‘The Childless Menopause’, still the missing story on #WorldMenopauseDay #IncludeMyMenopause


Back in 2014 I wrote a blog called ‘The Childless Menopause’ here on the Gateway Women website that got a LOT of comments. It seems that I’d hit a nerve in being open (who me?!) about something many of us were experiencing (or would experience in the future) and yet which nobody was talking about – what it’s like for those of us who are childless to make sense of our menopause when all of the available literature, support and messaging seemed to presume that everyone experiencing menopause was also a mother (and a white, middle-class, well-resourced, heterosexual and partnered one too…)
Things have improved slightly since then in that I was asked to contribute two interviews over the last couple of years to mainstream books about the menopause: 2020’s Still Hot: 42 Brilliantly Honest Menopause Stories by Kaye Adams and Vicky Allen, and October 2021’s Cracking the Menopause: While Keeping Yourself Together by Mariella Frostrup and Alice Smellie.

However childless women are still very much a footnote to the mainstream menopause narrative, which can feel like the ‘motherpause’ sometimes! That’s why the hashtag #IncludeMyMenopause is one we can very much get behind. 

Of the two books above, I found ‘Still Hot‘ to be the more inclusive, as it lets the stories speak for themselves, and includes 5 childless/childfree women (including myself and Yvonne John, Gateway Women workshop facilitator and the UK’s leading voice on the experience of black childless women), whereas ‘Cracking the Menopause‘, whilst it’s a really comprehensive historical, social and medical guide to menopause, centers on Mariella Frostrup’s voice and experience as a working mother, and the other interviews/voices (which are vignettes scattered throughout the book, including my own) can feel like a bit of an add-on (including the queer experience of menopause, another big omission in the mainstream menopause narrative).

The very best book I can recommend, which also came out recently, is What Fresh Hell: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You by Heather Corinna and, although it’s predominantly about the peri-menopause (yet another very underserved and misunderstood experience) it’s the funniest, most radically inclusive book I’ve ever read about the menopause with barely a mention of motherhood or children. I highly recommend it to all people who menopause.


Hosted by Jody Day (Ireland): Psychotherapist, author of ‘Living the Life Unexpected’ and founder of Gateway Women www.gateway-women.com Instagram @gatewaywomen and @ApprenticeCrone with:

  • Sarah Roberts (Brisbane): Counsellor, Founder of The Empty Cradle and a licensed Gateway Women Reignite Weekend facilitator for Australia/NZ (next one here). You can find her Instagram @theemptycradle
  • Anne Altamore (Melbourne) is a counsellor and founder of Life After IVF, a safe, healing space for all who have disembarked the fertility treatment roller coaster. She is currently completing her Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Her website is currently undergoing work and you can also contact her via LinkedIn and on Instagram @life_after_ivf_counselling
  • Yvonne John (UK) is the leading voice on the black experience of childlessness as well as an author, trainee therapist, Gateway Women’s Women of Colour’ group host, and a licensed Gateway Women Reignite Weekend facilitator (next one here). Yvonne’s website is Finding My Plan B and she’s on Instagram @y.vonnej
  • Karin Enfield (BNL) is a trainee grief counsellor and Gateway Women’s Operations Director and licenced Gateway Women Reignite Weekend facilitator (next one here). Karin is childless due to cervical cancer in her early thirties. She’s on Instagram @GatewayWomenBNL
  • Anne Barratt (Sydney): Transformational coach, trainee therapist, hypnotherapist, kinesiologist and holistic practitioner and founder of Empowering Health with a special interest in supporting those childless not by choice women through menopause. She’s on Instagram @empowering_health

Hosted by Jody Day (Ireland): Psychotherapist, author of ‘Living the Life Unexpected’ and founder of Gateway Women www.gateway-women.com Instagram @gatewaywomen and @ApprenticeCrone with:

  • Stella Duffy OBE (UK/NZ) is a novelist, theatremaker, queer activist, yogi, trainee therapist and doctoral candidate focusing on the embodied experience of postmenopausal women. You find Stella on Instagram @StellDuffy and read more about her work here.
  • Kate Pleace (UK) is a nurse practitioner consultant with a special interest in educating and supporting childless women through menopause and has personal experience of childlessness due to early menopause. She practices privately online here and can be found on Instagram @conceiveablefertilitysupport
  • Dinah Tobias (UK) is a trainer and coach working to help employers create menopause-inclusive workplaces through her consultancy Blooming Menopause.
  • SueYen Wan (UK) is a yoga teacher, speaker and writer who has created her online yoga platform TripleGoddessYoga with a particular focus on how yoga can support women through the menopause. You can find her on Instagram @triplegoddessyogasueyen
  • Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle (Canada) is a therapist working with childless clients and the founder of Femme Sans Enfant (in both French & English) and has written and spoken regularly about experiencing very early menopause as an adolescent. You can find her on Instagram @femmesansenfant

To sign up for future GW Masterclasses go to bit.ly/gw-masterclass


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