News Ticker



In July 2022, the Gateway Women Online Community changed its name to ‘Lighthouse Women’ to reflect that it is now under the stewardship of Katy Seppi, founder of Chasing Creation. Jody Day, the founder and host of the community from 2012-2022, remains alongside Katy to offer her support and mentorship, as well as continuing to host both the ‘Gateway Elderwomen’ and ‘Nomo Tribe’ subgroups within the community.

Find out more, join or access LIGHTHOUSE WOMEN here.

All of the things the GW online community is known and loved for remain the same – it’s only the name that has changed and Jody is still an active and engaged member, as well as continuing all other aspects of her vital support and advocacy work for the childless community globally.

Lighthouse Women is still the world’s only ID-checked online community for involuntarily childless women and retains its wide selection of sub-groups (many unique to our community) including those for unpartnered childless women, LGBTQIA+ women, Women of Colour, Childless Christians, Muslims and Jewish women and many, many more. It also continues and is expanding its global network of member-only local and online social meetups, events, courses and connections.

The first 30 days are still free, followed by a sliding scale of membership fees, including a donation level (all with the same level of access) so that whatever your financial circumstances, you can come and join this wonderful global group of women.

So, why ‘Lighthouse Women’? It was chosen by the community in a series of polls from over 75 options and reflects a paragraph and mood from the introduction to the 2020 edition of my book, Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children:

Find out more, join or access LIGHTHOUSE WOMEN here.

Membership requirements Lighthouse Women is for women who are permanently involuntarily childless – for any reason at all. If you’re wondering if it’s right for you, please email our Community Manager Sonia at

This community is NOT suitable for you if you are childless by choice (childfree), trying to conceive (TTC), planning or going through fertility treatments, still hopeful of meeting a partner and having a family or that your current partner might change their mind, considering or going through the fostering or adoption process or are struggling with secondary infertility. There are lots of other great online groups that would be a better fit for you and you can explore our list of resources here.

We also respectfully request that you do not join the community if you are a childless coach, therapist or service provider currently offering, or planning to offer such things as workshops, events,  groups or communities, etc (either free or paid) for childless women. If you are unsure whether it would be appropriate for you to join, or if you have a project you’d like to collaborate on with us, please email us first at  and we’d be happy to advise.


  1. Thank you Jody. Although there’s shame in reaching that place, it feels good to be heard and you are right – to have authentic relationships we need to be able to talk more openly about what’s going on, on both sides of the great motherhood divide.

  2. I have turned 50 and turned a corner after a decade of grieving, or so I thought… I feel quite guilty for feeling this but I babysat tonight a friend’s 1-year-old. She slept through the sit. It’s only the second time since IVF treatment ended 10 years ago that I’ve babysat and I thought it would be fine so I offered. When I left, my friend said it was “an easy gig” as the baby slept through. It wasn’t easy at all. I’m single now and it just reminded me of what I don’t have on a Saturday night. And I did it to myself. I’m happy to help dear friends but I also feel unfairly resentful, not of their having a baby, but of feeling their need for help and an unspoken expectation to babysit although I haven’t been made a godmother.

    • Dear M – I’m so sorry that you’re left with such complex and uncomfortable feelings, which make perfect sense to me. It’s hard for us to be around others who have what we wanted without it stirring stuff up, and it’s hard for our friends to get it right with us every time too. And even harder that for some reason this stuff becomes what I call ‘the baby elephant’ in the room between us and other mother-friends and thus, without either side feeling equipped to talk about it, friendships can become sticky and inauthentic. We talk about this kind of stuff all the time in our online community and that would be the best space to continue this conversation – do come and join us. Hugs, Jody x

  3. Thank you for the article you wrote leading me here It was an echo on an open plain – unexpected and all the more wonderful for being so.

    • Dear Alisa – you are very welcome – I’m so glad that the some of the many, many words that I pump out into the internet each year found their way to you and brought you to us! Hugs, Jody x

  4. Hi. I see Vancouver bc on the lost for meetup groups but not able to find it in meet up app. Are there any women in my area connected here?

  5. Hi,
    I am nearing the end of trying to conceive after a very long and extremely painful road filed with many losses. I moved on to donor eggs a few years ago without success and there is still some chance of finding a surrogate. Essentially, I will never have a biological child and likely never carry a child. Is it appropriate for me to join this community? I don’t want to insert myself into a situation where others may feel I don’t belong or even triggered by me, but I also no longer feel comfortable discussing details and hopes and dreams with women in fertility support groups. I’m in a very uncomfortable place and have lost a sense of connection with most of my friends who pretty much all have children and have either not been supportive, were supportive but are no longer or are minimally supportive. I am trying to find some peace with the fact that this thing I’ve been focusing on for years, desperately trying to make happen is likely never going to be.

    • Dear E – you would be very welcome to join our community to help you process the many losses and heartbreaks of your fertility journey. However, it wouldn’t be the place the discuss your search for a surrogate in any depth, although the subject would not be completely unacceptable. Although most of our members are there to come to terms with irrevocable childlessness, we do have a lot who are to some very small degree ‘still hopeful’ albeit in a diminishing way, as you seem to be, and they find great strength in that there are others who have a foot in ‘both camps’ as it were – both hopeful and not hopeful – which I have to say is one of the hardest parts of what is already a very hard life path. I do help this helps you. Hugs, Jody x

  6. Had a tough weekend. I feel outcasted in my neighborhood. Most are women in their 30s/40s with children. I’m 40 and childless. My boyfriend lives with me now but I spent a couple of years here alone. I went to a neighborhood holiday party this weekend and found out that one of the women there told someone else that because I don’t have any children that I hate them. I can’t stand that no matter what I do I’m the neighborhood “witch” because I don’t have children. And I’ve never told anyone that I hate children. That’s beyond insulting to me. I’m the one on Halloween that dresses up to pass out candy and decorates the house to please the kids. I minored in early childhood ed. And spent my teen years babysitting. Not that I need to defend myself but it just hurts. I want them to like me for me and not judge and treat me differently for not having kids. Thank you for listening. Its a lonely road and hard to believe sometimes that its mine.

