If you’re childless by circumstance, with those circumstances ranging from infertility through to all kinds of situations such as your partner not wanting (more) children, a chronic illness, not being able to find a partner (what is now known as ‘social infertility’), not being able to afford having a baby ‘on your own’ (and not being all that keen about being a solo mother either), thinking you didn’t want children and then realising you did, your relationship breaking down during fertility treatments or perhaps one of at least ’50 Ways Not To Be A Mother’ that I write about in my book…

You’re in the right place.

Or perhaps you’re still hopeful of becoming a mother but the needle on your fertility clock has been in the red for a while and things are looking scarily like you too are going to ‘end up’ as ‘one of those freakish, twisted, bitter women without children’… (we’re not like that actually – that’s Snow White and Cruella de Vil you’re thinking of.)

Welcome. Pull up a chair. Get a cup of tea or something stronger and make yourself comfortable. Things are just about to get a whole lot easier.


Read the blogs and articles on subjects close to our heart – from coping with the changing nature of your friendships, dealing with Christmas, the daft ‘advice’ people give us, being lumbered with all the weekend shifts at work, worrying about getting old without children and dealing with &*%ing baby showers, etc. You can also use the ‘search’ box at the top right hand side of the screen (if you’re on a computer) to find what you need right now. 

Join our fabulous private online Community A supportive, intelligent, friendly, compassionate, private online community of women like us from all over the world who ‘get’ what it’s like to be a childless woman in our motherhood-obsessed world. As one of our members described it: Support for the hard stuff; enthusiasm for the good stuff.  If you’re feeling isolated and the ‘odd one out’ joining this Community will be the beginning of a new outlook as well as new online and offline friends. We like to think of it as our own ‘school gates’ network. It’s free for the first month and then free/modest fee thereafter. As well as our ‘main’ community, once you are a member you’ll have access to our other communities too, including a reading group for those working their way through Jody’s book.

Come to a Gateway Women Reignite Weekend – the life-changing, friend-making, taboo-busting weekend workshop. Click here for a list of currently scheduled workshops. And if you want to know more about what happens at one of these weekends (rather than whatever worrying notion you’re worrying yourself with!) read more about what really happens here. In 2018 we will be running more of these across the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, USA & Canada – so do stay tuned and join our update list here to be sure you hear about one when it’s announced near you. 

Join our free, private, global social groups organised via Meetup – we have groups for UK & Ireland, Europe, USA, Australia, NZ, Canada and South Africa. To join a group, first you need to join meetup.com (if you’re not already a member) and then apply to join the Gateway Women country group nearest to you (click the links of countries above, or further down the page). Memberships have to be approved by Gateway Women before they are accepted so you’ll find that they are safe, friendly and private. Individual gatherings are member-organised so if there isn’t something happening in a town or city near you, as a member you can suggest and host one. It’s not as scary as it might sound and we’re happy to support and advise you to help get it going.

Watch the video interviews with inspiring childless women from around the world in the ‘Talking About Childlessness’ series. One of the thing that helps enormously in dealing with involuntary childlessness can be hearing other women’s stories.  These interviews are a chance to eavesdrop on conversations between two women who’d recovered from their childlessness and have moved on in ways that are uniquely meaningful to them. It seems that the media is still stuck on shaming, untrue and unhelpful stereotypes such as the ‘selfish’ childfree women and ‘foolish’ childless ones. These interviews reveal some of the complex, messy and uplifting truth instead.

Listen, watch & read some of the interviews and articles which have featured Jody and Gateway Women including: The Guardian, Woman’s Hour, BBC News, BBC World Service, Radio 5 Live, Psychologies Magazine, Prospect UK Magazine, Sunrise TV (AUS), The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Times Style Magazine, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, Woman’s Own, The Sunday Mirror…

Come and hear Jody speak: Jody will be speaking at various events (both online and offline) in 2018. These tend to sell out very quickly so do take a look and book soon. And if you’d like Jody to speak at your event, or be a guest on your podcast or online summit, do get in touch.

Sign up for Gateway Women Updates  and be the first to hear news, event and updates of interest to childless women worldwide, as well as to be the first to know when new workshops and events open for booking (they sell out very quickly). Don’t worry, I won’t share your details or take over your in-box – I can’t stand it when people  do that to me and frankly until the cat learns to type I simply don’t have the time!

Welcome to Gateway Women. It’s the club you never wanted to join, but once you’ve got the support you need to get through your grief and out of your isolation, life starts getting fun again
(Yes, I used the “F” word). 

Cover living-the-life-unexpected-978150980903501Reviews and availability info


Do you struggle with being childless? Would you like to find a way to make peace with your situation today and look forward to your future again? Come to one of our weekend workshops and experience a safe, friendly and judgement-free space to heal and move forward with your life. Click here to check our calendar and see when the next one is happening near you. And click here to find out more about what happens on a Reignite Weekend

JUNE 2018
UK: London
UK: Bristol
USA: Princeton (New Jersey)
USA: Baton Rouge (Louisiana)

UK: London
UK: Luton (Women of Colour Weekend)
CANADA: Ontario (Toronto)

UK: London
USA: Portland (Oregon)
EU: Belgium (Brussels)


Gateway Women’s Reignite Weekends sell out quickly, so to be sure you find out when new ones are schedules, click here to be sure you’re on our update list – it goes out once or twice a month and we never bombard you with emails because that’s just naff.

390 Comments on WELCOME

  1. Thanks Jody
    I enjoy reading the e-mails sent. I am 58 never married and in my 20’s I became pregnant by a guy I met at a bar. I worked in an office environment where people with kids had partners married or not. This guy even stated that he didn’t want kids now. I wasn’t financially able to support a child on my own so I decided to abort thinking I would have another chance because I was still young. As years have gone by I did regret my decision and have never met someone that I could tolerate enough to even try!!
    I know someone who had 3 abortions and still was able to marry and have two healthy children. So I don’t think I should have been punished.
    I didn’t want to have the child go through what I had gone through not having enough food to eat and things like that.
    I know I would have wanted another child and be able to give birth, maybe I could relate to all the grandmothers at work who all they talk about how fulfilling their lives are with grandchildren! It seems they love their grandchildren more than their children!!

    • Hi Nadine – thanks for commenting and I’m glad you enjoy my monthly emails. I too had an abortion in my early 20s and though I don’t regret it (it was the right thing to do for me, and the child, at the time) I never knew it would be my one chance to become a mother. I don’t see our childlessness as punishment for our abortions because, like you, I also know of many other women who have done the same (often more than once) and have gone on to become mothers. Like you, my decision was a maternal one, based on whether I would be able to mother that child in a way that was adequate and I wasn’t able to. So I consider that my decision then, and my choice not to have a baby in some of my subsequent relationships, was a deeply maternal and loving one. With one in three women having had an abortion in their lifetime, and yet 3 or 4 out of 5 women becoming mothers, the idea of ‘punishment’ doesn’t stack up! I’m sorry that you are now on the recieving end of grandparent mania having got through the motherhood-mania years! I’ve found that now that I’m through my grief, such stuff doesn’t trigger me anymore. Bores me, yes, but it’s not so painful anymore. I hope that you too will find your way to more peace. I suggest it might start with forgiving your young self for her very responsible and maternal decisions. You might like to watch this video interview I did on this topic for more support. Hugs, Jody x

  2. I have been looking for something like this website for quite some time. I´ve been thinking to myself I needed a role model to deal with all this personal subjective mess, and I am really thankful I might have found many role models around here. I really feel younger women should get to know more about life beyond fertility and not have to go through all the pain we have to cope with because we weren´t taught the right way soon enough. I think that even when there´s still hope of being a mother, we should be allowed some peace of mind in case we should not achieve it. Every girl should learn to admire and respect “childless” women around them, to the point of making impossible for them to feel frightned of the possibility of being one of them for any of the possible reasons. Girls should grow up knowing about the real possibility of not being a mother even when it´s not her choice. I STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO TOWARDS ACCEPTING LIFE AS IT IS AT THIS POINT, but the message here is really comforting. Thank you.

    • Hi Ana – I’m so glad you’ve found us too. We have a long way indeed to go towards honouring and respecting women in so many ways, motherhood/non-motherhood being one of them! I agree that young girls (and boys) also need to be taught that parenthood is an ‘if’ not a ‘when’ – for many reasons – and that you don’t need to be a parent to be a fully qualified member of society. That was conferred to you upon birth and is not dependent on becoming a parent. I think you might really like the role model gallery I’ve been curating for the last several years – 600+ women without children both contemporary and historical at http://www.bit.ly/gw-rolemodels
      Hugs, Jody x

  3. Hello, I’m so glad I found this site, I was beginning to think there was nobody who could understand. I’m 31 and I’ve always dreamed of having children, I’ve been with my partner for 16 years now and according to him having children is just not possible due to our finances. I wouldn’t want to bring children into this world if I couldn’t afford to look after them but I think we could do it, we both work, but the extra cash is going into our mortgage deposit fund at the moment, and we aren’t even half way there yet. All my friends have children, my cousins children are now having their own children and I can’t help but feel left behind, like it somehow makes me inadequate as a woman. My partner says he understands but sometimes it makes me question the point of my existence here. I love him so much, we’ve been through so much together and I don’t want that to have been for nothing but now I feel it’s like a huge wedge coming between us. I know some of you are thinking you are only 31, but when I see my friends teenagers messing around, I feel like my life has been on pause and I’m scrambling to catch up to get this seemingly impossible dream. I feel my clock ticking, I want my parents to be grandparents as they would be so amazing, their younger siblings (my aunties and uncles) are all grandparents now, and although they say they’re too young to be grandparents, they aren’t, both nearing 70. I’m passed panicking, it’s causing me to be so sad and teary everyday. I try to distance myself from my friends and their children now as it makes me feel so sad.

    • I have been in a couple of relationships where I had to leave because I had to honor myself and what my needs are. I learned I cannot stay in a relationship and say but I Love him so much and not take care of myself first. Never have I looked back and thought I made mistake in leaving. If you feel you need to have children and it is important to you then do the right thing for yourself. I waited to long to find the right Man and then I had Cancer and lost my ability to have children and would give a million dollars to go back and redo and make better choices for myself and not waste my time in this life on love for someone and not considering the love for myself and what would make me fulfilled.

      • Hi Diane – I’m so sorry about how things worked out for you. Those ‘what ifs’ are a natural (if incredibly hard) part of the grieving process. Childlessness due to cancer is something I’m hearing more and more about, and it’s so cruel that you lost your chance to have the family you dreamed of, and made so many hard choice for, this way. Hugs, Jody x

    • Dear Katie – whatever your age it’s so hard to feel that you are being left behind. I agree that now that you are in your thirties, things are becoming more urgent. Life is long, but fertility is short. Perhaps your partner is unaware that not all women can conceive right through their thirties, and even into their forties? (I certainly wasn’t, and the media paints a very unrealistic picture of fertility!) Perhaps finding some data about fertility (both male and female) and sitting down to discuss how it would be for you both if you were unable to have children at a later date is in order? However things work out for you both, I wish you all the best. And know that should your family building dreams not come true, you will survive that, and that there are other ways to create a meaningful and fulfilling life. Really. Hugs, Jody x

  4. Hello. This is my story and I am hoping to find some support and hoping that some here might be able to relate to my situation and without judgement.
    Is anyone here in a relationship where the issues of having difficulties to conceive lies with one partner due to their chronic illness?
    I have been with my fiancé for 4 years and he has end stage renal failure and is now doing dialysis treatment 3 times a week. He has been doing haemodialysis for almost 2 years now. I was 34 and him 36 when we met and for the first 2 years of our relationship we had our freedom, had normality, no dialysis. Things were great and they were the best two years of our lives and I knew he was my forever one. We got engaged and made plans for the future, including having a family.
    In 2016 he was suddenly told by his consultant that he will need to start dialysis and life for us is now so very different to what we planned and wanted it to be. I didn’t cope very well with the changes at first, the loss of freedom to do what we wanted. It felt like our future plans were all shattered, especially with having a family. I was in absolute despair about it and I sank into a deep depression.
    I am now 38 and still no children as fiancé has such a low sperm count and our chances of conceiving naturally are practically zero. He has had 2 semen analysis done, both very low results. We have explored IVF but it’s not affordable for us and doubt they will accept my fiance due to his condition. I love him with all my heart and there is no one else in this world that I want to marry and have a future with, have children with, but he is on the transplant list and who knows how long he will be waiting to get a transplant.
    Words cannot describe how much i love this man, and i made a choice to stand by him and support him through his illness, however, I thought i had come through that really dark phase of frustrations and sadness and every other emotion that comes with this situation… and for a while i thought i had found some acceptance that if I want to be with this man then I’m never going to have normality or children. But I don’t think I have fully grieved and accepted it at all. I really crave normality and being able to do the things that couples in love tend to do in life… but mainly, I am struggling to accept that I will never be a Mother whilst I’m in this relationship.
    Recently, I have had all the tests done which results have all been fine, plus I have been pregnant before years ago when i was younger, though i was not in a loving or functional relationship at the time so I did not take that pregnancy to term, which reflecting on now, I look back on whether I had made the right choice, finding myself in the situation I am in now. Could that now have been my only chance gone?. Will I now have to live with that regret?
    I just feel so utterly torn between my relationship and my decreasing fertility… I’ve recently turned 38 and i can’t wait much longer if I’m going to have kids. I am in absolute turmoil about this. Should I stay because I do love him and want him, but then should I leave to give myself the best possible chance of motherhood and meeting someone else? However, of course, there is no guarantee that I will meet a suitable someone else anyway, especially now at 38. But what if…

    • Hi Michaela – what a tough situation to be in – my heart goes out to you. It’s absolutely not for me to say whether you should stay or go but I can feel how this is tormenting you. We have many members in our private online community who have wrestled (or are wrestling) with the same dilemma, and it’s a private place where you can open your heart and be heard. I’d really recommend you come and join us over there, away from this public page. Hugs, Jody x

  5. I started menopause at 36 so unfortunately it didn’t happen for me. I was so into my job that I thought I could have children in my late thirties not knowing I would have early menopause.

    • Hi Kymberley – early menopause is hard for any woman, but especially hard for involuntarily childless women of our generation, because in previous generations women were more likely to have had their children younger. I highly recommend the work of The Daisy Network who support women with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), often also referred to as Premature Menopause. https://www.daisynetwork.org.uk/
      Hugs, Jody x

  6. By the time I manage to divorce I was 40. It took another 8 years to find my darling husband. It was too late for both of us. So sad.

    • Hi Eva – that timing is tough to live with. My heart goes out to you both. I’m glad you’re here and I hope we can help you navigate your way forward. I do recommend my book (and not just because it’s my book!) as it can really help. Hugs, Jody x

    • Hi Kirstie – er – blimey! A ‘miracle baby story’ in the family. It’s going to be a long slog… do come and join us in the private online community – I think you’re going to need a more private ranting space from hereon in! Hugs, Jody x

  7. I’m from Switzerland, 37 years old (soon 38), and discovered Gateway Woman today. I’m so glad I found this site… I’ve been in a relationship with a wonderful single Dad for three years and I also had a really great connection with his little daughter. And I always thought that one day we would have a child together, but a couple of months ago he told me he couldn’t imagine having a second child. I was horrified. I loved this man so much (well I still do) but I had to leave him. This hurts so bad, because I’m not sure if I’ll find another love in time and maybe I also have to let go my dream of having a child on my own… I’m happy with my job, my friends and my life in general but I’m going through the toughest time of my life… So glad, I’m not the only one…

    • Dear Elisabeth – I’m so very sorry to hear of the pain that you’re in. Leaving a relationship for the hope of a baby ‘one day’ with someone else when time is already not our friends is so very hard. And the alternative, staying in a relationship with a partner we love who already has children and doesn’t want more is… very hard. There’s no easy way out of this one and I’m not surprised you are having such a tough time. I’d really recommend you join our private online community as this is an issue many of our members have dealt with or are dealing with currently and we can support you. You might also like to know that we have Gateway Women meetup groupsthat meet monthly in both Basel and Geneva, which you’d be welcome to attend. So glad you’ve found us and I hope we can help you find your way through this part of your life feeling a little less alone with it. Hugs, Jody x

  8. I’m 30 years old, I have polycystic ovaries, bicornis uterus, apparently only one of my ovaries work (I can get pregnant but in a very long time apart) and I’ve lost 2 babies, one at 2 months pregnant and a baby girl at 5 months pregnant (oh yeah! I have thrombosis also! My own body attacks my babies). I’m really going out of my mind. I really feel I won’t be able to have children, EVER, and life is just against me becoming a mother. I’m so afraid of getting my heart broke again, I’m sick and tired of people telling me “my time will come”, “stay positive”, “its not a competition”, “you have to chill.” How the hell could I be positive or chill?! I can’t even sleep without having nightmares. I think nobody gets it; nobody gets what it is to give birth to your dead baby. I feel so depressed and so negative about my life. And the sad part is, I’ve really tried. I have a good job, a wonderful husband, family and friends, but nothing is complete in my life right now. I should now be taking care of my baby girl, and instead I’m feeling awful and watching all my school friends and family members getting pregnant… with their second child!!!!! I really try to make my peace with God and with life, but lately, I just don’t feel in a very “faithy” kind of way. I don’t know if i should keep trying or if i should just quit, because I don’t think I could handle another death again. Everyone tells me to be patient… I sure can’t!!!

  9. I’m 38years old. I’ve been married since I was 24. I love my husband. Diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome at 22. Have struggled with my weight, currently 5 stone overweight. Decided to wait to have children. Didn’t seem to be any rush! Got to 30, thought now is the time! Husband was made redundant, needed to carry on working. Husband got new job, got pregnant, overjoyed! Miscarried at the new year. Fell into depression, so did my husband. My husband lost his job, I needed to keep working so we wouldn’t lose the house. 3 years on, my husband is in a new job after retraining again. I’ve got chronic anxiety. My husband is very hard working but the recession hit his field hard. People keep asking me when I’m going to have a baby! Sick of the whole conversation. Mother in law is the worst, she has told me it is my ‘Christian’ duty. Get jealous all the time, have to cover for my younger, pregnant colleagues all the time. I’m very good at my job! Have had multiple rounds of CBT just to feel like a worthwhile person. I’m lucky my husband appreciates me and my own parents understand. Why others give no credence to what I have achieved I don’t know. Being a Mother appears to be the only way to have value.

    • Hi Rachael and thank you for commenting. I am so sorry at how life has got in the way of you and your husband having a family. It must seem so unfair that having been fiscally responsible and ‘waiting’ to start a family, others who get ‘whoops’ pregnant end up having more ‘value’ as adult women… I’m so glad that your husband and his family are so understanding and supportive. I’d really recommend joining our private online community for support – it really helps not to be on our own with this stuff. Hugs, Jody x

      • Just to clarify, my parents have been great, very supportive. My husbands mother, less so. The love and support I have gladly given her son seem to have counted for nothing. It has been very hurtful and difficult. My husband has challenged it, argued with her, but I don’t want him losing contact with his mother. Life eh!

        • I’m afraid the lack of support around this issue can often come from those we’d hope to get it from. I’m glad you’ve had support from your own family. Your husband’s mother is not unusual in her behaviour, sadly. Hugs, Jody x

  10. I’m turning 40 next month. Single, never married – not even close. Always wanted kids but never found the right person. Also adopted so I don’t even have the biological parent-child experience on the other side. I love kids and have a lot of compassion for people, but sometimes I get angry or frustrated when I see mothers and their cute babies or families. It’s hard to accept that if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not in the cards for me. I feel bad that I never gave my aging parents the grandkids they always wanted. My dad used to give me grief about it, but now they tell me they have accepted that I never decided to have kids. This also hurts because it wasn’t a conscious choice, it just never happened.

    • Hi Enceladus and thanks for taking the time to comment. 40 can be such a hard birthday to cope with when childless and single. I’m so sorry that you didn’t find the person that you wanted to start a family with. It’s hard too that you have not been able to give your parents the grandchildren they longed for. I hope that you can find a way to explain to them one day that childlessness chose you and not the other way around. Hugs, Jody x

  11. Hi. A few years ago I was in a violent relationship. One day I was beaten so badly that I lost my baby. I was 4 months along at the time. Today being Mothers Day brings thoughts about my loss to the forefront of my head. I was devastated. Still am. I am so scared that these feelings will never go away. I was even more devastated when I was told I could not have another baby. The damage to my body was horrendous. Will I ever be able to move on?

    • Dear Charlie – I am so sad to read of your horrendous experience and your devastation over this trauma and its lifelong consequences are terribly sad. I’m not sure that we ever ‘move on’ fully, but we can learn to integrate these losses into our life so that they no longer dominate our experience. Joining our supportive online community would be a good start and you might also find seeking out trauma therapy very helpful too. I had a great experience myself with Somatic Experiencing therapy as a way to shift old trauma. Hugs, Jody x

  12. I thought I was alone feeling like I do but I’ve just found this page. Age 42 and never lucky enough to have children. My husband left me because of it a few years ago and my new partner recently ended our relationship because I don’t have children so he decided that I didn’t fit into his life with his child as well as a parent could. Constantly told by friends or family that I don’t understand because I don’t have kids and having to stop myself shouting out ‘no you don’t understand because you do’. I hope this website will help me realise that it’s not me or my fault and I can’t wait to be able to move forward without the pain and upset it causes me.

    • Hi Lou – I’m so sorry that on top of your own pain, those around you are judging and misunderstanding you because you aren’t a mother. People can be so thoughtless about how hard it is to be childless not by choice. Do consider joining our online community as a way of ‘moving forward’. We get it. Hugs, Jody x

  13. So pleased I have found this website! I am 41 and found out I was unable to have children 15 mths ago. I had been trying for 3 years. I have never fallen pregnant and have had no accidents in the past so it was a bit of a gamble of knowing whether I could or couldn’t. My partner is 8 years younger than me and has been amazing throughout our journey and we remain together since.

    I was originally offered one fertility treatment, IVF, but was told that at the time that the drugs I would have to take would probably do more harm than good to my internal system as I had a very slim chance of falling pregnant and would more than likely miscarry. After hearing this outcome we decided against this option as we both thought at the time we had been through so much with waiting to be referred/appointments/endless blood tests – the upset mentally and emotionally that to fall pregnant and possibly lose a baby would be all too much. A decision not taken lightly..

    I went back to work the following day when I found out my results. My partner said it was for the best to keep in a routine. I look back now and think it possibly wasn’t the best idea as I needed time to grieve and I probably still do.

    I am now at a point in my life where I have kept busy/avoiding social gatherings and any form of conversation that involves any sort of family talk. I feel like an outsider. In fact I have become more of a hermit. I don’t know where I fit in and I don’t know what i’m doing with my life/career wise. But all I know is I need to keep going…

    I look back at my 30’s and think where did the time go. I was with someone for 5 years during that time and in the end I left him (which was the hardest thing I had to do) because he wasn’t sure if he wanted children. Then 3 years later he was made a father! I just wish I had met my now partner so much earlier. It’s so strange how life pans out! Thank you for listening.

    • Hi Eliza – I’m glad you’ve found us too! It does indeed sound like you’re grieving, which is a natural (and healthy) way that we adjust to a devastating loss. I hope that you find the articles and resources here helpful. I’d really suggest you check out our private online community – it’s a very special group of kindred spirits who will travel alongside you as you find your way in “life/career wise” as you say. No small task! Hugs, Jody x

      • Hi Jody – i really thought I was alone in this journey til just a few minutes ago when I found your talk with Christine Erickson. To Not have had children is a grief that just feels too heavy to hold some days for me. Catastrophic even. Well, I was happy and relieved to see I’m not alone. It’s such a comfort. Thanks you rock! X
        Allison r

        • Hi Alison – finding out you’re not alone in this is the HUGEST relief, isn’t it. I will always remember the first comment on the very first blog that I published in 2011 and thinking and what a relief it was to be heard. Hugs xxx

  14. So I tried to have a baby and it didn’t work. I am single and spent all my money on sperm donors. I didn’t know it would be so hard to conceive. We are so scared in our 20s to get pregnant and I was so careful. What a waste. Thanks for the video. I know I am not the only one after reading through this

    • Dearest Mona – I’m so sorry that you haven’t been able to conceive. Those people that blithely say, “Oh, you should just have a baby by yourself” have no idea how many women have tried, like yourself, and it didn’t work out. I’m so glad you’ve found us. Hugs, Jody x

  15. Had been single for a long time then last Feb I met my current boyfriend. I turned 40 in July and although having a baby is something I want more then anything in the world I obviously wasn’t going to push it onto a new relationship. Today we were talking a bit about our future and he told me he wants kids, but not for another few years. I don’t have that kind of time! I’m already 40 and who knows if I even can. He’s wants to stay with me but isn’t sure what will happen down the road. Haven’t been able to stop crying. I feel so broken.

