Dear Naomi Campbell, nobody asked for your opinion on Gen Z’s lack of maternal instinct

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Jun 13, 2024 at 10:36 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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Model and media personality Naomi Campbell recently made headlines for expressing concern about younger women being discouraged from having children due to economic factors. In an interview with The Times, Campbell urged young women to reconsider, asserting that the financial commitment of parenthood is “worth it.”

The 54-year-old British supermodel welcomed two children via surrogate in 2021 and 2023. In the interview, Campbell expressed: “I’ve heard a lot of young girls saying that it’s too expensive to have children and they may not want them. But I tell them, ‘You will change your mind. You will want to be a mum’. I understand economically it is tough. But my mum had nothing and she made it work. It’s worth it. It is so amazing.”

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A post shared by Dr .🧿Naomi Campbell (@naomi)

Now, it was at this point in the interview that my skin started to itch. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but sometimes, it’s better to keep it to yourself. Naomi, this time, it probably would’ve been better to maybe just not say anything.

Why do I say this? Because Gen Z is grappling with numerous challenges: the cost of living crisis, the long shadow of COVID lockdowns, wars in Ukraine and Gaza, the lingering effects of austerity, the climate crisis, pressures in education, discrimination against minorities, the pervasive influence of social media, the decline of the high street, and the increasing complexity of modern life.

According to data from Australian research company Red Bridge, over half of 18- to 34-year-olds are opting out of parenthood due to financial challenges, as reported by the New York Post. Among these young adults, 35 per cent are university-educated, and 33 per cent earn more than $2,000 a week.

And owning a home anytime soon? That’s an almost impossible mission.

Don’t get me wrong, Campbell is right to have concerns about declining birth rates. However, I believe the focus should shift from fearing that people don’t want children to acknowledging that many simply can’t afford to have them.

The fertility rate in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1939. Indeed, the ONS recently reported that “total fertility,” calculated based on the birthrate across different age groups, fell to 1.49 children per woman in 2022, well below the 2.1 needed to maintain a steady population without significant immigration.

However, given all the issues Gen Z is currently facing, the model’s perspective seems a bit out of touch with reality. Campbell has the blessings and resources to become a mother of two through IVF in her early 50s, a luxury many can’t afford. It’s beautiful, but it’s far from the typical situation most of us are in.

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A post shared by Dr .🧿Naomi Campbell (@naomi)

During the interview, Campbell also raised an important issue about the increased openness surrounding mental health among young people today compared to previous generations.

“Young people feel comfortable coming out and sharing that they have a problem. Before, you were considered crazy or self-obsessed if you said, ‘I am going to see a psychologist or psychiatrist or a shrink’. That’s ignorant; there’s nothing wrong with bettering your quality of life. There’s nothing wrong with going to rehab to recover,” the supermodel told The Times.

Financial stability, housing affordability, and climate anxiety are just a few of the hurdles making parenthood seem like a distant dream for many. While it’s admirable to highlight the joys of parenthood, let’s also make sure we acknowledge the very real challenges that come with it in today’s world.

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