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John Edwards' Mistress's Gutsy Choice

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John Edwards' former mistress could have done worse.

Elizabeth Edwards John Edwards Rielle Hunte

Woman on the Verge of Having Kids: First, let me make clear that I am not celebrating extramarital affairs. And I do feel empathy for Elizabeth Edwards, former senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards' betrayed wife, who has been diagnosed with inoperable breast cancer.

But I confess to having an offbeat reaction to the ongoing story of John Edwards and his former mistress, Rielle Hunter: I am happy for Rielle that, as a single woman, she now has a beautiful baby, on her own terms.

Life is complicated. People fall in and out of love, "arrive" in their careers and personal lives at different times. But time and the tides wait for no man, and the biological clock waits for no woman.

Women have more choices than ever, including the choice to have a surrogate's eggs implanted if they want the experience of giving birth. But -- despite fantastical stories about movie stars giving birth in their late 40s and beyond -- the truth is that, if a woman wants her own biological child, the early 40s is pretty much do-or-die time.

Enter Rielle Hunter. Whatever one's views about the morality of her affair with Edwards, she found herself pregnant at age 43. She wanted a baby. And she went ahead and had Frances, her baby girl. Can anyone look at this beautiful child and call her a mistake? Or blame Rielle for wanting a baby whose father, whatever his imperfections, is smart, good-looking, and cares enough to try to provide for the child?

After all, compared to some of the chivalry-less, narcissistic, metrosexual men roaming the streets of major metropolitan areas these days, John Edwards doesn't even seem that bad!

People find themselves in all kinds of circumstances, and maybe what matters most is not whether the family structure is conventional, but whether one has the means -- financial and emotional -- to raise a healthy, wanted child.

Whatever Rielle's mistakes may have been, is it possible having Frances was her best decision?

next: I Hate It When I'm Right
33 comments so far | Post a comment now
D September 23, 2009, 10:27 AM

Ummm… I don’t know the whole story but I think it’s pretty damn scandalous to “find yourself pregnant” with a married man even if he is a “catch.” She should know better at 43. Women get too damn desperate in the name of their biological clock.

anon September 23, 2009, 11:53 AM

i think rielle saw $$$$ signs in her eyes. some women chose to a single parent b/c that is what they truly want but it is no coincidence that she got pregnant now ….caching$$$$$ …. if she wanted to be a single parent then their are other alternatives (and other men she has been with) but to be the baby mama of a rich, former senator will … pun intended ..afford her more opportunities in life

M September 23, 2009, 12:10 PM

Are you kidding me?

“After all, compared to some of the chivalry-less, narcissistic, metrosexual men roaming the streets of major metropolitan areas these days, John Edwards doesn’t even seem that bad!”

“With all these sleepy smack-heads around, the energy of a crackhead is REFRESHING!”

Please sell crazy somewhere else.
Am I going to say ugly things about an innocent child that did nothing more than be born into a jacked up situation? No, but I’m also not going to celebrate her mother as some sort of champion to women who “make their own rules” to have kids.

Ted Bundy was smart and good looking too. But he killed women. So, yeah, that doesn’t a “good man” make. Get a grip.

samantha September 23, 2009, 1:33 PM

This is a ridiculous article- Written by a single woman w/no kids for a mom’s site. Noone should admire an adulterous money hungry tramp. Im not defending John Edwards and placing all the blame on her. What about the other beautiful children who were already here and wanted as well? Do you realize that glorifying her choice to chase, bed and have a child with a married man not only makes you look like a moron but also excuses THEIR behavior? Get Serious and when you’re married with kids why not invite Reily Hunter over for dinner with you and your husband? Doubtful huh? Because if that was someone woman who fell in love with and had a child with your spouse-your degree of respect and empathy would drop tremendously!

Anonymous September 23, 2009, 1:33 PM

There was nothing gusty about what this women did. She injected herself into another person marriage. She is a homewreaker and not only will the Edwards family suffer for her choices but one day her daughter will also.

Jill September 23, 2009, 2:01 PM

Can’t agree more with the other posters… little Frances will know that her father cheated on his cancer-stricken wife and then decided not to stay with her mother.

not the other woman September 23, 2009, 2:05 PM

I always wonder why people blame the “other woman” for stealing the man. JE is the one who broke his marriage vows and had unprotected sex with a woman who wanted (whether “on accident” or on purpose, she didn’t prevent it) a baby. Not to excuse having an affair with a married man, but Rielle wasn’t the married one with small children already.

Almost totally done with Momlogic  September 23, 2009, 2:46 PM

A man who cheats on his dying wife isn’t “that bad” with exclamation point. It strikes me as very sad that some women’s expectations of a partner have reached such despicable depths.
How the author of this post got it on a site called MomLOGIC is ironic to say the least. It is the reason why I’m not frequenting this site as much as I used to.

samantha September 23, 2009, 3:10 PM

To Almost totally done with Momlogic-
Im almost done as well. I come here to here about mom issues not from this single chic or Childless B*tch.

rg September 23, 2009, 3:41 PM

here is a wanna be president who is sly enough to have an affair knowing that it WILL come out.
not very smart to scheme behind his cancer diagnosed wife not to speak of the poor kids and his own parent/s.
i mean it gets worse.. wearning no protection.
either we could have had a president with STD or one with a child born outside of his marriage.
in either event, he was taking the entire country for ride.
just visualize.. The White house with two ladies (the first lady and the other firdt lady in waiting…)
had he won, i wonder if he would have been allowed to take oath of office.
the elections would have been exercise in futility.
if all this is true then he is polishing his statment of paternity without being paternal.

