Facts and Figures on Childlessness Around the World

September 12, 2017 Jody Day 0

Below is an extract from Chapter 2 of my book, Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future without Children(Bluebird/PanMac 2016) in which I survey the facts and figures around the world. You can download the introduction and first chapter free here. All data and sources in my book are fully academically referenced, should you wish to explore further. In Chapter 1 of the book, I reference a recent meta-analysis suggests that whilst perhaps 10 per cent of women without children choose not to be mothers (childfree), and 10 per cent can’t have them for […]

#WorldChildlessWeek 2017, Day 1: From Isolation to Connection

September 11, 2017 Jody Day 9

World Childless Week has been created by a British childless woman, Stephanie Phillips as a way to highlight the experience, individually and globally, of women and men who are childless not by choice. Each day of World Childless Week has a theme, and the theme for today, Monday 11th September 2017 is is Childless in… Please find out more, share your thoughts, images, experiences and stories of being childless-not-by choices either below in the comments, on the World Childless Week Facebook page (where most of the activity is taking place this first year), on Twitter at @ChildlessWeek (using the #hashtag #WorldChildlessWeek) or at www.WorldChildlessWeek.com Childless in London: my […]

Can love heal the pain of childlessness? A guest blog by Katherine Baldwin

July 6, 2017 Jody Day 11

“How on earth did I end up here?” I asked as I sat cross-legged on my bed, tears dripping onto my pyjamas. I was 41, single, childless and living alone in a beautiful but empty one-bedroom North London attic flat – no man in the kitchen buttering toast and no grubby little fingers smearing raspberry jam on my John Lewis duvet. The silence was deafening. Fast-forward five years and today I woke up to a different scene – to a smile, a cuddle and a kiss from my fiancé in a house with a garden close to the sea on […]

Childlessness after miscarriage: the untold story. A guest blog for Tommy’s charity

July 4, 2017 Jody Day 4

Tommy’s guest blog, 03/07/2017, by Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women Tommy’s is a British charity supporting women and couples through miscarriage, early-term loss, still birth and other pregnancy and birth related difficulties. You can find out more about Tommy’s and read this article on their website here The losses of miscarriage, stillbirth and early-term loss are devastating and still something that women and couples are encouraged to keep to themselves.  However, in recent years, high-profile individuals such as Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan and, only this week, British singer Charlotte Church, have chosen to break the taboo by talking of their […]

Book Review: “Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children” by Tessa Broad

June 23, 2017 Jody Day 4

Most infertility memoirs end with a miracle baby; Tessa Broad’s book Dear You: A Letter to My Unborn Children, out in the UK on June 29, doesn’t. Instead, it’s a warm, honest and quirky account of her very own miracle; how she found a way to live a happy and passionate life without children.  As you can see by my name on the cover quote, I was privileged to review the book ahead of publication. Whether you’re still struggling to find your path to your Plan B, or are out the other side, this is a must-read memoir of one of the […]

The invisible grief of the childless-by-circumstance woman

April 4, 2017 Jody Day 18

*** Childlessness has always been around, mostly because of reproductive infertility, as there are still very few parts of the world where it is possible for a woman to choose a life other than motherhood and tosupport herself economically to live that choice. However, whilst we think of ‘social infertility’ or ‘circumstantial infertility’ as something very new, in the UK, we’ve been here before. Whilst currently, one in five (20%) of women like me, born in the 1960s turned 45 without having had children (double that of our mother’s generation), this was also the case for those women born around 1900. […]

Mother is a verb, not just a noun

March 26, 2017 Jody Day 8

This is the text from an address I gave at St Martin’s in the Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London on Mothering Sunday, 2016. I was so very moved to be asked to contribute OUR voice to this service, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 4. This is very tender day for so many of us who mourn the children we’ll never know, and have maybe lost our own mothers too. Be gentle with yourself today. And maybe buy YOURSELF the flowers – you deserve them too! Love, Jody x Mother’s in our Hearts Besides Christmas, Mother’s Day (what is […]

