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JAN MOIR: A baby for Naomumi aged 50? Why the hell not!

JAN MOIR: A baby for Naomumi aged 50? Why the hell not!

Lockdown has been a time of great reflection, says Naomi Campbell, which until five minutes ago I would have interpreted as ‘I looked in mirrors a lot’.

But no. Lockdown has been so much more for Naomi, who has become a first-time mother at the age of 50.

‘A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother,’ she blathered on Instagram. ‘So honoured to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you, my angel. There is no greater love.’

In 2017 the supermodel told a magazine: ‘I think about having children all the time. But now with the way science is I think I can do it when I want’

There was a picture of the baby’s feet instead of the baby’s face, which is what celebrities do to prove that their babies are celebrities, too. Presumably to avoid them being recognised in the Num Nums queue down at the Happy Nappy Night Club.

All babies look the same so it seems like a complete waste of time, not to mention a howling affectation, but I digress.

Some have criticised Naomi for having a designer baby at this late stage in her fabulous life, for finally ordering up a child to complement the handbag and the shoes and the velvet rope of exclusivity that has encircled her fashion existence.

But is that fair? We certainly should not be surprised. In 2017 the supermodel told a magazine: ‘I think about having children all the time. But now with the way science is I think I can do it when I want.’

If you were down on Naomi you might have interpreted that as ‘when I want’ to or ‘when I am bored’. But I am not down on Naomi, I am down with Naomi. Because what I am thinking now is, yes girlfriend, why the hell not?

Youth or riches, husband or single, age or poverty, gay or straight — in the end what does it matter? The old rules about parenthood are now just Pooh sticks on the tide of time. What bearing does any of it really have on the ultimate goal — which is surely to raise a child to become a healthy, happy, well-adjusted adult; someone who will contribute to society and be a boon and not a blight on this planet?

There are no guarantees for parents and no gilt-edged assurances for children that life or any of its attending mischiefs will turn out for the best. So you might as well just go for it, babyhood or bust.

I didn’t always feel this way. In the past, my belief was that elective single motherhood was not only selfish but also potentially damaging, involving the wilful denial of a father or father figure in that child’s life.

Late onset elective single motherhood, such as Naomi’s might be, was even worse. Not only no father, but how long was Mum going to hang around to look after ickle wickle baby? In 2017, at the terrifying age of 64 and after retiring as a director of the Serpentine Gallery in London, Julia Peyton-Jones went to California and came back with a baby daughter, Pia, origins unknown. Back then, I was appalled at her determination to have a baby no matter what, to mother a child who seems destined, at the very least, to lose that mother at a young age.

Picture posted on Instagram, with Naomumi writing: ‘A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother, So honoured to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you my angel. There is no greater love’

Naomi has talked before of the importance of a father figure in a child’s life and there are suggestions that she and this baby’s father are in a relationship. If so, wonderful.

If not, so what? At the very least Julia and Naomi and other rich, older women like them will surely provide a no-expenses-spared launch pad; a gateway to a wonderful existence for the luckiest of children. There are many, many worse starts in life.

In the past decade more than 17,000 newborn babies have been taken into care in England alone.

Meanwhile, one in every 85 children born in Scotland is taken into care at some point during their first year —with most of these figures driven by poverty or family collapse. The advent of IVF and the increasing popularity of surrogacy means that these luckless children are less likely to be adopted or fostered, but that is another argument for another day. For we all know, that compassion in action is quite the thing with wealthy, self-styled philanthropists, but only if it fits in with their luxury lifestyles and their needs first.

Yet science has provided previously unthinkable opportunities for wealthy post-menopausal women and single-sex couples to become genetic parents. Why deny them such happiness, or try to halt the march of progress?

You might still cavil about the selfishness in some cases and you might even have a point, but at least such children are to be the product of foresight and planning, of yearning and love. These parents have overcome barriers with energy and application to start a family of their own; their children are wanted and desired. Already, this makes them blessed.

Yes, the ideal might still be the mothership and the fathership anchored in the dock of your bay, but the world is an increasingly fragmented place, and even when it’s right it can go wrong.

Look at Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud, a pair of millionaires who once upon a time got married and had a daughter, Charlotte. You might think that the omens for billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s granddaughter were good, but she spent much of her teenage years in a wasteland of ketamine addiction and bulimia because she felt ashamed of having ‘one of the most privileged upbringings in the world’.

Now 21 and sober for seven months, she is trying to launch herself as a pop star. When he was the same age, Douglas Stuart (now 44) had somehow survived the poverty and chaos of his Glasgow childhood, including the death of his alcoholic single mother. He managed to put himself through a textiles course at a local college.

Today he is a successful New York-based designer and also a Booker Prize winning author. His autobiographical novel, Shuggie Bain, is now being made into a television series.