    • Dear Mary – this is so very painful, I’m so sorry. I can completely understand why you are heartbroken. Unfortunately, the reality of female (and male) fertility is not one that is yet taught in schools and the media give a very unrealistic expectation of what is possible in our 40s, so men (as well as women) often don’t realise that ‘another few years’ isn’t always possible. Perhaps your boyfriend is unaware that male sperm declines dramatically with age and that for men 40+, chromosomal abnormalities in sperm are one of the factors implicated in the high rate of miscarriage for women over 40? Charlie Chaplin and Rod Stewart are outliers, not templates. If your boyfriend wants to ‘wait a few years more’ is he aware that this might mean childlessness for him too? Here is an article which although the study was on IVF patients, does explore the decline in male fertility. It’s obviously early days in your relationship, but late days in your own fertility (as you are painfully aware), which makes all this very fraught so I’m not for a moment suggesting that waving this article under his nose is going to make things magically easier… Perhaps the one thing that really might help is the understanding and empathy of women who’ve been in your situation, so I’m really glad you’re here with us. The pain of straddling both the ‘still hopeful’ phase and the very real possibility of childlessness is excruciating. With hugs, Jody x

  16. Found this website from the BBC website. I’m 39, single and childless. The childless part is the one that bothers me most when I do think about it.

    Some people’s attitudes is probably the most challenging. It can be uncomfortable for them if they can’t fit you into a category. I’ve got round that by being outspoken when the questions start. I’m keen on reclaiming the word ‘spinster’ (I’m not ready to stop spinning my thread yet).

    Regards the children aspect: most of my close friends have husbands and children. You get used to no longer being a priority (family comes first). I’ve carved out a new role of being the break from the norm for them (and at times rescuer during difficult times). It’s funny how envious others can be when you tell them you’re going home to a quiet house where you’ll choose what you want for dinner and what you want to do for the evening.

    I’m blessed to have nieces and nephews and I’m a significant part of their lives. I’m not sure how I would have coped without them. I’ve always been strongly maternal. I wrote a piece of school work at 13 that my goal was to have several children. Most were shocked that my sister went that route instead. It’s just the way things work in life sometimes.

    Outlook and attitude is vital to how we see ourself and who we are. Having children doesn’t define you as a person, nor does being part of a couple. Giving to others and enriching yourself (emotionally and socially) goes some way toward a feeling of satisfaction of a life well done. I like to travel (solo) to experience as many different places and peoples as I can. I do feel an ache in my heart at times that is baby shaped but pets help!

  17. I found your site several years ago when I was seriously considering if life was even worth the living.. Since then I have read your first book- several times. Jody – you are truly a life saver – thank you for your passion and compassion. I am 44 and hope many others discover optimism once again

    • Hi Jenny – I’m so very glad that this site and my book has been a support to you. Crossing this life passage has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I wanted to make sure that others didn’t feel so alone in it as I did. Thank you for your words of appreciation, they mean a lot to me. Hugs, Jody x

  18. Hi. Heard your interview & about this site on bbc radio 5 live. Is there anyone on here who cann’t have children because of the condition turner syndrome?

  19. Hi there,

    I’m really struggling just now and I couldn’t have found this site at a better time. I feel so isolated and the whole situation has been having a major impact on my mental health and my self esteem.

    I have always had gynae issues and having had multiple procedures/operations over the years I had my tubes removed when I was 31 as all the scar tissue and adhesions had damaged them badly so I knew I’d need IVF.

    I am now 41, I have been with my wonderful fiance for almost 6 years and we have been on our fertility journey for almost 5 years now. In that time I was diagnosed with a large ovarian cyst, a year later we were referred but I was diagnosed with early menopause (and relatedly osteopenia of the spine, so I started HRT – it took over a year of hell to find the right one for me). Then we went on a waiting list for donor eggs and in the meantime had 3 attempts with a private clinic (to no avail).

    Eventually we were matched with a donor but only 1 egg fertilised (as it turns out, my partner has fertility issues too) so all our hopes of funded treatment were resting on that 1 precious embryo. It then took a year, 2 attempts at treatment, an operation and a 3rd and final attempt to eventually get the embryo transferred in November. Those were the the most exciting and hopeful 2 weeks of our lives but needless to say, given my presence here, it didn’t take. I feel ashamed of my inability to become a mum and I feel like my life has been on hold for the want and trying to start a family. All of my friends now have children too so that just makes it all the harder.

    I’m emotionally exhausted by the whole situation and my body feels like it’s been through the ringer with all the treatments. On my worst days I feel like I can’t keep going with this journey, that it might be easier to just accept our fate. I just can’t imagine my future without children though and that thought scares me more.

    I’m sorry if I’m over-sharing, but I’m at the stage now that I’m desperate for connections with people who understand what we’re going through and I sincerely hope I’m in the right place. Any guidance of where to start with the website, or indeed any other help, would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Becky – Thank goodness you found us and I’m not surprised you’re emotionally exhausted honey! You’ve come to the right place to find connections with women who ‘get it’. The best place for a confidential conversation where you absolutely don’t have to edit your thoughts or feelings is over at our private online community. Hope to see you there very soon. Hugs, Jody x

  20. Hello, am glad to find this site. I am 40 and through decisions i now regret, I have lost my last chance of having a child. I feel very frightened of what will become of me as I get older and I feel such sadness that I will be unable to experience motherhood. It’s something I’d never thought I’d be able to do due to issues I have with my self esteem and mental health and now it is too late. I look forward to using this resource in the hope that I can start to see my later life being something I can try to enjoy and not full of regret and mourning.

  21. Hi Jody!

    I ordered your book a few years ago after my 2nd miscarriage. I work in an office of new/ expectant mums. I recently just lost my 3rd after making it to 5 months. Your book gave me resilience during my most difficult months. East coast of Canada needs you or one of your sisters!!!! I cant find any meet ups east of montreal…. what about Halifax? ??!

    • Hi Erica – I’m so sorry for your loss – that sounds very hard INDEED. so glad you’ve found us. We do have a meetup in Toronto, but perhaps it’s inactive at the moment? I’m training someone who lives in Toronto to lead the Gateway Women Reignite Weekend and so that will be running in the Toronto area for the first time next Spring. If you’d like to email me at private [@] gateway-women.com I can introduce you to her by email as she also organises the Toronto/Barrie meetups. Hugs, Jody x
      (PS – also join our mailing list at http://eepurl.com/rfSvT so that you’ll be the first to know when workshops near you go on sale).

  22. Just found this site in my lunchbreak and I am so INCREDIBLY RELIEVED THAT THIS EXISTS. Like a new universe – can’t wait to explore this. Thanks.

    • Hi Kata and WELCOME! I’m so glad you’ve found us too! I created Gateway Women because when I needed it, it didn’t exist. There are many wonderful women and great resources here for you to explore. I really hope it helps. Hugs, Jody x

    • Hi Jenny – I’ve literally just returned from the USA (with the jetlag to prove it) yesterday. I ran my Reignite Weekend in Colorado, as well as speaking at the NotMom Summit in Cleveland. However, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be more Reignite Weekend’s in the USA in 2018. The best way to be informed when they open for booking is to join my monhtly mailing list here http://eepurl.com/rfSvT
      With regard to starting a meetup in West Palm Beach, can I recommend that as a first step (if you haven’t done so already) you join the Gateway Women USA Meetup Group and then email us at community@gateway-women.com and we will help you to get a local group going.
      Thanks so much for wanting more of GW in your life and I hope we can make that a reality for you soon.
      Hugs, Jody x

  23. Elizabeth

    Wow others like me. I have sent a comment but the computer played up so I could not end with my name.

    It is wonderful to have this site as women who have children have no idea how sad lonely and how on the outer I feel at times with family with nieces and nephews. Husband feels the same but does not voice it. Men don’t.

    I know I will have feedback soon. It is wonderful to talk to others who know how empty we can feel even though we have other purposes.

  24. Thanks so much for putting words to my feelings. It’s certainly the big unacknowledged issue for women of our tribe. I’m now 55 and remember clearly the end of a relationship at 42, thinking “this is it, I’ll never have kids” and grieving privately about it, maybe sharing a bit with one friend in similar circumstances. I coped by putting my energies into friends’ kids and being the best Aunty I could be. Recently my niece said she and her brother were like “the kids you never had”. I thought my feelings of exclusion about my childlessness had ended as friends’ kids became adults and less involved with parents on a daily basis until the whole thing started again with grandchildren. Grrrr. Good news is that last year I married a man with 5 adult children and 2 grandchildren. He tells people we meet that we have 5 kids; it’s very inclusive and the best alternative I could have anticipated, but not the same as my own child.

  25. Everyday since google era started, I search the web for any subject.
    Only today this one,
    -‘not going to have a child subject’, hidden beneath for 5 years, examined from all possible angles that are accessible from an inner-monologue viewpoint-
    made it into the search line.
    Thank you Gateway Women!
    It will be so refreshing paddling in your swell, so freeing surfing your waves.

    • Silverlaketales, I LOVE your words. You sound like a great and creative WRITER. I joined the Gateway WWOC in Cleveland, Ohio in March, 2017 and it has made quite a difference in my life. Until then, I have NEVER had anyone to talk to about this “childless” thing. I have however, found that we have OTHER gifts to be thankful for, and beholding to. Hold on, help is on the way.

      • Hello Donni,
        thank you for your kind words and reassuring me by telling me about the possible change. It is time for me to talk, so I will delve into the gateway community in the coming weeks. Greetings from South Australia to Cleveland!

  26. Am Natalie, 41 can’t have kids and am struggling so much. Everywhere I turn friends, family always about kids and I feel like an alien sometimes. Some friends I don’t believe are good mothers but who am I to judge what do I know…Really struggling at the moment – any advice thank you.

    • My friends say, ‘OK Nat, you can’t have kids – sick of hearing about it – get over it – foster or summit!

    • Hello Natalie X I’ve just read your post after finding this superbly promising site for women in the same heart wrenching situation as myself. I’m struggling too. In fact, I’ve only just stopped crying. I’m sick of crying now and contemplating various options available to the sad, lonely, eccentric, isolated woman such as myself, who feels that there isn’t much point carrying on with this life as I have no real purpose.
      I’ve found myself secretly judging women who are pregnant with their umpteenth child and clearly aren’t a good mother to the existing kids. But these kids love their mums. So who am I to be judgemental. Another thing I scorn myself about.
      It’s time to start living and I too, need advice, friendship from women who are in a similar situation and basically …. I need to start living again.
      Stay in contact… Claudia x

  27. I’m 39 and after a 10 year relationship where I was asked by my partner to wait and wait and then wait some more, they finally left me explaining that they loved me but didn’t want kids. That person knew from day one that I did want kids and let me hope and hang on for over a decade before leaving me out of the blue. I would have moved heaven and earth for this person but found out shortly after that they had been in love with someone else for over half the time we were together. I am trying to forgive this person but I still have a long way to go. I hate them so much for lying to me and not giving me the chance of finding someone sooner who actually loved me and wanted a family. In the meantime I have a new relationship. We have been together for about a year and a half. This person loves me and I love him and originally he seemed very enthusiastic about becoming a dad, but since I have come off birth control he has been suffering with low sex drive and other related issues and now I can’t even joke around and flirt with him without him feeling pressured. So I don’t try and pressure him or flirt. I just try to be supportive and kind and try to make his days as stress free as possible. But time is running out for me and I don’t think he minds not having children based on how indifferent about the subject he has become. On the few occasions we talk about how depressed and unhappy I am he panics in case I leave him but then things don’t change. He isn’t the type to ask for help himself so the chances of him getting professional support are practically zero. I get so many mixed messages from him that I don’t know what he wants any more. I just know he doesn’t want me to leave him. I don’t want to leave him either. There is no guarantee I would find someone else who wanted kids and I would have hurt and pushed away the person I now love. But I feel like my heart is breaking. I know I have to come to terms with the growing likelihood that I will never be a mother, but when I consider it I feel like I’d rather not be here any more. I’m afraid of hoping for much longer because the more time I avoid accepting it, the worse it will be.

    • Jodi, I just discovered this website after spending time w/friends and feeling left out.
      Reading your entry I discovered many similarities in your situation to mine. I too was promised a family only to have to wait because of my husbands career. His lack of sex drive and the promise to have children led him to feel pressure from me. So much so he said I was obsessed w/ having sex. After that announcement I gave up “asking”.
      I go back and forth lately trying to come to terms w/the reality I will not have children. I trusted in a partner and believed them and am now 43.
      Thank you for sharing

  28. Hi I’m 39 when I was 19 I was told that I didn’t ovulate. I tried 2 different fertility tablets to no avail. I have always wanted children and am absolutely devastated that I can’t. I have developed a phobia of pregnant women and small baby’s over the last 20 years to the point they make me feel physically sick. I know this is my minds way of dealing with the grief and the jealousy I feel when I see them. Over the years I have had some really close friends but lost them due to this phobia, they don’t understand and think I should just “get over it”. I barely saw my sister’s while they were pregnant and dreaded them coming round with the baby. My mother used to force me to hold the baby’s thinking it would help…. It didn’t it made me feel worse.

    After 2 failed marriages I have finally met a great man who having had children previously didn’t want anymore. He has grown children though who are now starting to reproduce….. I’m dreading seeing them when they are past the 6 month stage in their pregnancy.

    However, last year I started a new job. I met a woman who fell pregnant. I tried to explain to her about my phobia and not to take it personally if I didn’t want to work with her. She listened to me … the first person ever …. she did everything she could to make me feel comfortable and when it got to the stage where I couldn’t bear to be around her she made it better. I don’t know how maybe because I felt listened to and able to talk to her. She encouraged me to work with her and told me to just look at her face. I even hugged her once and she turned sideways and put a bag between us so I wouldn’t feel the bump. Thanks to this girl I have made big steps (to me). I actually held a 4 month old baby for at least 2 minutes before giving her back.

    I may feel stupid with my phobia at times, I may feel really depressed but I felt so proud of myself that day. I know this doesn’t mean I’m over it. I know this doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to do this with other women and their babies but I do know with the right circumstances and approach I don’t have to always be the freaky woman who doesn’t like pregnant women and babies. I know I have a friend who understands and supports me who wants to be there and help where she can. For that I am so thankful.

    I will always be childless but hopefully with time and understanding I will be able to enjoy the grandchildren my husband brings me.

    • Hello Valerie, thank you for sharing your story, you are very brave and totally inspiring! Your friend is an angel sent to help you in my mind and you have been willing to be helped too, that is so wonderful and lovely to know you are on the road to less suffering and more joy. I wish you all the very best for a bright future. Kirstin

    • People don’t understand, they avoid us. Infertility & childlessness become the elephant in the room. I read your story and cried because your colleague showed you patience, compassion & understanding throughout her pregnancy which is amazing and in my experience rare.

      • LT, you just said it best as the elephant in the room. As if not being able to have kids wasn’t hard enough, my husband and I feel like we’ve lost all our friends who opt to spend time together with their growing families. They’ll have group suppers with all their kids and we aren’t invited to anything anymore… too awkward for them I guess? Funny because I wouldn’t go anyways for fear of falling into an emotional pit so far it’d take me weeks to climb back out of. You seem to find out who your true friends are when dealing with grief. I feel like our whole life is difficult right now…

  29. Hi, I’m 29 years old and right now I am childless and I feel like it’s never going to happen since it hasn’t happened yet. I feel like I’ve cursed myself by always saying “I don’t want kids” when people would ask me when I was going to have children – I would say it but always in my heart I wanted children. It is like a knife in the heart every time I see someone with a baby bump or announcing a pregnancy, like why can’t that be me ya know? Last year I just knew that I was pregnant, at least I thought so – well one of my coworkers come in and she tells me that she’s pregnant and I find myself happy for her but also sad – but it prompted to test which was negative and everyday I had to watch this beautiful thing take place Nd smile and pretend to be so happy for her when all I wanted to do was cry. And now this month another coworker tells me she’s pregnant 🙁 and I’m so happy for her but I’m hoping this test I take in a few days brings me good news because God knows it sucks to have to act like I’m okay when I’m not. I just feel like time is ticking away. Idk maybe I’m overreacting

  30. It’s interesting that you did not include couples who cannot afford having children…so many complicated reasons but still somewhat devastating

  31. Jody Day, you are an inspiration, I’m doing the 30DC, I’d started a project for a community of women and seeing your interview this week blew me away! Would it be possible to have the honour of having you as my first interview in the blog? In case this reply is published, and for anyone who reads: I happen to be a (late) mother, by choice I’d have been an earlier one a mother to more, I share life stories with many of you who are no-mo by chance, I’ve discriminated against and considered “suspicious”. I fully support the choice of no-mo too and stand with you all in support. We women are discriminated and misrepresented for so many reasons that it’s starting to look like excuses. I just would like you to know that I relate, I care and I support you. And I’m sure there are millions of yes-mo like myself out there, ready to stand with you to fight discrimination, even if we can’t share and accompany your life experiences all the way. With love and respect,

  32. This is the only site I ever see that speaks to me or doesn’t make me angry. I am a 38 year female… only 39. And as down as could possibly be. Not married, no children, no anything. Thought I did a lot of things right. It is so difficult living with a constant grief, chronic sorrow, lost dreams, and not much I look forward to or that brings me joy. I’m so sick of being a constant spectator of everyone else’s life, without a family of my own. I live life, am physically fit, physically and mentally strong, best shape of my life actually. I volunteer, have a gazillion friends, social, active in my community. But I do all of it aching and without any joy in my heart. I am depressed, but I get so angry when anyone tries to write it off as a mental illness. I am NOT. I tried antidepressants, counseling, and all those things too in the past, and it did NOTHING for me. In fact, it all just made me feel worse. The therapists would bounce me to doctor to give meds and the med drs would bounce me to the therapists. Because it’s not my brain chemistry that is off. I am unsatisfied, not content, living a life that was my worst nightmares come to life.

    A parent is allowed to mourn the loss of a child. I have divorced friends who fall into a dark place whenever their kids are not with them. They HATE being home when their kids are not there. But I’m supposed to feel great about going home to an empty house every night. Or coupled friends invite me over to “hang out” so I don’t have to “be alone,” promising they don’t act “all couple-y.” Gee thanks. I like my own company. I am independent and am not afraid to be “alone.” I actually prefer it to doing stupid things to “keep busy.” I don’t want to “keep busy.” It’s exhausting. I wanted a life of my own. 🙁

    Jobs, friends, volunteering, fitness classes – it’s not the same. It doesn’t give me a full heart. I cry every single day. I read books. I try to practice gratitude. I try to live in the moment. But I do everything with an aching heart. I feel like other people got lives and families and my joys and happiness are reduced to things like “my body feels good when I step out of the hot sun into air conditioning.” Not quite doing it. But maybe I can pop a pill and feel better about it.

    Sorry. Thanks for everyone sharing their hearts. This is very, very painful.

    • I’m 37. Divorced. My husband told me after we dated for 10 years and married for 1 year that he didn’t want children and never wanted to marry me. I have so much shame and pain and feel so incredibly stupid to be where I am now. It feels like this awful, painful limbo. Do I try my damnedest to get pregnant alone, spending a ton of money, even borrowing it? Or do I accept that I’m single and it is what it is and maybe I’ll meet someone one day. I’ve realized in the last few years how much regret I feel. A lot of what you said resonated with me. Others who have partners and kids have little and big moments of joy and laughter every day. And friends with kids provides camaraderie. Sure there are negatives to these scenarios too, but it’s very hard to feel joy in my aloneness. I have no real deep joy. I’m happy sometimes. I can laugh. I love my family. But I wanted a family of my own. I don’t want to be Aunt Carrie my whole life. Attend my nieces and nephews graduations alone. All my friends have had their weddings and children. Their kids are all in pre-K or older. I’m trying so hard to keep my head above water. But it’s nice to know others have these feelings, too. So thank you.

    • Aww, Mara (and Carrie too) I hear you. I Know that pain only too well. Another single childless woman here (44 years old, though I still feel about 17 most of the time!)
      Trust me, you’re not alone. There are so many of us these days. Women who longed to marry & bear children, whose dreams have been unfulfilled. It’s agony isn’t it.
      I have no doubt that other people think all manner of things about me; but they don’t truly know me. Only God and I know the absolute truth of myself and my life story. I rest in that knowledge.

      I often wonder who or what let me down? Did I let myself down? Did society let me down? Should I blame my parents? Or is it just one of those things? I’m part of a growing statistic. Women who have ended up single & childless not by choice, for whatever reason. I didn’t expect ‘this’ to happen to me; and to be honest it’s a bit of shock.

      I often wish I’d grown up in a different century, where women were almost trained from birth to be wives & mothers. I realise that sounds shocking, as I’d be sacrificing my right to vote (for which I’m very grateful) as well as access to the NHS; and my chances of dying in childbirth would be huge. But at least I’d be a mother. So great has my desire for many years been to be a mother, that I’d be prepared to sacrifice those other things. I’m a little ashamed of that, but can’t help how I feel. I’d obviously ideally like babies and emancipation!

      Anyway, I’m grieving too, so can’t give you much light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel advice; but offering you a hand-hold, and oodles of empathy xxxx

      • Hi Guys. I hear ALL of you. I THINK I missed being a mother. I am a TRUE believer in a “Reason and a Season for EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN”. It could be a biological reason, a timing reason, or a God reason that we do not have children. The thing is, WE are HERE for a REASON. So I figure, be positive about the gift of life, and do ALL we can for others. I believe that one of the greatest ways we can leave our legend is through both the “Written”, and the “Spoken” word. Leave timeless lessons for others to live by through our knowledge and wisdom and lessons. Go forth and learn, prosper, and have JOY. We are Gods children too.

    • I am 40 and Single. I have always imagined my life with a husband, kids and a family. At the age of 27 I broke up with my long-term relationship, which was quite difficult. However, I assumed I still had plenty of time to find a suitable partner. Aged 30 my wish for a child gradually grew stronger, but I only had short realationships with men, which unfortunaltely did not work out. For years I have been unsuccessful with online dating while my friends found partners and grew relationships. At the age 35 my wish for a child was getting stronger, but I was still missing a suitable partner in my life. Aged 36/37 I went through social freezing, luckily successful against all odds. Approaching my 40th birthday which was kind of a line for me I started feeling even more sad then before. I ordered your book, Jody and tried to work on it, but after a series of dissappointing dates, I went into an episode of major depression (my second one) which made it impossible for me to continue on that topic. I fully recovered, am still in therapy, but under a medication you should never get pregant with and even further away from it any than ever before. My chances of having a child are vashingly low, but I am not yet prepared to finally let go of it. The topic still makes me cry every time I think or talk about it. I struggle so much coming to terms with it and it is really painful. I started working on your book again, Jody and it is also good to read here that others are going through the same (@Mara, it was really great reading you post). I really would like to find a meetup in Germany, but believe there is not yet one. Could you maybe point me into the right direction to get together with local women who experience the same?

    • Hugs to you. It felt like I was reading my own thoughts reading your post. Like you are inside my head. This is my daily experience too. It’s so heartbreaking. No one else understands. Never had a chance to be happy with anyone let alone the idea to have kids. Always been hurt and betrayed in relationships. I spent positively the worst Christmas day of my life today. On my own. I’m in my room just staring at the floor. I couldn’t even face going to see my mother – the only family I have. And my sister died last year suddenly so it’s even worse. I hate myself for being a bad daughter as I’m the only child my mother has. But I’m barely coping right now and I just can’t do Christmas. It continually reminds me of what I don’t have – what I’ve never had and now probably never will. Im 41 and last year met a man I thought wanted me and I could be happy with. For the first time in ages I allowed myself to hope children may be a possibility. But he turned out to be someone who hurt and betrayed me too. I don’t go out anymore apart from to work. I can’t cope with it. I feel insanely jealous if I hear people and family I know having babies. I feel I hate them. And I hate myself for it but I can’t help it. It’s desperately hard to the point I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up. The only thing stopping me from doing anything is my mother. I couldn’t do that to her. But nothing helps. I’ve seen councellors and they are all useless and uncaring. No clue. They have no idea what it’s like. But I just wanted to say to you that I do. xxx And I hope things change for you.