Coping with those childless holiday blues…

November 21, 2016 Jody Day 16

As I’m based in the UK, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. However, because unchosen childlessness is a pain shared globally, there are many US and Canadian women who read this blog, and who are members of the private Gateway Women online community. It’s from them that I’ve learned that it’s like having to do Christmas…twice. Whilst I was still grieving my childlessness, topped off with being divorced and single, Christmas was like a thorn in my paw from September onwards, so I get it what a big deal it is. I’m wondering what the focus on ‘gratitude’ (which seems to be […]

The private hell of failed IVF: a review of Julia Leigh’s ‘Avalanche’

September 21, 2016 Jody Day 29

Julia Leigh is a novelist and film-maker from Australia who has written an exquisite gem of a memoir of going through unsuccessful fertility treatments, to be published in the UK on 6th October 2016 by Faber & Faber. Avalanche: A Love Story is a short, compelling read and has stayed firmly (and sometimes unsettlingly) in my mind since I read it a week ago. It has caused a storm of protest over at the New York Times where an author I respected for her honesty about the difficulties of motherhood, Rachel Cusk, hauled Leigh over the coals in much the same excruciating and […]

Skydiving with cats, and other ways to age without children

June 20, 2016 Jody Day 5

One week today, on Monday 27th June 2016 I’ll be part of the UK’s second Ageing Without Children conference. It’s the next hurdle (of many) to face when coming out of denial about not being a mother when you’d wanted to be, and it’s one of the scariest. Because when you add ageism to pronatalism and sexism what you get is not a high score in Scrabble but a cold shiver. Because who’s going to look after me when I’m old? Yep. That thought. For many of us, the first time we really start to ‘lean into’ that thought (thanks […]

But what if I don’t want to wear purple when I’m old?

June 4, 2016 Jody Day 38

I don’t really know how to start this, as there are so many taboos and niceties banging against my consciousness, as a woman, as a feminist. But here it is: I’m nearly 52 and men don’t notice me any more and it turns out that I mind that quite a lot. This new awareness was brought home to me at Easter whilst on holiday in the south of Italy. The first week I was staying with friends; middle-aged parents with young children and, fully released from the grief of childlessness I found I was able to open my heart to […]

Mothers in Our Hearts on Mother’s Day

May 6, 2016 Jody Day 9

As dawn was breaking over London on UK Mother’s Day morning, I was on my way to one of London’s most iconic churches: St Martin in the Fields on Trafalgar Square to take part in their Mothering Sunday service being broadcast live on BBC Radio4.  As my black cab passed under the shadow of the iconic lions, a big lump came up in my throat. I remember the young woman I was who, aged 19, stood in a then rather grubby Trafalgar Square and protested against apartheid in South Africa, or who slumped exhausted against those same lions as dawn broke […]

Honouring your experience of Mother’s Day

March 1, 2016 Jody Day 5

In the UK, we celebrate Mother’s Day as “Mothering Sunday”, three Sundays before Easter and so this coming Sunday. It was originally a day when all domestic servants were given a coordinated day off so that they could visit their families and together attend a service at their “Mother” church. It was a family day. However, gradually that original meaning has been lost and has been overtaken by the “Mother’s Day” first introduced in the US by Anna Jarvis in 1914 and falling on the second Sunday in May. Interestingly, Anna Jarvis was childless and the scope of her Mother’s Day also […]

Talking About Childlessness: a video interview with Sasha Cagen www.sashacagen.com

February 8, 2016 Jody Day 6

One of the thing that has helped me enormously in my recovery from involuntary childlessness has been hearing other women’s stories.  Over the last few years I’ve got to know some amazing childless women and it’s been a privilege and a delight that I wanted to share with you. I know that it would have made a huge difference to me when I was still struggling if I’d been able to eavesdrop on conversations between women who’d recovered from their childlessness and were moving on in ways that felt meaningful to them. Firstly, because I didn’t know women like that, and secondly because these conversations weren’t (and still […]

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