All this proves nothing, except that many children will do what they want to do, regardless of circumstances, nurturing or lack thereof. Parents pour in gallons of love and kindness and respect, but do so in the knowledge that their investment might not be returned. They all deserve medals, whatever their situation.

We don’t know yet what alchemy (or surrogacy) was involved in the creation of the new Naomumi and her ‘beautiful little blessing’, but here she is, a parent at the very last gasp. Anyone brave enough to plan it, to orchestrate it, to go it alone, to know all the pitfalls but do it anyway has my belated respect. And support.

Angela Rayner prides herself on Tory bashing. But you can’t exist in Opposition by simply being opposed to something

Angela Rayner. Her again! Like a workaholic genie, Ange is forever burnishing her own lamp. She likes to boast that: ‘Everyone knows I am a robust talker and everyone acknowledges my talents are taking it to the Tories and being me.’

Do they really? She certainly took it to the Tories in the House of Commons this week. Only to have Penny Mordaunt hand it back to her on a plate, minced. Rayner’s wild claims of ‘Covid cronyism’ during the pandemic turned to dust when Mordaunt pointed out that the Tameside MP had taken more in political donations that all the Tory MPs she had accused of sleaze put together.

‘She should thank her lucky stars that we don’t play the same games that she does,’ sighed the redoubtable MP for Portsmouth North.

Angela Rayner prides herself on Tory bashing. But you can’t exist in Opposition by simply being opposed to something. You have to offer an alternative. Or even the hope of one.

Oh honey, bees are giving Angie a buzz 

Ange didn’t wash for three days and had all visible orifices plugged so that nothing crawled into them

What is darling Angelina Jolie up to these days? Ah, I see. Ange is campaigning for World Bee Day by climbing into a giant lampshade and letting a swarm roam all over her porcelain body in the name of art, in the name of feminist bees — and in the name of God, what does she look like?

Angelina has been designatefd the ‘godmother’ of Women for Bees, a programme launched by Unesco to train and support female beekeeper-entrepreneurs around the world.

‘It was so funny to be in hair and make-up and wiping yourself with pheromone,’ the Maleficent actress said. I’ll bet!

Ange didn’t wash for three days and had all visible orifices plugged so that nothing crawled into them.

I remember something similar happening on a Bananarama photoshoot way back in the 1980s.

It is all for a good cause, but do you know what I think? That somewhere in a Montecito hive, a queen bee of our acquaintance is buzzing mad that she did not get this honey of a gig.

Never mind the actors, it’s Friends that has aged the most

Jen remains amazing, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) has barely aged a day and Courteney Cox (Monica) is still a fox. Time has taken a heavier toll on the men, particularly Matthew Perry (Chandler), whose troubles with drug dependency have clearly left their mark

Are we quite ready for the Friends television reunion? Those on the sensible side of any divide are fundamentally reunion averse.

For a start, why revisit the sins of the past when you can plough on and make fresh ones?

Yet despite all misgivings the original cast are reuniting for the first time since the show ended 17 years ago.

It had all begun ten years earlier in 1994, the same year the Channel Tunnel opened and Jeff Bezos started a little company called Amazon. What a mind bend of a time warp. When Friends was first screened, I was almost a contemporary of Jennifer Aniston (Rachel). Now I could be her mother, or perhaps even her cleaning lady, tutting at all those expensive, museum quality artworks to dust.

Speaking of museums, it is remarkable how age has not withered the Friends’ women. Jen remains amazing, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) has barely aged a day and Courteney Cox (Monica) is still a fox. Time has taken a heavier toll on the men, particularly Matthew Perry (Chandler), whose troubles with drug dependency have clearly left their mark.

However, it is the show itself which has aged the most. With an all-white cast, running gags about Monica’s weight, general merriment about personal trauma and repeated trivialisation of mental health issues, it would never get made today. Never!

All the cast went on to have successful independent careers, with Aniston at one point being the highest paid actress in Hollywood. In real life, happiness has been more elusive.

Of the original sextet, only Lisa Kudrow remains happily married. Aniston divorced twice, Cox divorced once, as did David Schwimmer (Ross) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey). Perry never married, but recently became engaged to a literary manager.

But at least the Friends are still friends, which counts for a lot.

One thing. In a 2010 television interview with ghoulish Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell wept when she said she felt ‘abandoned’ by her mother, who worked as a dancer when she was a child.

Subsequently her mother Valerie Morris-Campbell apologised to her daughter, saying: ‘I just wanted to give her the best life. I wanted the best for her as she is my princess. I do feel that I abandoned her.’

Eh? The person who really did abandon Naomi was the father she never met, the man who scarpered when Valerie was four months pregnant. The poor woman had little choice except to go out and work to put food on the table. Why can’t Naomi see that?

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