Jody interviewed on the Primal Happiness Podcast, December 2021 [Audio + Transcript]


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Intro: You’re listening to The Primal Happiness Show, a podcast dedicated to helping you thrive in this crazy modern world. Every Tuesday we explore the nature of how our minds really work. What exactly the human-animal requires to thrive and how we can live happier and more fulfilling lives. If you’re new here and haven’t yet taken our free class, then there’s no better place to get a jumpstart on reclaiming your primal happiness. It’s where we’ll guide you step by step through our antidote to today’s modern world, simply head on over to primal to get the free class and discover how to thrive without having to move to a planet that’s not so crazy as ours but now your host, Lian Brook-Tyler.

Lian:  Hello, my beautiful people! A huge warm welcome back to the show. In today’s crazy modern world, men and women are living shallow, disconnected and unfulfilling lives. We create the path for those who are ready to reclaim their wellness and actualize their deepest good. The next way that you can walk this path is by joining us for Waking the Wild Medicine which begins in early 2022. In this crucible, you will uncover the wild medicine of your soul, the gift to the world that you came here to be, you’ll create the potent ways to administer this medicine by your own unique embodiment, in alignment with divine archetypal energies. You’ll be liberated to become the fullest expression of your soul, giving your deepest gift in service to the world. In material terms this means you become available for an abundance of connection, impact and wealth and anything else that your soul desires to flow. You can discover more and arrange a call with one of us to explore whether this is indeed aligned for you by going to primal

Lian  And now on to this week’s show. It’s with Jody Day. Jody, known as the voice of the childless generation, less often but more memorably as the Beyoncé of childlessness is a 57-year-old psychotherapist and author and the founder of Gateway Women. Gateway Women is a global friendship and support network for childless women established since 2011, which have been featured regularly in the UK press and internationally such as France, Spain and Italy and more. She’s the author of the famous book Living the Life Unexpected. Aside from being a Tedx speaker, global thought leader on female involuntary childlessness, and a social entrepreneur, Jody was chosen by the BBC to be one of 100 women to celebrate 100 years of feminism. This year Jody was chosen on the Digital Women’s 40 Women to Watch and was nominated by the UK organisation Digital Women as a finalist as a Digital Role Model. In this show, we spoke about the archetype of the child free and childless woman. Why this archetype is so dismissed and demonised and the hidden feminine power held there that’s actually available to all women. And it’s the medicine the planet really needs right now. Let’s dive in. Hello, Jody, welcome to the show.

Jody:   Hello, it’s lovely to be here.

Lian:  It already feels like we’re old friends just catching up over a cup of tea. I love conversations like this, easy, enjoyable. Before we even started recording, I will say to you I’m just getting goosebumps and chills as you’re talking. I’m going to share this because it links to a previous show that we’ve had. You said that your friend is Dutch and they call them truth bumps. And I just recently discovered that it’s like scientifically shown that there is a kind of indication of truth. So yeah, looks like you’re gonna be dropping some truth bombs on the show! So we were talking about how to begin the show on what already I can see from the very great conversation we had about it has relevance to so much more of our culture than I first realised. I trusted there was a reason that we need you on the show and this is so much bigger than I’d first seen. Before we dive into what now is obviously such a big topic I’d love just to understand your story. What’s led you here to be doing this incredibly needed work.

Jody:   Thank you. I think like for many of us, the door was pain, my own pain. I really wanted to be a mother and tried to become a mother in my marriage, a long time ago, I struggled with something called unexplained infertility, and my marriage broke down in my late 30s. I hoped to meet someone else. Still do IVF. I thought it was a magic bullet. I had no idea it actually failed 75% of the time. But I never got to that point in either of my post-divorce relationships. So at 44 and a half, halves matter when you’re counting down on your fertility clock, when I realised it was kind of game over. The options like having a baby by myself, adoption, were not possible for me as a single, self-employed non-home-owning person.