      • Dear High Priestess – I’m was so saddened to read of how hard things are for you now – grieving both for your sister and for your own chance to be a mother. 41 is such a hard age to find ourselves single and childless when that wasn’t the plan – I remember it very well and yes, it hurt like hell and there were days when I didn’t know how I’d carry on. I’m so glad you’ve found us here at GW and I’d really recommend joining our private online community – it’s a place of such understanding, empathy and friendship – and we totally ‘get it’. Hugs, Jody x

  33. This is really great to have a support group such as this. i too was childless for 10 years so i understand. Wishing you the best.

  34. Wow this is just what I needed to read right now. Currently struggling with the possible reality of childlessness and in that nervous and angry stage of almost blaming God! I know he has made me this way for a reason… I’m just not ready to accept that Yet! I have copied this and enjoyed visiting your website.
    I just have to trust God, I know I will… maybe when the time comes when I know I will live the rest of my life childless. I hate the waiting, to wonder. God knows if I will ever have children, I just wish the conclusion was clear…

    But thank you for these uplifting words and encouragement, it is just what I needed right now!

  35. https://marlenebelongstojesus.wordpress.com -EMPTY WOMB-HEALED HEART.

    “There are worse things in life than not being able to get pregnant”. Who said that?! I didn’t want to hear those words and I certainly didn’t see it that way, for a very long time. Many tried to encourage me but the more they said, the worse I felt! I didn’t want to hear another ‘pregnancy story’. And everyone seem to have one to tell! Of course they meant well but it really didn’t help. I was just too hurt to receive encouragement. My wrong thoughts, poor self-image and what felt like unending heart-ache only made this situation even worse.

    I had started looking at God through the eyes of my unanswered prayer and being in such a bad place emotionally, I became angry, resentful and bitter towards Him. I felt like He was just being cruel and though somewhere, deep within my heart, I KNEW He loved me, the despair was just overwhelming to the point that I unfortunately went with how I FELT instead of what I KNEW.

    Thank God for His amazing grace, tender mercies, loving kindness. He never gave up on me during those difficult times. And believe me I was difficult! Now as I look back so many years later, I stand in awe of His love. I am not proud of how I handled this especially as a child of God, but I am grateful that He remained faithful when I fell apart.

    On one of the many occasions I cried my heart out to Him, I had the following vision:

    I was walking in a river, but against the current so it made each step difficult. The Lord was walking with me, holding my hand. I was crying profusely while we took each challenging step together. I saw tears flow down His cheek (without seeing His face) and without audible words, He said, I won’t take you out of this, but you will never walk alone.

    I have since learned that having faith doesn’t always mean receiving the answer that I WANT. But I have the assurance that God would always be with me in any situation, no matter how painful. I have to trust that He knows things that I don’t. I know without Jesus in my life, I would never have been able to get past the pain of an empty womb. I am on a journey with God; healing taking place along the way. Now the most precious gift to me is my personal and intimate walk with Him. Different challenges have since come along in life but it is always comforting when I am reminded He is ALWAYS HERE BESIDES ME.

    God my Father has impressed on my heart that though I may not have been able to have a child, I am still HIS CHILD.

    No matter what we go through in life, not having the answers to all the WHYS is hard, but it doesn’t change that GOD IS LOVE. I assure you, He has our best interest at heart. ONLY T R U S T – EVEN WHEN IT’S DIFFICULT.

    Isaiah 43:2

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

    An empty womb – a healed heart….

  36. I’m 43 and although I thought I managed to kind of accept my childless situation, I’m grieving terribly again. I moved to a new apartment and the owners left a wall full of photos of their little son. It didn’t take a lot to remind me of what I’m missing.

    There is a part of me that still hopes that it will be possible to have a child. But I never met the right partner and my current partner has an adult daughter and doesn’t want more children.

    I feel cursed by my career and dating decisions. I honestly didn’t realize in my 20s that this was really the right time to settle down. I wish someone wise had spoken with me.

    I left home in my mid-20s and mostly pursued an international career. Doing work in post-conflict countries abroad, has become both part of the cause and part of the remedy for my situation. Because people in this line of work usually don’t bring their families with them, we are all without children while abroad. For me, it’s a way of avoiding the situation back home – where I am only the guest at someone’s child’s baptism, birthday, performance, graduation, etc., etc.

    My friends and family have never made me feel inferior for being childless. Social pressures or expectations weren’t noticeable, maybe because I often lived/worked abroad. But the sorrow of my heart now is so great, I don’t know if the oceans can hold my uncried tears. I was drowning a few years ago, fighting depression and suicidal wishes/plans. My strategy since then has been to avoid dwelling on my childlessness because it can really pull me into a negative spiral.

    Thank you Jody for talking about your experience. There is little relief in this situation, but it helps to know that I am not alone.

  37. I will be 50 in 5 months. I am childless because of male-factor infertility. And now I am separated from him for other reasons. I haven’t gone through menopause and I get sad sometimes, even my 50 year old friend just had a baby. It’s incredible. You can have a fulfilling life, and realizing that unless I live to be 100, I have already lived more than half of mine, I have no choice but to embrace the life I have left. It has been almost 5 years since our last infertility treatment, but it still hurts sometimes.

  38. Hi Jody,

    My name is Kari, I am 40 and have no biological children. I married my husband when I was 23 and he was 38. His daughter was 11 @ the time and moved in with us within our first year of marriage. I love her dearly, but the fact remains that she has her mother. My husband did not want anymore and at first neither did I. My mindset changed, his did not. Now I’m 40 and childless and my husband clams up when I talk about it. I don’t really think any one around me gets it. My step daughter, says that I have her and I know I do, I love her and her children very much. However, it is a difference that I can’t seem to get anyone to understand.

    • Hi Kari – your situation of being ‘childless by relationship’ is one that many others in the private online community share. It’s a safe place to explore how hard this is and it’s where you’ll FINALLY be understood! I’d also really recommend exploring the book/blog/website “Childless by Marriage” by Sue Fagalde Lick where you’ll find lots of other women who ‘get’ this. Hugs, Jody x

  39. Hi Jody,

    My name is Sarah and I have been advised not to have children because I am in the early stages of heart failure. I am looking for a group in the USA, preferably close to Philadelphia however I am willing to travel. I am also open to chat rooms or other community based organizations.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  40. Hello Jody my name is Aprile I always wanted to be a mother my dreams came crashing down in October 2015 when I found out I had cervical cancer and had to get a full blown hysteroctemy me and my husband was trying like crazy to conceive even before him with my first husband I was trying I found out when I was 20 I had some polyps on my uterus and had those removed I tried again but no baby. Now here I am in my 40’s I can’t have any now..i feel less of a woman I am a aunt of 3 my youngest sister was able to conceive but I wasn’t every time I see someone pregnant I get all teary eyed I guess it was in God’s plan for me not to have a baby…im in Virginia I really need a support group do you know of any here in VIRGINIA USA I could possibly go to…Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Donna – I don’t think we have a Meetup in Cleveland as yet, but we’d be happy to help you set one up. I know of a couple of other women in the area who I could reach out to who I’m sure would also like to attend. And I’m going to be in Cleveland this coming October to speak at The NotMom Summit so maybe we’ll meet then! http://thenotmom.com/ First step in getting the Cleveland Meetup going is to join the Gateway Women USA Meetup Group here: http://www.meetup.com/Gateway-Women-USA/ and then email my assistant Helen at community@gateway-women.com and she’ll help you get it up and running.
      Hugs, Jody x

  41. Have you heard Tara Henley’s radio documentary “39” on CBC(Canadian Broadcasting Co)?? You might want to tune in to it. It’s amazing how similar your experiences are to her documentary. I think it resonates with many of us.

  42. Friday, 30 December 2016.
    Kuala Lumpur
    (Kuala Lumpur is the Capital City of Malaysia)

    Hello there !

    I am Melanie.
    I am 57 years old, single, childless.

    I am thankful and grateful for this great opportunity created via Gateway-Women to come to terms to these difficult & complex issues that surround us; & that we need to live with – daily.

    I am not sure where this is leading me; but I believe this is worth a shot.

    Thank you.

    Melanie Sabapathy.

  43. Dear Jody, I’m from Germany and I have no idea how I found you, it was probably meant to be. I thought that I had overcome my childlessness by the age of 45, almost 46 but a few days ago sadness hit me unexpected and hard. I’m in menopause for about 3 years which makes me think a lot about my life and I heard of another pregnancy of my friends wife and I broke down. It didn’t affect me the first time she was pregnant, so why now? I was really devastated and trying to find some relief so I searched on the internet for support like I did a lot of times before, only now I found you which I can’t explain because I was searching in german. At first I just read superficial because it’s a little difficult for me in the english language but after a few minutes I realized I’ve found a treasure!!! I’ve never found anything similar in german and I couldn’t believe that there are so many women feeling the same and that I’m allowed to have this feelings. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m far from accepting my childlessness and that I need to mourn or I will never be ok again. Looks like I have been deceiving myself that I was good with it, it never goes away without letting the pain out. I was in psychotherapy because of a childhood trauma at the age of 38 and it helped me very much (that’s the time I found the strength to divorce my husband who had a drinking problem) but when I mentioned the pain of not being a mother my psychotherapist said one sentence only – one can have a fulfilling life with no children. That was it! So, I thought I’m not entitled to have those feeling when even a therapist said so along with of course, family, friends, society. I felt better instantly after I found gateway but the wounds are bleeding now as I opened Pandoras box so I would ask you what do you recommend me to do because we don’t have any groups in Germany although I know a lot of women in my country are childless. I would so love to read your book, will it be available in german soon? If not I don’t want to wait so long and would get it in English. One “interesting” thing is that I have a cousin who is like a sister to me and we are very close and talk about everything, she also has no children but we’ve never talked about it. Imagine that amount of pain and shame is so big even amongst such close women who know each other their whole life! My wish is that we all would let that go and after healing our wounds stand proudly like you do Jody.
    Hugs, Jasna
    [Just to correct my name, it’s Jasna, my parents and relatives are from Croatia but I was born and live in Germany. And it’s even more difficult because Croatia is very Conservative, so I struggled there also a lot, but that’s another story…]

    • Hi Jasna,
      I just wanted to reach out and say hello – I read your post very inspirational. I have received the emails from Jody and I have glanced at them not really reading them but after reading your post about being in denial – I think tomorrow I will start to read the blogs and information on this great website. Thank you! I too want to read the book but have not made the next step of buying it. Denial does play a massive part in this journey and we need the tools to help us along the way.

      Thanks again


      • Dear Christine,

        I´m so glad to hear that my post was some kind of help to you and that you´ll beginn to process this overwhelming and painfull feelings. I´m also just starting and it is difficult to face it but I can tell you that I have days on wich I feel much better and then there are those really really sad and painfull days. But I wouldnt want to go back in denial where it was probably less painfull but at the cost of feeling numb. I want to have real feelings again and if it means I have to go through those other ones to be ok again it´s worth it. Becaus I know we can be happy again, although there will allways be a scar, but that´s ok to, as long as we heal our wounds. Feelings can´t dissapear, we have to bring them out, that´s what I did on my psychotherapy but I was so naive to diminish the pain of childlessness. I would really recommend Jody´s book, I bought it in english, wich is a little harder for me to read but I couldn´t wait for it to be published in german. It´s helping me so much, and I hope it will help you too on your journey.

        I wish you strength in this and take good care of yourself!


    • Hi Jasna,

      Reading your post just now has hit such a strong cord with me. I’m living in Ireland and I feel like this is my story…I too went through a premature menopause at 43, I’m now 46, accepting this for me is a daily uphill battle, very though…. I hope things get better for you….


      • Hi Jane,

        thank you for your wishes and I hope you too will get better in time and I know it´s possible though it´s not easy. I had a really bad day yesterday but I didn´t push those painfull feelings away, instead I accepted and felt them. I also gave myself promission to cry and afterwards I felt much better. It´s just so hard sometimes, as you know. I wish you find a good way to deal with it and hope you´ll have also some good days along the way in this battle we all fight!


      • Hi Jane & Jasna,

        My story too is based on premature menopause, diagnosed at 36 I’m now 43 and still finding this childless journey a rocky road. I wish you all well and hope we can all find a good measure of peace x x x


  44. I’m an adult female without children. I have nothing against children; I just simply didn’t want to have any, nor did my husband. Is there a place here for women who are just indifferent to motherhood, and who think a life without kids can be just as amazing and fulfilling as one with?

    • Hi Katy – childfree women such as yourself are very welcome here at GW, although you’ll find that the focus is more towards women who wanted very much to be mothers. I am now in such a place of peace over my childlessness that I imagine that this was how I would have felt if I had chosen not to have children… and I hope that all of us get to that place one day. However, the issues of prejudice and discrimination that all women without children (whether chosen or not) face are something that unite us, however we feel about our childlessness, and that’s something that I hope you’ll find supportive for yourself and your husband here at GW. Hugs, Jody x

  45. Just began reading your book and this statement, “I loved my unborn children and they will always be with me, but now my life goes forward with them safely inside my heart forever” immediately brought me to tears. I don’t know if I’m brave enough for this yet…..

  46. Happy to have found your site. I feel like more like the triple or even quadruple whammy. Did not have much of a career, did not manage to have children, did not manage to meet a suitable partner. Life has been tough.

    • I’m 41 and still holding out hope for all or 2/3 of those things. This site looks like it may be very helpful in finding others who understand what I’m going through. I am sorry for your struggles.

      • Hi. I’m 43 on Saturday and totally feel your pain. I still want children but its looking increasingly like I have left it too late and I am totally devastated about it. Feeling very low today x

    • Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I haven’t ever invested in a career, as I didn’t see the point, as I was so certain my calling in life was to be a mother (sad sigh!) Had I known I’d be single & childless by now (43) I think I may have spent more time focusing on other interests in life. A successful life in other ways would at least be a consolation, though my heart would still be broken, as a result of not having given birth.
      I know I still have many things to be grateful for – my health, lovely friends etc. But there are days when I feel so full of grief I can barely breathe. I spend far too much time going over things, and trying to figure out how & when it all started to go wrong! The seeds of ‘failure’ (I hate to use that word, but it is how I feel sometimes) were sown many years ago in my case.

      But the good news is – we’re ALIVE! Where there’s life, there’s hope. I think once I’ve come to terms with a few things, I’ll be able to start really living again. Still time to live a productive life. We are mothers spiritually. We have mothers’ hearts. Every time we nurture, we mother.

      Keep hoping, you have a future, and your best may well be yet to come.

      Take care xx

  47. Hi Jody. I was pleased to find your site over the weekend while searching for support. I’ve rather lost my mojo recently, which isn’t like me and think some of it is tied up with accepting that I’ve got to age 46 without having kids and that this option is now in the past .
    Having read some blog posts and watched some of your videos, it feels like I’ve found a place that’s giving voice to many of my feelings and experiences which is such a relief. I am amongst kindred spirits here.
    Yesterday I was out on a walk and I saw a canal boat turning around in the marina in front of me – it’s name was ‘Plan B.’I think that’s a clear enough sign from the universe that I’m on the right track, don’t you! I especially like that you offer hope by talking about creating a bright future without children which is an empowering and positive message.
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience and offering support. I look forward to reading your book and connecting with the group in future.

  48. Reading comments on this site makes me feel part of a larger lonely family that are not fortunate enough to have children of our own. We have been married for nearly ten years and have a great marriage but these years also include having been gone through numerous tests but story short we have been diagnosed as having unexplained infertility. I am 37 year old guy who wants nothing more at this point in life than have a daughter (or son) of my own, life feels so lonely and useless at this point with no real meaning to it. As most of the commentators on this site understand it can be so difficult to accept when siblings and friends are getting an endless supply of children. We just came back from visit to another province to visit family where we have nineteen nieces and nephews and every time it gets harder and harder for me to see this one particular 9 year old niece, she pulls on my ‘heart strings” and it certainly does not help the situation any more when she looks almost identical to my wife when she was her age, and is sharp as a tack, I have had an opportunity to spend time alone with her quad riding and walking through a mall together and chatting while my wife was shopping, during this time I begged for time to stand still so I could relish every moment that I had with her, for that precious time that we shared I pictured her for those moments that she was my daughter and I could take her home but alas that too had to come to a end. I feel terrible that I cannot feel this way with any other of my nieces and nephews like the feelings that I have for her. I had this with her since she was a one year old child.
    There are times that I strongly wished that i could hug her, and just to pretend that I was her dad, but I am so concerned that I would get flack from her parents as being a ‘creepy’ uncle since they have no understanding that the longing that I have to have my own child.
    There are so many moments that burn like a hot steel pin going through me longing to share moments with my imaginary daughter to go fishing, hiking, camping and reading bedtime stories to etc.
    It can be so terribly frustrating watching some of my siblings in my opinion have a dysfunctional family by not spending time with there children but only to strive more and more for that great evil money…every moment that they have. Some of my family will not share there children with us even it is for an afternoon, but will tell there kids not spend to much time with my wife when they come to her like she is a magnet. it upsets us so much.
    At times longing to be a dad is so strong it can feel like I am missing some limbs or something to that effect.. I can go on and on, but as we all know, no one will understand us until they themselves have or are experiencing what we are going through.
    Thanks to Gateway-woman for a great website and many wonderful commentators.

    • Dear Cornelis
      Thanks you so much for taking the time to share your perspective as a childless man. Too many people appear to think that childlessness is ‘easy’ for men. However, although it would appear that men do not receive the societal shaming a ‘failed’ person that women often get (implicitly or explicitly) the interior experience of grief and loss can be equally devastating, as your comment shows.
      There are a few resources for childless men and they are listed in the ‘Resources’ section of my website: http://gateway-women.com/resources and I hope that some of them might be supportive to you in your experience. I think you might find the work of Robin Hadley (who is a colleague of mine at http://www.awoc.org so I know him/his work very well) particularly helpful.
      Hugs, Jody x

  49. Hi my name is selena and I’m childless hopefully just for now but my boyfriend and I have been trying for a year now and all of a sudden my monthly stopped and I went to the doctor to be told I have cysts in my ovaries and they treated them and for some reason they kept coming back and I started to gain alot of weight and my hair started to thin out and I started to become ready moody so I went back to my doctor and she had me do a few tests so far no good news but I’m still wanting to be a mother and be the amazing mom I know ill be one day hopefully. I would really want to know and maybe confide in some other women on how to deal with the depression that comes with knowing you may never have children and knowing some women can and don’t want them its really hard to know so.

    • Hi Selena – I’m sorry to hear of your problems conceiving and your ongoing hormonal issues. It can be very hard to cope with the feelings of sadness that not being able to conceive easily brings. You may find that the UK forum Fertility Friends is an excellent support and place to get both advice and emotional support. http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/ Wishing you every luck. Hugs, Jody x

  50. Hello,

    So I was curious, and sad to see there is very little to no information about what I’m looking for.
    I’m 32 and have no desire to have children, yet I am able too. I was searching to find out, what I can expect from my body in the coming years.

    Mostly what I found was about infertility and the effects it has on emotion etc etc. Nothing relevant to what I was looking for. Can you guide me? I kind of feel I’ll get a generic answer from my gynecologist.

    • Hi Soph
      If you search for “childfree” websites, which are for people who choose not to have children, you may find more of the information that you need.
      http://thenotmom.com/ is an excellent website which features articles on both childless (not by choice) and childfree (by choice) perspectives that I particularly recommend.
      In terms of ‘what you can expect’ from your body, women are women, whether they have children or not so I don’t think the answers you’ll need will come from your gynecologist. If you want to educate yourself about the your body, and in particular about the peri-menopause, which will (most likely) begin to show up in your life in your early 40s, I recommend the work of Dr Christian Northrup “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”. She can be a bit la-la at times, but her wisdom and practical experience makes up for it in my eyes!
      Having children is not the only route to a meaningful life for women and if you know it’s not for you as early at 32, I’m happy for you.
      Wishing you all the best for a life defined on your terms, not society’s!
      Jody x

  51. I saw your HuffPo article and really appreciated your use of child free rather than childless. But this whole site keeps using childless which is disheartening.

    • Hi Heidi – thanks for your comment. Although ‘childfree’ is a more pleasing word in some way than ‘childless’, it has a very specific meaning, which I was unaware of when I first started writing about women without children, in that it refers to women (and men) who have chosen not to have children, rather than those who wanted to be parents but don’t have them. Gateway Women is open and friendly towards the childfree but its focus is towards supporting those who are childless to come to terms with their unchosen situation. I hope that helps to explain my use of the terminology a little more. With hugs, Jody x

  52. Jody Day, I wish to thank you for this site and your Excellent Book, which is adding
    so many healing layers to my journey. You articulate everything I’ve thought and felt through the years, and allow me to feel normal about it. I’m not sure how long this site has existed,
    I wish I’d learned about it in my mid 40’s. I’m now 54, and more in the ‘waves that
    pass through more quickly stage.’ I was actually happy to learn about this stage, as
    I thought something was wrong with me that I still experience ‘triggers.’

    I was so happy to see that Creativity is a way through!
    Following my early, small, treatable breast cancers at ages 43 and 45, I delved
    into Creativity and Plant Based Nutrition. I started to write, draw, paint and obtained
    several Creativity Coaching Certifications. I also love my travel. I’m aiming to look for
    Gateway Meet Up Groups in my area and nurture new friendships.
    (I believe you mentioned in your book that you perhaps enjoy the French culture?
    I attended Cynthia Morris’ Capture the Paris Wow, which combined Creativity with enjoying Paris. (It is not specifically aimed at childless women, rather, something that combines
    one of my favorite cities with creativity, which lights me up.)

    I look forward to learning more here, and utilizing the resources.

    To everyone here ~ *With Creative Energy Sparkle for the ART that is Your Life!*

    • Hello and thank you for stopping by to comment! I’m so glad that my book is helping you move through your grief and also to have compassion for ‘the waves’. I started the site in 2011 when I was in the depths of my own grief and there was NOTHING around to support us that I could relate to (apart from a couple of life after unsuccessful infertility treatments which was not my experience, nor that of many of us who find ourselves childless). I’m sorry to hear about your cancer experience and I’m glad that creativity has been a big part of your healing from both cancer and childlessness. With regard to attending (or starting) a Gateway Women group in your area, please go to http://www.gateway-women.com/meetup to see if we are near you yet! And do consider joining our private online community – it’s a great space of creativity and healing. Love, Jody x

  53. Dear Jody,
    I would like to say thank you for the article in Red magazine, it really touched me as I’ve been there myself and I totally understand. I grieved for my little girl that I physically couldnt have myself. Your article helped me understand my feelings a lot better. We adopted 2 beautiful children 3 years after the end of the 7 year ivf battle. Just happened our 2 angels ‘came’ to us, we didn’t go looking. Sometimes they are far from angels though 🙂
    Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Carolina – thanks for commenting. I am so sorry that you’ve been through the hell of childlessness too. I wish you all the best for your new family life. You might be interested to know that I host a private online community just for those GW members who have (or are thinking of) adoption. We have about 50 members and they support each other with the realities of being (or becoming) an adoptive parent. If you’d like to join – apply for membership of the main GW online community and then once your membership is approved (they are all personally ID-checked by us to make it all as private and safe as we can) you will also have access to the GW Adoption Community. Hugs, Jody x

  54. Thanks Jody. I have ordered your book. I’m 42 this year and I’m going to use the book as a guide and support book. After reading your article in Red magazine I was delighted to know that there is others who are going through the same thing. Thank you.

    • Hi Jan – I’m so glad the article found its way to you. Knowing you’re not alone makes such a difference! I hope you find my book supportive. Hugs, Jody x

  55. Hi Jody,

    I would like to say “thank you” for taking the step of writing the article in Red Magazine. It was such a truthful and thoughtful article especially about the history of fear of pregnancies and later your description of ” feeling utterly purposeless.” You are the first writer I know who has made sense of it to me. However, what really hit a chord with me is that you are now able to use your “mother’s heart” in a “unexpected way.” I hope you do not mind me writing as I went down another route to you as I am now a single foster carer . It is tough but your article is so comforting to know that if I had chosen otherwise then I would not have been looking at an endless black sea at night. Morning always arrives.
    Thank you again for putting a velvet carpet across the steps of womenhood. We all deserve to dance across it .


    • Hi Jules – thanks for letting me know how much my article touched you. We all find different ways forward, and being a foster carer is a noble one which I hope you are finding a rewarding (if tough) way to use your mother’s heart. You are very welcome here as whether a stepmother or a foster carer, we are still ‘childless’ and not everyone gets that. I love your metaphor ‘velvet carpet across the steps of womanhood’. Maybe you should write an article for RED about being a childless foster carer? Hugs, Jody x

  56. I’m so glad that Gateway Women exists. It makes me feel slightly less isolated. I didn’t realise there were so many other women as utterly full of grief at their childlessness as I am. I obviously wish nobody else was suffering like this, and my heart goes out to you all, as it’s a most terrible and often misunderstood loss.

