Work Life Balance

Perceptive Jennifer Westfeldt Doesn’t Find Regret An Incentive To Have Babies

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Jennifer Westfeldt Jon HammMany of of us first fell in love with 42-year-old Jennifer Westfeldt when she appeared in her film Kissing Jessica Stein. But for the record, her partner and Mad Men star Jon Hamm fell in love with her much earlier. And even though they’ve been together for 14 years, babies don’t seem to be high on their list of priorities. The actress may have always thought that a baby would have arrived by now, but the biggest feeling it seems that she can muster on the kids topic is possibly regret for not having them — and that just isn’t enough.

Jennifer and Jon sat down with The New York Times Magazine to chat about their film Friends with Kids, which Jennifer wrote, directed, and starred in. The premise involves two friends who, after being horrified with how having children strains partnerships, decide to just have a baby together. Yet when it comes to Jennifer’s own personal life, babies just haven’t happened — despite that she always figured that they would come along:

“I’ve thought about this a lot lately. I never thought I’d be this age and not have kids. But my life has also gone in a million ways I never anticipated.”

She continued: “I kept feeling like I’d wake up with absolute clarity, and I haven’t. And we have a pretty great life together. The chance that we’ll regret it doesn’t seem like a compelling enough reason to do it. I may wake up tomorrow with that lighting bolt, and I’ll have to scramble to make it happen. You were wondering how [Jon and I] make it work. One way is we’re really mobile. No one’s had to give up an opportunity they really wanted.”

Regret comes up a lot for modern women who are building or expanding families. Considering that the prime window for childrearing can be easily evaded with education, career, and other aspirations, women now have the opportunity to actually decide whether they truly want families as opposed to just going on auto-pilot. But as women achieve further options for their lives, Jennifer’s comment about regret not being “a compelling enough” reason to start a family is pretty relevant. Despite what commercially-packaged messages our culture sells about women’s fundamental wish to mother, we’re becoming increasing aware of women who honestly don’t desire children. The estimation that, in retrospect, they may wish that they had become a mother is their own chance to take. But building a family on simple regret alone isn’t a strong enough foundation to support any child.

(photo: WENN)