Amber Heard Is Redefining Motherhood On Her Own Terms

To take a cursory scroll through Instagram these days is to come away with the belief that everyone is getting pregnant these days. Whether it’s the lockdown effect or simply the fact that the global pandemic has led many of us to question our lifestyles and exactly where we direct our time, it seems numerous Hollywood stars to TV personalities and top models are sharing their news of baby joy. But amongst the congratulatory posts and gender reveals recently came a revelation from Amber Heard, who shared a picture of her newborn resting atop her chest. 

The actor broke the news of her first child via Instagram, announcing that the child was born via surrogate after Heard was told by doctors she couldn’t carry a child herself. But while the post alone garnered attention for the cuteness of the pic, it was the fact Heard expressed she acted on her own desire rather than the societal ideals that have been inculcated in our minds since the beginning of time that proved so remarkable.

In her Instagram post, Heard explained: “Four years ago, I decided I wanted to have a child. I wanted to do it on my own terms. I now appreciate how radical it is for us as women to think about one of the most fundamental parts of our destinies in this way. I hope we arrive at a point in which it’s normalised to not want a ring in order to have a crib.”

Heard continued, “A part of me wants to uphold that my private life is none of anyone’s business. I also get that the nature of my job compels me to take control of this. My daughter was born on April 8, 2021. Her name is Oonagh Paige Heard. She’s the beginning of the rest of my life.”

The idea of a child born via surrogate is nothing new, but to speak about it with such transparency and honesty is something we can only applaud Heard for doing. While you can’t help but think it a little sad that a story of a strong woman choosing to raise a child alone should cause such a stir, the fact is that for many, prevailing social expectations continue to obscure the choice to do so. 

Still, Heard’s announcement suggests social attitudes towards motherhood are changing – however slowly that may be. As Arwa Mahdawi writes in The Guardian, “Statistics point to an increase in the number of IVF cycles undertaken by single women in the UK, and celebrities such as the musician Natalie Imbruglia have helped to normalise women conceiving alone.”

While the cost of fertility treatments and surrogacy mean that for some it’s an unattainable option, it is helpful to know that the choice is up to the individual alone and not one governed by social constructs. As more women choose a path similar to Heard’s or perhaps choose to not have kids altogether, it’s a decision that should be respected.

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