Celebrating the childless on Mother’s Day

March 31, 2019 Jody Day 29

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK – our version of ‘Mother’s Day’ and I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the childless. Yes, today isn’t meant to be ‘our day’, but it could have been, and so today we honour the children that live only in our hearts. Maybe that sounds ghoulish, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve made friends with my ghosts now and they live in a tender, wistful part of my heart – so much so that when I see a child dancing whilst her father looks down lovingly upon her, my shadow daughter […]

‘Following Sea’ by Lauren Carter: childlessness and family history weave together in this tender and rugged new collection of poems.

March 8, 2019 Jody Day 2

As I know from my own experience and that of many of the Gateway Women I’ve worked with, creative writing can be an incredibly powerful way to help us come to terms with the completely unacceptable reality of our loss; a loss that, furthermore, because our grief is ‘disenfranchised’, is not recognised, tolerated or understood by society. Many of us have been told that we need to ‘get over’ not being mothers and that children aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. These will often be the same people who will then spend the next twenty years gushing about their […]

Childlessness after hysterectomy: “I am still a woman, hear me roar!” by Sarah Lawrence

February 9, 2019 Jody Day 9

I’m sitting here ruminating on how to talk about how grieving childlessness morphs after a hysterectomy in a way that is engaging… I’ve always loved a challenge, but even so! I guess the first thing would be to tell you my story, so you have some idea about why I know about this topic because it’s not something that usually gets talked about, is it? My dreams of having a family were, abruptly, ended during a 10-minute consultation in 2014. In a very blunt manner, I was told that I had stage four endometriosis and, that as a consequence, I […]

Would you swim the Channel to understand if motherhood makes you happy?

January 19, 2019 Jody Day 3

Jessica Hepburn is an extraordinary woman. I mean, properly extraordinary. Not only is she the veteran of eleven rounds of unsuccessful IVF but she’s also one of a very small group of people who’ve successfully swum the English Channel – that deceptively narrow stretch of water, just 21 miles across – that separates England from France. And she’s doesn’t even like exercise! These two things are intimately and surprisingly connected, as Jessica explains in this short, moving and funny interview she gave to me in 2018 just before the publication of her book, 21 Miles: Swimming in Search of the […]

A Plan B interview with Meriel Whale: becoming a counsellor for childlessness

January 12, 2019 Jody Day 5

Sometimes childless women tell me that they fear that they’re not capable of finding a Plan B; that without Plan A they are bereft not only of children but of any hopes, dreams, plans or even capacity to find an alternative life path. I hear you. That’s grief talking. That’s heartbreak talking. That’s exhaustion and fear talking. You’ve been to hell and maybe even discovered that it’s got a basement and all of this ‘Plan B’ talk feels frankly alienating. That’s why I feel it’s so important to hear from other childless women who are walking the path ahead and […]

Letting go of the old year…

December 31, 2018 Jody Day 3

Amongst the myriad exhortations to embrace the new year with gusto, I wanted to make space for those less glamourous feelings – of loss, sadness, grief, wistfulness and confusion which are so much a part of every life, and so often close to the surface for those of us living the life unexpected. I thought you might find this recording of my Reflect & Renew webinar which I hosted last week (29th December 2018) to talk about feelings that come up at this ‘in-between’ liminal moment in the year, and how to cope with them. There are also questions from viewers […]

Have you ever been told you’re ‘oversensitive’ about your childlessness?

