We’re not quite sure what to make of this. Can you describe yourself as a mum if you don’t have kids?
Speaking on Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 today, actress Kim Cattrall says she considers herself to be a parent even though she has never given birth, adopted or fostered children.
So why the claim? She feels that she expresses her maternal side through the time she spends with her nieces and nephews and mentoring aspiring young actors.
“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,” Kim explains to the show’s presenter, 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.”
Kim goes on to explain how she feels she has played a ‘mum’ role with younger members of her family – even if it wasn’t at the traditional coal-face of parenting.
“I didn’t change nappies, which is okay with me,” she said. “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.”
Kim, 59, also reveals that she struggles with the term ‘childless’.
“It’s the ‘less’ that is offensive: childless – it sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child,” she says, and adds that for many women, not becoming pregnant is not a planned out thing.
“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.’”
Some real food for thought here. Do you think Kim is right? What defines being a mum – is it being your child’s prime carer or biological parent, or is it about being there to support and help steer a child through certain points in their life? We’d love to know what you think, so come and join in the debate in our forum.