    We all have our own stories. In my case, it’s complex, but my entire identity since I was about 15, was built around my future motherhood. I’ve never invested in a career (no interest) and just worked to survive. I didn’t care about wealth or fame or career or anything, ALL I wanted from my mid-teens was to be a mummy. I’ve always babysat, and was such a maternal child – towards my dolls and the animals I grew up with. It was inconceivable (no pun intended) to me that I would get to 42 (my age now) without having given birth. I just can’t believe it!

    I suffered from severe depression & anxiety for a number of years, and really wanted to get myself sorted (for the sake of my children) first. I also have always struggled with low self-esteem, and a fear that no man would want me (due to an upsetting chapter in my past). I also struggled with debt and poverty for a while, which took some years to get over. All these factors have conspired to take me to now, all the years gobbled up by these multiple monsters.

    I’m in agony. I feel so purposeless. I just want to sleep these days, as every waking hour, I’m reminded of my loss.

    So many women who didn’t especially want children seem to have just accidently had them! Without much forethought. Life is so unfair. Maybe I overthought things…

    Anyway, I’m going to make a cup of tea (an emotional anesthetic!) and read through some of the other comments, and spend time on the Gateway site in general. It may well ease some of my agony.

    Best wishes to you all xx

    • Hi

      After reading Jody’s article in Red magazine its nice to know that I am not alone in how I feel. I am 41 and single (been on so many bad dates!), yes I have had long term relationships but for many reasons they never worked out. I have always wanted children and a family of my own but knowing that it is not going to happen hurts so much. Being a teacher I am surrounded all day by students, all the women at work do is take about their kids and how great their lives are. Mothers day was 3 days a go and i always find it difficult. I have everything, good job, nice house, car, lots of holidays yet I feel lost. The pain never goes, this was not how my life was suppose to be. Reading these posts help. Glad I have found this site.

      Rachel x

      • Thank you Rachel, that’s so hard on you having to listen to colleagues discussing the delights of motherhood all the time. Single, childless women like us have to have a quiet strength and bravery that happily married mothers can’t begin to understand (though I realise they have other struggles).
        Maybe in another dimension somewhere there are other versions of us, who have husbands & children! That surreal thought makes me smile.
        Hopefully in time some of our pain will subside. I’m definitely in deep grief at the moment.
        Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply by the way! I only just read your reply! Take care x

  57. I have longed to find a group like this. Everyone I know either has kids or never wanted them. I wanted kids desperately, but wasn’t able to have them. I have an absolutely wonderful husband who is great with kids, but never really cared if he had any of his own. Due to this I have felt so alone with no friend or family that understand how I feel. I am 44 now, and most of the time I’m okay with not having kids, but the longing is not gone. The longing sneaks up and comes back when you least suspect. I look forward to being around others who are in the same situation.

      • I have been interested in adoption – older children though. I have read a lot about young people who age out of foster with no families or a support structure. I would like to be that support structure for a young person but do not know how get connected with someone in need. Not interested in working through a non-profit or agency. I would rather be available to a young person truly out of the system that needs help.

  58. Hi Jody, I read your article in the daily mail with interest. I’m 37 this year and met the love of my life when I was 32 (met a fair few frogs before I found my prince!). We married 2 years later and I stopped taking the pill 3 months before our wedding day. Having no luck we decided to get tested and discovered my wonderful hubby can’t have children, although my womb is apparently top notch (doctors say the funniest things eh?!). 2 years later, 2 failed rounds of IVF that we had to pay for ourselves thanks to the wonderful NHS postcode lottery (despite the fact both my husband and myself have always worked and are both serving our country in the Royal Navy) we were left with no baby, no savings but love; and lots of it. I decided to retrain in the forces to become a welfare worker (similar to social work but for the military and their families). I get great job satisfaction but the void is still there. Your article gives me hope that one day I will accept that I have chosen love over motherhood and help me come to terms with having to make that choice. Thank you. Dawn

    • I finally got the baby I’d hoped for after years of trying and so feel acutely aware of both sides of experiences. I feel sometimes the sisterhood who want and get their families in an easy fashion have no clue how awful “charity plugs or “cause awareness” are when they’re fashioned into ‘Mother’ sweatshirts, Facebook forwards of pics and quotes on reasons they’re proud Mums etc, etc, are a constant kick in the teeth for those who want it all so badly.

      It looks smug and uncaring at best, spiteful at worst.

      Only when you throw your privacy on the line and speak honestly of the trial of ‘trying’ for a family, that maybe you get to meet other people in the same situation who have empathy and perhaps great advice.
      It then makes for a wry laugh at all the annoying comments and advice; “stop TRYING”, “get legless”, “my mate”, blah – all that weary chat fades briefly.

      I have so many friends who are still trying for children. I cried my heart out when I discovered I was pregnant but I also felt still desperate for those friends – I felt bad ‘leaving them behind’, social moments definitely dwindle. One friend and her husband have grief counselling. Like Jody said in the Times2 article I read, all that time grieving and no name given to it still you have to self diagnose.

      A few months ago, Women’s Hour had a chat about fertility-delaying a family/leaving it too late. it was awful listening to a young 20-year-old berating an older woman in charge of a fertility department for scaremongering because her generation wanted careers. So ignorant.

      What a great web-page and champion for an enormous hidden society. I feel privileged to have found it though it doesn’t strictly apply to me, and I will be promoting it.
      Good luck

      • Hi Sio – thanks for commenting and for your support and understanding. It seems (perhaps quite naturally) that many mothers who struggled to conceive ‘forget’ about what went before, which can make it very hard for their friends who remain temporarily or permanently childless. But not all, as you and some other women I know show. Thank you for offering to champion GW to those who need our support. There are a lot of us! Hugs, Jody x

  59. Hi jody
    I read your story in a Sunday paper. I also feel ‘marginalised in this mummy mad world’ as you put it….. And I am a mummy.
    Hope it’s ok to write anyway. Your plan B gave me a lot of good advice.

  60. Keep up the good work Jody.

    Women shouldn’t have to run on the same ‘time table’ as men as we are led to believe ‘ we can have it all.’ I’d rather do a few things well than everything badly..which seems to happen a lot these days for so many women rushing around trying to fulfill the work commitments, family life and house work etc.

    Realistically, there isn’t enough time to study, be half way up the corporate career ladder, have that suitable partner and the own home before even family planning comes into the mix! However, women also need to know that having children is just one avenue out of many and you can have a ultra fulfilling, varied and interesting life without having children.

    Thanks for gateway-women.

    • Hi Charlotte – yes, structurally women have entered an education and working model that grew up around male life-patterns, such as university and then working hard in 20s and 30s and having family then. Doesn’t fit female biology so well! We need structural changes in society to address this rather than making out that this is all about women ‘leaving it too late’ or other such uninformed and unempathic tosh! And yes, a life with or without children can be fulfilling, varied and interesting – no one gets a free pass on that one! Jody x

      • Another issue is.. we are all conditioned into believing we all need to be ultra-ambitious ( in the workplace) in order to be ‘worthy’ or ‘on par with men.’
        Choosing a suitable partner and planning a stable and secure family life takes time and that is an ambition in itself.. rather than just settling for anyone.
        These days just having a job doesn’t seem to cut the mustard either. You must carve out ‘a career’ It’s time people wake up and are realistic that many women (and men) do not want to be shackled to the corporate world and for women it’s is heart-breaking trying to ‘do the right thing’ and then realise all their time and energy spent job chasing the prospects and pounds has ended up with their biological clock having run out. Sadly, you then get clobbered ‘you’ve left it too late’ or if you have one child you’re seen as doing things by half!
        Thanks for your thoughts. X

  61. I’m so glad I found this website. Everything out there talks about why life without kids is so wonderful. I wanted to hear from women who were experiencing the same grief I am. I am happily married to a wonderful man- a man who doesn’t want kids. He didn’t come to this realization until a year after we were married and I am absolutely devastated. Reading some of these threads helps me realize that I am not alone. Thank you for sharing.

    • HI Michelle – that sounds really hard. You might like to come and join our private online community (if you haven’t done so already) as your experience is one that other women are dealing with too. Hugs x

  62. Sarah – that’s lovely feedback, thank you! I’m so glad my email is one you look forward to opening considering how many we are all bombarded with these days! Hugs, Jody x

  63. Having been in a marriage I didn’t want to bring a child into (and was quite comfortable with that decision), but now I am in a relationship where I do want to have a child born out of love – but it is seemingly all too late…. I couldn’t understand why I have been experiencing such very, very, very strong emotions. I was starting to think I was going mad. Thank you for sharing x

    • Hi Anne – I’m so sorry that you’ve found the relationship you’d have liked to have brought children into – but it’s too late. It’s a heartbreaking thing to get our head (and hearts) around. I too remember that I worried I was going mad – it was such a relief for me to find out it was grief – and it still comes as a shock to me how many of us don’t know that’s what’s going on. I found out because of doing some ‘grief training’ as a part of my psychotherapy training and if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know how it would have happened… no doctors, therapists, friends or websites were out there 7 years ago to give me a clue… I’m so glad GW is here for you to find, and I hope not being on your own with your pain anymore helps a little to ease it. Hugs, Jody x

  64. Just read your new year post Jody for 2016. You’re a true star. You cheered me right up and I always read your updates when they come up on my email x I couldn’t reply on your New Years thread because I’m not registered or something but just wanted to thank you for such beautiful Optimism and hope x
    Happy 2016 xxx sarahT

  65. I am so grateful this blog has been created and it echoes all the thoughts and experiences I have been having. I am 38 and with the ‘double whammy’. However right now I do not feel I even want to be in a relationship, due to the way I handle relationships. I think I’ve also been put off by my parents’ horrid relationship and have subconsciously modelled myself on their patterns, so relationships seem doomed to fail or I don’t want to repeat their painful marriage and avoid it all costs.

    So it slightly takes the edge off the loneliness because I actually feel better off as single right now, but it still is the overall stigma I have to deal with (even if it’s more in my own head than anything ‘out there’). Where I differ with your view is that it is never ‘our fault’ that we are single; I do think it is important to take responsibility where it may actually be your ‘fault’ or personal issues that have been the problem. I, for one, know that I have a very low level of tolerance towards men and how they behave, and mostly it comes from a place of irrationality. I am extremely sensitive and take things to heart very easily, and am an emotional wreck if things are not going swimmingly well! So I’ve decided I am better off single (right now). Maybe I am making excuses, also for the men, and of course it could be their failings as well, but I do note that you always attract things to yourself that you yourself are projecting. Maybe these are just things I tell myself however I truly do think that the relationship had either be totally perfect, balanced and healthy or I’m better off single, where I’m more emotionally stable. And even if I have invited this into my life, it’s about accepting that that’s ok…even if we have ‘invited’ the double whammy as a result of our choices, then that should be seen as ok, that’s the path we are meant to take in life for whatever reason, and (easier said than done) we should embrace it…not everyone is meant to end up with the ‘fairytale’, that’s the process of life and you can end up learning new and different things as a result of not ending up with the family unit that we are supposedly meant to have.

    Moving onto the ‘childlessness’ issue. I can definitely relate to everything said on here. I have turned into a woman possessed and obsessed. Everywhere I look something triggers the thoughts and reminds me that I haven’t ‘achieved’ the ultimate female goal… babies, children, everywhere, colleagues having to go and pick up their children after work. I’m always wondering ‘what are her circumstances, how did she manage to do it? Was she just not fussy about who she picked? Maybe I should just do that…but I can’t, simply can’t be with someone I’m not attracted to…Maybe she doesn’t like her freedom as much as I do, the ability to just
    run about going to yoga classes and the gym whenever she wants…if I was like that then I would have started this process a lot sooner but I haven’t, I’ve put it off and put it off…’ So these obsessive thoughts get a little tiring, and I can totally resonate with the idea that I cannot wait until it’s all over, that is, I’m 45 and there’s no more hope left and then I can concentrate on my life again!

    The crazy thing is, this only came on suddenly – for years I’ve been loving the freedom (and good health) that comes with having no baby responsibilities, doing everything possible during my 20s and 30s to avoid (and even fear) pregnancy, and I’ve always felt sorry for those with children who are tied down and can’t just skip off to a yoga class or go travelling, or spend a lot of money on organic food. Even when I was 35, 36…I kept saying I’m just going to put it off until the last possible age. So I feel a little different to those who have been trying and wanting to have a family during their 30s, because I haven’t only until about now, at 38, when I broke up with someone and really started to take stock of it all. Wondering, do I really want to be ‘alone’ when I’m 50 and into my 60s…not relating to most of my peers, and never having experienced the one main purpose of being a female, to reproduce and experience motherhood. It’s almost like I want to just go through a pregnancy and childbirth, just to experience it (yes, even the pain) and then be a mother without all the hard work!

    During my fertile years I was partying a lot, and then had a health crisis and mini breakdown, and I ended up spending my 30’s working on getting my health back so having kids was the furthest thing from my mind…only now I’ve turned 38 and I’ve realised life is very different to how it was in my 20s. I no longer socialise and go out and have fun and distractions (due to lack of time and energy), so I’m left with a lot of time to think about what will I now do in my spare time and do I really want to keep being a modern day slave forever? Although I do actually gain enjoyment out of work as I have little ‘achievements’ throughout the day, and don’t necessarily see motherhood as giving me something more, I also cannot stand regret in any form, and I have a tendency to blame myself for making the wrong decision, so I decided to undergo egg freezing to ‘buy myself more time’. Although it was quite successful and not traumatic at all, it didn’t give me the psychological boost that I thought it would, and hasn’t made me feel at ease that I can bide my time, because IVF is still a low chance of success if I was to come back and use those eggs (and expensive!) so I still feel the frantic anxiety of needing to hurry up and do it the natural, normal way….not have to rely on expensive unreliable technology when it’s too late!!

    I do take some solace in the idea that whether you have children or not, we all end up in the same place in the ground anyway (sorry for the morbidity), and it really makes no difference except for the fact that it’s a different life experience (ie. being childless) and you don’t leave your ‘legacy’ behind or pass your genes on. However we are all part of the same human race and consciousness so it doesn’t help to think in such
    individualistic ways anyway. And because I believe in reincarnation, I also think there might be many other lives to experience, some with kids and some without. But right now I want to ‘experience’ pregnancy and motherhood, to see what all the fuss is about, to almost prove I can do it, that I’m not ‘copping out’ and shirking responsibility as a female; I know these are totally insane and selfish reasons to do it, however on the positive side I am also afflicted with a complete love and affection towards babies and children, ie. I’m always the one cooing over them and having a cute attack whenever I see a baby, so I know I have it in me to mother a child (they would also be a very healthy child due to my health beliefs!). I do also wonder though whether I should not have a child due to my emotional health difficulties and negative traits that I wouldn’t want to pass on to them…but it’s not a big enough obstacle and maybe more of a justification or coping mechanism in case it (having a child) never happens (damn my analytical brain!).

    I’m here thinking, ok so I don’t have a man nor does it look like it will happen soon (I am on the online dating sites though so I have not given up hope and trying!), but I will not let that stop me from also missing out on the prospect of having a child, I cannot risk being childless waiting for the perfect guy either. I’d sooner regret not having a child than not having a partner, especially because the latter is less time-dependant! Everyone is used to me being single anyway so it’s not like family and friends are applying any pressure. I used to be so picky and fussy, not realising that the saying ‘you pick and pick and pick, until you pick sh**’ is so true! However even though I’m older I still can’t bring myself to settle for less…now I’m the complete opposite and going to extreme somewhat desperate measures – not sleeping with random men but looking into ‘co-parenting’ sites and sperm donors to just go ahead and get the show on the road, ideally with men who want kids but no pressure of a relationship.

    So first I’m hitting the dating sites, looking for those who are interested in settling down straight away, and my back-up plan is for a co-parenting situation or sperm donation (where I meet the donor, not clinical-ness of anonymity which has always put me off) and then do self Artificial Insemination, in the meantime do a second round of egg freezing, then at 45 if still no luck with the natural (or artificial) route then I would try with my frozen eggs, then if that doesn’t work, donor eggs! I’m willing to forego having my own biological children simply in order to have the motherhood experience. I’m now a woman with a mission….it sucks to be consumed by something like this, the complete opposite of who I’ve been for the majority of my life, the person who has loved being free and childless, now wanting it for than ever, most likely for the wrong reasons, ie out of obligation (to myself and others), and feeling anxious and desperate as the opportunity slips away with the ticking clock in the background. But co-parenting sites give my hope, that there are men out there who could be a father to my child, I wouldn’t have to be a fully single parent, and although I get support from them I also have my own space and won’t have all the emotional upheavals I would have with a partner.

    And yes I understand the ‘career woman’ tag, are there even genuine cases of women like these or is it just a media slogan or myth? No, I’m not a career woman, I’m just working like anyone else would be who doesn’t have a child! In order to pay the bills and make a living. I would give it up in a heartbeat if a better and more regarding ‘job’ came along…(though I wouldn’t stay at home for long with a child, as I don’t do well not working for long periods as I have a tendency to get bored and depressed). I have no desire to spend more of my fertile years climbing up an imaginary ladder and yes I’ve also worked so hard on my ‘issues’ and personal development, and it seems unfair that far more unbalanced non adjusted ‘crazier’ people have settled down and managed to attain the traditional family unit.

    I also find that comments from others are actually rare, I am actually shocked by how few people are actually saying anything to me and the eery silence is kind of disturbing. I’d almost rather the social pressure and continuous comments as then I might be called into action instead of complacency! (having said that I have finally called myself into action) I think that is because I live in London where being into your 40’s and childless is not a general stigma, it’s so diverse and anonymous here that there’s no pressure like in my hometown…in my case this could be seen as a bad thing as the lack of pressure keeps me wanting to have all this fun and not settle down and then when it’s all too late I’m not quite sure how I ended up in that situation!

    What I didn’t realise was how different I would feel at this age. I used to have an abundance of energy and youthful vigour and endless opportunities to meet men as I was always out and with friends and friend’s parties. However at that time I was just having fun with men and not seeking a relationship. Now I have much less energy (both physical and psychological) to socialise, the one time in my life where I need it the most…now it feels like a ‘smash and grab’ situation. If I’d known my youthful vigour would drain away by this age I would’ve found a suitable mate back then! Although I look young…the energy I radiate is not, especially if it’s one of being jaded and given up hope…men can pick up on this. I’m not getting as much attention as I used to…is that Darwin evolution theory in process? Men can intuitively tell I am losing fertility due to my energy levels and therefore don’t get drawn towards me and instead to younger women who are able to procreate more easily…it’s an interesting theory if anything. Also the same goes for old people who become less attractive for a reason – so that sex is less likely as they are no longer able to reproduce, and people’s energies are best spent having sex with those who are in their fertile years as it will then serve a higher purpose, ie reproduction. Ok I’ve pretty much finished rambling all my thoughts on this matter, thank you to anyone who bothered reading. Hopefully it hasn’t sounded too contradictory and confusing and maybe it’s inspired someone to look into co-parenting which is a much better idea than sperm donation if you still want a father role model in your child’s life.

    • Hi Eve – thank you for your thoughts! You might find that our online community is a great place to explore them further. Analytic thinkers welcome! What perhaps you aren’t considering, and I get that it’s hard when babymania is in full swing, is that a life without children might suit you also? It’s a radical thought but it is possible to live a meaningful and fulfiling life without them; I, and many others are finding that, and childfree women realised it much sooner! Take a look at my role model gallery also (click on Pinterest link to the right) to see the many ways a woman can live a life without children. Hugs, Jody x

      • Thanks Jody, I guess I swing wildly from day to day between thinking yes a life without children can still be fulfilling (after all I’ve been doing it for the last 38 years!), and then feeling fearful that if I do that I will either end up regretting it and/or be supremely bored in the later years! As I said, I feel I may regret the decision either way! I also think if I really wanted to have children I would have made it happen by now, and maybe I’m just feeling like this because of the clock thing and because it’s the ‘done thing’…confused.com! Let’s see how it pans out….at least if I make some efforts and it still doesn’t happen I can rest assured later knowing that at least I tried and therefore absolve myself of regret! 😉 x

  66. Dear Jody Day, I have been following the news, blogs and interviews on your website for quite a while now. Thank you so much for your amazing and inspiring work! After meeting my partner two years ago at age 43 and realising that it is too late for children of our own, reading your website has inspired much hope about the future and a viable plan B. Thanks so much for this and keep going!

    • Hi Stephanie – so glad GW has been a support for you and thank you for stopping by to let me know. Meeting a partner that you would have loved to have had children with too late is such a bittersweet experience. It’s one of the many ways we can be childless-by-circumstance and yet there’s still so little recognition of the fact that very few of us either ‘didn’t want’ or ‘couldn’t have’ children but that our path to childlessness is as complex as the rest of life! Hugs to you both. Jody x

  67. I started trying 16 ago , all women in my family are mothers I’m 8-10 and older then my cousins are even all my male cousin have children each have 2-3 children, all I’ve done for 7 years after my mom died I took on taking care of my grandmother, 2 years before my mom died I took in my 4 year old brother who has so many mental problems, he is now 15 so I’ve had him 11 years, just wonder when is my time to be happy, no one thinks about me it’s all about my brother this and that when all I think of lately is killing myself for helping my mom and everyone else and not living m my own life

    • its weird but you already sound like a mother to me. You don’t have to be the direct biological mother of a someone to be their mother figure. It’s sounds to me you’ve been completely selfless in your life and I trust that God will reward you in a way that will be best for you. Remember that some of the greatest women in history did not have children but were considered to be mothers of their communities or generations. I struggle with the circumstances that have lead to me being childless but when I listen to stories like yours I always think ” wow, what an amazing woman”.

  68. Hi I’m joy, I’m 36 a most 37 and childless, my biggest problem is I’m always meeting men who lie and say they want children but want to wait for right time, I’ve had 1 ex be honest with me, I’m now remarried and my husband says he wants 3 kids, that is great but I hope it’s not like my other relationships, I will plan to die if I’m childless at 40 because I am no good for anyone.

    • Hi Joy – I’m sorry you’re feeling so low about how things have worked out for you, and I hope that you do get to become a mother. I just want you to know that if it doesn’t, it ABSOLUTELY IS POSSIBLE to live a meaningful and fulfilling life without children. That message may not be ‘out there’ but lots of wisdom is missing from our world, this piece included. Hugs, Jody x

  69. So there are many of us… do we feel the same? I say 15 years later, having cancer was one of the best experiences in my life. Thru adversity my eyes saw vivid color and my ring of awareness widened past my scope. But this isolating feeling that I am alone in my darkest moments… There is a burry flicker of light and the voice in my head tells me to just breathe. I had a hysterectomy when I was 19 to get rid of the cancer I had . Menopause began for me 6 months after
    And all thru out my twenties no man wanted me, and I know my mother always said to me “if he loves you he won’t care” but the problem with that is, that when you’re dating someone they don’t want to get to know you – guys knew that I couldn’t have kids, that I was really only good for a good time, but I do I had so much more to offer. After I’d spent a few years drinking and partying away my pain and trauma and the 2% chance of dying I realized I’m still here, my awareness peaked and I wanted to comfort people. Was I doing this to make myself feel better or was I doing this to truly be selfless because I understood what it’s like to feel alone and in pain? To not be able to breathe it hurts so bad – I didn’t want anyone to feel that way.
    This has truly rocked my core triggers everyday, and over the years it has gotten more tolerable, and the older I get the more I feel kids are expensive, sticky and that this world is not one I would selfishly want to bring a soul to just for me.
    But 15 years later at 34 I’m here, but this morning the thought of never being a mother, my parents never being grandparents, never having a family of my own during the holidays….

    • HI Jamie – thanks for taking the time to comment – you have already come through so much and I’m sorry that you are also going through the grief of childlessness. This time of year is a tough one and I hope that if you take a look around the website, and maybe join our online community, you’ll find some comfort. Most healers are wounded healers; if you feel the desire to help other women going through this, trust that. There is so much pain going uncomforted. Hugs, Jody x

      • Thanks I have started a website I haven’t paid enough attention to it. For women who can’t have children or have a lost a child . I am positive and happy it’s moments , just moment where it’s still for the moment everything seems to stand still for a dozen seconds and the. Back to the grind. It’s my path , I accept it.

  70. I have only just discovered your story and this website this evening this hour 10:30pm on Friday evening.

    I am 31 years old and a central-african-brit. I have in the past 5 years been through some immense trauma and at 29 discovered I have been under narcissistic abuse of my mother not only through childhood but more so in my adult life after leaving her lair.

