Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world. Civilla Morgan here! I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.
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Just a reminder, visit the website where you can join the community group, check out all podcast episodes, blogs, and resources https://childlessnotbychoice.net, the website is where the conversation is happening.
Well, we have a special guest today!
Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, is author of the best-selling book ‘Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children’, and the best selling book ‘Rocking The Life Unexpected–. She is a founding member and former board member at http://www.awoc.org (Ageing Without Children).
Her TEDx talk, ‘The Lost Tribe of Childless Women’ was given at TEDxHull in March 2017 and has had more than 27K views.
Jody was honoured in BBC’S 100 Women in 2013. And she is a trainee psychotherapist, and a former fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge University.
She runs workshops, online courses, a global online community and global social events for women coming to terms with a life that doesn’t include motherhood, and is currently training other women to lead her workshops in the UK, Ireland, Europe, The USA & Canada. She plans to train more in Australia and New Zealand in the near future.
Gateway Women has an aggregated social reach of over 2-million, between the website, various social media platforms, and its global public and private communities.
Jody was partnered/married for 16 years in her 20s and 30s, during which she experienced unexplained infertility after an abortion in her very early 20s. She was single for many years before meeting her current partner. They divide their time between Ireland and Ibiza.
I’m going to start out by going way back in time:
Your article ‘I may not be a mother – but I’m still a person’–written in The Guardian Newspaper, –Friday, February 24, 2012…
- As I read the article, I could feel my heart breaking for the way you were treated at the party. I know the article was written so long ago, and it is not healthy to dwell on things, but what comes to mind when or if you think back to those times and events?
2) Why did you name your platform Gateway Women?
3) I read a quote recently: ‘When our broken dreams have cost us so dear, dreaming a new dream takes great courage’.–It was attributed to Gateway Women. Was that your quote? Either way, how do you grasp the courage to dream a new dream?
4) As I read through your intro in ‘Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children’, I stopped short at the section where you considered doing volunteer work in Kabul, but reconsidered because you did not think you could deal with the Kabul winter. You weren’t even considering the fact that Kabul was in the middle of a war and that you could become a casualty. I definitely understand the level of grief where we do not even consider our safety. How do you get people outside of the childless not by choice demographic to understand that level of grief. Do you even bother?
5) In chapter one, you talk about the ‘universe of pain, heartbreak, surprise, dashed hopes, shock and grief…’ and the word shock jumped out at me. Shock for me was delayed…and then it came and went in waves. Which one of those nouns jumps out at you, if any? How did you overcome?
6) I’ve been questioned about how I am childless not by choice because I did not meet Mr. Right. It wasn’t an infertility issue, it was a social issue (no Mr. Right) plus biology (fibroids) equals no children. I read your list of 50 ways to be childless not by choice. My reason was number one! I got a little chuckle as it always amazes me how people can see you but not see you. Do you ever get tired of telling your story, explaining your childless? Or does it make a difference who the audience is?
7) (Ch. 3) Life can be tough. Motherhood can be tough. Childlessness can be tough. Well, we all know life can be tough. How do we get the motherhood camp and the childless camp that life is indeed tough no matter which camp we belong to, that being childless is not a free ride?
8) In chapter 3 I believe, you say:
‘Ideology is that which everyone believes to be ‘true’, but it’s actually a mixture of accepted prevalent beliefs that serve to support the dominant power group. Up until 500 years ago everyone thought the world was flat. That was an idea, not a truth, and around it was created a powerful ideology of Western Europe being at the centre of the world. So perhaps the ‘belief’ that a woman can only have a meaningful life if she is a mother may prove to be an ideological one and not the purely biological one that many of us have come to believe.’ Do you think society can really get past this ‘biological’ process we have utilized since the dawn of time?
Is it just a matter of society learning to embrace empathy?
9) Chapter 4, ‘Grief is a dialogue not a monologue’ —
‘Just as one of the most painful romantic experiences is ‘unrequited love’, I think that disenfranchised grief is a form of ‘unrequited grief’–a grief that is not allowed to be expressed, not allowed to be in a relationship. But grief cannot move into its active state, ‘grieving’, without a relationship because grief is a dialogue not a monologue. And until we find a place to have that dialogue, either face to face, online, or with a skilled therapist, it stays wedged in our hearts like a splinter. And it festers as it waits, infecting our life and our soul with sadness.’ (Location 1215 in Kindle).
Not only do we need to dialogue, but it is important to dialogue with someone who understands our pain. This is why community is so important isn’t it?
10) I never thought of the term ‘double whammy’ as possibly patriarchal until I read your book. It made me take a look at the way I use the term to describe what has happened in my life–no husband, no children. The last thing I want is to be pitied. What an eye opener!
I had so many more questions, but I had to cut it off somewhere. I do need to mention that as I read about how families treat the childless not by choice family members among them. I have experienced this to some level, as I am sure almost all childless not by choice women have.
11) I read about the one woman who was forced out of her own bedroom to sleep in a tent in the garden to make room for her young niece! I was like, ‘are you kidding me???’
I love your suggestion that the time to negotiate proper treatment during family get togethers is not right before the get together.
I talk about kind but firm boundaries quite a bit on my platform. The bottom line is, we need to as childless not by choice women, condition or train the people around us, as to how we expect to be treated. But at the same time, we have to believe we deserve respect, and it can be hard depending on where we are in our journey. If we are feeling shame and then our family and friends shame us, we will probably just allow the shame to continue at least for a time.
Oh my goodness, there is so much more: The Spinster stereotype, the doting aunt stereotype, the older childless woman being a witch or the mean Cruella de Ville…my mom got married at age 28, and on her marriage certificate it says her previous status was Spinster. She was 28!
I have always been offended with that language. But my mom always said those were the days. It doesn’t seem like much has changed.
Is there anything you would like to add, anything you would like to say before we close out?
NOTE: Read more about the fetishism of motherhood in chapter 3. It is deep! Chapters 8-10 pressed all types of buttons for me. Please do take the opportunity to read this book. I think you will thoroughly enjoy it!
Books by Jody Day:
‘Living the Life Unexpected, 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children’
Articles/Blogs written by Jody Day:
Jody’s contact information:
‘It’s not a when, it’s an if.’–Jody Day.
Articles of note/episodes mentioned in this episode:
My contact information:
Website: https://childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com
Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM
LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM
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Until next time! Bye!
‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless, not by choice women, and men, around the world.’
‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.