Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

Congratulations, Sandra Bullock. Let That Baby Love You Well.

So Sandra Bullock adopted a child. I’m happy for her.

I am, really. I think that I might have actually welled up this morning, when I saw the headline and clicked to see that picture of her, smiling as she nuzzled her brand new baby boy. I’m not usually moved by stories of celebrities giving birth or adopting children – so many ordinary women and men do this every day; why is the expansion of a celebrity family any more significant? – and so the catch in my throat and the tears in my eyes took me by surprise, a little.

Although, why should I have been surprised? Sandra Bullock has been, I think, on the minds of so many women (and men too, perhaps), as a woman towards whom we felt pity, on whose behalf we felt outrage, for whom we wished some measure of happiness, any measure of happiness, to offset what we imagined must be the horrible pain of being publicly betrayed by someone trusted and loved. That there is, now, a source for such happiness – and is there any greater source of happiness, other than nurturing romantic love, than the love of a child? (despite anything a tired mom might say to the contrary) (and perhaps it is only parents who feel this way, but still) – for Sandra is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And that she found that source and pursued it so quietly, so far away from cameras and reporters and public relations professionals, and kept it to herself for as long as she needed to, makes it seem all the sweeter. I’m not sure why, but it does. So, yes, happy.


When I tweeted about it, someone responded with a question about why celebrities seem to adopt when their marriages are falling apart: ‘are they reaching out to children to make themselves feel better?’ I replied that Sandra Bullock would have begun the adoption process long before she knew that her partner was cheating (‘that makes him even more of an ass,’ someone remarked in response), but that that was, in any case, beside the point. Children do provide love. Children do make us feel better. That’s not to say that we should bear children or adopt children any time we’re in need of a boost; it’s just to acknowledge a truth about why we are so nourished by parenting, even when, on the face of it, it sometimes appears to be more of a torment. We get something very important out of parenting, out of being moms and dads: we get love. Sure, we give love, and that’s important too, but at the core of it, being a parent is an inherently selfish act, because we get so much love. Children give us so much love.


This is one of the reasons, I think, that so many were appalled by Jillian Michaels’ remarks about adoption the other week (I am leaving alone her remarks about the maternal body; I have been there and raged at that and now feel a little badly that I got so upset): she seemed to frame adoption as a sacrifice, as something people do for children. They rescue them, was her suggestion. She quite liked the idea of rescue; she would like to do that, she thought. And that not only misses the point of having children – by adoption or otherwise – but confuses it entirely. We don’t have children – adopt them or give birth to them or summon them by stork – as a favor to them. They come to us as a favor to us. They are a gift to us. They rescue us.

So it will be for Sandra. I am happy for her.



Comments read comments(12)
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posted April 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm

It’s so true. My kids have given me perspective, hope and love. I hope that someday they get to experience the gift of parenthood too. Happy for Sandra indeed.

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Mary P (Barnmaven)

posted April 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Well said, Catherine. I think you are on to something.

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Mary P (Barnmaven)

posted April 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Well said, Catherine. I think you’re on to something here.

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posted April 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Lovely article Catherine. Probably the best I’ve read during this entire fiasco the last few months. Thanks for posting it. I hope Sandy herself stumbles on it or someone passes it along to her. Blessings, C

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Michelle Lamar

posted April 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm

OMG—I saw it on my iPhone and totally welled up. Sandra Bullock=awesome. She’s so cool she could be from Canada.

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Sarah Ethel Hammett

posted April 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm

They actually brought home the baby months before the scandal happened, so her marriage may have fine then. They also first started the process 4 years ago. She’s just now choosing to announce it because some of the hype has gone down some.

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posted April 29, 2010 at 7:19 am

Sandra I am from Montreal Canada, I have always love you, I have everyone of your movies my favorite actress of all time, I am a biker and a car guy, yes I do have a Harley, I can’t watch monster garage cause I have never care for Jesse even less now, Blind Side I have watch it 3 time and will probably watch 4 more time, I have follow every story about my actress since the Oscar it broken my hearth to see going through this pain put to see the picture of Loui and you and reading this story have brought me to tears and happiness just has much has my grand daughter was born one years ago. Sandra and now Loui you will be in my hearth every day.

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posted April 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Good for Sandra! Am happy for her and know that this little guy will bring her joy….

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Mandi Bone

posted April 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I get that all the time that we saved our daughter who we adopted. I always correct them no I didn’t save her she saved me.

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posted May 4, 2010 at 9:12 am

I know she’s gonna be a good mum! She shines and looks so happy with baby in her arms!

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posted May 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

I’ve been watching the news this morning as I was getting ready, and of course there is an outrage because Sandra adopted a beautiful black baby. I don’t see what the big deal is. Caucasions adopt ASIAN babies all the time, and you don’t see a HUGE outrage on that. it’s not about the race, color, or whatever the baby is or the new parent is. As long as they are loved and well taken care of. I think Sandra would make a fantastic mom. Come on, look how well she was with her stupid retards EX’s kids. She’s giving a child a great opportunity in life. What’s so wrong with that? all I can say to her is….KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK….AND LOVE THAT BABY WITH ALL YOUR HEART. DONT LISTEN TO WHAT ANYONE SAYS. IT’S THAT NEGATIVITITY THAT WILL END UP EATING AWAY AT THEM, AND IN THE END YOU STILL HAVE YOUR BEAUTIFUL BABY. As for everyone that is outraged about this……GET OVER IT….JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE HEARTLESS ABOUT ADOPTING AMERICAN BABIES….COME ON BABIES ARE NOT ACCESSORIES….AND SHE IS AWESOME FOR HELPING OUT AMERICANS…..You all make me sick.

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Andre Joseph

posted June 14, 2010 at 8:26 am

If only more people could hear this.

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