    It is a very difficult thing working through and coming to terms that you were born of a toxic womb. I at age 30 dawned I was mentally 19 years of age, not partying drinking actually I am not a rebelious person it always seemed stupid to self harm in that way. However, never having the space to be, space to think and careing for an able bodied person meant not what most people brush of as growing fast but actually never growing at all. Rather simply forced into a uniform of adulthood yet never having received the training.

    Mourning a lost childhood, working and trying desperately to grow a mature social outlook/perspective. Fighting. To escape this imposed social/mental retardation. So here I am a 30+ central african woman only now stepping on the path of self identification raising my inner child (to me this is the only way to address this issue).

    I have for the past 5 months gently permitted my soul to slowly contemplate the fact that by the time I reach 36 likelyhood of me finding a partner to begin a family with in my central african british community is in all practicality not going to happen. A feasable mirracle yes, but, still like all miracles simply just a lesser almost certain impossibility.

    5 months of tears every other day over the realisation my chances to be a mother are gone, stolen; à La Narcistic Abuse.
    So I Wish You Deeply Sincerely; Thank you so, so, so, so very much for creating this space.

    – For being brave enough to put your story online.
    – For agreeing to speak at WOW 2015 which is where i discovered you from.
    – For continuing to share and build your work.
    – For starting a conversation elucidating Women the importance on prioritising the timetableing of our motherhood.
    – For opening a conversation that I hope helps us ladies iving in monogomous societies address the circa 2:1 women:men population ratio and what that means in finding a life partner.

    MOST OF ALL – with love – l thank you for wiping my tears of loneliness at being motherless. For replacing fragile hope of being able to live with unchosen motherlessness and replacing it with assured tangible and fruitful hope and serenity.

  71. Thank you for being so brave to start this for women like me. I’m so grateful to have found a place where people understand. I’m in the process of grieving and this website is just what I need. Thank you so very much.

  72. Hi Lauren, this may be strange to have a message from a guy but I’m childless too, I’m 35 my wife is 27, we’ve been trying & had two failed cycles of icsi, the last was just recently in July, the problem lies with me , a medical condition that can not be corrected or anything done about , it does not affect my health but means I cannot father a child, I thought I was OK with it & have been supporting my wife who is struggling with it, I can’t find anywhere on line or otherwise that helps men in my situation, I feel isolated & down , I can’t talk to my wife because it will be more worry for her, not once have I been asked how I am in all this , where do I go , I feel like there is a void & I don’t know how to fill it, I’ve lost interest in my job now too.


  73. My mother had five of us. All she did was bitch and complain that we cost money even when she had to bring us to the doctor when we were young. They both had decent jobs. She was bitching about the co-pay. Now none of us get along, this is the way she wanted it. Having no family is very lonely too. She is the most selfish women in the world. She doesn’t even care about her grandchildren, only my younger brothers kids who she favors. All she cares about is money and gambling. Why god gave her 5 kids I will never understand and a lot of women that would be good, caring mothers can’t have kids. Never understood it and never will.

    • Hi Lauren – thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m so sorry that you’ve got had such a tough experience of being mothered. Obviously, I don’t know very much about you and your Mother, and you may already have explored this, but it might be that learning more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder might help you to recover from your childhood, as your mother does sound like she has some of those traits. A great book that I recommend is ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough’ by Karyl McBride. Even if this isn’t the case, many of us childless women have grown up with extremely difficult mothers that has left a lasting impact on us, and you’ll get a lot of support on this issue in our private online community: http://www.gateway-women.com/community Hugs, Jody x

    • Hi Pam – I’m so sorry to hear your news. Do stay in touch with us and if you feel up to engaging more now, or in the future, do consider joining our private online community where you can share confidentially what’s going on for you. It is possible to come through this; I’ve made it to the ‘other side’ as have others I know, and we can offer a helping hand to you as you embark upon this rocky road. It won’t be easy, but you will get through this. Hugs, Jody x

  74. Just wanted to do a shout out to sisters who can’t bear to see any more first day of school pictures on Facebook. I am tempted to post one of my elderly cat with a backpack and a lunchbox.

      • I’m a different Laura. I love the idea of your elderly cat with a backpack and a lunchbox. In the last few years I have met a handful of childless women like myself. The majority of them are fabulous people. Feeling like that about them has made me view myself from a different perspective.

        • Thanks for responding. Although I was trying to be light, the kid pictures on Facebook are really hard to deal with. Having a hard time with Halloween as well, feeling different than where all of my peers seem to be. Trying to be happy being “alone” without being lonely, and yet hurting despite this. Is there another place on here to chat? I’m not finding it, even though I am a member of the online community. Clearly I’m a bit technologically challenged as well.

        • Hi there – I’m sorry that you’re struggling right now and that you’re also finding the online community a struggle too. If you email our Community Manager Helen community@gateway-women.com she may be able to guide you if you’re feeling ‘technologically challenged’. It really is the best place to chat. Perhaps you might also like to see if there’s a Gateway Women meetup group in your part of the world? They are listed here: http://www.gateway-women.com/meetup Hugs, Jody x

  75. Hurrah! Found some where that I can talk to other omen who dont have kids. I hear it everyday through my work (I’m a carer and always get asked by my lovely ladies who I look after) and although I let it wash over me, its the fact that my friends have kids and my Facebook feed is full of photos and ‘gush’ from them. I cant compete even with photos of my nephews let alone my furbabies who are the world to me. Its the ‘ you wont understand until you have kids.’ my reply is ‘I had ovarian cancer instead. Does that qualify?’
    My partner has kids 2 boys and 2 girls. They are lovely. The girls have been over and I had a great time with them but its quite now. And this will sound really selfish but the quietness is bliss. I hope he doesn’t read this. I don’t mean to sound selfish, I spent a small fortune doing their bedrooms up as I wanted their rooms nice for them, but I guess I was never cut out to be a parent so maybe the cancer was a blessing in disguise.
    My bestfriend had a lovely little girl in Jan this year but I seem to have lost her now to other mums as she needs their support and I cant offer her any.
    Thanks for letting me spill. I am really conflicted. I guess I love being around kids but happy to be able to hand them back.

    • Hello and welcome! So glad you found us! And there’s nothing ‘selfish’ about enjoying the ‘quietness’. I’m sure parents enjoy it too, without feeling in the tiniest bit ‘selfish’! I think the word ‘selfish’ applied to childless/childfree women is bizarre… some of them are the kindest, most kid-friendly people I know.. And hasn’t anyone ever met or heard of a selfish parent? Ah hum! Do come and join in the conversation privately over at http://www.gateway-women.com/community I think you’ll like it! Hugs, Jody x

  76. I’m having a hard time. I chose the man that I love over the child I wanted. I feel like I betrayed myself and my parents. I feel empty and alone. I’m 42 and it’s too late for me to have children, but I feel broken. He has a child who lives with his mom and doesn’t see his dad much. I’m trying to be supportive. I just can’t be around neither of them.
    How do I go about starting a group? My husband doesn’t understand and I’ve been starting fights because of jealousy – even told him I regretted marrying him. Am I overacting? I feel like I’m being cruel and hateful sometimes… I saved myself for him and feel like I’ve got nothing in return.
    His ex’s have got more than someone that was raised with morals.

    • Hi Jackie – thanks for taking the time to comment and your situation, being ‘childless by relationship’ is quite common… as is the grief that can come up to bop us on the heads when our fertility ends and the decision we took becomes irrevocable. You are grieving and anger is a part of grief. However, taking it out on your husband, whilst understandable, probably isn’t going to make things any better. You need to do your grief work. The best suggestions I can make are this:
      Step 1: Join the private Gateway Women Online Community and connect with women who know exactly what you’re feeling because they’re either there right now or were there and are now in a better place http://www.gateway-women.com/community
      Step 2: Join the Gateway Women Meetup Group for your country and then atttend a group near you. If there isn’t a group near you, then email community@gateway-women.com and we’ll help set one up for you. http://www.gateway-women.com/meetup
      You are amongst sisters who understand now – and the more you can connect with others who have or are experiencing the very particuar pain of childlessness by relationship the sooner you’ll start to feel like you can get a handle on things again.
      With hugs, Jody x

  77. Hello Jody,
    Nice to meet you.
    I am 41. My problem is that, more or less, I am 80 % sure I don’t want to have children (the mean reason is because I don’t feel the hope), but the other 20% made me feel bad. A lot of times, I have thought very seriously about the theme and I have decided definility not to have children, but some times, this 20% of doubt come again and again and made me doubt. This made me feel very bad and not in peace about this theme.
    Can you help me?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Maria – thanks for your email and I’m sorry to hear how tough making this choice is proving for you. You might like to join our private online community where you’ll find other women who have been/are ambivalent and perhaps hear how they have worked through the issue? Our culture is so strongly pronatalist, and most of the media coverage and social stories are about how life is a disaster for women if they don’t have children, but it’s far from the whole truth… A childfree life can be JUST as fulfilling, albeit in different and less (currently) socially approved ways. And motherhood, whilst socially sanctioned, isn’t the walk in the park, or the ticket to a meaningful existence that it’s often painted as… And finally, statistically speaking, you are no doubt aware of this but it may well be possible that nature has decided this for you… as it’s not nearly as easy to get pregnant naturally after 40 as many of us believe, and IVF has a generalised failure rate of 75%. In fact, even at its best, with women under 30, it only works 51% of the time…
      Ambivalence is seen as something shameful, that if we’re ‘real’ women we ‘should know’. However, I see ambivalence as intelligence and compassion in action, and that you are thinking deeply about whether motherhood is right for you; I wish everyone took it so seriously, we’d have a lot less suffering in the world. Hugs, Jody x

  78. Hello Jody and Gateway Women, my name is Amanda I am a 45 year old childless not by choice woman very much grieving at this point. In the winter of 2013, I began this grief journey and discovered gateway women… which was a relief at that time… I however I don’t think at that point I was really ready to accept this situation and allow the grief in and I couldn’t handle the reality and the stories of others and all the issues that gateway women (rightly) don’t shy away from. I didn’t want to be part of the tribe..and the great thing is I know you will get that…what ensued was a rather great 2014 in many ways where I just grabbed life by the balls and felt better and genuinely happier than I had done in a number of years… however what I was really doing was willing myself to “outrun” this pain, thinking I could somehow side-step it… and of course here it is again… my grief at the loss of motherhood showing me its bigger than me and it won’t be ignored. For my job I had to spend the 1st 4 months of this year living in another country mid-week… which i found very isolating… and I think it forced me to see what my life has become and how lonely I feel without the family I just assumed I would belong to at this point. I am really not sure where to go from here…except I know i cannot silence this any longer..I have started to tell very trusted friends this week (mums and not mums) how this is playing out in my life… they are aware I wanted to be a mum but not the full extent of how its loss is affecting me…it helps enormously to be able to share some of your interviews Jody (and also Johanna Walkers great talk) it helps people get it…one thing I am willing myself to do is join the online community and attend your sept workshop Jody and will sign up shortly,, its the day after my 46th birthday and my present to myself…so here I am I want to be as brave as you all and not alone in this anymore…xxx

    • Hi Amanda – welcome back and I completely understand your reluctance to engage. We each have our own timing and that’s absolutely natural. After all, Gateway Women is the ‘club’ none of us wanted to join! Hugs, Jody x

    • I am exactly where you are Amanda as I, too, am childless and living in a foreign country, lonely as hell most of the time and feel like I am losing my mind w/ no one to relate to – until now, hoping to work through my many levels of grief in this group and find real friends locally. Best wishes to you!

      • Hi Robin, thanks for reaching out..with what is going on in our lives it sure helps to have this community…
        which country do you live in?

  79. Thanks Jody. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Maybe turning 50 and having my womb biopsy soon makes it seem a whole lot worse. I told my friend with kids and the reply I get a lot is “why dont I adopt’. I get the ‘there’s worse off’ comment. I still cant get used to this. If any women in Wolverhampton I’d love to hear from you. Jules xx

  80. I suppose I’m having an ‘OMG’ moment. Yes, I’m 50, yes I’m grieving not having children – especially seeing friends and family and all my friends having the little cherubs. I just feel so cheated in many ways and it is like grieving. I will read the many blogs and feel truly supported by the many other comments made by women in the same boat. Funny as I used to live on a boat – never thought I’d have one shared by many other women. Ahhhh thank you so much Jody and all the sensitive lovelies in this world who actually do just GET IT! and to my boss Jo for helping and telling me about it. JULES xxxxxxxxx

    • Hi Julie – I’m so glad you’ve found us – but of course I also understand that Gateway Women is the club none of us wanted to join so it’s a bittersweet hello… Do consider checking out our private online community – it’s a real ‘port in a storm’ to continue with your sailing metaphor! Hugs, Jody x

  81. I’m 39 and 10 months. Just started to be more serious about conception (synchronizing intimacy with the ovulation time etc). I suspect I’m infertile, I have my clues, I work as a nurse.

    I have days where the need to hug somebody, who is part of me, is overwhelming (this is usually the time when I hug my dog so tightly that he starts to yelp). Then I’d have those days where I ran into divorced people, unhappy and in financial misery, doing their best to keep the heads up while joggling with full time jobs and shared custody. Days where the rational side of me prevails and I hear myself voicing all the worries about the high incidence of autism, ADHD,cancer, pollution, vaccines(I’m against them), husband with impossible schedule, GMO, etc…What type of life will I be able to offer to a new Being? Am I egoist to think only at my need to be a mom and not to consider the fact that a child, in our modern world, has very little chance to happiness.

    I do have very few friends as I immigrated twice and I have to content myself with people I recently met.They never judged me for being a childless person, or at least not when I was present, but our friendship is far from being perfect. As I read the other postings, I wonder if we spend wisely our time crying over friends that we loose because we don’t have children. People/friends will always disappoint, sooner or later, according to my experience, and I don’t say that in a bitter way, I probably too disappointed people without knowing it. We leave friendships behind only to discover other people.

    I fill up my days with healthy cooking, exercise and good books that inspire me and help me to remain positive and 80% of the time I succeed. I strongly believe that as long as we are healthy we can put up with loss or sadness or grief and look at the full part of the glass.

    I empathize with all the women who posted above, but I also want to bring a positive vibe, because it is surely missing among the previous postings.

    Yes, we have days filled with sadness, but we can still give meaning to our life despite the absence of a child. Thanks for putting together this website!

    • Thank you, Diana! Your words really helped me today! I wish you have a life full of love and joy!

    • I admire this progress here. I am 33 and I been in a situation with a man of 3, for the past 10 years. even though I’ve never been diagnosed that I’m infertile, I know I can’t have kids, I can feel it, and also, due to my promiscuous lifestyle choices, in the past.
      I am not a stepmom, but I do have a really warm relationships with his sons. I wanted kids with him, in the beginning, but I knew that my body wasn’t going to be able to carry a child, my mindstate, unhealthy lifestyle choices…career/just a job…..world views…
      Your quote about staying positive 80% and remaining healthy gives me the motivation to do just that.
      I had a battle with promiscuity and I was the first thing that I had to defeat, and I did. Took me a long time to really start respecting myself, past my thirties, and now having this dumbfouneded feeling of being late to the party, for Me.
      Now that I’m on this track of seek and find, and I asked myself are there other women out there that feels as strongly as I do, I knew I would find small blogs and newspaper articles, but never did I think to find a private online community.
      Reading these blogs give me light, because I feel, I know, that at 39 I am NOT going to feel alone.

      • Hi Sam – thank you for taking the time to comment.

        I’m sorry to hear that you think you are infertile and I would encourage you to have things ‘checked out’ rather than rely on ‘feeling it’. I was ‘convinced’ that I was fertile, when I struggled with ‘unexplained infertility’ and my ‘feeling’ was wrong, sadly. I’m not fully informed about the ways that ‘promiscuity’ can lead to infertility, and I do wonder how much you’ve been influenced by the way our society shames sexually active women outside monogamous partnerships, although I am aware that untreated chlamydia can cause problems. However, whether you can/can’t physically have children, as we women know, that’s not the only factor involved and a willing/able partner, finances, housing, working arrangements and a host of other factors are involved if we are responsible about it, which you sound like you are.

        I’m so glad that you are learning to respect yourself and like yourself again. It’s not too late to build a friendly and kind relationship with yourself – one that will last a lifetime and make a massive difference to your daily life, whether you have children or not. Doing that for myself has changed my life for the better in ways that just keep amazing me! I really recommend exploring the work of Kristin Neff – her book “Self Compassion” is a wonderful place to start. http://self-compassion.org/

        Sending you a hug for all that you’ve already come through, and another one to support you on the journey ahead.
        Hugs, Jody x

    • Hi Johanna – unfortunately Jody hadn’t spotted your amazing talk until yesterday when I found it and brought it to her attention. I’ve also shared it with the other women in our on-line community. I know Jody and the rest of us are completely blown away. This was amaaaaazing. Thank you so much!! 😉

    • Johanna, I just discovered your talk this week and I think it is absolutely great. I feel you are telling my story although I am no where near being as accepting of my childlessness as you seem to be at this point. I have begun telling people close to me just how painful this is and have asked them to listen to what you said. Its cushing to hear that really authentic voice knowing you absolutely want children when its too late…how the hell do you get back to enjoying life again when you know this is irrevocable?

    • Tears powering down my face to hear you say out load what I have been feeling & carrying with me for years. Thank you so very much x

  82. I have just discovered this book after thinking I had got past this and then realising I have not! Am working my way through the book. Reading the chapter on grief is like talking to someone who understands for the very first time. Thank you.

    • Hello and thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so glad that you are finding my book a support. When I was going through my journey of healing, it was such a relief the day I understood what I was experiencing was ‘grief’. I was so relieved to know that I wasn’t going crazy! I wish my book had been there ‘for me’ but I’m so glad it’s there for you instead. Hugs, Jody x

  83. I am so pleased to have heard your segment on women’s hour and to find your website. It’s super not to feel alone. I’ve never shared my story but I feel I can here.
    I am a women of 54 and infertile due to a childhood illness. IVF didn’t work for my husband and I and we had many years of smiling sweetly and congratulating friends and family as they had their families. Of course we were happy for them but every new child was heartbreaking for us and gave me physical, as well as emotional pain. I did and said the right things, I became a God Mother many times ( and the kids tell me I’m a great one!) but holding their babies for the first time was so hard and although I always tried to smile I couln’t help the personal feelings of loss welling up inside …. they were always shocked at the tears I shed……to the point that I wasn’t invited to see the new borns and sometimes not even told about people being pregnant until it was obvious. The last few years have got better as the children grew up, although christening are hard. This year as the first of my 7 siblings is about to become a grand parent those old feelings have come back. When my niece told me she was pregnant I wept. Of course I told her it was because I was so happy for her (which I am) but I recognised that the tears were for the babies I never had and the grand children I’ll never have ….I am about to relive those years again and I know that it’s going to be tough! I would swap the interesting career, great holidays, lovely house and life style in a jot, just to feel my baby or baby’s baby in my arms.

    • Hi Julie – thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your story. Becoming a grandparent does seem, for many, to be a fairly joyous experience, free of many of the anxieties of parenthood – and our friends, families and colleagues can get SO swept up in it, and our ‘loss’ so distant, if recognised at all as to be totally forgotten or irrelevant to them… Few of us have had the opportunity or support to grieve the loss of motherhood fully so this next passage can be hard… However, tough as it may be it IS an opportunity to complete our grief work and live the rest of our lives with the loss, but without the heartache It can be done, honest! Come and join our online community to begin with and then, if you’re in the UK, do consider coming to one of my Reignite Weekends if you can. My book has a chapter on grief that many have found very helpful. Welcome and hugs to you – you’re not alone in this anymore. Jody x
      PS: Don’t forget about the other organisation I’m a Founder Member of AWOC (the Ageing Without Children collective), which is what I was talking about on Woman’s Hour.

  84. I’ve just suffered another IVF loss, and am silently grieving. My husband and I have tried everything and we are still childless after a struggling for years with male infertility, using donors, and going to several different countries for clinical help. We’ve used up all our savings and have nothing left, not for adoption or trying again. We have always been childless, but the fact that we will remain childless is heartbreaking. I found this site through an article about IVF and I’m surprised to see that you charge a fee for your online community. I know am not the only one. My husband is also a suffering from this loss, but finding out that your website is a for profit platform makes us feel shut out all over again.

    • Hi Anonymous

      Gateway Women is a self-funded organisation – it’s me and the cat! We have no funding and refuse all offers from commercial organisations looking to have access to our members. One year agao, I had to either introduce a charge or close the online community down as it was taking 20+ hours a week of my (unpaid) time to run. Now, with the membership fee, I am able to have a paid-for community manager to handle the admin and I can focus on supporting members and leading within the online community.

      However, I absolutely understand that not all members will be able to afford the membership fee at some points in their healing journey, which is why it says, very clearly, at the top of the first page introducing the online community the following:


      A contribution towards these free memberships is made by myself and also members who choose to ‘donate’ a memberships to a sister in need.

      Please do come and join us if you feel the community would be of support to you. You are not shut out.

      Hugs, Jody x

  85. Saw an article on the news this morning about your organisation and I’m glad to find your website. At the moment I have my 91 year old mum with me, she was discharged from hospital just over a week ago into my care, she has crushed vertebrae from osteoporosis and is in constant pain. My dad is in hospital having had an op for bladder cancer and now has a chest infection and urine infection, but he is slowly getting better. I am an only child, divorced and with no children. I am glad that I’m able to be here for my parents and to speak up for them to make sure they get the care they need, but it has brought it home to me that should I reach old age, there won’t be anyone to speak up for me and make sure that I don’t get discharged from hospital without a care package in place. While my dad has been in hospital I have had to constantly tell the nurses that he is registered blind, and it wasn’t until after a week that they finally put a notice on his door to say he has limited vision. At the weekend I found him sitting in his wheelchair (he is an amputee) with just the thin cotton nightgown on and a cardigan that wasn’t buttoned up and with no sock or slipper on his foot and with an open window in his room. So I got him a sock and put a blanket over him. Two days later I found him shaking in bed with just one blanket on and the cotton nightgown, so I put a fleece jacket on him and found two more blankets, by the time I left the shaking had subsided.
    The thing is, I don’t believe we should have to rely on our families to take care of us in old age, but that the attitude to care for the elderly by hospitals and society needs to change.
    Sorry, I’ve digressed a bit. Although I don’t have children my life is full, I have my own business, work part time one day a week for someone else and am about to start another business venture, so for me it’s work that has helped to fulfill my life and give me purpose.

    Anyway, looking forward to reading the content on here and glad I’ve found you.

    • Hi Lyn – glad you saw the segment this morning and yes, seeing up close the care that some elderly people have to endure does bring home how much work there is to do so that all of us can look forward to our old age and to be treated with compassion, kindness and dignity. Do check out the work of AWOC.org (the Ageing Without Children collective) of which I am a founding member; it was 2 of my colleagues from AWOC with me on BBC Breakfast this morning, although sadly they cut the contribution from Robin Hadley whose work focuses on the experience of childless men. Hugs, Jody x

      • Hi Jody
        Thanks for your reply, I have had a look at the website which looks as though there is a lot of information on there. Please see my reply to Jane below, I really think that we just can’t rely on governments to take care of us, but I would like to see a movement start where we come together to take care of each other. It would be lovely to think that there were some responsible people looking out for you when you need it, sort of like a surrogate family. Small groups that get to know each other, build a relationship and then perhaps formally/legally agree to be part of a small caring group so that they will come together to help if one of their number becomes ill. Maybe food for thought?
        Lyn x

    • Hi Lyn , I have just got back from seeing my Mum who has dementia. I found out about this group this morning on BBC Breakfast so I thought I’d look it up. Your story is the first one I’ve read and I have similar concerns. My mum is in a lovely care home now near me but the past two years I was …I can barely explain what I have done over the last two years – but basically I was behind the scenes running the whole of her life from 250 miles away…I am not the only child but the only one who was actively doing anything. Like you, I came across many instances where the social care system and health system let Mum down and I was there to fight her battles for her. I am in my 40s and my husband is in his 50s. It is our second marriage and we are without children. Your story resonated with me because I too wonder who will fight my battles (or my husband’s) or simply notice the ‘small’ stuff if ever we needed that. If care of the elderly was improved it would be good for people without children and also people whose children live a long distance away or who lack capacity or even kindness themselves. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Jody too for her post below, Jane

      • Hi Jane

        Thanks for your reply and for sharing your story. I can relate to yours as well because my mum also has vascular dementia but it’s manageable at the moment. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you over the last couple of years trying to look after your mum from such a distance. If I ever start to wish that I wasn’t an only child I then remember examples where even when there is more than one child it’s often all left to just one, and the rest only appear when it’s time for the will to be read.
        I’m sure there are so many of us out there who do wonder how it will be for us when we are not so capable of speaking up for ourselves. I suppose if you have enough money to pay for private care your chances may be better than left to social services and the NHS. I really appreciate that the NHS does have wonderful staff, and my parents have been looked after and treated very well in hospital on previous occasions, I suspect that this time my dad is a victim of the extra call on the NHS resources over Christmas and the New Year.
        I think we need to start some sort of movement where we can look out for each other in the future, because having done it ourselves at least we’ll know the sort of small things that make all the difference. Maybe some sort of small groups of people in the same situation, who get to know each other, and can come together to look after one of the group if they need it.
        I hope your mum is ok and that you stay well and healthy for decades!
        Lyn x

    • May God bless you in your old age. You sound like an amazing daughter. I understand your fears, I sometimes feel the same being single and childless. However can I just say that having children is no guarantee that you’ll be looked after in old age. It’s seems it’s getting more and more common that adult children are becoming more and more selfish when it comes to looking after their elderly parents. I’m not talking about people who genuinely cannot do it due to specific circumstances but I’m talking about people who DON’T want to do it. My parents are in their mid 70s and thank God they are reasonably healthy compared to others their age but they have friends who are the same age and some who are older whose adult children have no interest whatsoever in taking care of them. It’s shocking. I know of one woman who is in her 80s who has 2 children and countless teenage grandchildren and they very rarely visit her. It’s obvious she’s lonely. My auntie who is 84 has severe rheumatoid arthritis, eyesight and hearing problems and struggles to Cook, clean and shop for herself. She has a daughter in her late 40s who has a husband who supports her and their son. Her son is 16 and a responsible young lad so she doesn’t have any major concerns about him as he grows. At the moment she is unemployed which is fine but instead of using the free time to spend time with her mother who lives 5 mins away and help her she decides to only turn up on a Sunday so she can get a roast dinner which has been cooked by her elderly mother. Forgive my rant but it makes me fume and her mother gave her a good upbringing but look at the thanks she gets. I will pray that God rewards you for the compassion and love you have showed your parents.