Jody: So I had to face up to the fact that my childlessness was not a temporary stop on the path to eventual motherhood but was actually my final destination. And I fell into the most enormous pit of grief. But I didn’t know it was grief and neither did the therapists or the doctors or the specialist that I saw. Neither did Dr. Google. No one knew that what I was experiencing was grief because it’s a form of grief called disenfranchised grief ie it’s a grief which is not a socially acceptable experience or to talk about and about which there is no empathy. There are other forms of disenfranchised grief but childlessness is a very very big and growing one.

Lian:  To illuminate that more because you say this is something that is misunderstood, dismissed. How was that showing up for you? What kind of symptoms, as it were, that you..?

Jody:   I was in a great big stress, and I hadn’t had an easy ride in life. So I’d been used to hitting bumps in the road. One of the reasons my marriage broke down was because my then-husband had serious addiction issues. And I came from a very broken childhood. So I’d already dealt with quite a lot. And yet my techniques for trying to pull myself out of the hole I was in, none of them worked. My personality was changing. I was also going into the peri-menopause but that’s another big thing we don’t understand enough.

Jody: What was really difficult is that, I couldn’t understand it myself, but when I would try to talk about distress to anyone, to friends, to family, people would say to me, basically, they would invalidate my feelings, they would say things like ‘Maybe you didn’t really want them’ and ‘Oh well, maybe it’s for the best,’ or ‘Perhaps you weren’t meant to be a mother,’ or ‘Children aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, why don’t you have one of mine?!’ or, ‘Gosh, well you get to sleep in and travel,’ all of these kinds of extraordinary statements, which we call bingos, which are remarkably consistent across cultures and childless women’s experience. I mean, can you imagine saying to someone whose parents just died ‘Well, nevermind, you know, you probably didn’t really love them.’

Jody: It’s these kind of extraordinary statements, often they begin with the words ‘at least,’ which as Brené Brown says, whatever comes up after the two words ‘at least’ you can ignore, it’s not going to be empathy.  So this I began to realise after a while, nobody would let me talk about my childlessness. I looked young for my age. So people would kind of offer extraordinary solutions, medical solutions, but nobody would let me talk about the fact that that was all in my past.

Jody:   I was now coming to terms with my childlessness. And so I gave up trying to talk about it and I started writing about it, on a blog called Gateway Women over a decade ago now. I’m now the world thought leader and expert on the topic. But it is extraordinary to have your grief invalidated by others, because grief is a social emotion, it transforms, its healing energy is transformed by being in community with others who understand. In my book, I write about disenfranchised grief being a little bit like unrequited love. You know, it’s unrequited grief. You’re not allowed. to talk about it and people shame you for experiencing it. It means that the grief can’t heal your heart.

Lian:  Yes, my goodness. I think generally we have a real disconnection with grief culturally anyway, but then when the lens is then shone into an area where it’s just not even recognised that we should be grieving, my goodness, that distortion must be just… like you say it can be so healing, so connecting, so transformative, but if you aren’t even able to journey through it in that way, how can it be?

Jody:   And if you don’t even know you’re experiencing it. I was in the second year of my therapy training when we did a training on bereavement. We were learning about this grief model, the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief model, and I was thinking this feels awfully familiar. I went home that evening and I was mapping out my experience of childlessness against these things I was learning about, and I was like, I’m grieving, my god, I’m grieving, that’s what this is. And it was the first time I had realised it. A lot of childless people first realise and discover their grieving through my work because for a decade now, I have been banging this drum. And I agree, we live in a very grief-phobic, grief-illiterate culture. Grief is actually the engine of change, because everything that changes involves a side order of loss. Even change we want in our life, in order to have that change, something has to be let go of. The emotion that enables us to let go is grief. By being incompetent at grief, because it’s a skill, we’re stuck. So actually, I’m a big advocate for grief. It’s not fun at all, healing hurts. But it transforms lives if it’s allowed to be supported in community.

Lian:  It sounds like we could probably do a whole show on grief and I know we need to move on. But yeah, just so much truth in what you’ve just said there.