Totally done September 23, 2009, 6:47 PM

Ghawl! I used to come to MomLogic for good reading and to connect with other moms. It seems now you are just trying to shock us or “get us talking.”
That pisses me off.
You may get hits with your controversial opinions or “shocking” posts, but when they aren’t well written or smart, they are just tabloid-ish and in the end they will not foster loyalty.
I’m unsubscribing too. I believe we moms are smarter than you give us credit for.

Anonymous September 23, 2009, 7:00 PM

wow, break up mans marraige, all in the name of wanting a child, how shallow,and for a reporter to try to give the mistress a pass kinda makes you wonder who she is sleeping with.

mom of 2 Girls September 23, 2009, 7:21 PM

Come on, MomLogic - you’re better than this. I’m sick and tired of tawdry crap written by people who don’t even have kids. This is a site FOR MOMS and it should be written BY MOMS - that’s what drew me to it in the first place.

I see I’m not alone in being turned off by all the sensationalist controversial chaff on the site these days…

You’re about to lose yet another reader.

brianna September 23, 2009, 8:57 PM

CHILL OUT MAMAS! The author clearly states that she does not condone the affair. Rather, she is making the point that Rielle got her dream of having a baby. Who knows the real circumstances in John and Elizabeth’s marriage anyways? Who knows if they had some sort of “agreement”? I actually appreciate different perspectives on this site- it differentiates it from all the drivel out there on other mommy blog.

Mary September 24, 2009, 12:24 AM

Even if you think that it is all right to ignore the impact that her “decision” had on another mother and her young (and older) children, the “decision” to have a child should be the decision of the mother AND the father. That would be fair to her child and the child’s father. A sperm bank could have provided this forty-something with a more willing father. Instead, she chose to become pregnant with a high profile married man with a big bank account who, not surprisingly, has chosen to stay with his wife and existing children.
The choice we make as mothers is not a choice we make just for ourselves. It is not a choice that is legitimized when the baby is “beautiful” (and what child is not?). It is choice we make for other human beings as well. Clearly the choice she made is lousy for another mother (and a more than a little malicious too), for her children, for the father, maybe even for people in poverty who lost their only effective national voice. Most of all it was a lousy choice for this baby, who will grow up not as a “lovechild” but as the embodiment of the consequences not of love but of immoral choices, hidden in hotel rooms.
Like most men who cheat on their wives, he was never going to marry her (only 5% leave their wives), whatever happens to his wife, and given the hell her selfish decision has put his children through, he will never marry her. (Was she really so callous that she thought she could beat the 5% odds because this particular wife and mother was sick?)
If she was so anxious to have a child, she could have chosen a willing father or a donated sperm. But those might not have this married man’s bank account, right? Let’s take off the rose-colored glasses here and see this woman as anti-other mothers (if they stand in her way), selfish in a way that reflects badly on all mothers, and lifelong thoughtless about the legacy she leaves this little girl.
And this analysis is only possible if you ignore the the immorality and anti-woman behaviour of this “mother”.

Chrissy September 24, 2009, 12:27 AM

I second that mom of 2 Girls!
And Brianna - she could have had her dream without inflicting pain on another women and her children - it’s called a sperm bank.

Vickie September 24, 2009, 4:43 AM

I agree with the above poster. RH made her child a symbol of betrayal for JE’s wife, children and parents as well as extended family. This child won’t be welcomed into the family. Elizabeth’s children won’t welcome the “other woman”, who caused their mother so much pain during the end of her life. They will never be the fairytale family after EE.

marylin Pitz September 24, 2009, 6:49 AM

We each have choices. Many people, faced with an extreme situation, do what they perceive to be in their own self-interest. Humans do not always behave with altruism; a stronger motive, the biological and emotional pull of a woman, yearning for a baby as time runs out, will trump other considerations. Why does this surprise anybody? The whole matter of of women wanting men with money is biologically driven. Women are drawn to men who they “know” ( on a deep, unconscious
level) will provide for them and their offspring. This
translates into attraction—the reason we find
successful men more attractive than nerdie ones.

Reill Hunter behaved in a way that placed her interest before others. She did not take the money and abort the child — obviously that was not what she wanted, certainly what would have made others very happy. Her need was a primal one, a biological and emotional imperative. She is not too concerned
with what others think. Ayn Rand would understand.
Marylin Pitz

dee September 24, 2009, 7:08 AM

To all those “Almost totally done with Momlogic” and critics of this particular article and it’s author I say - what a bunch of narrow minded moms!
The 2 heterosexual parent, 2 perfectly healthy children and large suburban house with the picket fence doesn’t exist for everyone. Sorry to burst your bubble but a “single chic” can have a family too.
She can even be a single lesbian mom. She can be a huge hearted single woman who decides to adopt a special needs baby. Dare I say she can have a baby out of wedlock with perhaps a lover who is already married with another family in tow. Is her experience any less valid because she isn’t your idea of what a mom should be? I come to Momlogic to get ideas, support , information from a variety of moms or mom wannabees.
Thank you Momlogic for not allowing yourselves to be highjacked by women who believe that a “childless b*tch” who wants to be a mom too shouldn’t have a voice.

Vickie September 24, 2009, 8:14 AM

Again, this is two adults screwing up an established family with a dying mother. This child will always know she was denied and always know she is a symbol of betrayal. I’m with others here, if your biological clock is running out go to a sperm bank and take responsibility for your child and your decisions. Don’t destroy another family. Besides women who do this are looking for a meal ticket. That’s why the don’t abort the baby. It would defeat the purpose. This woman is amoral if she made this decision and karma will get her and him, probably in the form of 3 acting out kids when they are in their teens. Also the possibility that RH’s daughter will grow up to be like her and as amoral as she is.

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