  86. Hi

    Just seen the report on BBC news this morning about Ageing without Children & really hit home with me. I’m currently surrounded by pregnancy at the moment my sister & close friend….it’s tough but I put on a brave front. I found this site via ageing without children & thought it would be good to connect with like minded people. Faye

  87. Omg! Just found out about this group from a tv programme… Skimming this first page, crying! Thank you, thank you….I am a women who desperately wanted children, but now 46, several miscarriages later, now single with a chronic health condition have been facing the reality of my situation. I look forward to reading through this website…. 🙂

    • Hi Lisa and welcome! You’re not alone in this. You might consider joining our private online community too – it’s a great way to explore our situations and get support from like-minded, empathetic, wise and funny women. Hugs, Jody x

  88. Lyndsey – you are not alone. I have the problem both ways: a difficult relationship with my late Mother left me with a gaping hole and a wish for the relationship I never had, plus the feeling that I was too “unstable” to give a child a better chance than I had.

    After years of therapy for depression and eating disorders I have come to terms with many things, but I still feel the lack of the relationship with my Mother and the loss of the life I might have had – children included.

    I know that with my variable mental health having children wouldn’t have been a good idea. I also know I am lucky to have a good marriage. But the feelings about children are still there.

    So cherish you child and know that in dealing with your emotions you are more likely to let them grow up in a happy and free environment, hopefully not suffering like you do now.

  89. I am 25 years old and for all my life Iv been without a mother to lead and guide me. I was adopted when I was 7 yrs old by my grandparent and I understand it wasn’t their place to raise me and give me the family I should of had. I had to go threw life alone watching my friends and their moms have mother daughter days and it hurt not being able to have that from my mother. My parents are both alcoholics and never had much time for me. I remember times whn I was sick and begged for my mom to please stay with me and help me and instead she left me alone while she went to get drunk I was lef to do for myself. My times I remember my mom making me spend the night with her under bridges Bc we couldn’t go home Bc my dad would hurt her. After I got adopted I still never had the mother I needed my grandparents had to many grandchildren and was always to busy bless their heart!! I went threw school without any mother coming on my field trips no mother to do my hair or help me do my homework no mother to tuck me into bed. My friends all had mothers and fathers and I always told them to always respect their parents Bc I don’t have anything like they did. I guess what lead me to this page was Iv been n search of a mother figure someone I can talk to and count on someone to be a mother a mother that I never had! I don’t even kno if such a person exists but I told myself I wouldn’t give up their has to b someone! If anyone could help me or tell me a website that could help me I’d really appreciate it! It’s been a life goal of mine and I won’t give up God Bless You and thank u n advance!!!

    • Hi Susan – thanks for you comment and I’m so sorry to hear about your ‘complete hell’. It’s hard looking back and wishing things had been different… Sending you hugs, Jody x

  90. Stumbled across this site by mistake and think its a fabulous idea. Its not actually helpful to me personally though as I have the opposite problem – I have a child, but my issue is due to the fact I never had a good or loving relationship with my Mum. This is something that’s really bothering me now that I’m in my mid 30’s -I really want for once in my life to have a close mother/daughter relationship with a mum!! I’m now having counselling to try and work through my grief for never having had the mother/daughter relationship, and to try and stop myself from forming attachments to older women that frankly don’t need me, as they have daughters of their own! I wish there was a group for ‘motherless adult daughters!’

    • Hi Lyndsay – thanks for commenting and I’m sorry to hear that things with your Mum have been so difficult. There are so many things in life that we have to grieve in order to let go of them, and it sounds like this is one of them for you. A book that you might find very helpful in doing so is “The Emotionally Abesent Mother” by Jasmin Cori – you can read an interview with her here. Hugs to you, Jody x

      • Thanks Jody, I am now reading the book, and you are correct, I am finding it very helpful. I have also come across a website designed to help adults meet surrogate family members (the parents, siblings, son/daughter figures they never had) -and I am currently emailing a lovely lady who never had children and is looking for a ‘daughter figure’. It is obviously only used between adults, but I thought I would mention I here in case it helps anyone out. Google: Creating extended families. Also, thankyou to Jan for her comment above, I’m sorry to hear that you have also experienced similar to me. Best wishes to all. Lyndsay x

  91. Looking at the IPPR report made me think that we can give each other informal support. I’m hoping to be able to move into a flat where there are already friends in three other flats. There will be some jobs that one of us can do. For instance perhaps I can’t climb a ladder to change a light bulb but I can cook or go to the bank/ post office/ collect something. We don’t have to live together but we don’t have to get someone in to do every job. Sorry I’m being rather inarticulate but that’s because I’m working my way towards the idea. Can someone else refine it or comment on it? I think I’m meaning more than good neighbours.

    • Hi Glenys and thanks for your comment.
      “More than good neighbours” is a great way to put it!
      In the Gateway Women Meetup Group in the UK, some members are starting to visit dedicated co-housing projects – you might want to join in the research? http://www.meetup.com/gateway-women
      And in terms of ‘refining’ your thinking, that’s exactly what we’re aiming to do over at http://www.AWOC.org (Ageing Without Children) by getting 4 campaigners together and a conference on the issue on Jan 26th to discuss the issue with ageing charities, policy makers, service providers, etc.
      This is one of the key issues of our generation, and sorting it out for childless adults will have a great knock-on effect for all adults in our ageing society!
      Hugs, Jody x

  92. Just listened to Analysis on R4 on the family. Hear hear. What is a retired single pensioner supposed to do in fact of the attacks from brain dead politicians with their fixation on hard working families??
    If Analysis is right about the numbers – 7 million of us, all voters, they want to look out. That’s an awful lot of votes to alienate!

    • Hi Glenys – thanks for your comment. Here’s a link to a Guardian article about the IPPR report mentioned in the R4 Analysis piece.
      You might also like to check out the work I’m doing as a Founder Members of http://AWOC.org (Ageing Without Children collective) – come and join us! Hugs, Jody x

  93. Jody, do you or anyone else know of similar sites to Gateway Women that exist for men? I’m going thru your site and reading comments etc and really like what you’ve done – wondering if you were aware of any male equivalents? Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Andrew – all the resources that I currently know of for men (and they are pretty few and far between, as they are for women) are listed on the ‘Resources’ section of my website here: http://gateway-women.com/resources/
      If you come across anything else, do let me know and I’ll add them. Although the focus of GW is the female experience of childlessness, I know that the male experience can be really tough too. Hugs, Jody

  94. I am half way through reading your book and already it has made a difference to my well being, I feel more positive and more importantly less guilty. I married someone who didn’t want children and had a very unhappy childhood with a mother who was resentful of my birth, I was always told that if I hadn’t been born she would have had a successful career. I was a professional photographer and enjoyed my work which involved unsocial hours so another reason not to have children! I am now 52 still with the same man who didn’t want children. However I now see it was not only him that stopped me from having children but many other complex reasons. My husband does feel guilty that he made the choice for me, to not have children but maybe I can stop blaming him, as there were many other contributing factors that was stopping me. Thank you so much for writing this book 🙂 Nikki

    • Hi Nicki and thanks for stopping by to comment – I’m so glad my book is helping you to look at your situation differently, and hopefully with more compassion for yourself. I hope that you get as much out of the second half of the book! Hugs, Jody x

  95. Hello, I heard the excellent article on R4 on life as a childless couple, which I totally related to. In my case I was in my second marriage to a divorcee who already had 2 children from his previous marriage, so his need for children was not the same as mine. I was 40 and 42 when I suffered miscarriage, my husband, 6 years older, so clocks were really ticking. My step children were in their early teens and lived in the US, so having a ‘normal’ relationship with them has never been easy. Now at 58, I can really identify with Paula Coston’s thoughts….my friends are all becoming grandparents and I won’t belong in that club either. Nevertheless, I have an active life full of travel and experiences I probably wouldn’t have been able to have afforded/enjoyed. I am also determined that I will be a doting step-grand’ma, if the step kids ever show any signs of producing!

    • Hi Sheelagh – thanks for your comments. Yes, today’s documentary on Radio 4 was quite unlike anything I’ve done before and I’m glad you got to hear it. Paula’s thoughts on not becoming a grandmother will no doubt touch many of us who are childless by circumstance. I’m glad that you are enjoying the unexpected freedom of a childless life – it took me a while to get there myself and am now very happy with things. But oh! the getting there! Hugs, Jody x

      • Hi, I’m not sure how to join this conversation so I am trying this. I have recently been told about this site by my councillor. I am 47 years old and childless, this has recently caused me some upset. The realisation that I it is extremely unlikely that I will have children of my own! I always thought like most people that this would always happen at some point in my 30’s but unfortunately not. I too put my career first and didn’t meet the right person. I met my husband just before my 40th birthday, we got married and a year later I suffered an aneurysm. I almost died!!! It is 4 years later now and suddenly the need for a child is unbelievable, I therefore need to find a way through this as it is not going to happen for us. Yes I have a gorgeous doggy, but that doesn’t fill the gap of a child. After watching your video on you tube I have to say Jody you are amazing, can I have something of what you are on please??


        • Hi Lisa – and yes, you are absolutely welcome to some of what I’m on! Probably the best way to ‘join the conversation’ is to join our private online community and start realising that things may not have turned out as expected, but there’s still a life worth having, and new friends to support you as you venture into it. Hugs, Jody x

  96. Goodness, what a brilliant website Jody Day. If only I had this support years ago. I struggled with becoming pregnant, had many miscarriages and an A& E visit where a miscarriage had gone wrong. Becoming a biological mother was my addiction and the concept that me and husband were not going to be a part of ‘the parent’s club was soul destroying. We would list the endless things that we wouldn’t be included in and try to console ourselves that we would have a great life without a child. I had to watch all my friends become pregnant, share their joy, watch the bump and with a lump in my throat go into Mothercare to buy newborn baby a present. I would have the same conversation “when’s it due; it’s not for me; have you got any, no…” I left full shopping trolleys in Tesco as I passed the umpteenth pram/pushchair. I had the most bizarre conversations with strangers who felt it OK to needle at my sore point. One in the hairdressers asked me once if I was a lesbian as I didn’t have/want children. This was the last straw on that particular day and I snapped. I asked her if she minded me asking her a personal question ‘Do you take it up the ****?’ and she was upset at being asked such a personal and rude question and I replied that I am constantly not supported by bloody women and I too am upset at being asked a personal question. Touche love. But it felt empty. I still wasn’t pregnant and she had been…
    I approached the Sub fertility clinic in our local hospital and we were invited to sit in a grey dull room with pie charts celebrating the success of IVF. The Doctor was clearly keen to put our name down but I didn’t like the idea of IVF, not sure why. My mum had recently died and left us a house… I could have spent the whole money on trying to get pregnant. But I didn’t. If the IVF hadn’t have worked I would feel the same and be a house load of money lighter. I look back at those 10 years and feel exhausted at the level of emotion we went through. Not the happiest times.

    • Hi D – yes, the endless questions and presumptions can wear the politest of us down somedays! I totally get it! (And she didn’t, no surprise there!). So glad you’ve found GW and I hope to hear from you again. Hugs, Jody x

    • I just turned 55, my husband is now 70 – we’ve been married 26 yrs. I wanted a child, but due to medical issues it never happened. Where I live you aren’t allowed to adopt if there’s a 10yr difference in ages of spouses. He didn’t feel that having another child was a big deal. Foster parenting went out the window as I had no experience as a mother per the agency. I tried to deal with this hole in my life without support. I went thru various treatments trying to conceive to no avail. After I went into menopause, he quit any physical contact as we are too old for sex.

      Now I am defined as old, childless, barren, good only for a paycheck and caring for my elderly mom and husband. I am have been told by colleagues that since they are the only ones with kids, I needed to pick up their slack and work the duplicate since I had no kids. The boss is big into family, but without children you are defined as not having a family.

      I feel worthless, and depressed. I have been reminded on every family occasion that I messed up by not having children. My parents always agree with my siblings even knowing everything we tried.

      Today I feel as if life is against me and wonder why women have to be so defined by their ability to procreate.

      • Thanks for your comment and it’s so hard when it seems that society, our peers, our colleagues and our family treat us as ‘less than’ simply because we’re not mothers! I’m so glad you found GW and I hope it helps to know that you’re not alone! Hugs, Jody x

  97. I am very pleased to have come across this website. I was childless for many years. At age 41 I emigrated to Ethiopia and married an Ethiopian Highlander I’d known for four years. Four years and one miscarriage later we adopted two abandoned babies (a boy and a girl, unrelated) so at last I had the family I had yearned for. Our wonderful ‘twins’ are now nine years old, and I’m 53. I remember well my long years without children and so I wholeheartedly support Gateway Women. Amongst your supporters you no doubt have other women who were childless for decades (and so they know what it feels like) but who did become mothers at the eleventh hour. If I had not emigrated, I would probably still be childless.

    • Hi Kate – good to hear your story and I’m glad that adoption has worked out for you and your husband. It’s a trickier route here in the UK and for many women (and couples) who’ve already been through the heartbreak of infertility (and failed treatments), or for single women without sufficient financial means, it’s often too difficult to manage the process emotionally, financially and logistically. As one woman said to me as an answer to why she and her husband didn’t adopt after failed infertility treatments: “We maxed out the heartbreak cards already”. Glad to have your support. Hugs, Jody x

  98. My name is Lisa. I am a 40yr old female and I have no children. All my friends and family have kids, although I love all of them I feel a little empty inside at family events. I work in the ER of a major hospital. I see patients everyday that are pregnant – ages range from 14 and older. People always say there is something in the water, I never understood the true meaning of that statement until I got this job. I am surrunded with patients with kids but every month a new nurse comes in to say they are having a baby. I am happy for them but can’t help but asking why not me? I love my job but not sure how much longer I can be there and not have a mental breakdown woundering why I can’t experience the same joy as my friends and co-workers…

  99. I found this site a few weeks ago when I was having a very bad day. I’m glad I did. I just received a copy of the book and have started the first chapter. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I work with animals and I put a lot of love into it. It bothers me greatly when I have other women tell me that animals aren’t babies and I shouldn’t waste my love on them. Taking care of animals is my outlet. I’m 40 and pregnancy is not possible. Thank you

    • Hi Jenny – I’m so glad you’ve found us and that the book is helping. You might like to join our private online community or the private online reading group for my book – it can be great to read it alongside others and share insights and struggles. Welcome to GW. Hugs, Jody x

  100. Hi Jody

    You are an inspiration to those of us wanting maternal love for a child.

    You know I’ve been going through depression of knowing I won’t build a healthy relationship with a man and having pregnancy. I’m coming out of denial as well.

    Keep strong…. you’re not alone and so courageous to speak out about this. Also, the stigma of getting left out over social implications. And there is shame I’ve felt. You’ve given me hope for my life as a good Aunt and God does have a plan for me.

    Thanks again,

    Jennifer Davis

    • Hi Jennifer – so glad you found GW. Coming out of denial is hard, especially when the culture around us tells us that ‘there’s always still hope!’ and we so long to believe that. Sometimes that hope itself becomes the thing standing between us and the life we’re actually living, and not the fantasy life in our head and hearts. And in doing so, we miss out on life. Do check out our Community, we have other GWs in Texas. Hugs, Jody x

  101. Hi everyone. I wish I knew about this site months ago. I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I will be 60 this year and childless due to infertility. It’s been bothering me more in recent months because those I work with are always talking about their children/grandchildren. I don’t have any friends or family that live nearby. I spend 90% of my time alone. Crying a lot these days.

    • Hi Deb – I’m so sorry to hear how tough things are for you right now. I think many older childless women experience another wave of grief when everyone else starts having (and obsessing!) over grandchildren. Do take time to read some of the article on grief and I’ve sent you a private email as well. Hugs, Jody x

      • I, too, am suffering “the second wave” as my friends become grandmothers. It’s much worse than the initial when I had a great career, social life, and health. I’ve been disabled since 39 and have no nieces, nephews, steps, etc. I’m the end. I’m also across the country from my support system. Husband and I are very distant and would be divorced if I were healthy. I’m hurting so desperately with the emptiness. I was always somewhat of an extrovert, but have become completely isolated. Husband is a complete introvert, no need for interaction.

        I just found this site. Is there any info directed to the grandchildless? Or the childless, career less, isolated, etc? I’ve never known anyone in a similar situation except my sister who went thru her grieving in her 20-30s. We are not close.

        I spend almost all my time alone recently. Stayed pretty active from 39 to 48 when more illnesses hit me. I feel as if my soul has given up. I can’t force myself to start anything new again.

        • Hi Babs
          Thanks for sharing some of your story with us, and I’m so sad things are so tough for you. Loneliness is such a taboo, on top of childlessness and so very hard to bear. I’d really recommend that you join our private online community so that you can be in touch around the clock, whenever you want to, with wonderful childless women from all across the world. The sisterhood is strong and rather wonderful! Membership is free for the first month and you are welcome to a free membership thereafter as I guess (but don’t presume) that perhaps funds are tight with your disability? Come and join us and you’ll find that it really helps take away the sting of loneliness. And yes, we have plenty of women who are going through the ‘grandchildren grief’ stage too. With hugs, Jody x

  102. I am so glad I found you. Today my sadness came on with no warning or incident. Thank you for having this site. Thank you for being here

    • Hi Amy – I’m glad you found us on a difficult day. Perhaps you might like to come and join our online community – it’s a great way to cope with good days, bad days and all the in-between ones – being childless can be a bewildering and lonely experience. Hugs, Jody x

  103. Hi jody how did I not know about this site before! I do now. I’m 47 came out of a bad marriage late 20’s took years to get over it. I had been told I couldn’t have children as I did produce eggs.then at 41 I meet my soul mate we talked about children I had been for more tests which came back that I did produce eggs. It was too late by then, he has 3 children 1 biological 2 he adopted when he married their mother. And oh yes they all have children too when his biological sone said they were expecting it was a body blow to me, I still thought maybe just maybe but no – now I’m a step mum and a step step mum who somehow has grandchildren.
    My partner understands is very supportive but some days it’s unbearable. Now I know I’m not alone I know it will help x

    • Hi Debbie – welcome! – Gateway Women has only been around for 3 years and I started it because there was nothing around for women like us. Turned out there are quite a lot of us! Being a childless stepmum presents its own particular challenges too… Do come and check out our private online community – you’ll find even more of us and in a secure space where we can be really frank about things – finally! Hugs, Jody x

  104. Hi Jodie, so happy to just found you… Looking for a ritual or ceremony as a rite of passage to be able to move on xx

    • Hi Sara – rituals are SO important, and another aspect of life that we miss out on because most of the remaining rituals of our culture are focussed around dating/mating/childrearing. Do come over and visit us at http://www.gateway-women.com/community – you’ll find some like-minded souls and that’s a good place to start. Hugs, Jody x

  105. Really feeling pain today and these comments helped me cry. Thankyou, it helped
    Feels like a judgement from whoever god is to have not conceived. I’m healthy, active, non drinker and a nurse, so why me. Work with a whole load of mums and just want to curl up in a corner some days. No one of my family has conceived and I just yearn to hold a baby or be a role model and life feels like it has no purpose. Now separated from hubby, no kids on his family either, stumbling around a bit right now.

    • Hi Jane – I’m so sorry to hear you’re having what I call “a griefy day”. Life isn’t fair, and it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I’m so glad you found us – come and check out our online community and maybe together we can turn your stumble into part of the dance?! Hugs, Jody x

  106. I’m so happy to have found this website. I’m a 37 yr old women who this past summer had a hysterectomy and did not have children but always thought she’d have at least one. But her uterus made her thirties suck and now she is healthy again but unable to have children. Alot of whys right now.

    • Hi Laura – the “what ifs” and “why me?” can be exhausting… We have a few other women in our private online community who’ve had hysterectomy and it’s takes longer to recover from emotionally than physically it seems. Come over and join us. Hugs, Jody x

  107. I just came home from a visit with my extended family including 17 children under the age of 18. This is the first time that I have not come home feeling sad, lonely and alone. I am turning 52 so maybe my hormones have eased the yearning for childbearing. Sometimes I would lay awake at night going over my life, what I did wrong, what could I have done that made my life turn out like this. I played with dolls until I was almost 15, had a list of names that I would name my babies yet my dreams were not fulfilled. I am so thankful to have found this blog. Some nights I will wake almost in a panic and cold sweat with the realization that I never, ever will ever have a family. I also just experienced an in-law make a scathing comment to a family member that ‘at least you have children and have something to show for your life’. Then glared over at me knowing that I always yearned to be a Mother. The horrid insensitivity that some people have still astounds me. Thank-you for having this platform for us to share our grief.

  108. Hello it is now about 4am where I live and I am up heartbroken and alone even though I have someone I love dearly next to me I am empty with a open hole deep within I am 25yrs old and I am childless and tired of tring feeling like I’m there and then being let down like I have been dropped from the very top of the eifel tower no matter how hard I pray how much I dream hope I am still left childless I have always dreamed of being a mother buying pretty dresses cute bows and ribbons or buying all the little toy soldiers the cute hats going to baseball games or cheerleading camps I had my life planned but I guess that’s not how god planned it for me but it still breaks my heart that I am a childless woman who wants no more than any woman to be a mother to one of gods precious angels so to all you lady’s who have yet to be mothers I wish u all well that we all may one day be the mothers we dream to be. Thank you for listening u are the first I’ve ever told how I feel good night

  109. Here I am again 42 years old, childless and, up late and night looking at this web site again. I bought the book a while ago, read the first chapter then put it down thinking how on earth am I going to complete the project at the end, but a few weeks later I did it and I felt better. After an appauling first marriage I now have a loving and caring husband and feel very lucky, but I still feel empty, the book is now on the floor again, I have lost my father, I am one of nine children, all my siblings have at least two children and now I also have great nieces and nephews. On the day my father passed away my brother said if it was not for the fact that women gave birth they would have no use. Basically I am a mess, I loved my father dearly and we had a very close relationship, he has always been very supportive and encouraging, I could discuss anything with him and he would give me honest advice, he was also good at asking me questions in a way that would make me think about things so I could make a decision. What has this got to do with being childless, I would have asked that question myself 2 months ago, I honestly dont know, but not having any children of my own, not passing on those genes he gave to me, him never meeting my unborn children breaks my heart. Well I have made first contact with people who can understand, I would like to make it to a seminar but that will be big step for me, so for want of a better phrase I am taking baby steps! Thank you to everyone who reads this, I know reading what other people say makes me feel more normal and less alone, sorry for the rambling.