    • Dear Lisa – the ‘witch’ sterotype has been used to shame and silence women for centuries. It’s barbaric and archaic and I’m so sad you feel that this is your identity. I would really suggest you join our private online community where we can continue this discussion at depth, and in privacy – I have a lot to say on it! Hugs, Jody x

  7. 47th Birthday tomorrow. Find myself I’m years tonight. I celebrated with my family. Am grateful for my niece’s, nephew and godchildren. Yet there is still that emptiness. I need to snap out it. Life has thrown me challenges. Just sad today.

    • Dear Jackie – If ‘snapping out of it’ were possible, you no doubt would already have done so. Grief isn’t something we can ‘snap out of’ – it’s a deep, wise and profound identity transformation. Please join our private online community where we can continue this discussion at depth and you can find others who will relate. Hugs, Jody x

  8. I’m a single 38 yo woman who works long hours in the media industry and I froze my eggs as a “piggy bank”.

    I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder so I needed this to “calm down” my thoughts of MAYBE being a mother one day.

    Honestly, motherhood was NEVER something I dreamt of. I don’t want to have this responsibility for the rest of my life.

    But now, Im facing a challenging “era”: most of my friends have kids and my family is questioning whether Im gay or a difficult person to deal with cs I cannot find a partner to procriate.

    I guess I’m now going through the stage of grieving. I don’t want to have children and I’m not dealing with it quite well.

    I do love kids and as a matter of fact, I found out this week my younger brother is soon to be a dad!

    Well, I’m gonna be an auntie!

    Funnily enough in Brazil, there’s a popular jargon that says if an older woman does not have a child she “ficou para titita”. Translating it roughly means “she is to be an auntie”.

    In other words, if you did not have the capacity to find a husband in time to constitute a family you would end up being aunt / auntie of your youngest brother/sister.

    I never thought of me this way but I guess this is the way society sees me.

    An “old” woman – even though Im only 38 yo – who decided not to have children.

    I feel judged all the time.

    At work I’m seen as the one who can attend to after-hour meetings cs Im not a mum and don’t have anyone to go home to.

    Amongst family and friends I’m the one who gets to travel the World and is careless about having roots in one single place.

    Well, to me, I’m just a woman who right now does not want to have a baby and wants to find her place in society.

    My question to you woman out there: have you found your own “tribe”? If so, how you’ve found your safe network who is not surrounded by drooling mums who are only talking about their baby’s poo?

    Keen to hear your thoughts. 🙂

    Thank you for reading up to here!


    • Hi Ana – no one ‘handles grief well’. It’s simply not possible! It’s a life-changing, life-altering experience! Many of the issues you describe are common to many other childless women. I strongly recommend that you join our private online community where we, and they, can support you with this. Hugs, Jody x

  9. I’m a single 38 yo woman who works long hours in the media industry and I froze my eggs as a “piggy bank”.

    I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and I needed this to “calm down” my thoughts of MAYBE being a mother one day.

    Honestly, motherhood was NEVER something I dreamt of. I don’t want to have this responsibility for the rest of my life.

    But now, Im facing a challenging “era”: most of my friends have kids and my family is questioning whether Im gay or a difficult person to deal with cs I cannot find a partner to procriate.

    I guess I’m now going through the stage of grieving. I don’t want to have children and I’m not dealing with it quite well.

    I do love kids and as a matter of fact, I found out this week my younger brother is soon to be a dad!

    Well, I’m gonna be an auntie!

    Funnily enough in Brazil, there’s a popular jargon that says if an older woman does not have a child she “ficou para titita”. Translating it roughly means “she is to be an auntie”.

    In other words, if you did not have the capacity to find a husband in time to constitute a family you would end up being aunt / auntie of your youngest brother/sister.

    I never thought of me this way but I guess this is the way society sees me.

    An “old” woman – even though Im only 38 yo – who decided not to have children.

    I feel judged all the time.

    At work I’m seen as the one who can attend to after-hour meetings cs Im not a mum and don’t have anyone to go home to.

    Amongst family and friends I’m the one who gets to travel the World and is careless about having roots in one single place.

    Well, to me, I’m just a woman who right now does not want to have a baby and wants to find her place in society.

    My question to you woman out there: have you found your own “tribe”? If so, how you’ve found your safe network who is not surrounded by drooling mums who are only talking about their baby’s poo?

    Keen to hear your thoughts. 🙂

    Thank you for reading up to here!


  10. I had a difficult upbringing with an alcoholic father and clueless mother. At nineteen I had my first breakdown ( the first of five) and entered therapy big time. After several years of soul searching I decided to study welfare and after finishing my studies worked in the industry throughout my twenties. I had to give up full time work due to fibromyalgia in my thirties. So I met the most wonderful man and after some stops and starts we moved in together in 2005. I thought OK let’s reset the life button and I’ll be a stay at home mother and we tried to have a family with no luck. I put off having IVF until 2008 as I was caring for my dying mother. We ended up having thirteen rounds of IVF. The very first cycle resulted in a pregnancy which I lost at ten weeks. I will turn 50 next year and our family consists of the two of us and our Jack Russell terrier. I have no nieces or nephews as my sister couldn’t have children either, although she denies this truth. I really look forward to communicating with other women in a similar situation.

    • Hi Louise – the best place to have conversations about such personal material is within the safe and private space of our online community rather than here on a public page where anyone can read them. Can I ask you to join us there at (And if you’d like me to delete your comment above, please let me know and I will). Jody x

  11. Monday, tears. Tuesday, apathy. Wednesday, acceptance. Thursday, grief. Friday, envy. Saturday, emptiness. Sunday, ANGER. Rinse and Repeat, not necessarily in that order. Over ten years of feeling like a failure. When do I stop feeling so fucking sad??

