‘Friends’ Fans Notice How Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe All Became Mothers in Different Ways

There are certain episodes of Friends that didn’t withstand the test of time. From cringe-worthy jokes to taboo topics, society has changed over the years, and Friends is far from the only sitcom to face criticism in modern culture.

One reality the show handled beautifully, however, is the topic of motherhood. With women creating families in a myriad of ways it was so refreshing to see each female cast member on Friends join the motherhood club in a unique way.

Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay | Gerald Weinman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother

The first female castmate on Friends to have a baby was Phoebe Buffay — except she didn’t just have one baby, she had three. And even though carrying her brother’s triplets sounds like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, in reality, Phoebe was being altruistic by helping her brother grow his family when he and his wife are unable to have children.

Frank Buffay asks his sister Phoebe to do him the honor of carrying his biological children. She does and gives birth to Frank Jr. Jr., Leslie, and Chandler (who is a girl) in “The One Hundredth,” which aired on Oct. 8, 1998. It’s not even that surprising that Phoebe would agree to do something so monumental for her brother — she’s an incredibly giving friend throughout the series.

There’s a moving scene at the end of the episode when Phoebe has a serious talk with the newborns, telling them she wishes she could see them every day but settles on being their favorite aunt instead. Then all four of them cry together.

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Little black curly hair

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Rachel becomes a single mom

Ross Gellar and Rachel Green have a notorious rollercoaster relationship, but a one-night stand resulted in them conceiving their daughter Emma. Ross and Rachel try living together while she’s pregnant and attempt to be a family, but during the birth, everything goes wrong.

First Rachel feels rejected by Ross and Janice helps convince her that he won’t stick around to help raise the baby if he meets someone else. Then while Joey is trying to comfort Rachel, he accidentally looks like he’s proposing to her with a ring that was in Ross’s pocket. Things take an awkward turn when Rachel says, “Yes.”

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Giggles! #bloopers

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There’s a lot more drama between Ross and Rachel over the next several years even though they successfully co-parent together. At the end of the show, they do end up together, but for the beginning years of Emma’s life, Rachel navigates the harsh reality of single motherhood.

Monica adopted a child

Chandler and Monica try to conceive a baby in a janitor’s closet while Rachel is giving birth, but that attempt proves unsuccessful. Many tries later the couple finds out they are infertile. In Season 10, Chandler and Monica decide to adopt a baby and find a woman named Erica who is looking for a loving family for her baby. The couple also announces their intention to move to Westchester, ending an era in their iconic purple apartment.

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“Really, that bad?”

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Erica gives birth in the series finale and to everyone’s surprise, she has twins — one boy and one girl. Just like that, Monica becomes a mother in a completely different way than Phoebe and Rachel.

The show Friends wasn’t perfect by any stretch. But they did an amazing job highlighting the different ways of becoming a mother.