Happy Childless Birthday!

smile cat

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday Crazy Cat Lady

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sure, it’s not what I hoped, planned and dreamed for. Not what I spent the years from 29-43 trying to make happen in one way or another. 

But at 49, it’s more that OK. It’s great.

Doing my grief work means that I’m out the other side now – a different person. My busted-open heart has been put back together in a new configuration. I think it might be bigger than before. The scar of my childlessness is a tender spot and it can still hurt if touched directly. I’m OK with that, I can live with that – it used to be an open wound. And anyway, it would be weird if I was able to ‘get over’ childlessness 100% – it’s not the flu. One of my old boyfriends died when still very young and if I see someone who reminds me of him, my heart hurts. Those scars on my heart are memories of people I’ve loved. And I loved my children. I just never met them.

Let me think about my childless life today:

  • I do work that I love and which is making a difference in the world and continuously stretches and excites me.
  • I’m connected to a fantastic global tribe of absolutely rocking women who support me, inspire me and cheer me on.
  • I’ve just finished writing a book that I feel really good about.
  • I have a peaceful and serene home again thanks to the support of my family.
  • I love my cat and she loves me. She was my kitten when I was married and she was returned to me after almost a decade’s absence by magical means on my birthday last year.
  • I have a great relationship with the young people in my life and it seems to be mutual.

There are dark days, yes – but I think mothers have their share of those too. And wives. And girlfriends.

Being single once you’re no longer looking for someone to be the father of your children isn’t actually that bad. I work a lot. I talk to the cat. I get to spend my time with really, really interesting women. It could be a lot worse.

Birthdays can be really hard when you’re still hopeful of having a baby because they mark another year of both your eggs and your dreams going stale. Birthdays can be really hard too when you are mourning your old identity and trying to negotiate a new one as a childless woman in our culture today. The messages aren’t great: barren, spinster, career woman, weirdo, not a ‘real woman’, leftover, left out, old maid, on the shelf, past her sell-by date, mad old cat lady, witch, etc.

Well, I’m a divorced, childless, barren, leftover career woman. I’m past my sell-by date, single, menopausal, middle-aged and happy. Spot the word you weren’t expecting. Happy.

How to do it? Stop reading women’s magazine, unplug from mainstream media and find the company of other childless-by-circumstance women. Gateway Women has an amazing private online community which is a great way to get to know women near you. We’re 1 in 5 women by the age of 45, maybe more if you’re born in the 70s. And we’re actually pretty awesome.

Happy Birthday Childless Me! I’m celebrating my 49th year of Childlessness! And looking forward to the joy, meaning and change I can create, enjoy and leave behind over the next 30 years, Goddess willing.

The day I see that on a Hallmark Card my work here is done.


To apply for Membership of the Private Gateway Women Online Community, click here

Photo of Jody Day, Founder of Gateway Women (UK)

Jody Day is a London-based writer. She set up the Gateway Women network in 2011 to support, inspire and empower childless by circumstance women (like herself) as they develop meaningful and fulfilling lives without children. Jody runs groups, workshops and retreats for hopeful mothers-to-be who are ‘running out of time’, as well as for those women reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that motherhood didn’t happen for them. Jody also consults with individuals and organisations and she regularly speaks out in public, in the media and online about issues and prejudices facing childless women in our society today. Neither a bitter spinster nor a dried up old hag, Jody puts her heart, mind, and soul into lovingly and mischievously subverting the stereotype of the ‘childless woman’. She is living proof that your Plan B can rock too! Watch her talk at the Women of the World Festival in March 2013 on “Creating a Meaningful & Fulfilling Life Without Children” in under 10-mins, with jokes!

Click here for the latest schedule of Gateway Women events including talks & drinks, workshops & groups.

25 Comments on Happy Childless Birthday!

  1. Hey Happy Birthday Cancerian Sister. And Year of the Dragon Sis too – I was born on the 13th of July 1964 🙂

    I had a lovely 49th birthday visiting family in another city, with my beloved nephew and nieces, photo attached. I feel very lucky to be Aunty Clare. I make the 1 hour plane trip from Dunedin to Wellington every few weeks to dote!