Jody:  If your listeners would like to learn more about what disenfranchised grief is, I gave a lecture at York University early 2021. Go to York University Grief Project, they’re doing an extraordinary project on grief. I gave a lecture on ‘The disenfranchised of involuntary childlessness.‘ So I put everything I knew in it, and it’s 45 minutes long, and it’s all there if you’d like to watch it.

Lian:  Oh, wonderful. Thank you. I feel like I’m just emotionally all there at the moment. So I’m kind of trying to bring myself back to the wider topic that we’re talking about. I just feel like right now my heart is wide open to you, my goodness. It’s baffling me that people would even say the things you said are kind of like that bingo. I completely believe you, I think a lot of this is done out of innocence and awkwardness. But you know, that’s why conversations like this are necessary so that people can know better and do better.

Jody:   The numbers are so huge  and rising . Something I’ve been saying to people over the last couple of years. Well, a little bit before that because I haven’t really met anyone in the last couple of years is, you know, someone who’s maybe not connected to my work, so isn’t a childless woman. And they’ll say, Oh, what do you do? And I tell them and they’ll kind of give me that look. And then I go you probably know someone impacted by this issue. You know, someone who wanted to have children and it didn’t work out for one reason or another. And they’ll think for a moment and nobody doesn’t know someone. It’s a colleague at work, it’s a granddaughter, a daughter, son-in-law, neighbour. It’s a couple who’ve been struggling to conceive for a long time. It’s someone who would love to be in a partnership to be in a position to try for a baby and that’s just not happening for them. Everyone knows someone.

Jody: Currently it’s one in five women in the UK are reaching midlife without having had children. Only 10% of those chose that. That’s 90% of women who don’t have children are childless not by choice. And that number is going to go up, the number of people without children it’s going to accelerate rapidly in the UK over the next decade, possibly until it is as high as one in three, as it is in Germany and Japan.

Lian:  Goodness. So it feels like exploring what’s at play there would be really helpful. Something I want to ask you before we do so, how much of your work and the conversation we’re in is relevant to those who have chosen not to have children? Because I can imagine, whilst there’s clearly differences in experiences, there’s going to be some commonalities too.

Jody:   Absolutely. My own journey is quite an interesting one in that arc because when I was a child, I didn’t think I wanted to have children, but that was actually a reflection of being very unhappy as a child and thinking that’s what families were. I then had an abortion when I was 20, I was in a long-term loving relationship and I was terrified. And I think I was absolutely right. I was still traumatised and unconscious from my childhood. Probably would have repeated the pattern of an unhappy mother as my mother and her mother before her. So when I got married at 26 I thought I didn’t want children and then I got used to being part of my then husband’s big loving family and I realised okay, maybe it could be something different. I tried to have children, and I wasn’t able to, grieved my childlesness, and now in my late 50s, 15 years on in that journey, I would say I feel as at peace with my childlessness as if I’d chosen it. So in a way I have within me, childfree and childless, which helped me to feel both sides.

Jody: But when you’re deep in your grief, as a childless woman, at that point, it can be quite difficult to feel the similarities with your child free sisters and actually some archetypal stuff is at play there because what is projected onto childfree women is that they are unnatural, cold, cruel by not wanting to be mothers. So I went through a period at the beginning of my childless grief where I was terrified that people would think I didn’t want to have children because they would think I was one of those. And then I came through it. I also met a lot of amazing childfree women, and realised when the rubber meets the road, that’s not true. And I’m sorry, I’ve also met mothers who are cold and unmaternal, it’s not necessarily about whether you have biological children or not. Giving birth is biological, parenting is psychological and also archetypal.

Lian: I’m glad I asked you that because I can feel so much of what you’re saying is not as clear-cut as it first seems. I think certainly some of the experiential aspects we mentioned before we started recording, like Christmas and being alone at Christmas, that’s going to be potentially the same whether you’re childfree or childless.