    • My deepest sympathy on the loss on your father, when u have someone who really understands how u feel it can be utterly heartbreaking to lose them. You shouldn’t apologise for rambling but instead feel proud u found the strength to write something & try to express a little of how you are feeling. We all have our different stories on how we arrived on this page & the baggage we have brought with us but at least here you will always find others who understand, care & never tire of listening. You are not alone xx

    • I know how you feel. I have lost both my parents and my brother and sister each have a child but I have none. I continue to feel lost and empty but one thing I know is your brother is dead wrong!! I’m sorry but your brother’s attitude is why women like us struggle to find our way in the world. I don’t feel less like a woman I just feel a great since of loss because I know my husband and I would have been great parents.

  110. I am 46 and became a mother at the age of 45 when I gave birth to twin daughters via a sperm donor. I had been in relationships but they never worked out and I spent many years feeling depressed, despite a great career, a home of my own and many material acquisitions. I went ahead and did it on my own when my mother acknowledged how I was feeling and gave me the money for IVF. To my absolute surprise, it worked first time. But prior to this, I spent many years being ignored and disrespected by some family members and ‘friends’ who would regularly speak over me about their families and how wonderful being a mother was, knowing full well that I yearned with all my being to become a mother. I regularly felt ( and was made to feel)humiliated and ashamed that I had not met someone and become ‘normal’. Even though my children now fill me with unbelievable joy, I have not forgotten those single/childless years. Indeed, I am still single, but my life is consumed (very happily) by my daughters, although I will admit to some occasional loneliness as a single mother. This website is so important, the brave women who post articulate every emotion I felt in the years leading up to the birth of my adorable babies. Yes, I am finally a mother, but I identify with all of you. I respect you all enormously and do not, and will never take your emotions or struggles for acceptance for granted. Being a mother is wonderful. But it does not define you. I wish you all the very best of luck and you have my full support.

  111. Finding this website has been a Godsend. I’ve suffered for the last 10 years with the pain and anguish of being single and childless. 10 years ago I hid the excruitating grief caused by feelings of loneliness and desperate desire for children from family and work colleagues. I totally relate to the ‘Double Whammy’ description and feelings. Four years ago I was diagnosed with a massive benign tumour of the uterus (fibroid). I spent the next 2 years trying a range of conservative treatments without success and eventually made the heartbreaking decision to have a hysterectomy. I went through the pain of trying to come to terms with never being able to have children, whilst having to work alongside colleagues joyfully expecting their first babies. I felt very isolated during that time. Over the last 18 months I’ve been slowly coming to terms with the life I never expected to be leading. I thought I was making good progress until a young work colleague announced her pregnancy a few weeks ago. The pain and grief resurfaced. It is a relief to know that there are many other women in the same situation as me. It is inspiring me to want to come out and share my story.

    • I completely understand how you feel. I was molested as a child and when I became of childbearing age I had two miscarriages. My doctor thought my incompetent uterus was brought on by being molested at such a young age and when my endometriosis got so bad I ended up having to have a hysterectomy. I lost both my babies right when my friend, co-worker and sister-n-law had theirs…we were all supposed to have ours at the same time. Now it’s an endless burden of dealing with baby showers, grandbabies, etc. I’m always the awkward one out when friends get together because they all about their children and I have a cat. Now two of my co-workers is pregnant, an elder co-worker is expecting a grandchild and now that’s all I hear about. Uhhhhhh!!!!!!

    • Hi Deb, I just want you to know I know how you feel. I have had three miscarriages and my marriage is now crumbling and, at 42, I am resigned to never being a mum. I work in a small team. My boss, who’s nearly 40, has just conceived in her first month of trying and I don’t want to rain on her parade but it’s so painful. Sometimes I literally don’t know how I get through the day. Life is very unfair and as someone just said about Bob Geldof, bad things happen to good people. We have to give ourselves a big hug and tell ourselves how well we’re doing. If only people could imagine how we feel. But unfortunately they can’t. xxx

  112. I love what you are saying, but this is not a new social trend for todays women reaching their 40’s. I am 55 next week and I am childless, not intentionally, but sadly through a series of several of the life circumstances and events you talk about. This is nothing new, there are lots of older women who have had to come to terms with this, unfortunately it’s sometimes how life turns out and I will always regret it.

    • Barbara,
      This group may have been founded by someone who’s still (just) under 50 but it isn’t at all age-specific. I’m a year older than you and in similar circumstances.
      The GW community has been very supportive to me over the past few months, since I heard Jody speak on Woman’s Hour, and is proving to be really helpful, informative and fun on all sorts of subjects – not always directly related to infertility, whether medical or social.
      The only novelty in this movement may be our combining to deal with the unpleasant aspects of childlessness but that’s a huge advance in itself. Do consider joining us; you never know what value you may find in this unless you try!
      Best wishes,

    • Barbara,

      I’m one year older than you and also am filled with regret. My husband and I tried IVF alone with all the other treatments but to no avail. Now all my friends talk about their grandchildren and all I can do is feel depressed and empty inside. I’m not think I will ever stop grieving.

    • I agree Barbara…I often think of all the generations of women who have gone before us in social silence of their pain,bewilderment and downright unfairness of it all..The lack of voice and understanding around the subject that lead to even greater feelings of an unexplained loss and self doubt …must have been excruciating to bear.They did so with such dignity of their time and in isolation… We now at last will bear witness to an essential turning point for all of the worlds women, past, present and future,for whom childlessness, is the most relevant aspect in their whole lives.

  113. Lest we forget how far some of us have come, how many who have recently joined and those who are still to find us… Come on 2014!
    This time last year, I had no idea of Gateway Women. I had been ‘alone’ in my childless story for 28 years and thought I always would be. I have tried really hard, for me anyway… and have lived an interesting life, but rarely happily. But if I’m really honest, subconsciously I didn’t think I’d have the strength to deal with it once I got a bit older.

    Jody Day, your dream and your hard work has, and will, continue to change my life for the good. I have FINALLY received confirmation and recognition from everyone here that my feelings about my childlessness are vitally important, in order to be at any kind of peace with it. I’m pretty sure, that is true for all of us.
    So thanks to all of us.
    Individually we are all amazing.
    Together we are an undeniable force of nature.

  114. Im 39 and I have been grieving for awhile now. I feel a little incomplete but I feel much better after finding Gateway Women. My partner and I are just not having any luck. I wish the day will come where I don’t feel like a woman with my tail between my legs. I hate feeling ashamed. I guess today I wish I felt a little more grateful, however, Im glad Im not alone.

  115. Thankyou! Started to feel very isolated in my invisible grief. Found your site through Life without Baby blog and feel human again. Still sad but ‘normal’. Thankyou.

    • Hi,
      My name is Renata. I’m 39 years old. I live alone and I’m childless. I feel depressed, but thanks you and others women present here I feel a bit less lonely and I am more understood. Thanks 🙂

  116. Hi Jody,
    I just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog for a while and find the posts to be excellent and very useful. I do have one child, born when I was almost 41. So, I had a lot of years being “the childless one.” My younger sister had a baby 9 years before my daughter was born, and I was amazed at how that changed the family dynamics and her status versus mine to my parents. Everything that people have said on here I relate to. I suppose I don’t qualify to join the members-only forum, but I really enjoy reading the public articles and comments. Great work and a great community! Best wishes and cheers, Lisa B. in New Jersey, USA

  117. I am 60, so I might be too old for this community.
    I wish I had found it much sooner. I never married
    and never had children. I suffer from “oh there’s time”
    syndrome (about many things). I also never really had
    the burning “I really want to be a mother” drive (possibly
    because I suffer from “oh there’s time” disease. I considered
    adoption while in my late thirties, but could not have afforded
    to raise a child alone. I’ve worked in a traditionally low-paying
    field, for one thing. Anyway, I truly did not feel regret and remorse
    about missing the motherhood boat until I found out at 46 I was
    going through menopause. THEN it really hit me, with sadness,
    that I’d never have the experience of being a mother. I remember
    how cold and smug my best friend seemed when I shared my
    feelings about this. (She married and had children quite young.)
    I still have regrets, but it’s more than not being a mother. It’s
    not having created a family, whether that be a traditional one
    or nontraditional one made of friends. I do have friends, but
    they have families they have created, so they are not available
    for holidays and special events. I am relegated to emailing or
    maybe lunch for contact. One thing I didn’t bargain for was how
    the motherhood/family thing as number-one topic seems to
    continue despite getting older. Now, my friends and acquaintances
    talk all the time about their married children and their GRAND CHILDREN.
    I am again left sitting there without similar stories to share. So
    I’m at sea, at 60, and overwhelmed with
    loneliness as the holidays approach. I know I need to just deal
    with it mentally, but have not succeeded. I hope to be able to
    find some insights here and people with whom to communicate.
    I hope I can offer something of myself as well. If this group is
    too young, perhaps someone can suggest another group for
    people in my age bracket.

    • Hi Pickles – there is no age limit to Gateway, the forum has a diverse group of woman, all ages, all stages of treatment/childlessness so you have nothing to worry about, I promise. I’m so glad you found GW, as it sounds like you’ve had a lonely time of things over the years. I’m not sure if you know about the online forum? It’s private and you have to request memebership via Jody, but I’m sure you’d find lots of comfort and support. Why don’t you come over and join us 🙂

      • Hi and thanks to Ali B & Diana for responding. I guess I thought **this** was the online forum, but it sounds like there is another one, the one where you fill out a membership form? I will look for that. I am going through such sadness right now, the holidays, I am overwhelmed by it. I used to fly to other places where family members lived to spend holidays with them, but over time of course they have passed away. The younger ones have married with kids and I am welcome to join them, but I always feel on the outside. I always hear about people who have a big group of friends who do something ritually on the holidays, but that has never worked for me. My friends all seem to have family already and they do things with them. Sometimes I have been invited to dinner at Thanksgiving, and I sometimes go. But it’s so hard sitting there when you are the only one not part of the family.

    • Pickles, I’m soon going to turn 56 and your post could have been mine in all other respects. I’ve been a member of this community for a few months and it’s extremely supportive, so I do hope you’ll join us.
      This GW community is all-embracing and completely non-ageist: I’ve seen support being given to new members of almost all ages, from 20-somethings with fatal infertility issues up past menopause to older ladies of undisclosed ages. Some things in life are slightly different for those of us whose contemporaries are now talking all too loudly about their grandchildren – such as their friends’ infuriating tendency to post too much, too often, about their babies on Facebook.
      There’s also a considerable group of those whose main issues have more to do with being in what Jody dubbed the ‘double whammy’ category, not only childless but chronically or currently single.
      There are increasing numbers of arrangements being made for GW members to meet socially in real life, not just online, so it’s starting to be good for my Christmas diary, too. I hope it will benefit yours similarly.

    • Hi Pickles, I have never heard of the group until I read the Guardian last Saturday where it was mentioned in an article. I am so glad to hear there are others out there like me. I relate to so much you have said, so thank you for sharing so honestly your experience.
      I will be 60 in February, and being single with no children and no family at all is an ongoing issue that I struggle to deal with. Christmas is one of the worst times of the year. I usually get invited by a family in the church but it is to join them with their family and the fact of being single and alone becomes emphasised. It is difficult to make friends because most women have children and family and that seems to be the main topic of conversation. There are various reasons for not having created a family of my own, I have never had any stability or closeness in any relationships, I have been married three times and none of them lasted for more than a year. I have had difficulties with relationships perhaps because I was adopted. It is sad that I have no family of my own to focus on and to think about, and I do worry about old age. It is a lonely life.

      • Hi Coral I really resonated with your story, thank you. I am 66 and recently retired I have been divorced for 20 years and have no children, parents or siblings. However, I have many friends but they are mostly married and now grandmothers and I too feel lonely on holiday weekends, Christmas etc although I am welcomed by many.
        Although I am now involved in a couple of volunteer groups this has at times made things worse as other members talk about family and grandchildren most of the time and I often feel lost and alienated.
        I have just come across this website and most grateful for this link.
        I live in Australia but have close links with the UK.

    • Pickles,

      I’m also finding the later stage MUCH worse than the initial. Everything you said hits home. Thank you.

  118. I’m a single 49 yr old childless women. After having never found the right partner and having a series of failed relationships I now have depression and realise that it’s partly due to never having fulfilled my dream of motherhood. I send out loving wishes to all of us in this community and know that there are benefits to my single life that will never outweigh being a mother but offer me some comfort in between my periods of grieving. Just knowing GW exists is a great. Thank you jody for this.

  119. Gateway Women has been a safe place for me. The community has so many wonderful women in all stages of their journey.

    I have been a member for about a month and the weight that has been lifted. The loneliness of no one “gets it” is gone.

    I have bad days and even if I don’t post I can read the comments and post of others which is so extremely helpful. It’s not just a place to cry or be bitter, (even if one of us has one of those days) it’s truly a place to be around others who want to grow, help each other be strong and heal. I am at the beginning of my journey to Plan B. With GW I know it is possible.

    Thank you so much Jody!!

  120. I’ve joined GW community in Google + for the past few months and I must say that lately it’s one of the big highlights of my days. It’s a comfortable place to share my innermost feelings and then get the kind of support that I need (that my other friends can’t give me). I love learning from all the other ladies and also interacting with them in the community. It’s not just a place to share the sad moments in our lives, but also our victorious and funny, inspiring moments as well as to share tips and tricks. How lovely it feels to have a group of ladies who just “get it”! So THANK YOU, Jody, for providing the community for us.

  121. Big sense of relief now I have found your site. your intro video is so funny and true and real. Thank you Jody. I really look forward to being an active part of this community. you are a godsend. cheers.

  122. As one of 4 sisters (2nd eldest) I never thought I’d need to reach out online to find love & support. I thought my biological sisters would always be there for me. Turns out that it’s not the case. I’m now 46 & the 1 in 4 that has neither married nor had children. They all settled into their relationships in teens or early 20s so I became the ‘wild’ one (largely because I had more life experience, as a result of not being settled). I’ve muddled my way through 10 years of this grief as best i can without being able to articulate what I was really feeling. I was doing well too…. just starting to really explore Plan B options.

    This year has been a very difficult one though: beginning with the death of my youngest sister’s beautiful husband and the simultaneous miscarriage of her second child. I grieved for both losses and rallied around her and my 2yo niece daily for six months, while the other sisters put into action plans to come home (one after 27 years absence) to help. We were united.

    However, now that the 2nd youngest is home with her 3 teens girls, the reality is very different. It’s become increasingly apparent that this little family are still suffering the impacts of an ugly divorce. They are compassionate about the the loss of husbands, loss of babies, loss of fathers, loss of future…. but what would I know about that? There’s no support for me (even to get used to supporting and living with my first time out of home, 19 yo niece after years on my own). I’m now considered a drama queen to be avoided until I come to my senses… but they’re all very worried? The teens treat me with suspicion and lack of respect and I no longer see the little one (who I have looked after one day a week – free fully qualified early childhood specialist – since she was 1yo).

    My world has been turned inside out and upside down. Fortunately, my angels led me here.

    Jody, thanks for articulating so clearly what I’ve never been able to before.. I bought and read your book on Saturday night (cover to cover). Rather than making me cry, which I’ve done a lot of this year, in particular, it stopped the tears and empowered me. I’m now going back to do the exercises and have applied to join your community so I look forward to the opportunity of rockin’ with my sisters of circumstance.

    Thanks also for helping me decide what to get each and every member of my family for Christmas! 🙂

    • Hi – can’t believe what your experiencing from your family – it is exactly the same as mine….lost our mother and my whole world fell apart… I was also made redundant and went into a deep depression. .. whilst going through IVF which was unsuccessful AGAIN. All in the last 3 yrs.

      I have 1 sister and her children which I have helped all their lives – am now being told I’m mentally ill and need help or I’m a drama queen!

      Thankfully I have a wonderful husband of 20 years who has also gone through our infertility journey. NIGHTMARE.
      Without him I think they would have sent me mad!

      Still struggling really but getting there

  123. I just ended up becoming a mother at age 45, didn’t think it would happen but it did. Anyway, I think this site is one of the most important sites I’ve ever come across. There are tons of sites for moms, but virtually none for “not-moms”. And very often, not-moms actually add more to society than many moms (sad to say). I have never liked the way I was disrespected for years for being childless. As if a woman using her uterus makes her a better person? I mean I don’t mean to be rude, but seriously. The people I can’t stand the worst are those people who only care about either children, or mothers (oh, and men are usually exempt from judgment, somehow). There are many people who have children for selfish reasons, plus if a woman is childless, it usually has more to do with her trying to be responsible. It is worse for her to have had a child with just anyone, that would be unfair to the child. Anyway, you will all always have my support, and respect.

  124. Just finally finding this group in the first place !!!…..and by accident. I’d given up that anything like this would exist, to be honest..Theres never has been anything before, not in the UK anyway, I looked for years, the whole of my adult life, I have been dealing with this alone since I was 18 ,I’m now 47.Its been a huge needy hole in the social/medical/support/womens area.

    Thankgod for Jody and her amazing drive, confidence, bravery and skill set…It was always going to take someone with that combination and personal experience..to launch us the success its becoming…I truly hope she receives the kind of support she needs from everyone to keep this moving forward.Its so very important.

    We need to know we are not isolated in our experiences…That one fact alone is enough.

    • Hello, I have also coped with having no one to talk to re being childless from the age of 20 due to serious illness and have had to cope with a complete lack of understanding and discrimination from the world. Some Morhers include you, the majority think you are a spare part or treat you with disdain as you are not a mother, “Are you a child hater” or “what’s Wong with you then, your life must be so empty”…or from the sister in law countless times, “It’s alright for you I have two very expensive children”, or “It’s alright when you are only paying for 2 not 4”. When I finally asked her why she kept saying these things when she knew they hurt she replied that I needed to see a shrink as I had huge insecurity issues and my behaviour was unforgivable. She completely refuses to acknowledge my every day illness, the social isolation and all the pain and heartache my illness brought not just to me, but my whole family. No one chooses to be ill, or in certain situations, but all I know is I am more than happy without kids but the thing that really annoys me is being defined because through illness, I lost any choice to have biological kids. We did go down the adoption route and got passed but felt it wasn’t for us, we also looked into surrogacy but really could not or want another woman to carry a baby for us and give it away, so we “adopted” a few from a charity that sponsors them in a third world country throughout the world and we have regular updates and visit them ……this is enough for us. But I just wish society viewed us as contributing, not a forgotten life just cos we are not Mothers.

    • I’m 50 years old and feel just like an alien. I am an only child never married, never had any children. It seems like I am the only woman in my church, family, and among my few friends who has never married nor had any children. I felt like a curse has hovered over my life, and that something was wrong with me. I have never even really dated any man over a long period of time to really develop a real relationship as other women friends that I’ve known. Then, had a hysterectomy at an early age on top of that. I believe I spoke to negatively about men, marriage, and having children without having a college education, and career to support children. Is there any other women support groups in America like the Gatewaywomen support group? Please reply soon. Thanks

      • Regina, you aren’t an alien. I’m an only child, too, without children and very little family. You aren’t alone. I’d strongly suggest joining the Gateway women online community. I’ve been able to gain hope and good insight from the group, and it’s reassuring to be able to communicate with other women who really understand.

  125. Finally, people who understand what I’m going through. Everything my friends and partners seem to brush off as me being moody. Every so often something “floors” me thenafter a few hours I pick myself back up, but it’s like Groundhog Day!

    I’ve bought the book and can’t wait to work at moving on.

    Well done Jody and thank you.

  126. I DO have children but was moved by the WWH article as it resonated so much in terms of friends I have. I respect and love my not-mother friends and want them to have every happiness. I don’t believe children are the only way to be happy but it is true that our society places masses of emphasis on it, so when you have a child you join an enormous club that somehow grants you a status. This website is brilliant.

    • Hello Munchkin, thank you for your kind words. It is wonderful to see that mothers like you understand us so well. Even though we are all women this is easily forgotten when it comes to children. You have inspired me to write my first comment on here 🙂

  127. Wonderful to hear R4 womans hour recently infact couldn’t believe I was hearing this piece and was supremely heartened. Now I am 7 years past the faintest possibility of child bearing and very familiar with all the above posted heartbreaking comments as I too have been suffering the agony of being childless and all that goes with it for a long time now. I am constantly trying to make sense of it all. My therapy is to immerse my self in endless searching and questing for more qualifications and knowledge. I have a wide range of interests. I am possibly overqualified now, however don’t seem to be able to combine all these different subjects under one heading! I put the lack of satisfaction and feeling unsettled down to my childlessness As I see it, study is a kind of distraction therapy, i.e. never having to face up to the sadness of my situation! My mother died 10 months ago. Her death particularly highlighted my situation. I was very close to her and looked after her for some years, she never made a big production about not having grandchildren but I know she felt the loss too especially when her contemporaries talked about their grandchildren. Thank you for setting up Gateway Women, it is good to know there is fellow feeling out there.


  128. Thank you Jody for giving me some hope for the future, am so glad I tuned in to WWH. I’ve dealt with every kind of cr*p the workplace had to throw at me without batting an eyelid…..but your welcome has just made me cry and cry this evening. Perhaps that’s because it’s something really worth caring about.

  129. I heard your article on Radio 4 and am so relieved to have heard you. We are just – painfully – coming to terms with being childless and I feel so alone. I seem to be surrounded by people who either have children, or who have >chosen< not to have children. There is the assumption that we are the second category. That I have chosen to have a career (I haven't, like you said, I am a woman with a job!). That I'm OK with my diminishing friendship group as they have children. That it's OK that I don't have children because I love the outdoors (!). That my husband can be posted on extended trips as we don't have children. That it's OK for people to say 'don't ever have children' … I'm looking forward to exploring your website. Thank you.

  130. What a good idea. Great to see it here and aired intelligently. Wish there was a ‘voice’ for your opposite number. 

    In my late fifties, I always wanted kids. Like some have expressed here, never met the right partner. Nowadays recently, there’s something unusual, inexplicable, going on inside, one that’s DEFINITELY different in the past year or so.

    At first I was curious, puzzled, it was so subtle. Now I recognise it’s connected with having kids. Or rather not having.

    Knowing I’ll never be a father is something I’ve reluctantly accepted, but having to bury away simple, casual, natural impulse to smile, interact, even giggle with neighbours kids….

    It’s a ‘no no’ now isn’t it, knowing ya must stifle any expression of delight in children in, say a public park situation. Some call it the ‘Saville effect’ (bloody evil creep).

    Life’s hard enough as it is. Not having kids is a swaying heartache. Burying the conversation as you all have had to do is another ache (but now thankfully there’s this forum). Muzzling an impulsive giggle with my neighbours three-year-old is an ache too far.

    I’ll say it again; What a great idea. Great to see it here and aired so intelligently. Wish there was a ‘voice’ for we men, your opposite number.

    Gals on top. Go for it!

    • Hi Rich,

      Thank you for sharing the male point of view. I think we, even on this site, have forgotten there may be childless fathers out there that although do not face the fertility issues, never found the person they wanted to have a child with.

  131. Radio 4 is always on in my car, but I only caught a few minutes of your broadcast and thought it was a good idea to read your website. From a single, childless man’s point of view, I do agree with a lot that you have said, but I also see things in a different way.

    Yes, in some ways, I do wish that I was a dad. But for all the wrong reasons. My parents had three daughters, and kept trying till I came along. My father wanted a grandchild to carry on the family name. That responsibility is lumbered onto me because I was his only son. I couldn’t give him a son, so how does that make me feel?
    I wanted a child to mould in my image, and nurture the talents that I always wanted, almost living my life through my child. To nurture a great kid into a well-rounded, educated, talented, sporty, beautiful adult. But what if my child had a serious medical condition? An imperfection? Or worse, wanted to be a second hand car salesman? Would I want them then? Could I cope with their needs in my incredibly busy life? Would I be willing to give up my dreams and aspirations to look after them? I would also worry about my child a lot.

    The other problem I would most worry about at my age of 48 (and 3/4s), is “being an old dad”. My father was in his fifties when I was growing up, and we just never seemed to be on a level par. He was always knackered when he got home, and didn’t seem to understand my culture. Although he would let me pursue any activity I wanted, he was not able to join in or be there for me through the tougher times. My father was a well-respected man, but I never felt that I was armed at a young age with the skills for basic living. Although I do think of myself as being quite young in my head (kill myself in the gym four times a week, willing to listen to gangnam music and The Saturdays), I’m worried about not having the energy to cope with a growing teenager in my sixties. I get mega pissed off when I see kids screaming and running around in supermarkets because parents either haven’t the brain, or the energy to discipline unruly children. Should there be compulsory classes for parents on bringing up children? You read it here first. So that’s the idea that I am worried about; being an “old” dad. My friend has become a father at 47 to twin daughters. So I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses.