    • Hi Suzanne – what made the difference for me (and many others) was finding my tribe and doing my grief work. You can find your tribe via our online community and/or our meetup groups. And with their help, you can move through your grief. We’ve all been stuck in the loop like you have and it’s hideous. It’s actually ALL grief that you’re describing so the good news is that it IS possible to feel OK about your life again… and one day even possibly GOOD about it again. (I know that seems completely unbelievable right now…) You might find my book a great resource too as I shared the steps I and many others have taken to recover from childlessness. Hugs, Jody x

  12. Hi all…. I, like many, always thought I would have children. In 1998, I had a shite year in an otherwise fabulous life. I had already reached far in my career, had medals in my sport, was married and purchased a 2nd home. Then, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. A blood cancer. Long story short, my Mom came to househunt nearer to me so she could be close by for my treatment, and spend my birthday with me. I made a dumb turn on the way to the real estate agent…my car was hit and my mother died. My father sued us for her wrongful death and my husband and I split. I had a bone marrow transplant. He kept the house, our house, and went on to remarry and have 2 kids. His family still lives in “my” house. It took years for me to recover emotionally and financially and resume a “normal” life. My father and extended family never spoke to me again, and Dad died about 2 years after the lawsuit settled. I did remarry, at 44, after dating for 8 years. We didn’t use any birth control, but also didn’t “try” to get pregnant while dating. At 45, I started looking into adoption as I started to think I would never get pregnant, and learned most agencies – foster and adoption – like the mother to be under 45…. and without any health issues. I continue to live with MM, and am on and off chemo regularly. With no family to support me, and no children underfoot, I often, like now, find myself in a very dark place…

    • Hi M – well that is a shit storm and a half, I’m so very sorry for all you’ve been through, and continue to go through. You’ll notice that I edited out some identifying details from your post as this is not a private page and I didn’t want you to freak out when you realised that. The very best place for me/us to support you with this is in our private online community and I really hope you join us there very soon. Hugs, Jody x

  13. Hi there… So what’s my story… So I’ll be honest when I was younger I got a STI (totally my fault) and have damaged my tubes beyond repair… I have been with my partner now for over 9 years now and when I tuned 29 thought we would start trying for a baby… It didn’t even cross my mind what I had done to my body… Anyway after two years we went to the doctors who sent us to the fertility clinic… After an ultrasound it looked like there was a mass on both of my tubes… My doctor advised me that I should have my tubes removed by having a laparoscopy but I refused thinking in my mind there was still hope, instead the surgeon opened up both my tubes (which were severely blocked and damaged) but warned me that the chances of falling pregnant was slim and if I did it would more than likely be ectopic. She said that I wouldn’t qualify for IVF while my tubes were still in as the fluid they were producing were toxic to the egg. However in July I fell pregnant… and as predicted this pregnancy was ectopic! Now it’s back to stage one and I’m looking at more surgery to be able to have IVF, I’m 33 years old and we can only really have one round, I can see a future where we are childless and this is something I struggle with everyday. Society makes me feel that I am less of a woman because I am not a parent… That I don’t matter and am a second class citizen, it has had an impact on my emotional and mental well being and I have gone to a very dark place. It’s extra hard for me as I work with children everyday and I am left most days feeling empty, at this point in my life I really can’t see what my meaning in life is or how it can possibly be fulfilled without a child.

    • Hi Keriann – I’m sorry you’re in such a dark place right now. Please don’t blame yourself for the STI, it takes two! And there is sadly so little education for young people to understand the risks to later fertility caused by STI’s. I can imagine how hard it is to work with children right now and my heart goes out to you. Although I’m sure you’re not yet ready to hear it, please know that a life without children CAN be as fulfilling and rich as one with. You might find that one of the fertility support websites, such as Fertility Friends, would be a helpful place for you to get the support you need right now as you work towards trying to conceive again. Hugs and good luck, Jody x

  14. I am 39, childless by circumstance, and a recovering addict- proudly five years sober! I’ve been single these past several years because I needed to focus on myself and my soberity. My last relationship ended at around 33 yrs old, it was not a good situation! Drug use, combined with lots of verbal and borderline-physical abuse. So when we got pregnant I had an abortion. I have lived with so much regret, self-hatred, and sorrow over that decision. Watching your interviews, helped alleviate SO much of that angst! THANK YOU!!! I think my heart grew a few sizes when you ladies explained that choosing to NOT bring my child into that situation WAS BEING A GOOD MOTHER! I feel very blessed to have found a safe place to grieve and heal with compassionate, like-minded women!

  15. I cried when I saw the picture above saying I’m not alone anymore. Truthfully I’ve been tearful all day. It’s Easter, and even though I’m not particularly religious I see it as a day that families get together and celebrate.
    I was married for 16 years to a man who didn’t want children. Frankly I didn’t want his children so it worked for us. Sort of. He was emotionally and verbally abusive and I finally found some gumption and walked out the door. I took the dog too; eventually I gave in to shared custody. The day the divorce was final the dog died suddenly, in his care.
    I’m the only daughter of divorced parents. My brothers are pretty much mia, one literally just disappears for months at a time. The other is busy with his family in another town and we are not on the same page at all so generally just text information as needed. I’m the only one in town with my parents and step parents which can be exhausting. The in-laws were the cookout and family gathering types so I used to just go with them. It was one of the charms that hooked me into marrying that jerk.
    So here I am. Easter Sunday all alone, just like most of the other special days of the year. I could have worked for someone, given them the day off to be with family, but as a labor and delivery nurse sometimes I just can’t do it. I think, okay today I will recharge. I walked the dog to the local park and was rewarded with nothing but families and couples cooking out. Rather than head to the bar again I looked around and I found this group. I’m really hoping to find somewhere to fit in

    • Hi Shannon – I’m sorry you’re feeling on the margins of things – that’s just a CRAP feeling. Do join our community – that’s where the connection is. You might also like to explore our free meetup groups around the world. We’re here, and ready to hang out both offline and online – and understand the complexities of how so many of us have ended up childless when that wasn’t the plan. As a survivor of an abusive relationship too, I relate. Hugs, Jody x

  16. My story. It seems a little different than the other ladies, but here it goes. I got married to the man that it was meant to be with, at 25. We were broke, so of course as a young couple in their twenties figured, once we’d feel comfortable financially, we could start a family.

    Time went by, in my mind I insisted I wanted to be a mom, especially that I majored in early childhood development, so children is all I’ve known and worked with them for 14 plus yrs. our family and friends had also expected us to have kids, and we reiterated that it was a financial reason, and really deep inside we didn’t feel ready to be parents.

    Long story short, recently in my 30s I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. I lost my job, my license got suspended since it was unsafe for me to drive due to a manic episode I was experiencing at the time. My husband and I went to this wonderful doctor and he made it clear that if we had a child, the chances of passing down the disorder were high, shaping up another added reason as to why it was best for us to remain childless. Our financial situation after 8 yrs of marriage is still an issue since now I’m jobless and unable to drive. Thankfully the Dr. Has provided excellent medication that has brought me to normalcy, but really, to me I it’s not fair to bring a child into the world with this condition. Sometimes I can barely take care of myself, let alone a third person.
    My husband and I have discussed our decision to remain childless. For financial reasons. We believe more and more the Earth is overpopulated and have read articles where more and more women/couples are increasingly childless, whether by choice or circumstances. My mental condition will never go away, since there is treatment, but no cure.