Jody:   It might be the same looking from the outside, but it feels very different, the interior reality, depending on where you are in your grief journey. Because I think if someone has chosen not to have children, and has made their choice quite young in life, and has kept making that choice, because that’s what we keep being asked to do – it’s not like a one-off – and they got to a point where that option has passed and they are at peace. They have been creating the life they wanted their whole adult life. They’ve got a lot of deep experience in creating nurturing friendships and systems that support that way of life. A childless woman at the same age, let’s say 45 or 40, may have spent her 20s and 30s either trying to partner and then hopefully have children, or be infertile or there are many, many other reasons. So they may be at a situation where they’re just now faced with trying to construct a life and a holiday season and a friendship group, but not around children, being a parent, which usually all of their friends are.

Jody: So actually as a childless woman, I’ve learned a lot from childfree women’s writings. Because when I was first looking for role models, I couldn’t find anyone apart from women in the child-free community, because they examine it more deeply or thoroughly from an earlier age. They are also supported in feminist literature, feminism has completely dumped the childless woman, she’s not interested. There’s nothing about involuntary childlessness within the feminist discourse, it’s about motherhood, choosing motherhood, postponing motherhood, not choosing motherhood, but not getting motherhood when that was your dream? That once again, it’s in that big cultural blind spot that exists everywhere, including in the therapy profession, and within the academic feminist discourse.

Lian:  Wow, and such a big blind spot as well. So what do you see at play in creating this, in such a huge degree, and also, as you say, if you see it’s going to increase, what’s happening there?

Jody:   What’s happening in terms of the increase of the numbers?

Lian: Yes.

Jody: That’s complicated. A lot of it is to do with systemic factors that are interlocking. So there is increasing infertility within couples and within male sperm declining in quality, but probably the biggest thing is the structural things within society that are making it difficult for people to settle down and have children sooner. Also the lack of education within schools about male and female fertility. We were so strongly taught about how not to get pregnant. We were not taught, for example, that male fertility declines at almost exactly the same age and rate as female fertility.

Lian:  Really?

Jody:   Yes, people like Rod Stewart, they are outliers, there will always be people who do. A lot of men who are hopeful of conceiving, their female partners may be able to conceive in their 40s, lets say they are in their 50s, but once they are past 35-40 chromosomal abnormalities within sperm keep increasing, which means the chance of miscarriage gets higher and so yes, it may be possible to get your female partner pregnant, but the likelihood of a healthy live birth goes down. But men don’t realise that. So they often think they’ve got all the time in the world to sort of put it off, but unless their partner is you know, 15-20 years younger than that and so doesn’t have any chromosomal abnormalities in her eggs, it’s going to get harder and harder. It’s a real shame that men or boys aren’t more educated on this because that’s really helped them make decisions in their 30s about when they want to start a family.

Lian:  Yeah, Goodness me. That’s been quite a shock to me too. So we talked before we started recording about this being, I’m going to kind of name it but I’m not putting words in your mouth, you didn’t say exactly like this, but almost like this isn’t an accident. You know? We spoke about this kind of pedestalisation, glorification of the mother archetype meanwhile there’s dismissing and demonisation of women without children. And it’s clear, women aren’t benefiting from that. But it seems from what you’re describing, I’m not saying this is like a conscious conspiracy, but someone is benefiting, some system is benefiting from that creation. I’d love to hear you say more about that.

Jody:   I’m going to use the p word, I’m going to use the patriarchy word, which is a big word and it’s a turn-off for a lot of people, ok well what is that? Patriarchy is just the name of the ideology under which human societies are currently constructed. It means in Latin ‘rule of the father’ and what it means is that the systems currently in place, what is acceptable, privileges the experiences and needs of men over the needs of women. (And it doesn’t mean all men – you know, when in patriarchy and all women lose under it. It’s a very subtle system.) And if people tell me ‘Well, ideology, I don’t know, what do I have to do with it?!’ Well, it’s kind of like asking a fish ‘How’s the water?’ The fish would say ‘What’s water?’ Patriarchy is the ideology that underpins every mental construct, every belief system that we are currently a part of. So it’s not really as you say, it’s not a conspiracy by the men. It is a system that underpins everything.

