People are waiting until later in life to have kids. For the first time in history, the median age for motherhood in the United States just hit 30, while the average age of dads is also rising — up to 31 years in 2017.
Though this is rather new data, there are some women who waited until later in life to have kids long before different life and society circumstances (Hi, unstable economy and dismantling of the patriarchy!) came into play. Geena Davis, actress and mother of three, explained that she waited until her 40s to start a family, and she was “really grateful” for that.
The comment came during an appearance on Loose Women, British news channel ITV’s daytime news segment, where she explained, “I'm really grateful that I had children in my 40s because I knew I'd be more involved.”
Davis, 66, shares three children — daughter Alizeh, 20, and 18-year-old twin sons Kaiis, and Kianwith — with former partner Reza Jarrahy.
The A League of Their Own star went on to explain that her desire for kids later in life stemmed from internal work she wanted to do on herself so that she could be a confident model for her kids — even if that risked her chances of ever having kids.
“I wanted to wait, [and] was hoping that I could still have kids. But I thought, ‘I'll be more evolved the longer I wait,’” she admitted. “I didn't have a lot of self-esteem but I was really determined that my children would have self-esteem.”
This is not the first time that Davis has opened up about having kids later in life and the benefits of doing so. In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, she echoed her current sentiments of feeling “lucky” to have kids later in life.
“Because I just feel like I changed so much,” she explained. “I always knew I wanted kids, but what I was doing waiting that long, I don't know. I never tried before, in other words. But it's been great.”
Becoming a mom spearheaded Davis’ desire to investigate and make an actionable difference in the unequal representation between men and women in film. She mentioned to PEOPLE in a 2020 interview that when she would watch TV and film with her children, she began asking thoughtful questions about why more men were on the screen than women.
“From when they were little, I've always watched movies and TV with them and I would often lean over to say, ‘There's only boys in that scene. Why do you think that is?’” Davis explained. “I was bothered by the idea that we were showing kids a very imbalanced world from the beginning…I saw that there were so far fewer female characters than male characters."
These small but meaningful conversations with her kids led her to found the Geena Davis Institute on Gender In Media in 2004. The institute is a US non-profit research organization that researches gender representation in media and advocates for equal representation of women.
In Sep. 2022, Davis was honored at the Emmy Awards with the the Governors Award for the institute “in recognition of their efforts to promote gender balance and foster inclusion throughout the entertainment industry.”