    What kept us afloat is that we deeply love each other, we have each other’s back despite criticism and backlash from our friends and family. I am 34 yrs old and not looking back. We have a female cat what we deeply love and care for.

    My heart goes out to a lot of women in this platform where it has been even harder to find the right person for them, or if they have a mate, their relationship didn’t work out. I would like to tell them that even though what he have in common is our child free life, there is hope out there to live a fulfilling life. The hardest thing for me is not so much the choice of not having children, but the stigma that our society expects from us, and how they put labels if we don’t fulfill those expectations. I’m so thankful that I found GW, to share my story and hopefully encourage someone out there that needs it. Do I go through difficult times? Absolutely, but it is mainly because I have to overcome this forever-staying illness. The only thing that has kept me afloat and gives me a reason to live, since I’ve considered taking my life before, is that I have a supportive and caring husband, and I know not everyone has had that chance. It’s hard. Very hard. But not impossible.


    • Hi Edna – just to let you know that we have other members in our online community who are childless due to non-fertility-related medical conditions, mental health worries/conditions and genetic inheritance issues. It’s a private space to engage on such sensitive topics, unlike this comment area, and I’d encourage you to join us there where you will get lots of engagement, support and sisterhood. Hugs, Jody x

    • Hello Edna! Thank you for sharing your story! I’m also bipolar. I have had two psychotic breaks that I’m lucky to have come back from. It is tough to deal with a double-whammy of societal stygmas- mental illness and childlessness. But I believe by opening the dialogue about our lives we’re stripping away those stereotypes, and giving ourselves a more positive identity. And the blessing in having gone through the really dark times of dealing with my bipolar disorder is that I’m not as afraid of the pain I am currently in due to being single and childless at 39. We can draw on the strength of our past hurts to better heal this new pain. Through my faith and my support group I came out of my darkest days with more positivity, more love, and more courage!!! Much love, Mary G

  17. Hi I am 45 and having another very tearful and despairing day. I have been reading the blogs for several months but until now, not felt brave enough to put something on! Just reading the blogs has helped me feel not quite so alone in my childlessness. I am currently in a relationship with a lovely man who is going through divorce and has 2 older children. He has always maintained he does not want anymore but I think I have been under some false hope he would change his mind, but he won’t and I am finally accepting I am too old.
    I can’t find anything to re-ignite/rejuvenate myself. I have an interesting job, good friends, family and do quite a lot of exercise which has always managed to get me out of the sadness before. But I can’t seem to drag myself out of this or let it go. These feelings have been going on for a number of years.
    If anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Kathryn – I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling tearful and despairing. It sounds like you are coming out of denial about your situation (both your age and your partner’s choices). That’s a painful place to be. The best place to continue this conversation is within the online community itself. We have many members who have experienced (or are experiencing) situations very similar to yours, what we call being ‘childless by relationship’ and I feel that you would draw great strength and solace from their support and wisdom. Do come and join us Hugs, Jody x

    • Kathryn. I am going through the exact same thing you are going through. My partner has two older kids and was very clear from the very beginning that he didn’t want a second family but I lived in a fantasy for 3 years. I finally came to the realisation that if we had a child my partner would resent it and he’d been through so much with the mother of his children he was permanently scarred. In the meantime, I had tests done and found out I was in the menopause. We split but are in counselling. It’s heartbreaking as I feel I let the relationship go so far without communicating how I really felt. I let the resentment affect us and now I am so frightened the relationship will never fully recover properly. If I was much younger I would have left but this guy is amazing. I have waited 20 years to find him. I am grieving about the child but also about the relationship and what could have been. I find the counselling is really helping and am doing things like massage, reiki, accupuncture and journalling. I am also being much more honest and communicate with my partner. Part of the problem is lack of trust in his love for me as deep down I felt he didn’t love me enough to give me my dream. I can’t give advice but I think some sessions of counselling and talking might help before you make the mistake I did by letting resentment enter the relationship. You can focus on saving that and counselling helps you start to make new dreams. I am in the early days yet and have a long way to go but hoping the pain will end some day soon. I wish you the best.

      • HI Emila,
        This has really struck a cord with me, very similar situation and did not think this would be happening to me. I absolutely recognize the resentment creeping in and trying very hard to manage this and not let it happen. Thanks you for sharing, it really helps

  18. Hi I am 60 and dipping once again into the distress and fear of being single and childless. This most recent period of weeping, anxiety, depression, panic, looking enviously at others and feelings of failure have been triggered by discussions about early retirement following ill health. I feel deeply conflicted about leaving my job which is stressful and also takes away energy for other important areas of my life – like relationships – but does provide a sense of community and identity which I fear I will loose if I give it up (even though I know at some point I will have to). I also know that the sector I work in is becoming increasingly corporate and that staff are rarely valued for themselves. Rather than seeing a bright future however with freedom to explore new avenues I fear greater isolation and that I am sinking into a less and less vivid existence .I grew up in a ‘happy’ family although my mother was very critical and punitive to me, which left scars. Both my parents are now dead and my sister who is married and without children and I were estranged for many years mostly due to my mother’s behaviour .We are closer now but she lives on the other side of the country and we only meet up about once a year. I’ve had a number of boyfriends some long term but pretty much with men who were immature in in different ways – some quite damaged/ volatile – and although having children was discussed the relationship were never solid enough to really contemplate doing so .In my late 30s I contemplated trying to have children alone but decided, although had I got pregnant I would certainly have kept baby, that – choosing single parenthood wasn’t right for me. In my late forties I meet a man who was divorced with two children and we fell deeply in love. Finally I felt that I had something I had always wanted a family and spending time with my two step children was wonderful– although it must be said that there were times when having them to stay in my small flat did feeling challenging. Anyway three years ago my partner and I broke up having just bought our dream home together – the reasons are complicated but from my perspective it was done to his very unpredictable behaviour which had become increasingly destructive /emotionally abusive. I have found the period since difficult and often feel lonely sad that I have not managed to form a lasting relationship or create my own family. I realise that most of the women on this forum are younger than me but I don’t feel ready yet to start planning for/defining myself in terms of old age (and adding old maid to my list of descriptors). I wish there had been something like Gateway woman to support me when I was first coming to terms with childlessness but I am a resourceful person and mostly I’ve found strategies to live a rewarding life. Friends are my salvation and last year when I had cancer they were a fantastic support / comfort – which even though the circumstance were difficult gave me sense of love and belonging that so often seems absent. A time though I loose all optimism and my craving for intimacy and ‘family’ overwhelms me. I say family because although being childless is something I grieve its also being on my own that challenges me. I have a number of single friends who are mothers and this gives a whole set of things to their life, which I feel the lack of strongly. Similarly I have childless friends who are in close and loving partnerships. My questions are really how to cope when I fall down into a mental hole over all of this – the feelings are so overwhelming and hard to talk about because in some sense they feel shameful. I know that in many respects I lead a blessed life – and that others who appear to have it all rarely do – but I cant help feeling frustrated at how easily children and relationships come to others and spend many hours feeling I need to change – if I was more attractive, if I was nicer person, if I had been wiser, if I was braver, if I liked myself more, am I afraid of intimacy? Should I move somewhere else? Should I change my life in other ways, how can I find my purpose, where do I belong? Writing this has helped me and I can feel that I am pulling out of my despair again but I would love to hear from others about how they cope at these times especially with regards to the self talk.

