Shelagh Fogarty: I never had a burning desire either way to be a parent

·3-min read
Shelagh Fogarty presenting on LBC. (LBC/Global)
Shelagh Fogarty presenting on LBC. (LBC/Global)

LBC radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty says settling down and having a family 'was never a driver' for her as she remembers her own 'extraordinary' mum who she cared for through lockdown.

Fogarty, who presented on BBC Radio 5 Live before moving to LBC in 2014, spoke to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time discussing the period of her life spent making people who asked her about children 'as uncomfortable as possible'.

She said the experience of moving home during lockdown to care for her mum had taught her a lot about love, and about the mother-daughter relationship as a daughter. Her mum died in September 2021.

She told Thornton: "I never had a burning desire to have children. I never had a burning desire not to have children. The idea of settling down and having a family was not a driver of mine."

WATCH: Shelagh Fogarty on LBC, not wanting to be a 'shock jock', and learning from Hillsborough

Fogarty told Thornton she had spent a lot of her life going from one thing to the next, and agreed with Thornton when she asked her if she was a 'bit of a butterfly' earlier in her career.

"I think I'm just naturally interested in being alive and living," Fogarty said. "So if it involves children, great. If it involves [a husband], great.

"If it involves those things fine. And if it doesn't, also fine. That was always my approach to kids. It wasn't even an approach to kids. It's an approach to life."

Fogarty said she loves kids, and would 'do anything' for the her nieces, nephews and god children. "I adore them," she said.

Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2007 (Getty Images)
Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2007 (Getty Images)

But she also said she'd had a few too many people in her mid- to late-thirties who had 'quizzed' her on not having children and that it 'really f***** her off' when they did.

She added: "If you fall in love, and your heart beats, and you want to have a baby with somebody... had that happened, I'd have gone for it like a shot.

"But it just wasn't that order for me. So it's never bothered me."

Listen to the full episode to hear Shelagh talk about being one of seven children, the time her family forgot to pick her up from nursery in a house move, and the best lessons she learned from her parents

Once at a christening someone had asked Fogarty if she had any children, in what started as a 'perfectly normal question', from a 'perfectly nice woman' but Fogarty said the woman's response took it from a normal conversation to 'oh dear, is your life s***?'

"I just couldn't stand it anymore," Fogarty explained. "I'd had like six months of this nonsense. God love this woman she didn't mean any harm, but I just said: 'I did have two actually,' and then she went: 'Oh.'

"And you can see this horror in her face like: 'Oh my god, what happened? Did they die? What happened to the kids?'

"Reaching for my wine, I said: "Social services took them off me." And that began a thankfully short, psychotic period of doing my level best to make people who asked me those questions as uncomfortable as possible."

Read more: 'Partygate' makes Shelagh Fogarty's 'blood boil' as she remembers caring for mum

She said since her mother's death and the period of working from her childhood home and caring for her in lockdown, she had been looking at how women's lives plays out, with her own mother having had seven children.

She had been thinking through "how all of that connects. All of that question of what we do with our life, for women, whether we become a mother or not.

"What it is to be a mother, and my mother was some mother. She was an extraordinary mother she really was, but in a very light touch way."

WATCH: Shelagh Fogarty on her experience of the Hillsborough disaster

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