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Shameless’ Michelle Andrews on why she thinks about fertility 24/7

Michelle Andrews and Zara Mcdonald, pop-culture-obsessed writers-turned-podcasters have been hailed as a voice representing Aussie women everywhere. Despite her career success in recent years, here’s why Andrews can’t stop thinking about her fertility and the prospect of starting a family one day.

For each of us, certain topics live rent-free on our minds. Perhaps it’s a certain event in history, a dream you can’t quite shake, or that incredible macaron you had on your 2014 trip to Europe. 

A few weeks ago, TikTok’s ‘Roman Empire’ trend took over most of our newsfeeds. What started as an entertaining video of one woman asking her male partner how often he thinks about the Roman Empire, a subject she mistakenly assumes is far too niche to be something he ponders regularly. Her partner, however, like many men as is later revealed, admits to thinking about the famed historical period many times a week. The trend has sparked an explosion of people admitting to their own personal ‘Roman Empires’, topics, that while not necessarily too niche or bizarre, hold particular importance to the individual. 

For Shameless co-host, Michelle Andrews, the topic constantly rolling around in her head is motherhood, or more specifically, fertility. Speaking to Stellar editor-in-chief Sarrah Le Marquand on her podcast, Something To Talk About, Andrews opens up about why motherhood looms large in not only her thoughts but those of young women everywhere. 

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In just five years the pop-culture-obsessed writer has been propelled into the spotlight alongside her partner in crime, Zara McDonald. The pair host the mega-successful Shameless Podcast and have published two books, now sitting at the head of their own media company, Shameless Media. 

But like many women enjoying thriving (and well-deserved) career success, Andrews admits to spending an increasing amount of time thinking about when, if, and how she might start a family. 

“I really gravitate towards the ones about kids, the readers who don’t know when the right time is to have children,” shares Andrews, referring to Referring to question submissions from women to her own podcast. “I think about motherhood all the time and what that will look like for me and how that’s going to work with being a business person.”

Radical honesty keeps the pair aligned

With Andrews and McDonald working alongside each other so closely, the pair have had to have some in-depth, and at times frank, conversations about the prospect of motherhood for each of them, taking into consideration the continuation of their shared business as a priority.

“It’s the kind of thing that we have had to have such candid conversations with each other about because so much goes into our decision to potentially have kids if that’s something we both decide that we want,” says Andrews, on the complications attached to taking an extended break (like maternity leave) as founders. 

“I think one thing I’m really grateful for is we are building out this company to be more than ourselves,” the podcaster-turned-founder shares. “Obviously it will be a change if one of us does end up deciding to have children and ends up taking maternity leave, but we have so many incredible women in the room who can step up.”

Grasping reality, but rejecting fear

Andrews’ constant fascination and pondering of the possibility of motherhood is something many young women likely empathise with. With more women choosing to prioritise their career progression, travel opportunities, and individual growth, many find themselves seeking to delay the prospect of starting a family. 

“I feel like there is something in the water that women my age, of my generation, really want to talk about: the IVF conversation. Freezing your eggs, even freezing embryos, that’s a huge thing,” Andrews explains, saying the subject can feel tricky to navigate. 

“On one hand, women need to be pragmatic; you’re not going to have the same fertility in your late 30s that you do in your late 20s,” explains the media founder. “And then on the other hand, I don’t want to feel fear-mongering all the time.“

“I don’t want to be fearful all the time, but I also need to grasp the reality of the situation, that sitting here today I have more eggs than I’m ever going to have for the rest of my life. And I think that’s the conversation that I’m hearing a lot from the women around me.”

To hear more candid confessions and thoughts on motherhood from Andrews, listen to her full interview on Something To Talk About.

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