December 27, 2018 Jody Day 10

I’ve often wondered what people really mean when they say someone is ‘oversensitive’… because to me what I’ve nearly always heard is more along the lines of, ‘Your feelings don’t matter’. So, if anything, it’s more about the other person being UNDER sensitive!  And when it comes to childlessness, it’s rare (not impossible, but rare) to find those who aren’t childless who get how hard it can be to walk this path of being ‘different’ from our peers and the wider world when that wasn’t our choice… As a child, I was full of wonder about the world and when […]

My 9th Childless Christmas & 3 Gifts for You

December 16, 2018 Jody Day 0

This is my ninth childless Christmas. Well, nine years since that first awful year when I came out of denial that my childlessness was a permanent ‘thing’, not just some inconvenient stopover on my path to motherhood. I can’t really remember that first Christmas because, although I’d ‘accepted’ in my head that I wasn’t going to be a mother, ever, in my heart and body there raged such a fire of confusion that I thought it was going to burn me alive. I didn’t yet know that what I was experiencing was grief; I didn’t find that out until almost […]

Women without children in the workplace: a hidden and growing diversity issue

September 22, 2018 Jody Day 14

After issues with unempathetic friends and family, workplace issues are the next biggest issue that seem to create problems in the life of childless (and childfree) women. This anonymous guest blog (below) was written by a member of the Gateway Women Online Community during World Childless Week 2018 and she shared it with her whole organisation by email. It was well received and thus I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps you might like to share it, and some of the other resources below, with your colleagues, managers or HR department? This entire blog post including the first person […]

Fairy Tales, Gremlins & Childlessness: a guest post by Lauren de Vere

August 25, 2018 Jody Day 16

This is a guest post by Lauren de Vere, one of our lovely UK licensed Gateway Women Reignite Weekend facilitators. Lauren is 54 and lives in Greater London with her cat, Mr. Marvo. You can find out more details about Lauren’s Reignite Weekends here, including a ‘Solo Reignite’ weekend she’ll be co-facilitating for unpartnered childless women in February 2019. Leave a comment for Lauren at the bottom of her article or contact her directly at: lauren@gateway-women.com Recently I’ve been rewinding, replaying and reviewing my childlessness in terms of the history of events leading to it and the role I’ve played […]

World Childless Week 2018: 10-16th September – sign up for my free webinar

August 19, 2018 Jody Day 0

The 2nd World Childless Week is happening from 10-16th September 2018 and I’m proud to be a World Childless Week Champion. World Childless Week was started by a British woman, Stephanie Phillips, in 2017 and, like so many grassroots initiatives, was born of personal experience and frustration – in Steph’s case that that our stories were missing from National Infertility Awareness Week (which tends to gravitate towards ‘miracle baby stories’), and that for those of us childless for any of the many other reasons, there was no awareness at all. Steph was already involved in administering and creating Facebook groups […]

10 Tips for Healing from the Heartbreak of Childlessness

July 18, 2018 Jody Day 15

Birthdays can be very hard work when you’re childless not by choice – reminding you of yet another year passed without the family you longed for and also socially excluded from the milestones and rituals that others around you get to experience and you don’t. That’s something that m/others often fail to grasp about our situation, that it’s not just that we didn’t get to have a baby, but that for the rest of our lives we’re either excluded or on the far reaches of the socializing and shared conversations that parenthood involves. Well, some good news for you… Today […]

Where are the childless voices in the celebrations over IVF’s 40th anniversary?

July 15, 2018 Jody Day 9

If you weren’t already aware, in ten day’s time, on 25th July 2018, Louise Brown, the first person to be born from IVF turns forty – so it’s IVF’s 40th birthday too. There’s going to be a big party at the Science Museum in London and the UK HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), and other fertility organisations are in self congratulatory mood. This tweet says it all (thank you to my colleague Dr. Robin Hadley for this) and a sobering reminder of how often IVF fails – almost 80% of the time. In response to this tweet, the HFEA had […]

Embracing the Grief of Childlessness – a video recording of my More to Life webinar in July 2018

July 9, 2018 Jody Day 5

Click the image above or this link to watch or share: https://youtu.be/6M4EE7UIBfQ Learning that the despair that I was feeling around my childlessness was GRIEF was the beginning of my healing. That was seven years ago, and I’ve been in a good place with my childlessness for five years now – in fact, I’m pretty sure I feel as at peace with my childlessness now as if I had chosen it – although I still have my ‘griefy moments’ – usually when a new aspect of my loss that I hadn’t been aware of before comes into view and my heart […]

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