Emma Thompson: 'I Draw Strength' From Daughter's Birth
In a new interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, actress Emma Thompson, 50, hints at the fertility struggle she endured both before and after becoming mom to 10-year-old Gaia Romilly.
Abandoning the effort — following three unsuccessful years of failed IVF — was particularly difficult, Thompson says, because she found the act of childbirth so empowering.
“Even now, when things are bad I go back and I remember the birth process,” she explains.
“I can transport myself back to that moment when Gaia was born — it’s like a well from which I draw strength.”
The passage of time has also provided Thompson with a different perspective, for she now feels she might not have become an adoptive mom to 23-year-old Tindyebwa ‘Tindy’ Agaba had she succeeded in conceiving another biological child.
“I couldn’t have more children, and that was hard; but perhaps if I had [had more], I’d have missed out on this extra act of mothering that I’ve had with Tindy,” she muses.
“Because there was space in my life for him, and I don’t think there would have been space if I’d had another young child around.”
Tindy — whose mother disappeared in the Rwanda genocide and whose father died of AIDS –might someday still be officially adopted by Thompson and her husband of six years, actor Greg Wise.
“The important thing, though, is that he is in our life and we are his family, and that’s an absolute truth,” she says.
Noting that Gaia was just a toddler when first introduced to Tindy, Thompson says “he became her big brother very quickly — she adores him.”
It’s clear that Gaia isn’t the only one! Thompson adds, “He’s serious-minded but very funny too. We laugh a lot. And we talk a lot — we go for long walks to chat, which is lovely. We’re so alike … it’s as though we were related.”
While Wise acted as primary caregiver to Gaia last summer as Thompson filmed Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Thompson says the roles will be reversed this summer — and that she is looking forward to the change.
“I always knew I’d want to be the sort of mother who would be properly around,” she explains.
“What I most wanted was for Gaia to take me for granted — I couldn’t bear the thought of being that ‘special’ kind of mum, I wanted to be an everyday kind. Family is the center of everything for me. But family is about connection, not necessarily about blood ties. It’s about extended family — and extending family.”