Never married, over sixty and childless: Donna Ward on living and writing an invisible story.

August 5, 2020 Jody Day 43

 Full Transcript Below Donna Ward is an Australian writer, publisher and editor, living in Melbourne. Her 2020 book She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations on Life energised me in a way that few books still have the capacity to do, so eloquently and accurately does it portray not only ‘the life unexpected’ (to paraphrase my own book’s title!) but also, the life ‘invisible’ which is that of the unpartnered, childless woman in our society. In a world focused and built on the needs, attitudes, prejudices and ‘stories’ of those who couple and have children, to be a […]

World Childless Week 2019 starts tomorrow – here are 40 free on/offline things you can join in with!

September 15, 2019 Jody Day 0

As you may already know, I’m a World Childless Week ‘Champion’ which means I support the campaign and do I all can behind the scenes to make it a success. And it’s that time of year again (no, not that time of the year!) – the 3rd World Childless Week is next week and there are so many wonderful free events happening on/offline around the world for you to take part in. If some of the links to things on the Gateway Women website are slow to be open, please be patient, they will open – we’re upgrading our server […]

“Mum’s not the Word” a moving and candid photobook of women without children by Denise Felkin

May 30, 2019 Jody Day 6

Mum’s Not The Word: Childless, Childfree by Denise Felkin is a new book published by Earthworld in the UK on 4 June 2019 which shares stories of choice, freedom, regret and pain in a series of 50 photographic images, each one of a different woman lying naked on a duvet in the foetal position. All of the women have one thing in common – they do not have children. Statistics show that an increasing number of women remain childless: currently around 20% in the UK. The book sets out to challenge the antiquated and negative stereotypes that picture women without children […]

A whole day of arts programming around childlessness! Sat 27th April at the Barbican (London)

April 6, 2019 Jody Day 1

You wouldn’t think that something called ‘FertilityFest’ is something I’d write about, but as one of its Founders is Jessica Hepburn (childless author of ‘The Pursuit of Motherhood’ and ’21 Miles’) it’s an arts festival about fertility that includes childlessness (for both men and women) as part of the story of modern fertility. Now in its third year, FertiltyFest has been named by the London Evening Standard as one of London’s top arts festivals. Saturday 27th April is the ‘There’s More to Life than Children’ day at FertilityFest and I’m SO proud to be the chair for the day. The […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

“Penny” – a movie about childlessness – now in production

July 1, 2018 Jody Day 2

An update – 8th July 2018: I’m very happy to report that PENNY raised $13,115 which was 86% of its target. Much to my relief, I found out that it would be allowed its funding if it made 80% of its target (not 100% as I previously thought). Thank you to ALL OF YOU for donating, for sharing on your social media pages, for retweeting my tweets and spreading the word. PENNY will now go into production!! They will need more funds later no doubt, but we’ve got them started! #TeamGateway supports #TeamPenny! Childless women very rarely appear on the big screen […]

An album about coming to terms with childlessness – Seamonster, by Chiara Berardelli

March 19, 2018 Jody Day 2

Seamonster is a new album by the Scottish singer/songwriter Chiara Berardelli. In it, she chronicles her own journey through grieving her childlessness, the support and solace she found in the Gateway Women online community, and her Plan B life that gradually took (and is taking) shape in place of the family she always expected to have. As she says on the notes for the album here: The songs on this album have been inspired by the loss of a dream, my dream of one day becoming a mother. It’s an invisible loss, hard to put into words, even harder to […]

May your light shine in 2016

January 1, 2016 Jody 21

It’s 11am on New Year’s Day 2016 here in India and last night I had a lovely time at a fancy hotel who had a fireworks display at midnight. I was struck by a deep sense of gratitude and joy for another year of this adventure called ‘my life’. When I think back to the place of despair I was in 7 years ago when I realised (rather late at 44!) that I wasn’t going to be a mother, I could never have anticipated the extraordinary transformational journey my grief would take me on. In many ways now, at 51, […]

Things I wish I’d known at 40

July 16, 2014 Jody 60

This week, I celebrate my 50th birthday. It feels like a heck of a thing, to find myself turning 50 at peace with the past, happy in the present and excited about the future. It didn’t come easily and, looking back over the screenplay of my 40s it does seem to include just about everything from farce to tragedy… So that got me thinking about boldly going into a new decade where no Jody has gone before – if I could talk to my 40-year-old self, what would I want her to know about the decade ahead? Here are some […]

I’m Dreaming of a Childless Christmas

December 22, 2013 Jody 31

Yes, I know the words ‘dreaming’, ‘childless’ and ‘Christmas’ look incongruous together.  But for me, it’s really something I’ve been dreaming of all this busy Autumn. Right now I’m at home alone, tucked up in a warm bed with a warm cat delicately snoring at my side. The streets of London are hushed as most people have already left town. After an exhaustingly excellent year with the growth of the Gateway Women Online Community and the publication of my first book, I’m happily in my pyjamas with a steaming cup of coffee made exactly the way I like it and […]

Self-care and other gremlins

August 5, 2013 Jody 27

As someone with ‘a mother’s heart’ you’d think that nurturing myself would be easy. After all, I spend 15 years longing to nurture a child. But you’d be wrong. In my continuing recovery from the heartbreak of childlessness, I’ve found that nurturing myself has turned out to be one of my biggest challenges. It seems I’d rather be of service to just about anyone other than myself. When I was married, this found its perfect home in something called ‘codependency’  – which in my case was a perfect energetic two-step between my ex-husband’s addictions and my own obsessive over-involvement in his condition. It […]

Childless and Miserable? You need to get off Facebook!

April 20, 2013 Jody 41

Sunny holidays, funny moments with her kids, her lover taking her away somewhere special for her birthday so that they can have some time, ‘alone’… How come her life worked out and mine didn’t? What about me? How to meet your soul mate, arranging the perfect hen-night, your dream wedding, what to expect when you’re expecting, keeping the passion alive in your relationship… Where’s my soul mate? Isn’t there meant to be one for everyone? Where do I exist in women’s magazines? Where are the articles about coping with a lodger in your 40s just to pay the electricity bill? When […]

Elegy in an English Country Churchyard

October 17, 2012 Jody 28

Just recently I was on a residential training as part of my psychotherapy studies. I arrived at the venue, a gorgeous tumbledown old Abbey in the English countryside without having given the days ahead much thought – after all, I’ve been training with some of my fellow students for three years now. I had no real anxiety apart from whether the beds would be OK and whether I’d be able to sleep. Turned out I was right to worry about the beds, but what did come as a great surprise to me was to feel my scar of childlessness touched […]

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