After rising up from a hard life, Oprah Winfrey chose to never be a mom or marry, even though she and her partner have been together for 30 years.
Trigger warning: Mention of child abuse
Many of us may have a difficult past which we prefer to keep hidden, not just from others but from ourselves too. After all, acknowledging and dealing with negative emotions can be tiring and frustrating. However, there are some brave people who choose to open up about the hardest struggles of their lives and they deserve understanding for it. Healing is not a straight line but a curved one, and patience is important.
Oprah Winfrey, 66, has been a fantastic TV host and actress for many years. She is now a media mogul but her initial years were hard. Winfrey has talked about the abuse she suffered as a child and how that affected her. She faced sexual assault many times as a child and was only nine when she was first attacked.
"I was raped at 9 years old by a cousin, then again by another family member and another family member," she was quoted as saying by News.com.au. She became pregnant as a result of the assault and felt "pain and shame."
She gave birth to a son and she revealed during an event in Australia what she had named her son, whom she lost as he was born prematurely. "I did an interview with a reporter before I came to Australia and she said you should name the baby son who died,” she told the audience. "So I have named him, I had a little boy named Canaan. I did have a son. And I named him Canaan because Canaan means new land, new life," said she.
All these years later, she has opened up about her hard life to inspire others to talk about it. "It happened to me at 9, and then 10, and then 11, and then 12, 13, 14. You don’t have the language to begin to explain what’s happening to you. That’s why you feel you’re not going to be believed. And if the abuser, the molester, is any good, they will make you feel that you are complicit, that you were part of it. That’s what keeps you from telling," she said in 2018 to People.
After rising up from poverty and working hard for years, the Wrinkle in Time actress chose to never have a child of her own. Instead, she has supported many kids through college and by building schools in African countries, according to the Root. "Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal," she told People, referring to the students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
Winfrey was born to an unwed single mom and respects the job of being a mother, but doesn't want to be one. However, she had considered it when she and her partner of more than 30 years, Stedman Graham, were engaged. "At one point in Chicago I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking, ‘Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,'” she told People.
However, she realized "the depth of responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother" while working on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She said that she chose to not be a mom because she takes that role very seriously. "I realized, 'Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is.' I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize the way I see other women do. It is why, throughout my years, I have had the highest regard for women who choose to be at home [with] their kids, because I don’t know how you do that all day long. Nobody gives women the credit they deserve," she said.
"I used to think about this all the time, that I was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and then I go home and I have my two dogs and I have Stedman, who’s letting me be who I need to be in the world. He’s never demanding anything from me like, 'Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my dinner?' Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married," she added. "Both he and I now say, 'If we had married, we would not be together,'" she adds. "No question about it — we would not stay married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it," she added, saying that she doesn't regret her decision.