Country-pop superstar Carrie Underwood takes great pride in her devoted fan base, all of whom gravitate to Underwood for her masterful blend of down-home charm, undeniable vocal talent, and warm social media presence. Underwood and her husband, former hockey player Mike Fisher, have a three-year-old son named Isaiah, and Underwood recently took to Twitter to announce her second pregnancy to her very excited fans. While Underwood’s news inspired countless messages of support and joy from her fans, it came at an interesting time.
Just days prior to Underwood’s Twitter pregnancy announcement, Redbook released a cover story featuring the singer, in which she spoke at length about her future family plans. During her interview, the magazine asked Underwood if she wanted a big family. She had a (supposedly) controversial response:
“I'm 35, so we may have missed our chance to have a big family. We always talk about adoption and about doing it when our child or children are a little older. In the meantime, we're lucky to be a part of organizations that help kids, because our focus right now in our lives is helping as many kids as possible.”
Underwood’s answer reflected a candid response to a loaded question, but some fans didn’t quite appreciate her characterization of age 35 as “too old” for a large family. Critiques and rebuttals flooded in via Twitter and Instagram:
Many of the online messages also contained words of encouragement, but the fact that Underwood couldn’t air a perception of her own body without inadvertently inviting others to weigh in speaks to a larger issue around the way society talks about (or, rather, doesn't talk about) fertility.
While Underwood ended up being able to conceive a child at age 35, many women do experience reproductive struggles over the years, so the apprehensions she voiced in Redbook weren’t misplaced. In fact, the candor with which she shared her personal concerns should be applauded. Issues surrounding conception and pregnancy shouldn’t be concealed beneath a veil of secrecy, especially when open conversation can do so much good. Yes, many women are perfectly capable of having children past their mid-thirties, but plenty of others share Underwood’s anxiety over being “too old”, and seeing her statement in print may help those women feel less alone. Honesty and openness around sensitive topics should be encouraged, and celebrities like Carrie Underwood can do a lot to help that happen on a larger scale.