Jody:   This is a fairly recent sort of knowing, but I have a feeling one of the reasons childless women are so shamed is because I think there’s actually in the collective unconscious, there is a deep fear of childless women. I think this comes from our deep drive, when in order for a tribe to be successful, it needed to grow its numbers. The way you grow your numbers is by women and children, and those children surviving – which was much much harder in the old times. So a very fertile woman was to be valued. And if a woman couldn’t have children, that was actually a really big problem for the tribe, so there was a fear of the childless woman. She was often pushed to the edge of the group, of the community. If she didn’t have children, sometimes she had the time to invest in learning. So she often became the midwife, the healer, herbalist, shaman, so she became both feared and revered, and in there, you can perhaps see the beginning of the constellation of the archetype the witch, which is also a very, very strong archetype around childless women. One of the things that’s in the archetype of the witch is that they eat children. You’ve only got to think about sort of Hansel and Gretel and it’s almost kind of child cannibalism.

Lian:  Totally. I was just thinking of the myth of Baba Yaga, which I just recently read out to my women’s circle. But I’m sure she actually says in there something like ‘I’ll eat your child.’

Jody:  So there is this kind of thing that they are a threat to children, as well as being childless themselves. We have this deep unconscious fear of the childless woman allied to, you can imagine it doesn’t really serve the patriarchy, a man needs children to inherit his line. So once we’ve had the beginnings of farming, of beginning to own property, it became important for men to know and control fertility. They needed to know whose children were theirs, so who would own their property. There’s a big shift between matrilineal and patriarchy, which started about two thousand years ago.

Jody:  Now, if a woman doesn’t have children by choice, childfree, or childlessness chooses her once she gets beyond a certain age of potential fertility, unless she’s perhaps bringing up someone else’s children, being a childless stepmother is also quite tough, look at Snow White, she becomes of no further use to the patriarchal project. So that’s the way you get that real shaming of the middle-aged older, childless woman.

Jody:   But I think if you turn this all on its head and you look at what is contained, let’s take the word spinster, for example. That’s a very powerful archetype, usually a single childless, older woman. It’s shaming, it’s lonely, it’s stigmatised, no one chose her. It’s full of horrible, it’s not a word anyone wants to have a bite of. If we turn it around and we look at that, imagine what is the light side of that archetype? Ok so she’s free, she’s educated, she’s economically independent. She’s creative. She’s nurturing. She’s fun. She’s well-travelled. You start to realise that actually, she’s involved in her community. She’s got lots of friends. She has god-children and people around her. You begin to realise that actually, maybe she is not only incredibly cool, but very powerful. Now if you imagine a whole group of women, say one in five women in the UK, middle-aged, no children, and instead of staying at home feeling shamed, alone, stigmatised, they actually realise: free, powerful. Can you imagine what would happen if that many women realised that they were free and powerful, what that would do to the status quo?

Lian:  Wow. Goodness me.

Jody:  It would collapse! So there is a lot invested in keeping childless women feeling shit about themselves because if they were to realise their power and come together to celebrate that power and do wonderful things with it, like help the planet, over take parliament, whatever is necessary to get things changed. So there is a lot at stake when a childless woman, like myself, sticks her head above the parapet and says, maybe I’m going to be ok and maybe I can do other things with my life with my mother’s heart. Maybe there are other things I can nurture. Maybe, I’m still a powerful person, I’m not a mother, but maybe I can be powerful in other ways, which are not socially acceptable. Like being a career woman. Like I love this ‘career woman,’ who are these career women, I don’t know any! I know people with jobs. We don’t say ‘career man,’ we only say ‘career women’ because it’s an archetype for ball-breaking, unfeminine, ambitious, cold woman. The culture is not comfortable with powerful.

Lian:  Wow, wow. There’s so much here that I see there’s this archetype and the way that it’s been pushed into shadow and only viewed in this way. There’s power to be reclaimed, there’s power that’s there actually for all women.