    • Dear Amy – thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. First of all, can I say that within our private online community we have many members who are 50+ and 60+ so you would be welcome to join us and experience the solidarity and sisterhood that feels so keenly lacking in your life. Secondly, do please check out the work of another organisation (Ageing Without Children) where I am a founding and board member. I am so sorry that your most recent relationship didn’t work out and having experienced emotional abuse myself I do also understand how a dysfunctional childhood, sadly, sets us up for such things. For me, healing the wounds of my childhood through therapy has been key in changing my patterns in relationships enabling me to now be in a healthy partnership. Come and join us in the private online community and we can discuss all this further in a confidential space. Please be aware that after the first free month you’d be welcome to apply for a free membership if your early retirement also means financial difficulty. hugs, Jody x

    • Dear Amy,

      Your story is unique to you but it has lots of similarities to many others, including mine, and so my heart goes out to you and please feel my hug. You are not alone.

      Have you thought about moving to live near your sister and build your relationship with her? Although I’m not really close to my siblings I find deep connection with them as we have known each other all our lives. That connection brings me great comfort as I enter my 60s too.

      I’m lucky in that I still work with children and I hope that as retirement approaches I can continue to enjoy their company through school volunteer work, or afterschool pick up and evening babysitting jobs through agencies, which my friend told me about and enjoys herself.

      You are not a failure. Nor am I. But others have been more fortunate than us. Lucky them. But don’t put yourself down.

      Best wishes

  19. I just turned 43 and realize I will never have children. I married at 40 to a man who deceived me I feel. At 37 I told him if you don’t won’t children leave so I can. He changed his mind and said he did so we married. Being married was the proper thing to do according to both our families. Then only to change his mind again and tell me he was not open to children. Just yesterday I got the news his brother and his girlfriend are pregnant (who are not married by the way). They are five months pregnant and they have only been dating for that long. Once I got the news I crawled in my bed and never stopped crying. I only stopped to go to work this morning but I can barely get through the day. I even contemplated suicide because the pain and depression is so deep. I feel so alone and so angry and I don’t know how I will ever get past this. Thanks for listening.

    • Angela, I understand how you feel completely. I have never been married, but at 43 I’ve wasted the best years of my life on someone who was a complete liar about who he really was and what he wanted. This past year has been a constant battle to move forward and I have tried to commit to using donor sperm to have a family on my own but i feel so angry and left out of the dream of a family with a husband that I am unable to move forward. I understand your darkness and please know there are others in your same boat, if that helps.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience with me. You said it perfectly about the dream of a family. Many think you just wanted a child, but for me as well it was more than that… family. People think I am over it when they see me planning a trip or smiling or moving forward. What do they want me to do? Walk around depressed and crying, lying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position sobbing over the life I never got to have? I do plenty of that when no one is watching. I completely understand your betrayal and anger.

        • Dear Angela, dear esilk82010,

          while reading your experiences I had to cry. Because my life, my constant pain with not having children, sounds so similar!

          Because I spent my life between the age of 39 and 42 with a man who desperately wanted to move together with me and his little daughter (aged 6 when we moved together) – promised to have a second child with me and then – after a few weeks of living together – he said “no, I can’t have another child”. It was maybe very foolish of me to stay. I thought he might think it over – if I just give him some time. In the end he was the one who wanted to separate.
          Years went by – tried to get over it, tried to date men, nothing worked out and now I am 45…..

          And Angela, as you said, one can’t always sob about what has – not – happened. But sometimes I wish that my close friends could be a bit more sympathetic, just in some certain situations….

  20. My best friend is struggling with not having children. What can I suggest for her. We are in Tasmania.

    • Hi Blithe – probably the easiest thing for her would be to send her a link to this website and then let her explore it and see if it helps. We also have meetups in Australia, although not in Tasmania, but I know that there’s been interest in getting one going there. Thank you for being such a kind friend. Hugs, Jody x

  21. At 42, I think I am finally ready to give up on the dream. My whole life all I wanted was to be in a loving relationship with a family. However, I think on some level I always knew it wasn’t my path. I can remember at 6 yo with a pillow case on my head, fake flowers in hand pretending to do the wedding march. With such clarity I can recall thinking, I will never have this. Self fulfilling prophecy, maybe but the story is still the same. Me interested in men less interested in me and not at all interested in the ONE that was. I thought about sperm donation and then decided it against it. My vision of a family is love in creation of the child and would never want to project my thoughts of personal failure onto innocent baby. I have a job I hate, so most of time is consumed by a demanding profession which I dread doing each day even though it pays well. I do have a wonderful family and good friends so I am very blessed in that regard. I feel guilty for being so depressed and lonely. Basically I am adrift with no anchor and I don’t know what to do. I’m tired of the platitudes and the I understand when they clearly can’t as they have never experienced my situation. I was called a spinster aunt recently and realized that is all I’ll ever be. Loved but not first, never first. I need to learn how to live with that. I need to be ok with the good/ great things in my life and stop dwelling on what will never be. It’s time to grow up and put away childhood dreams and live in the now. Is it ok for an American to join your group? I think being part of a community will help. Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Lori – thanks for commenting. 42 is a tough age to be childless and responding to it by feeling depressed and lonely sounds quite normal to me – and nothing to feel guilty about. Nothing. We have many Americans in our online community and you’d be VERY welcome. Hugs, Jody x

    • “Loved but not first” is exactly how I feel right now at almost 43. Your post is me to a t. I’m an American living in upstate NY, by the way.

