FRIENDS -- "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby: Part 1 -- Episode 23 -- Aired 5/16/2002 -- Pictured (l-...
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It Took 10 Seasons, But Monica Was Always Meant To Be A Mother On Friends

This wasn’t some “jump the shark” moment — this was Monica’s dream.

Friends is my nightly bedtime show. It’s as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth and throwing a load of laundry in the wash every morning. I’ve seen every episode countless times, and when I get to the end, I just start back at Season 1. Because of all this rewatching, I’m the first to notice any kind of continuity eras or wonder why we aren’t addressing something in Season 7 that happened way back in Season 3. But one thing that stays as true as Ross and Rachel’s love throughout the entire series? Monica Geller and her desire to be a mom.

When you think of Monica having children, I think a lot of people’s minds go to the end of the series, after she and Chandler are married and they realize naturally having a child together isn’t going to work for them. She with the “inhospitable environment” (such a negative way to phrase it, honestly) and he with the “low motility” sperm. “It means that my guys won’t get off their Barcaloungers and you have a uterus that’s prepared to kill the ones that do,” Chandler tells Monica. They end up going through the adoption process and, in the series finale, discover that their baby is actually two babies — a set of twins, one boy and one girl.

It’s a sweet way to end the series, and it’s an especially lovely way to move them out of the classic, rent-controlled apartment (why on Earth Phoebe or Ross and Rachel or even Joey didn’t snag it back, I will never understand) and into the New York suburbs. But this isn’t just some pretty little ending made for television. This isn’t just some storyline given to a female character because she has no other big life events on the horizon or things that could happen to her.


Monica’s motherhood story had been in the works since Season 1. And honestly, when you timeline it all out and really dig into how often Monica mentions motherhood or babies, it’s pretty eye-opening — this is her dream. While in the waiting room as Carol gives birth to Ross’ son Ben in the first season in 1994, she brings up babies.

“I want a baby,” she tells Chandler. When a woman walks by with twins, she says, “No fair. I don’t even have one. How come they get two?” Chandler offers to make a pact with her that if they aren’t married by 40, they’ll have a baby together. (Did anyone else get chills? Monica, boo, you’re going to have two. With Chandler, but without the pact!) It’s one of those little moments that builds up Monica’s life and personality — being a mother is something she wants. And, even in her young 20s, something she’s seemingly ready for.

In Season 2, when Monica’s dating Richard and more in love than she ever thought possible, she ends up breaking off the relationship because her desire to have a baby trumps all. Moving into Season 3, she spends an entire episode researching sperm banks, looking for a way to become a mother that doesn’t involve having to be in a serious relationship first. “It took me 28 years to find one man that I wanna spend my life with, if I have to wait another 28 years then, I’ll be 56 before I can have a baby, and that’s just stupid,” she tells everyone. They all argue with her over whether this is a good idea in a way that I really don’t love — being a mother is so important to Monica, and while her decision to go through a sperm bank might’ve been rash on the heels of a traumatic break-up, she still deserved more support. (Joey, sweetly, tells her he’s always pictured her with kids and some hot swimmer-type husband.)

But motherhood is now firmly part of the Monica Geller Cinematic Universe — she wants a baby. And through the rest of the series, up until they make Monica and Chandler’s fertility and trying to have a baby an official storyline starting in Season 9, there are other little hints and moments where you get to see Monica’s desire to be a mom. When she cradles her little fake bump as she steals a sweater in Las Vegas under her shirt, when she shares with Rachel after she’s given birth the baby names she’s been saving since she was little. It all adds up.


And it makes the fertility tests and the need to go through adoption even more poignant. Because this isn’t just some dramatic way to add flair to a television show — it’s taking a character’s well-built foundation and well-built storyline and adding one more piece. Monica wants to be a mother more than anything — and now she’s really going to have to work to make it happen. Life’s been pretty good to Monica. She’s had a few rough passes in life, but nothing too traumatic or debilitating. Facing infertility when all she wants is to have a baby is a huge challenge, and one that I didn’t appreciate in the Friends universe until I realized just how long ago that seed was planted.

It’s one of the things I love most about this show — this arc. That it was intentional, that it put Monica in a very real place of being desperate for something and also not being entirely sure she’d ever get it.

But Chandler knew. “You’ll get one,” he tells her back in Season 1 when she sees the woman with twins. And gosh, don’t you wish you could tell Monica making all the jam in Season 3 that it’s absolutely going to be worth the wait?