Jody:   Mothers as well. Because within the mother archetype, what has been over-valorised is the light side of the archetype, the selflessness, the nurturing, the giving, all of these qualities. These are the ones that are raised as a way to say, well, that’s your job. But we don’t want you doing anything else with all of this power. You have one role in life and you know, once you’ve done that, then I would like you to become ‘grandmother.’ In terms of ageing as a childless woman, how does one age with power, passion and consciousness and purpose as a childless woman in a culture that only has one positive word for an older woman, one, grandmother. There isn’t a single other positive word. The others are all insults. But that’s also really pigeon-holing women into their reproductive status. It’s like yes, you can have power as a mother just don’t stray too far. You know, just make sure you colour inside the edges.

Lian: That’s what I really felt. I felt there was this like the same stream of feminine power that’s held over there. That’s held over here, if we’re looking at the mother archetype. In both places, it’s been shoved out of sight.

Jody:   Divide and Conquer does work rather well.

Lian:  It does.

Jody:   The conversation we’re having between the mother and childless woman is one that is a very powerful one, because this too has been stigmatised. People say oh, they’re too difficult. This kind of bridge-building conversation is important because I think a lot of childless women struggle, particularly whilst they’re grieving with their peers who become mothers, and a lot of mothers struggle with their childless friends around that when their life is being turned upside down, and their priorities are being re-organised. And they don’t really understand what’s happening with their childless friend.

Jody:   It becomes what I call the baby elephant in the room. Those women can no longer have a really proper conversation about what’s happening in the relationship. It’s almost like there’s no language to have that conversation, because grief isn’t understood, that the childless woman maybe grieving and pressing her nose against the window of the life that she’s been yearning for. Whilst her friend is having that but also finding it hard. And yet she can’t talk to her childless friend about that because she’d love to have those problems. And the whole thing gets very crunchy, and a lot of those relationships just crumble and they are so precious. Because I know from my friends who are mums, the relationships that survive what I call the friendship apocalypse of childlessness is that their children really value and they really value having women role models in their lives childless or child free who aren’t mums, who show them a different way to be a woman, who are interested in different things. And they value it too because from what I understand, you know, when you’re a mum, a lot of your friendships come with your children. And the conversations come with that. Sometimes to have friends where their life isn’t constellated around parenting can be a real breath of fresh air for the mums involved too.

Lian:  Wow. It’s like every pocket of this conversation. I’m like, oh my goodness, there’s so much gold there. I’m trying to keep an eye on time because I want to make sure we explore this in terms of what’s the wider, deeper pattern at play, but also wanting to make this a helpful, practical conversation as well for the people who really need that. So I’m keeping an eye on the time because my own passion is sort of like dive into this in terms of the energetics and the archetypes but I think actually, what feels most serving now is to look at what you feel are helpful next steps, ways to bridge those gaps to great conversations that allow for the understanding, the healing, the transformation that you talked about in terms of grief. That’s a lot of questions, but I trust you’re going to be able to handle it! What would you suggest to someone listening to this that feels like she’s talking to me, at last someone’s talking about me and to me? What would you say?

Jody:   If you are listening to me and someone who is childless, and that wasn’t the plan, first of all, I know how hard that is. I know that you probably either tried to talk to people about it, or maybe it’s a conversation you never quite formulated in your own mind. But my experience and the experience of 1000s of women I’ve worked with and conversed with is that you need to find your tribe. You need to find other conscious childless women to connect with. Because maybe you know childless women in your circle, but they don’t want to talk about it or they seem to be okay. Or they’re actively okay with it because they are childfree. You need to find other women who are currently processing this loss and moving through it to create a new dream for their lives. A new place to kind of invest that love that you would have given to your children. So I would recommend that you seek out a community, Gateway Women is one of those communities and there are others. And you know, this is not a shameless plug, I have written the book on the topic which may just help you, Living the Life Unexpected.