    For me, not having children at this moment, is a bit of a blessing. Maybe it was just never in my destiny. I have thought of adoption, but that, like having any child, is a massive responsibility, and again, I’m away from home all day. The upshot is, I just get on with enjoying life the best I can.

    • I completely agree with you. Life is too short for wasting time trying to fulfil someone’e else dreams and/or meet society’s expectations.

  132. When I discovered the Gateway women website last week I had a huge emotional reaction. Jody, I read your words of encouragement and solidarity on that first page and I burst into the most hacking sobs – sounds came out I didn’t know I had! The relief of hearing my own experience described and hearing I wasn’t as desperately alone as I’ve felt for so long was so enormous. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I then heard you on Woman’s Hour, which was synchronicity, I thought. Like others here, I usually turn it off I feel so excluded and by extension ‘failed’. It was wonderful to hear your words of wisdom. I can’t believe they have taken so long to get you on. I have written to Woman’s Hour to say the piece wasn’t long enough, was ended peremptorily by (mother) Jane Garvey, and that could they please spend more time talking about this issue. I have challenged them to do a whole week of Woman’s Hour without talking about parenting/childbirth/midwifery/schooling etc etc etc. And as I pressed ‘send’ I heard the trailer for today’s WH and one of the subjects today- how to support your children when they go to university. Off goes my radio!
    Jody, you rock.

  133. Jody, finding this website has saved my life. I am 41 and have wanted to have a child for over 10 years. I have never found a partner who wanted the same thing and have spent most of that time single and feeling incredibly lonely as all my friends have found partners and had children, who have, understandably become the focus of their world. I felt like I was going mad and no one, even me, understood how I was feeling or why. It became so bad that I have been repeatedly diagnosed with depression and finally was referred to a psychiatrist with suspected bipolar disorder. I was scared. However it is finally clear to me that I have simply been grieving and feeling extremely sad. I have good days and bad days but since reading your book I am beginning to understand why I have been feeling so strongly and finally accept that I will never be a mother. Just over a year ago I went to a fertility clinic and got as far as buying donor sperm and paying for a round of IVF. Ironically I couldn’t start treatment at the time because I was on anti-depressants. The more I thought about it I did not feel comfortable being a single mother in this way and cancelled my treatment. All the IVF drugs are out of date and still in a box under the stairs and this box has been named my ‘baby under the stairs’ until now. Finally I can see it is just a box and feel ready to throw its contents away. Thank you.
    P.S. I am interested in starting a Meetup group in Shropshire, is that ok and do you have any advice for how to do this?

  134. Thanks Jody. Just listened to your BBC4 interview – fantastic job, so eloquently & accurately explained 🙂 Also the 1st time I’ve heard your voice & what a lovely sounding voice it is 🙂 . I am 45 & my husband & I recently finally decided to quit TTC after a very long bumpy journey, v.similar to yours re treatments, me finally being diag w severe endo at 40 & 7 subsequent failed IVFs, 1 incl a miscarriage. We ache for a child but can no longer keep fighting against the odds at our age to put it mildly. Anyway, I’m over here in Aust., doing quite well (w some bad days/moments/events re my childlessness grief) & I would have to say that discovering Gateway Women last year has been a huge help with coping w my heartache & processing of my grief & continues to be a touchstone for me (& to some extent my husband by proxy). Oh & I just bought your eBook, so am looking fwd to reading that! So, thanks again ever so much 🙂 Love & best wishes

  135. I’ve been looking for a group like this for years. Jody’s workshops are an absolutely fantastic experience and I highly recommend them to anyone struggling to deal with a perhaps unwanted identity of being ‘childless by circumstance’. But more than anything, the GW community that Jody has built is amazing, supportive and completely ‘gets it’. Put simply GW has changed my life and I’ve met some wonderful women in the process. Don’t hold back, come and join the GW community that will transform how you’re feeling.

  136. I’m 42 and didn’t realise how much I was ‘waiting’ for a relationship and ensuing child to come into my life until I was faced with the truth that it’s just not going to happen. I found Gateway and it has given me the space and the support to actually recognise my feelings, mourn my loss and start to think about getting on with my life. It’s a friendly, funny, honest and totally supportive network that has saved me from purgatory and is slowly allowing me to accept both myself and my circumstances. Thanks Jody. This really isn’t the end, it’s now become the beginning. XXX

  137. Thank you. At last someone who understands. I’ve had to turn Woman’s Hour off so many times because it has been too painful to listen to yet another piece on motherhood, the club that I feel so shut out of, so it was such a relief to hear you speak the other day. I’m so glad to have found your site, a place where my experience is valid and understood. Although the few people around me whom I confide in try to be kind, no-one really understands the grief and pain I feel, and the fact that it goes on, and on. My reasons for not becoming a mother yet are complicated, I’m married and I haven’t given up hope yet even though at almost 44 I think I probably should, I think life might be easier if I did. I feel unbearable a lot of the time, the world feels like it revolves around children and at times I just want to shut myself away. I’ve been looking online for somewhere like this for such a long time. I’m not really an online forum type of person, but I’m going to join yours

  138. As a double whammy single and childless woman in my late 30s, it was a very lonely place to be until I found Gateway Women. All my friends were getting married or partnered up and having children, my social circle shrunk and when I did see my friends with kids, it was all they talked about. Social events with friends usually involved them bringing their kids along, so of course again the conversation was all about them and there were constant distractions. I wondered why I had even bothered going and what there was that I could meaningfully talk about. I started to feel very useless, sad and that I had no purpose in the world – like I was always on the outside looking in at our very family and child-centric society.

    When I found Gateway Women, I realised that my identity as a NoMo (none mother) could be equally powerful and fulfilling as being a mother. I am still working on my plan B and hoping to link up with more NoMos in my area (via the GW meetups). At last I feel that I can belong somewhere and be understood – and that my life isn’t over because I am childless.

    Thanks Jody for creating this community – may it grow, prosper and give us NoMo’s a valuable and loud voice in society!

    • Tamara: I think it’s great that you feel more encouraged. I also felt like an outcast until I started meeting and corresponding with other childless women. Gateway Women is another way for me to share feelings with women struggling with the same issues.

      Good luck with Plan B.


  139. It’s only been a month, but I already feel connected, supported and inspired as woman without a child. This is a real community, where people understand and reach out to each other. The women on this site are wise, with a capital W and so very supportive. Can’t recommend this site enough to anyone who is navigating the road less traveled as a not mother.

  140. Just heard the womens’ hour programme – bravo Jody! What a *relief* to find your forum and hear other voices which echo how I am feeling. Thank you so much.

  141. Just heard the radio 4 article, how I resonate with a lot of Jody’s comments – as for friendships diminishing – thought it was just me! And being lonely, yup know that one as well. Looking forward to reading more.

  142. Jody, it was so wonderful to hear you speak so compassionately, intelligently and humourously on Woman’s Hour this morning. Thank you so much for bringing us into the limelight, and claiming our place in society – we really are going to rock the world, and it’s going to be so much fun when others start to rock out with us 😉

    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. I am aware that childlessness is an issue for men too, and often dismissed in a very offhand way. People can, if they make an effort, appreciate that being a childless woman might be hard, but they tend to think it’s ‘easy’ for men.

      There isn’t, as yet, a sort of ‘Gateway Men’, but I hope someone will do something one day. I am always open to mentoring anyone who’d like to start an online community as I have.

      Below are some resources you might be interested to take a look at – most of the currently available support is around infertility rather than being childless for other reasons, but both Robin and Ann’s work has a broader focus and I hope it going to lead to some new conversations.

      Academic Researchers
      Dr Robin Hadley – PhD at University of Keele on childless men
      Twitter: @robinhadley1

      Media coverage:
      ABC Radio Australia interview:
      Research webpage: http://www.wantedtobeadad.com

      Dr Ann Dalziell – PhD University of Bristol on Childless Men
      Twitter @childlessmen

      Support Groups
      MoreToLife is a support group for men/women/couples after unsuccessful inferitiy treatmetns

      Mensfe – this is run by a man called Pip O’Rielly. It is for men pre, during, or post, male infertility issues.

      Few Pieces Missing from Normalcy: http://afewpiecemissingfromnormalcy.wordpress.com/
      One Man’s Battle With Infertility: http://onemansbattlewithmaleinfertility.blogspot.co.uk/

      • Dear Dan
        I hope the following helps:
        There are a number of web sites available that focus on male issues and can be easily accessed through Google. One that I am involved in is:
        Mensfe.net is a web site with a focus on men who find communication difficult and do not have easy access to support. Simply, it is an open forum website which provides support and a wealth of fertility related information on male issues.
        We are all aware Infertility affects men and women in approximately equal proportion, worldwide it is generally accepted that the causes of infertility are aprox. 34% male factor, 34% female factor and 32% combined male-female unexplained factors. However I did notice an article in the Sunday Independent 3rd November 2013: Ian Pacey (chair of BIA) is quoted as saying infertility is 50-50 between Male and female.
        However while women have historically been the focus of infertility treatment due to medical necessity, we are fully aware that the male plays a significant role in a couple’s efforts to achieve a pregnancy and the quality of family life that has so far eluded them. It may be said that men in this situation are largely not given a voice, or cannot express their helplessness, despair and concern for their own issues and those of their partners.
        Mensfe is trying to fill what we believe is an important gap in support and information provision. The support is very male focussed but we expect that professionals and wives/partners will also gain insight, as they obtain access to the forums and discussion groups. One of the groups deals with gender communication issues and female involvement is encouraged. Our ultimate aim is to see blighted relationships brightened and future hope restored.
        The Mensfe website has been developed to contain a wealth of fertility related information in common with many other existing sites however the site goes a lot further than other sites.
        Specialist support is provided by eminent clinicians and professionals who specialise in male infertility treatment, and associated psychological issues. There aim is to devote time (when appropriate) to improve the quality of and delivery of male support and infertility care, through more extensive information and explanation being available about specific gender related issues. These include additional coping strategies, detailed self help advice plus a wide range of professional and other sources of help.
        Most importantly the site places real stories, detailed accounts in their/your own words, low mood, despair and crucially their/your strategies for overcoming them.
        It has been the secure areas of the site where we particularly hoped to engage visitors by encouraging participation in small group forums. These groups tend to compromise men with similar issues and questions which they are encouraged to share in much the same way as formal group therapy might operate. A professional moderator of each group reviews progress regularly and helps to keep the group focussed and directed. .
        Best regards – Pip Reilly.

  143. Thank you for your website.

    I am 45, have never been in a relationship, and when I turned 42 a couple of years ago, I hit an early menopause

    I was devastated, as I knew that I would probably then never marry or have children

    It seemed so unfair when everyone around me was married, or divorced, had children, and I was going to miss out

    Despite people’s best intentions of saying they understood, they couldn’t really as they either had children or had married or both

    My own family kept saying things like ‘oh well, getting married and having children isn’t everything’. Maybe not, but again, they just didn’t understand the heartache

    When I was around my friends, I couldn’t join in with the conversations, as it was all about their children and I felt left out and like a spare piece of the furniture

    Anyway, I wanted to say thank you for your website, and for trying to raise an important issue. We are left out and made to feel isolated in society.

    • Sarah, Have you thought about joining the online community? It’s hugely supportive and what you express echoes the experience of several of us who have joined.

  144. We wanted to adopt went through the first part of the process twice and ss scared us off again so we decided to give up now trying to rebuild our lives but its so hard no one seems to understand they just think we are odd I am sure, we are both
    drinking too much and just need to find a purpose

  145. Jody I read your article in my magazine this week with interest. I’m 43 and not a mother but the majority of my friends are mothers and all they talk about are their kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I love their kids and in fact I have two beautiful nieces of my own who I sometimes talk about as well, but whenever my friends and I meet for dinner, and usually on MY birthday, and the conversation automatically turns to the children, I find myself with nothing to contribute! I’ve known these friends for 30 years and should feel able to ask them to talk about something other than their kids but I don’t because I don’t want to hurt them as they clearly love their kids. My friends haven’t abandoned me because I don’t have kids but I do feel like they have nothing else to talk about which leaves me a bit left out of the conversation and which makes me feel like I don’t want to make arrangements to see them, which surely can’t be right can it? I’d be interested to see what others have to say and I’ll definitely be reading through your website with interest.

    • I completely understand how you feel about not wanting to make arrangements to see your friends because they talk a lot about their children. I can relate because many of my co-workers have kids, and a lot of the time the conversations are focused on family life. I usually don’t say much to them when they have these conversations because I can’t relate to what it’s like being a mother. My closest friends don’t have children, so I try to hang out with them.

  146. Hi Jody,

    I am very pleased to find that you have started the website for childless women like myself. As you know its hard to explain to mothers how lost and isolated we can feel. It’s also hard to explain to women who never wanted children.

    My biggest gripe is when there has been a tragedy involving children. A lot of mothers will make comments such as “well as a mother it really affected me”. I always want to point out that as a human being it affected me. Well done Jody and all involved for helping us to feel less like outcasts.

  147. This is an amazing resource and community. It has made a huge difference to me in my daily struggles to know I am not alone and that I can be a part of a group that understands. Thank you Jody and all of the GW women.

  148. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone with my feelings about not being a mother. I often don’t participate in conversations with women at work because many times they chat about their children/grandchildren, and I feel a bit like an alien amongst them – out of the loop. I just can’t relate to what it is like to be a mother (except to my 2 cats), and feel like an outsider when I’m around these mothers/grandmothers whose children/grandchildren seem to be the centre of their worlds.

    Now that I’ve found this website, I don’t feel so strange anymore. It is like having a support group right at my finger tips. I wish that I lived close to England because I could go to some of the events posted on this website. Maybe one day there will be more in Canada.

    Thanks, Jody, for putting so much work into this!

  149. Years of feeling so alone vanished almost overnight. Gateway Women is a like getting a big hug from a long lost friend. Knowing that the despair is normal, the bitterness is normal too, but most of all the struggle to find Plan B is the hardest for all of us.
    After so long I finally feel I belong to a community that share the same goals – helping women struggling come to terms with the acceptance of childlessness and getting to know their true selves.
    Jody Day you rock and all the other ladies that have helped me so far have given me back the faith to face this struggle face on and find my reason.
    Thank you.

  150. GW is a great forum where I can be transparent and honest, while getting the support I need! GW women understand, care and are ready to encourage!!!

  151. I joined Gateway Women a few months ago and I cannot recommend it enough. It provides a safe place to discuss all those things that hardly anyone else is able to understand. Be prepared to be surrounded by clever, kind and wise women…

  152. GW offers a safe place where I can share anything from resources, articles & experiences. Being an infertile couple in a baby-centric world is a constant battle of emotions & dealing with other people’s opinions / judgements, so I often find myself discussing GW with my husband so we feel like we are a part of a ‘community’ & not going ‘crazy.’ We are determined not to be society’s failures but move on & find a voice. Thanks to Jody Day for developing this platform & to all those who contribute & care.

  153. A place for those of us that don’t quite fit the traditional mould, somewhere it’s ok to share the grief, loss, hope, happiness, furbabies, and sometimes even joy of being childless by circumstance. Jody Day has created a safe, welcoming place for us. Thank you Jody! xxx

  154. Finding Gateway has been one of the best experiences! Jody, you have created such a caring, compassionate and supportive place for women facing childlessness. I never feel alone, and when I’m feeling low I know exactly where to come! GW is a fantastic communtiy full of wonderfully inspiring women! As another GW recently said “logging on to GW feels like applying a soothing salve”. Thank you Jody!

  155. Finding and joining this community has been the best thing that has happened to me this year! I finally have found people that understand my situation and can actually empathize with it. It is an amazing feeling to be understood (for once) and not be made to feel as though it is your fault. It is such a safe and supportive group of wonderful, smart, funny women and I’m so thankful to Jody for making it possible.

  156. Finding Gateway Women a few weeks ago has been brilliant. I finally feel connected with women who share many of the same feelings and experiences I have had for years, but have kept to myself and tried to deal with on my own. I had felt very isolated and this is a very welcoming place to be. The shared experiences of other women is hugely supportive and inspiring. Thank you Jody.x

  157. Joining the G+ Forum for Gateway women has been a revelation. Before I felt alone and struggling through life because I have not had children. There were so many issues that this was causing for me which after hearing from the other GW women I now realise are really common! I am still hoping to become a mother but after many years of failed IVF attempts I am really scared it might not happen.
    Since joining the community (it really is a community, even though that sounds like a cliche!) I have heard from so many other inspiring women and I do not feel so alone. I was actually a little nervous about joining GW but now I am so glad that finally I have found other women who I can relate to and just knowing that you are all out there, all over the world, has changed my perspective forever.

  158. A much needed resource for childless women.

    At last…. Thank you Jody for being brave enough and strong to provide this amazing Gateway Women platform for women to find support and comfort. To know that the pain and grief that comes with being childless is universal. Together we have created a sea of love,support and understanding. A movement for the Childless and for the whole world of women.

    Society will have to change and acknowledge this unspoken taboo.

    Gateway Women is the voice for the childless women in the world. A way to move forward and use a very distressing experience of life in a very rich way.

  159. I love this community. I feel like I finally have a voice and I’m not afraid anymore to face the truth knowing that I’m not alone and I can for ONCE, have a place I feel accepted.

  160. I cant thank all the Gateway Women enough for all the kind and loving words of support I found with this online community. Having already had two meetups with our Sydney group, Ive already made some fantastic friends. Thanks Jody for giving us our power back!!

  161. Thank you so much for creating this site and community, Jody. Knowing that I’m not alone, and reading the positive and inspirational articles and comments, really does help me when I’m feeling down about not having children.

  162. Thank you so much for creating this community, Jody. Knowing that I’m not alone gives me strength and really does help me when I’m feeling down.

  163. Jody, this is a phenomenal community that you have created. I love how committed everyone is to healing, supporting each other and finding their special way to shine anew in the world. Everyone here is a pioneer and I am honored to be a part of the group.

  164. Gateway Women has helped me understand why I feel the way I have felt, I had been thinking I was mad for so many years, but now I know I was just grieving. I am in touch with an amazing community of women and I know I am not alone. If I reach out, there is always support available. Thanks Jody, and thanks to everyone. ps Reignite is brilliant, if you are thinking of doing it, you won’t regret it.

  165. I attended the reignite weekend and it was amazing. It was great to find friends who had different stories but the same frustrations, and fears. I was scared of opening up my feelings again and sure enough I cried lots over the weekend but now I feel like a new person and so glad I went to the workshop. Sure I will have bad days but feel like I have friends to talk to now. Thanks so much to my fellow attendees and Jody- you are all amazing.

  166. Gateway May 2013 Reignite weekend was such a supportive and brilliant course – so great to meet and share time with other Gateway women, and it allowed me to challenge myself and see my way forward to my Plan B. Jody brilliantly guided us with great sensitivity and provided a variety and depth of exercises both for helping us to learn to heal and practical foor Plan B – Many many thanks

  167. Reignite-weekend-May-2013-london
    I attended this weekend with some ‘butterflies’ but it’s ended up being one of the best things I could have done.
    I’m more equipped than before I attended the event for moving on and getting to grips with my plan B.

    Best thing though was meeting the other Gateway Goddesses and seeing I’m not alone…

  168. Jody:) This blog and the amazing G+ community you have created have truly saved me. No ‘infertility’ blogs every resonated with me while we were on our journey. They all seemed too ‘baby or bust’ and I knew there had to be another option. And this is the option for me, living a full and wonderful life without kids. I am complete without kids – despite what the majority of society tells us. I cannot thank you enough for your continued inspiration, support, and humour. The blog and community have helped me more than I can say. While I know this journey has just begun to feeling complete – I know where I am headed and that is in good part because of Gateway Women and the inspiration I have found here:) Thank you!

  169. I never thought I’d say that a website had changed my life, but this one has. My friends will attest to the fact that I’ve been a happier, freer person since joining the Gateway Women community a few weeks ago – not because it’s taken away the pain of being childless, but because I no longer feel alone with the pain; I’m connected to hundreds of women from across the globe who understand, who comfort, inspire and laugh with one another. Jody Day has done something very important.

  170. Hi there Jody!
    You are a real inspiration to ALL WOMEN!
    Thank you for creating this group and the blog for so many of us who can relate to the subject issue!
    I’m looking forward to meeting you and other women in London on the 9th April.

    Lots of love,
    Linda Bradley.

  171. I was feeling particularly alone and a bit “weird” at the age of 40 when I decided to do a search for others in my situation last summer. Up came Gateway Women and Jody’s fantastic blogs. I shed a few tears reading them and the responses from other women on here, and I still do, because this is a painful place to be. But through joining the G+ forum I am gradually overcoming my shame about not being a mum, and have found so much support and hope. Thanks Jody and the Gateway Women everywhere. x

  172. I too have felt heart ache with hope increasing every month and then only to find I crash and burn when my hope fades as my monthly period arrives ripping hope from me. I can empathise with having turned 40 last year, how it used to feel extreme to hear of these emotions but as months tick by you feel more and more helpless and with that I look at my adorable husband (who i am thankful for everyday) only to feel inadequate as both a wife and a woman when it appears I cannot fulfil the dream I always wished for. My sister has recently had twins (assisted fertility as she’s in a same sex relationship) I feel only love for her which is a blessing as during her pregnancy I worried i’d battle with my emotions. Thankfully I’m not bitter but would be lying if I wasn’t honest to say I do question outcomes and feel that life can be cruel…. I still live in hope at 40 but have given myself till 43 so for me forums like this are important to know support is out there and for that ladies I salute you and good luck to all in our individual journeys …. Be strong xx

  173. I have found being childless quite lonely, and it often feels very awkward talking to people about it. This community has shown me that I am not alone, my spectrum of feelings are normal and that I can have a great life without children. Thank you ladies, you rock!

  174. hi my mum gave me the write up in woman’s own to read,
    well what can I say apart from every thought and feeling that was written on those pages felt like every one ive ever felt and still feel, I always thought children of my own were going to be part of my life but was never ment to be and that rips my heart out, thankyou for not making me feel so alone. I just hope that some woman who have been blessed with children read this article and think about it just for a few moments!

  175. Hey I just read about you in the “Woman” magazine today and thought finally someone who understands and is standing proud. I’m 47 and have come to terms with not having a child and accepting that biologically one won’t be around soon. It isn’t a position I envisaged either and it’s so comforting to know that there are others out there. In my worst days of depression I used to think that all that was left was the long tunnel leading towards death and I would be just heading down there on my own. I have lots of interests and like to do things, but it is hard when people are busy with their families. I really do believe that there must be lots of interesting, vital women out there who have no children but still want to live a full active and satisfying life. I just can’t wait to one day meet some of you! Thanks for doing this. It is so hard living in a world which does not want to accept you at times and having to actually justify yourself to people because you never had a child! Or worst still the assumptions that you must be a hard nosed career woman, selfish or a child hater! One thing that has really helped me enormously is getting a dog! Seriously I love her to bits. She is my little fur baby! Sending love to you lady! x

  176. Before I found Gateway Women and started sharing and connecting with other women my self esteem was at rock bottom, I felt I had failed at life after spending 15 years trying to have a child. As well as connecting through the online forum I also took part in a Reignite weekend. Meeting other women who “got me”, listening to their stories and being listened to by them was amazing. I now have a sense of real hope for the future. Gateway Women has given me my life back – in fact it’s given me a new life and although I don’t know what path it will take I know it will be filled with new GW friends and experiences. Instead of that huge mountain and pressure to do something big, now I see a whole heap of possibilities and opportunities.
    As Jody says – it’s the club you don’t want to join but when you do you’ll find that we actually all rock!!

  177. I have only been a member of Gateway Women for a short time and already it has had a profoundly positive impact upon my life. It wasn’t until I joined this amazing, supportive community that I was truly able to start coming to terms with my childlessness. Many thanks to Jody and all the other brilliant Gateway Women.

  178. I can’t describe the massively positive effect finding GW and attending a re-ignite weekend has had on my outlook, my life, my relationships, my ability to smile at babies and their mums again!
    I made it my new year resolution to do something active in dealing with being childless so that I wouldn’t turn into the witch from Hansel & Gretel. I am so on the way now with a clear plan B and a real positive frame of mind so much of the time.
    Thank you to everyone involved in GW, especially Jody, and if you’re in this position and you didn’t want to be or mean to be then we’re all here for you. We’re in it together. That is what makes the biggest difference. One, some, or all of us have felt how you feel, thought what you think, and been where you are. GW is the massive support we need to move forward. At last.

  179. Jody Day, you and the Gateway Woman are rocking my world! I feel like I’ve been lifted out of a very dark place and placed inside a safe, loving and inspirational community. Thank you just doesn’t cover it, but thank you so very much.

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