  22. Hi I have come to terms with not having the family i believed i would have but on an occasion I’m in denial and think wow how did it happen, l’m 55, no partner and no kids. It’s the loss of lifelong friends that would have occurred as school mums, the connections so taken for granted, its the non xmas’s as i dont have a family, not being a grandmother and not fitting into society. Its the loss of the gift of a child that would teach me more about life as well. And its not actually received well that i am free, independent, self-assured and confident. Its a strange place to find myself. I have been trying to connect into an group in Australia both meetups or online without success can you assist?

  23. Have to say, dear childless sisters, having children really isn’t all it’s made up to be, so be glad of your freedoms. Parenting, as I quickly found out through fostering, includes massive amounts of domestic drudgery and getting up early Every Day!! I now love having other people’s children in my life (and i know they love me) and I can also enjoy indulgent holidays with my other half. It took a long while to overcome the grief of being childless but in the end i feel at peace about it, mostly. it’s not been the end of my world. I’m 62. Be happy in yourselves. Love to you all.

    • Hi Clare – thanks for your comment. I’m glad that you are in a good place and ‘mostly at peace’ with your childlessness. I think each of us has to arrive at our own realisation that ‘having children really isn’t all it’s made up to be’. Most of us know that ‘cognitively’, but it takes time, grieving and healing to know that ’emotionally’ and make peace with it. Being happy in ourselves is a great goal and one that we all aspire to – I’m glad you’ve got there and it’s my wish for all my readers that they get there too. Hugs, Jody x

  24. I’m glad to find this online community. Feeling in the depths of despair. Am 52, single, childless, going through a very difficult menopause, Just having lost both parents in 8 months , dealing with a suicidal sister and feeling utterly alone. Have wonderful friends (couples with children ) but struggle with my feelings of anger and isolation at their lack of empathy and understanding. I know beneath these feelings that there is light but struggle to see it.

  25. I waited too long. Was never in the right situation at the right time with the right man and now it’s too late. I’m 50 now, the age where most people are all about their kids and grandkids, I just have a huge void there (and feel left out – of “the most important thing in the world” – and alienated from all the “normal” people with their families. I can tell it bothers my mother too to be grandchildless around all her friends). And very scared; I am just going to be watching my loved ones getting older and ill and dying off, with no one coming up on the other side to balance it out, then be all alone. I can’t see anything else. I have also lost my only sibling, and my best friend. I’ve ended up ill and physically disabled myself (used to be a triathlete in younger years!), to the point of being in bed most of the time this year, doing NOTHING. I know many women who are still very vibrant and active at this age, thought I would be one of them but sadly I am not. I don’t have what it takes to get up and out and create a new life for myself, not feeling like this. Then all I do is lie here thinking about all this and how much I screwed up my life and how it’s too late for everything…ugh. Just did a search online while lying here and found this…still trying not to abandon all hope.

    • Hi Sylvia – I’m so glad you’ve found us. If you’d like to join our online community that would be the very best place for me, and our many lovely, supportive, kick-ass members to support you. I’m sorry to hear you have health issues as well as feeling scared of growing older without kids. We get it, totally! Hugs, Jody x

  26. Hi Jody how do I ask advice? Never done anything like this before but want to ask if you think it’s ok for my fiancé to leave me because although we both want children so much the IVF has taken it out of him so he’s left me to have a child naturally with someone else. He’s not met anyone yet to my knowledge but I don’t no how to feel about this

    • Hi Lesley – what an incredibly painful and heartbreaking situation you find yourself in, I’m so very sorry. As these comments can be read by anyone on the internet, it doesn’t feel like an appropriate place to discuss your situation further. I really recommend you join our PRIVATE online community where not only will I be able to support you, but so will other women who have been through exactly what you are dealing with. You don’t have to work this out alone. Hugs, Jody x

  27. Not sure about this. Mid-70s woman, I’m childless from choice (horrendous childhood involving unbelievable fear and incest), never wanted to pass down the agony. And relationships shallow, though good sex. Married 15 years to ‘good’ man (he has 4 children from 2 previous marriages) and contemplating divorce or Swiss needle death. He believes that descendants trump wife in emotional priority. ‘I don’t understand since I don’t have children’–sick to death of this judgment. Fear of who will take care of me once I’m feeble, hence attraction of Swiss solution. I know it’s not fun, but anyone else out there who can understand?

    • Hi JC

      Thanks for your comment on my website and I’m so sorry to hear about your horrific childhood and I can quite understand why that led you to choose not have children. Sorry to hear how things are in your marriage right now too.

      I wanted to let you know about another group that I helped to set up ‘Ageing Without Children’. Issues of who will take care of us when we need it are uppermost in many childless and childfree people’s minds, not just yours, so you’ll be in good company!

      The website is and we have a FANTASTIC Facebook group too where you can connect with other adults ageing without children and think through your options in like-minded and open-minded company.

      Hugs, Jody x

  28. I joined GW and read Jody’s wonderful book about 3 years ago aged 43, but only reluctantly….. I was so relieved and glad to know there was something out there for people in my situation (Double Whammy) but I wasn’t ready to fully take it all on board… I still held out hope for motherhood and tricked myself into believing I didn’t need support, because it could still happen and I wasn’t yet ready to resign myself to any Plan B. Having recently revisited the book and GW I am feeling so much more ready to embrace it now, a few miscarriages/ failed IVF treatments and broken relationships down the line. I still haven’t found my Plan B but I know this community is where I will be inspired and regain hope. 🙂

    • Hi Sarah – I’m sorry that you’ve had such a rotten few years! I think a Plan B can be a lot of things, and it doesn’t always look, feel or sounds like ‘a plan’… I’m glad you’re part of our community again, there’s really nothing else like it and I know how different my life would have been to have had the support of such an amazing group of women when I was struggling alone. Hugs, Jody x

  29. I am excited about joining the online community as I have been struggling lately, and recently threw in the towel on online-dating after yet another dating debacle involving “elevator shoe man” and, before that “porn man”. If it wasn’t terribly sad it would be funny. At just shy of 38, my time is running out, as is my patience, optimism, and zest for living. Watching Jody give her insipiring talks on Ted and at various other venues has been a God send these past few days. Thank you Jody!

