and changing nappies.
“I am not a biological parent, but I am a parent. I have young actors and actresses that I mentor, I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to,” she tells host Jane Garvey.
“There is a way to become a mother in this day and age which doesn’t include your name on the child’s birth certificate. You can express that maternal side, very clearly, very strongly. It feels very satisfying.
“I didn’t change nappies, which is okay with me, but I did help my niece get through medical school. I did sit down with my nephew when he was [going through] a very tough time to join the army. And those are very motherly things to do, very nurturing things to do.”
Cattrall reflects on the way she and other women in her position are labelled. “It’s the ‘less’ that is offensive: childless – it sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child,” she says.
“I think for a lot of women from my generation it wasn’t a conscious choice. It was a feeling of: ‘Well, I’m on this road and things are going really well, I’m really happy, I’ll do it next year, I’ll do it two years, I’ll do it in five years.’”
“And then suddenly you’re in your early 40s and you think: ‘Maybe now?’ And you go to your doctor and she says: ‘Yes we can do this but you have to start to become a bit of a science experiment here because we have to find out how you can stay pregnant.’
“And I just thought: ‘I don’t know if I want it that much.’”
The 59-year-old, who was born in Liverpool but moved to Vancouver as a baby, appeared earlier this year in Sensitive Skin, a Canadian remake of the decade-old Hugo Blick drama starring Joanna Lumley, about a successful fiftysomething with a fear of losing her youth.
Ageing, and what it is like being single in later life, is another issue she addresses on Woman’s Hour. Cattrall concedes that men may be too intimidated to ask her out. “I’m not your average single woman. I come with, as all men and women of a certain age, they come with baggage,” she says.
“It’s hard for everybody. To be single at this age is really difficult, because you know so much more about what you want and what you don’t want and what you’ll put up with, and you’ve been there and done that so many times at this point. I have anyway. I feel in that area, romantically, retired.”
Other guests taking part in Woman’s Hour Takeover week are businesswoman and founder of Ultimo lingerie Michelle Mone, FGM awareness campaigner Nimko Ali, Anglican bishop Rachel Treweek and children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson.