Cover living-the-life-unexpected-978150980903501

Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children
(2016: Bluebird/PanMacmillan)
Download and read the first chapter free
or click here to read an extract on the Bluebird/PanMac website

Across the globe, millions of women are reaching their mid-forties without having had a child, and in much greater numbers than their mother’s generation. Although some are childfree by choice, most didn’t choose this and are silently struggling in a life they didn’t foresee. Most people think that women who aren’t mothers either ‘couldn’t have’ or ‘didn’t want’ children: the truth is much more complex.

Jody Day would have liked to have had children but life didn’t work out that way and, by the age of forty-four, she realized that her quest for motherhood was at an end. She presumed that she was through the toughest part, but over the next couple of years was hit by waves of grief, despair and isolation. Eventually she found her way through this challenging life passage and created Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women. In Living the Life Unexpected, Jody Day addresses the taboo of childlessness and provides a powerful, practical 12-week guide to help women come to terms with their grief and move forward to create happy, meaningful and fulfilling lives without children.

As reviewed in the British Medical Journal of Family Medicine & Reproductive Care
as “the book to recommend to… patients when they face coming to terms with unavoidable childlessness.”

2016-03-06 11.42.39

Published by Bluebird (PanMacmillan UK)
February 2016 – £12.99
Download and read the first chapter free

Available as a large format paperback in bookstores in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada & South Africa and USA.

Distributed in USA by IPG Trafalgar Square Books – ask your local bookshop to stock it!

Czech language edition published by Knihy Dobrovsky

  • Paperback edition available anywhere in the world, with free international delivery from The Book Depository.
  • Kindle ebook from Amazon internationally
  • ePub ebook version available internationally from Kobo

Some reader reviews from the 60+ positive reviews on

As an experienced psychotherapist I think I know a great self help book when I see one. This has been so immensely helpful and comforting to me. It is down to earth and on point. My copy is heavily underlined as so much of it speaks to me. I am frequently saying ‘yes, exactly!’ as I read, or ‘that is so well put’. I am so grateful to Jody Day for writing this book, and to all the contributors. It is helping me so much to manage my difficult feelings and my grief in a self-compassionate way. I’m 2 thirds of the way through and when I’ve finished I’m sure I will use it as a reference book whenever I need comfort. I’ve cried and laughed a lot so far and throughout have felt that finally, someone understands what I’m going through. Thank you Jody, from the bottom of my heart. (Emma Mann)

What a great book. Easy to read, no psychobabble just honesty and practical help. I realised I wasn’t alone and had found my tribe. I think it would also be useful for anyone poleaxed by grief and needing support. (Anon)