    I hope you had a beautiful mid summer celebration of you. Birthdays can be a neat celebration of the fact that all of us human beings, as individuals, are worthy and worthwhile, regardless of what other human beings we have not created.

    Looking forward to 50 and Fabulous.

    x Clare

    On Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM, Gateway Women

  2. Happy Birthday Jody!! I hope you have a really special & lovely day – u certainly deserve it after the work you’ve put in this year!! Thank u for making me – & the rest of us – feel like human beings and rejects because things haven’t quite worked out as we planned. Sending u all the very best!! Xxx

  3. Happy birthday Jody.

    I have been thinking about how best to engage with Gateway Women and thought that I would contribute ‘My steps into and through childlessness’, as individual autobiographical steps as they come to mind. If each one has my approximate age and/or year at the time they could eventually be assembled in order, or in groups.

    I am already finding that thinking about and understanding the steps is a useful exercise.

    So, this post is like getting ready to put a toe in the water!


  4. Happy Birthday Jody! It’s been almost two years since I first found Gateway Women and it really couldn’t have come at a better or more needed time. Thank you for your inspiration and comfort, and for enabling me to begin the journey of slowly releasing myself from other people’s expectations and beginning to value myself and the success I’ve made of my life so far. Lots of love to you and have a brilliant day xxx

  5. Happy birthday, Jody.
    One week ago, I didn’t know you nor the Gateway Women. I want to thank you because ever since I can find some solace in your words. You inspire me in these troubling times. Thank you for that. May you have a happy and fullfilling life and continue to inspire me and many women out there. We need you.

  6. Hello and happy birthday, this is my first comment being a newbie. Have a fab day. Reading the articles and comments is amazing, makes me realise were not alone.

  7. Happy birthday Jody! You truly are an inspiration to us all, thank you for all the hard work that you do. Have fun celebrating, big birthday hugs to you xx

  8. “And I loved my children. I just never met them”…….WOW I think that is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen/heard – it is like you are inside my head!!!! Mine have names too – something I have only ever admitted to my partner, no-one else. I didn’t think there was a person in this world who would get THAT. You are amazing, Jody and a true inspiration – you deserve the best birthday ever. xx

  9. Happy Birthday Jody! Keep taking excellent care of yourself as you do all of us! From your sister from another mister in the US Midwest, Lori

  10. So much to be proud of, Jody, for all you’ve accomplished. Delighted to be in your orbit and look forward to one day raising a glass to you in person. Meanwhile, a very happy birthday to you and many happy returns!! cheers to you.

  11. So much to be proud of, Jody, for all you’ve accomplished. Delighted to be in your orbit and keenly look forward to one day raising a glass to you in person. Meanwhile, a very happy birthday to you and many happy returns!! cheers to you.

  12. Happy Birthday, Jody!!! If I were in London I’d gladly celebrate with you. You’re truly fabulous.

    All best,


    Sent from my iPhone amybmacdonald.com

  13. Jody, once again, you have given me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes–both happy and sad. Mostly happy!!!!! Your strength and beauty to “bare it all” when it comes to such an intimate issue and painful loss for all of us, is truly inspiring. There IS light at the end of the tunnel, and thank you for your amazing contribution and chicken soup for the soul you have provided so many of us who are struggling to reshape our lives, harness “the here and now” and celebrate the many freedoms and blessings we have in our lives, regardless of having children. Happy, Happy birthday, Jody—you are an angel to many and continue to do amazing work in this much needed arena of life. XX Molly

  14. Happy Birthday to wonderful, brave, inspirational you! Sending you the biggest birthday hug and all the best of birthday wishes dear Jody love Carol x

  15. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you Cap’in JD! Thank you for creating such a great community…hope you continue to do challenging, interesting work, and that your book does really well. Enjoy your birthday tomorrow. ClarabXXX

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