Jody:   Now if you are a parent and you’re listening to this, and you’re starting to think about some of the difficult non-conversations that have been going on, perhaps between you and some of your friends without children and that you got to a bit of a stalemate on, I would encourage you to perhaps read my book or watch my TED talk, it’s only 18 minutes of your time. It’s called ‘The Lost Tribe of Childless Women’. I wrote that talk specifically for people who are not childless to help understand us. It’s like an anthropologist’s talk saying, this is the tribe, this is what they’re like. And then maybe try and have a conversation with your childless friend where you see what it’s like for them, to have a really courageous conversation.

Jody: One of the difficulties is that we live in a pronatalist culture, a culture which values parenthood above non-parenthood, values the needs of parents over the needs of people without children, we see it in the workplace we see it in hashtag ‘as a mother.’ As if having children suddenly makes you a bigger authority on everything, not just your own children. No one says ‘as a childless woman’ and no advertising campaigns start with that because it’s a devalued, stigmatised identity.

Jody: Try and work out, rather like as in anti-racism work and anti-homophobia work, try taking a look at your blind spots, and actually educating yourself by looking at websites and reading books, and learning about the experience of childless people because we are hidden from the mainstream. So it’s not your fault that you don’t understand us, because the culture colludes in that but you can educate yourself and therefore, you can actually offer a bridge to childless and childfree people. I think this is a really important piece of healing for our times. I also think it’s an example of many other pieces of healing that have been done in our culture right now; I think our inability to understand and tolerate difference is at the core of many issues that we’re facing in society. This is what it means to be human.

Lian:  Thank you so much.  I’m going to go watch your TED Talk for sure. This has been amazing Jody.  This has gone into areas that I really was not expecting. When Sara suggested you for the show, I had a feeling like, yes, this makes sense. But I didn’t know why it made sense and now it does. So thank you so much for this conversation, but just for the work you do, who you are in the world.

Jody:   Thank you. I would say right back atcha. Thank you for being such an open and curious listener and traveller.

Lian:  Thank you so much. I know you’ve already mentioned some of the amazing resources and creations you have out there. But if listeners do want to find out more about anything that you’re offering, is there anything else you’d say in terms of like, oh, go here or go there that you’ve not already mentioned or do feel free to mention your work again.

Jody:   Go to the website, and if you’re listening to this, over the holiday season, we are running lots of free events and webinars and cafes, things like that to support each other through the season. We also have a thriving range of sub-communities within our community. So we have a group for women who are unpartnered, we have a Women of Colour group and an LGBTQIA+ group. Childlessness is an intersectional issue, it doesn’t just affect white, middle class, middle-aged women, and Gateway Women really tries to represent that. If you want to find out resources for childless men, can I recommend the Clan of Brothers Facebook group and you’ll also find a whole section of resources for childless men on the Gateway Women website.

Lian:  Wonderful. Oh my goodness, thank you so much, Jody. Thank you.

Jody:   Thank you.

Lian:  Wow, what a thought-provoking and moving episode. Here are my takeaways: Jody’s explanation of the grief of childless women and how unseen it is really hit me. Grief is a potent alchemical force already so misunderstood in our culture. And it seems to me even more so in this area, and one that effects so many of us in our world. The archetype of the childless or child free woman is so often seen only through the lens of the shadow. When we look at the light aspects of her, we see the incredible power that can be reclaimed for her good but also for the good of us all. This is wisdom, love and energy that is so needed right now. I really agree with Jody that it’s our lack of understanding, and fear of differences that are at the heart of so many of our issues and our culture. With love and willingness to understand the experience of others, we can begin to bridge that gap.

Lian: If you’d like to get the notes and links for everything we spoke about this week, including resources that Jody offers, pop over to the show notes there at 347 And if you are feeling the call to waking the wild medicine, go along to To find out more and arrange your call with one of us now. And if you don’t want to miss out on next week’s episode, head on over to Apple podcasts or your App of choice and subscribe. Thank you again for listening. Catch you again next Tuesday.

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