The title had put me off buying this book for over a year. Anything that looks like a promise of success sounds exhausting. However, it worked, and it had nothing to do getting a new crazy hobby or buying a sports car. A hugely helpful book that I read on kindle but will order a must-have hard copy. Found some of the end of chapter exercises spot in helping me identify ways in which I had got stuck in a polarised view of childlessness and the fantasy of motherhood. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Don’t think I could have read this ten years ago when my “I am fine; don’t even mention it” stance was a much needed defence. So in a sense it is mostly going to help women who are already moving towards acceptance. (Tony Swanson)
 I am now approaching my 70’s, and I never re-married after a childless divorce in my mid 30’s, or managed to have any children outside a marriage. Reading this book helped me realise that I still haven’t come to terms with the issues involved but that I am far from alone in finding it quite hard to do so. We live in a world where everyone my age seems to be a granny or is not that bothered about not being one. They are just not interested, or are probably embarrassed about how I feel about the way life turned out for me. Jody Day is and offers lots of ways of coming to terms with it. (Jill Lauriston)
I was recommended “Rocking The Life Unexpected” by a childless friend and devoured it. That version (Rocking The Life Unexpected) was Jody Day’s self-published version of this now updated “Living The Life Unexpected” which I also bought as soon as I’d finished the Rocking version! It’s wonderful, helpful, thought-provoking, inspiring. If you are childless and struggling with that then this is an excellent book for you. It will also lead you to Gateway Women – a support community of childless women which Jody Day founded and is now international. Don’t suffer alone. It’s terribly isolating to be grief-stricken and misunderstood by so many others around you. Get your library to do an inter-library loan of this book if you can’t afford to buy it. Really really helpful book (Anon)
Jody Day has worked for years to bring awareness of and compassion for women who for any long list of reasons find themselves without the children they so longed for. As the book explains, this demographic is likely going to grow to 1:4 women over 45 – this is an awful lot of people with broken hearts, trying to find their way along a life path that until now came with no road map. This book provides light for that path as well as support for creating your own map, your own way of taking those steps towards healing. It supports you as you begin to move towards living a life that allows you to hold and work with your grief and your losses, while at the same time creating a beautiful, vibrant hope-full life, truly excited for what is to come. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone struggling to figure out what their life-without-children might look like. (Canadian Midwife)
After reading the first few pages of this book I could tell this was going to be the therapy needed. After years of relentlessly chasing the baby dream, being in turmoil after several losses, it’s been painful to contemplate letting go of the neverending journey to becoming a parent. Now, this book is helping me where so many have tried in vain to cushion the trauma and distress during the last decade. Only read up to chapter 3 so far but it’s surprising how much progress I’ve made already. I can highly recommend this book to anyone in the same position (Kelsienna)
Just finished this mammoth book of extremely useful, insightful, real life tips, techniques and proven methods for making a life worth living. I can’t recommend this new version enough. It’s an amazing resource of what I truly consider the absolute best navigation possible through the dark night of the childless soul. It’s a lot of words (I’m more a visual person) but scarcely a word is written without considerable thought behind it. That much is obvious as the author is clearly speaking with her heart fully open. Ironically it took me about twelve weeks to read. But the content will stay with me a lifetime. My advice is just buy the book and read what you can whenever you feel you have your own undivided attention. It’s a work of art. A work of creative genius and I want to thank everyone involved for making this possible for Jody and for us, the readers. It’s a clear shot at the goal of trying to find meaning in life and the resources contained within are second to none. Groundbreaking stuff! I won’t be reselling or lending my copy to anyone., sorry. I have written so many notes inside and drawn flowers and stars all over the place. A sure sign this book is going to become a part of who I am and end up becoming. Thanks Jody and thank you to the ladies who contributed your words mean so much. (Anon)

What’s different about this book to the old edition (‘Rocking the Life Unexpected” 2013)?

Everything fully revised and updated and extensive new material in:

  • Chapters 1 (Our Stories)
  • Chapter 2 (You’re Not Alone)
  • Chapter 4 (Working Through the Grief of Childlessness)
  • Chapter 12 (Taking off the Invisibility Cloak)

Extracts from case studies with 24 women and 2 men around the world including: UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

Global Resources & Further Reading: fully revised and updated global resource list and extensive suggested reading in the following categories:

  • Social and cultural aspects of childlessness
  • The solo childless experience
  • Midlife and growing older without children
  • Doing your grief work
  • Understanding and embracing your Inner Bitch
  • Forgiving your body
  • Meaning, purpose, happiness and choices
  • Developing your creativity (and dealing with your resistance)
  • Connecting and reconnecting to source and self-care
  • Thinking about changing your work/career as part of your Plan B
  • Other women’s stories
To download a PDF of the "Healing Inventory" from the book, click here
To download a PDF of the “Healing Inventory” from the book, click here
 Click here to download a PDF copy of the ‘Healing Inventory’ (above)Click here to download a copy of the ‘Meaning Map’ (above)

5 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Happy Childless Birthday! | Gateway Women
  2. Self-care and other gremlins | Gateway Women
  3. 50 Ways Not To Be A Mother – with apologies to Paul Simon… | Gateway Women
  4. hot off the press | thebitterbabe
  5. Be part of the conversation that ends the taboo of childlessness | Gateway Women

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