  30. It is really good that there is a community like this one for women like me who are childless and is struggling to come to terms at not having children at my age. As I got older I am struggling at the thought that my husband and I do not have children. I have developed depression as a result. It is very awkward going to family functions where everyone else has kids and not us. The worst part is that I am turning 50 next year and the thought of it is making me sick to the stomach. All my friends have kids and we feel the odd ones out. I hate feeling this way. We are in the process of trying do egg donation treatment, anticipating going to South Africa but I don’t have high hopes. Egg donation process is extremely difficult here in Australia and not much better overseas. People make it sound easy. I live with regret each day that we didn’t do anything about it years ago. This is the reason I am wanting to make friendships with women like myself in my situation. I am from Melbourne, Australia and I am wanting to meeting other women like myself going to the following meet-ups.

    • Hi Sandra – connecting with others via the Gateway Women Melbourne Group sounds like a great plan. I’m going to be in Melbourne to run a workshop in early 2018 (all still in planning, so no dates yet) and perhaps we’ll meet then. Good luck with the egg donation – indeed, none of these procedures are ‘easy’… Hugs, Jody x

      • Jody: I’m glad you do this for women, and I’m so glad there’s a place for support and recognition. I’m Brad. I wanted to be a father, but my time has passed and I have a rough time dealing with that, especially today, on father’s day. I want to make it clear, I didn’t research, maybe there’s groups out there, I don’t know. I have depression, and today is a tough day to do much of anything. Just FYI, We’re out here too. God bless and thanks.

    • Hi Sandra
      I fully understand where you are coming from..
      My husband and I are childless as will and it has to be one of the most difficult feelings that I face from day to day…
      I turned 50 in February and my family had a family get together for me to help me celebrate but needless to say I had to try my utmost hardest to look & ack happy but inside I was tearing apart simply because I had reached the milestone of turning 50 and knowing I am childless & this is the way that my life is going to be ????
      I have wanted a child since the night I became a wife… because it goes together.
      I told my husband that I never dreamed in a million years that we were going to be a childless couple & it would be just the two of us on family…
      I understand whee you are coming from girl ….

  31. I hope I’m in the right place. I’m suffering from depression and it all stems from not being able to have the one thing I’ve dreamt of for years…being a mother. I just want to find some relief and acceptance to not being a mother and hopefully realize I can still live my life somehow with out being a mother. Thank you for listening.

  32. i am so grateful and feel so relieved t hear others’ stories what are so similar to mine, the complexity of the threads of life that can leave one childless and how seldom it is that most people, well meaning, understand or know what to say. My heart is full!

  33. GW has helped me to face the hard truth that I won’t be a Mum, a fact that I wasn’t wanting to acknowledge until an unexpected event forced me to. Joining the community has given me support and a safe place to express my feelings, especially the ones that others might not understand. Now, when something happens in life around childlessness, I know there is a place and people to turn to who know and who understand and sometimes that alone is enough to reduce its impact. I would say, if you’re wondering if GW is for you, give it a try – you won’t know unless you do. There are so many women out there in our situation but, unlike mothers, we don’t always know. Don’t struggle in silence …. you have a community to turn to.

  34. I’m writing this post on holiday having an amazing time. A few years ago I was in the grip of childlessness grief. It was overwhelming and much as though friends and family wanted to help, they didn’t know how.

    I honestly don’t think I would be so happy and content were it not for Gateway Women. The forum has been the only safe space I had to grieve without judgment and let rip with the pain and frustration of longing for a child but not being able to have one.

    No one will judge your darkest moments and a group of fab virtual friends will cheer you on through the small steps that get through that grief tunnel.

    And it’s there 24/7. When your colleague unexpectedly brings her baby to work and you’re privately in bits and need some support, you’ll get it.

  35. Hey! If, like me (and loads of others!) you feel or have felt an inexplicable grief inside your heart because the stork never personally visited you then you are in the right place! On this forum you will find there are lots of other women who have exactly the same thoughts, emotions you thought you were the only person having! It’s true! There is lots of understanding and no-one will just say “Get over it!”because it just ain’t that simple! It’s a tough journey and you do need a little help along the way. This is definitely the place to start!

  36. Would it be overstating matters to write that Gateway saved my life? I don’t think so. I stumbled across it by chance at the end of 2013 completely broken by my childlessness. In three years I have learnt what it is to do your grief work, how self-compassion is a daily practice and I have risen phoenix like from the ashes of my previous life. And I couldn’t have done any of it without my tribe of Gateway women.

  37. This community has meant so much to me in the past few years as I’ve been struggling with the grief of childlessness, and all of the complicated emotions which come along with that. It is such a comfort to know that I’m not alone – there are so many women out there who really ‘get it’, and who are so generous in offering support when it is needed. If you’re feeling isolated and misunderstood and struggling with pain and other feelings, this is the place for you. Every time you reach out in pain to this community, you will be heard, and held and supported. It helps more than I can say.

  38. Finding the Gateway Women Community after years of feeling like I was the only one struggling to embrace an entirely different life than what I wanted and envisioned changed me permanently. Knowing that I wasn’t alone, reading the posts of open, interesting and loving women and attending the first ‘Reignite Weekend. workshop in the US this past July have been critical pieces to my ongoing healing process. I can’t think Jody enough for creating this community and for leading and developing the Reignite workshop. I’ve been able to reflect on past feelings and experiences of isolation and despair through a new lens since finding GW. I still am working through the grief and loss at the age of 50 and I I am also able to enjoy much of my life. GW is truly a blessing in my life.

