Helen Mirren: 'Childbirth digusts me'

Filed under: Just For Moms, Your Pregnancy

A good friend of mine says she knew at a young age that she never wanted to be a mother. Of course, everyone told her that her feelings would change as she grew older, but they were wrong. She just celebrated her 50th birthday and has no regrets that she never had a child.

Although my friend can't say just why she didn't want children, some people can pinpoint precisely the moment their child-free destiny was sealed. Like actress Helen Mirren. The Oscar-winning actress says she was traumatized out of motherhood by a sex-education film she saw as a young teen.

"They sat us all down, girls and boys, in this horrible school hall. This tweed skirted, dykey sort of woman with short, cropped hair comes on, and tells us about the miracle of childbirth. Then this film comes on, which is a midwives educational film. There is a close-up of a woman having a baby, a close up straight up her vagina, and that's all you see, and these are thirteen year old boys and girls, and its bloody and disgusting. Within thirty seconds two boys had fainted and the lights went on and they were carried out. I put my hands over my face because I realized I couldn't watch this."

"I swear it traumatized me, I haven't had children and I can't look at anything to do with childbirth, it absolutely disgusts me," she says.

In reading this article, I realize that Mirren and my childless friend have something else in common: bad relationships with their own mothers. The way Mirren describes her mother sounds very much like the way my friend describes her own mother. "She was horrible, she could say very cruel things and it was difficult at home. I've sort of wiped it from my memory actually. She wasn't born to be a mother. She could be mean. She'd say just very, very hurtful, bitchy things. It was impossible for us ever to take a boyfriend home."

Gee, do you think that experience might have something to do with her feelings about motherhood?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.