  39. I really can’t tell you how much it meant to me to come across the Gateway Women Community. Following a melt down at 40 where I withdrew from life, family & friends I didn’t see the point in living. Following years of not finding a connection anywhere,in desperation I typed Help I’m childless into the search engine. And up popped Gateway Women. To read that I wasn’t alone and that there were other ladies out there having similar thoughts and feelings to my own, felt a relief but also strange. At first I was scared but I knew my life had to change so I took the plunge and once I had completed the questionnaire it was a huge release. I had previously come across so many negative websites saying “how selfish I was” or “how a career was obviously of more importance” etc, etc. My friends had all been lucky enough to have children and I felt excluded from their lives as I had nothing in common with them anymore. I couldn’t share their happiness, or understand the excitement of their child’s first word, their first tooth, day of school etc and I just felt bitter when they complained. I was lost and isolated – they really didn’t understand how lucky they were. The voice inside my head took over and silenced any reasoning, shutting down my existence. I had tremendous feelings of inadequacy when I compared myself to them, feelings of not being feminine, etc, etc. GW has allowed me to make new friends that I can confide in and share my feelings. On top of that I have experienced ‘laughter’ again and managed to do fun things that I previously felt I didn’t deserve. Ladies if you are scared, please don’t be. You have found help and healing here and I hope you will feel as safe as I do being part of this community. Welcome, Sam xxx

  40. GW is an amazing community of fantastic women. It is positive and modern. It gives you access to new friendships and a place where encouragement and support are given for growth and a place of understanding when you’re feeling really cr*p. I feel validated by amazing women who are like me and truly ‘get’ it and inspired/ helped by new writers/ insights who help me work through my mixed emotions and grief to recover and truly connect again with life and people and build a fulfiling joyful meaningful life. xxxxx

  41. I was in the depths of despair and thinking I was the only woman going through this pain before I discovered Jody and the Gateway Women community. I’m not a big social media person but this Community has transformed things. Being a member has really helped me turn my life around to cope with childlessness and look forward to the future.

    I’d encourage any woman wondering whether this is worth joining to do so. You are not alone and things really can get better.

  42. I came across Jody and the Gateway community 2 years ago. At that time I was deep in my grief -although I didn’t realise it was grief then.
    When I started to read the posts from other women i felt a warmth and understanding.
    It truly helped me to come to terms with being childless through circumstance, gave me strength, my feelings of self worth and purpose started to return.
    I know that it was a major turning point for me and since then I’ve gone on to connect with a number of gateway women nearby which has been invaluable.
    Its so supportive, compassionate, empowering to be part of the community, I really feel my sisters, my tribe walking with me when I have bad times and celebrating with be the good times

  43. I’ve made a few really close girlfriends from gateway women, women who I have much more in common with than just a lack of children. I don’t do much social media these days as I can’t stand the fakeness and posturing but I check GW on google+ everyday. It’s a very real yet very positive forum and I’m glad to be pat of it.

  44. Sudden relief deep within is what I experienced the first time I posted to the Gateway Women Community. It was also a realisation that I wasn’t going mad. I had thought that for quite a long time. The sensitivity, the respect, the intelligence and the compassion started my healing path. I no longer feel so alone. There is light out there, and always someone to talk to. ‘My Tribe’ is the best way I can describe how I feel about it.

  45. Being someone who considers myself pretty self-reflective/aware and able to share feelings, I was surprised to discover how bottled up my feelings about being childless by circumstance were until I had a place to express them. The private, closed Gateway community feels completely safe because I know know that nobody from the rest of my life can see what I post. It has emboldened me to open up and actually post (which is unusual for me when it comes to social media). And in posting my thoughts, feelings, experiences within this group, I have felt so heard and it has provided such relief. The internal pressure of holding all that in has dissipated. Hearing others’ experiences and perspectives as well as the shared inspiration is helping me move through my grief. I know that the other community members “get” me without me having to explain in detail my circumstances. So grateful to not feel so alone and to have a group of people to cheer my on in my Plan B.

  46. Gateway women provides a wonderful, safe, supportive space. I can be myself and connect with other like-minded women who really, truly understand where I’m coming from. No judgement here, just support, inspiration and heartfelt understanding. Priceless.

  47. Gateway Women has been a blessing for me, as a quite isolated 50-something woman without a partner or children. In the few months since I’ve been able to join, I have felt my self-esteem rise. It is a community where I do really feel connected, more than any other online community I am a part of.

  48. At 48 yrs last year, I joined this online GW community after realizing I needed to connect with other women who understand firsthand the struggles of being childless by circumstance, not choice. After registering, I spent the first few weeks reading the many posts…that alone was like a light went off – finally, the stories and feelings of other women in my shoes that I could relate to. My feelings of isolation and loneliness lifted a bit. Then, after posting – the immediate and warm support expressed by others in this GW community made me feel part of a ‘gathering of women’ again. While I don’t post a lot, there is the comfort of knowing that on any day, at any time, in any mood, you can log in and see the conversations of women who share your experience and get support and understanding. This community, the conversations and the resources offered within are a real source of strength while experiencing / moving through the grief around not being a mom, and beyond. I fully recommend registering – this online community is a lifesaver and I will be forever grateful to Jody and my GW sisters:)

  49. I would encourage any woman struggling with childlessness to join the Gateway Women community. It is a unique community where feelings are not only validated but understood like nowhere else. It is in this community that I have learned that I am not alone in this journey. I never expected my journey to be one without children but knowing that others struggle with all of the same feelings I have makes me realize that these feelings really are okay. There are other women that feel just as lost, sad and confused with where they are right now as I do. There are women that offer encouragement that things can get better. Most importantly the community is united just to be there for each other no matter where we are individually in that moment. You will receive kind words when feeling down. You will receive an equal amount of encouragement and genuine happiness when things go well for you, whatever that might be. Don’t hesitate to join if you really need some support from others that truly do understand.

  50. Since I joined Gateway I haven’t felt alone any more. People here understand where I’m coming from, they understand my pain and isolation – and I understand theirs. We support each other, and it’s amazing.

  51. I’m not usually a social media person but I’m so glad I signed up to Gateway Women: it has been a lifeline over the past few years. I’ve made wonderful new friends who really understand the journey I’m on, being childless by circumstance and not by choice. I really cherish being part of the Gateway community and would heartily recommend it to others.

  52. Gateway is a unique community for women grieving childlessness because it offers understanding, acceptance, validation, encouragement and a path from the despair and isolation of a painful socially unsanctioned loss to a new life with new joys. Gateway helps women travel the path from a conventional life to one that supports the uniqueness of each person. It is a special community of brave and wonderful women. I highly recommend it.

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