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Posts Tagged ‘childless’

This week is World Childless Week. You probably didn’t know that. You may not care. It’s World Childless Week because a childless woman called Stephanie Joy Phillips who possesses (it seems to me) endless energy and foresight, made it so! There is a week of activities – webinars, publicity, articles and blogs. If you are childless, or if you have relatives or friends or workmates or acquaintances who are childless, go and have a look at some of the topics they are covering this year – everything from men’s perspective, to the legacy we leave when we don’t have children, to the old perennial, guaranteed-to-raise-an-eyeroll “have you considered adoption?” You might not feel quite so alone. You might learn something. Or it might give you insight into the lives of those who don’t have children, but had once hoped to do so. Maybe you’ll change the way you see them, question your assumptions or unintentional judgements, and maybe you’ll change the questions you ask or the way you talk to or interact with them in the future.

I have two pieces featured on their website – the first is here, and the second is to come on in a day or so (which I’ll link here too), along with my I am me picture.

I’ve been very torn about how much to publicise this. I’m being more active than usual on my No Kidding blog, because I know how important this is to the no kidding community, how it helps so many newly no kidding people who think they’re alone and that no-one understands, and how it helps us decide what is important. But talking amongst ourselves isn’t enough. Educating the rest of society is important, and that’s why I’m posting here, today, and have written about this before, most recently in April here. The more we understand about all our differences, the kinder we can be to both groups, and the more we will ALL benefit.

The reason I am torn though, is because I am much more than my childlessness. I don’t want it to be the first thing people think about me, and I don’t want it to consume my life. But I do want it to be recognised. It’s finding the balance which is always tricky. So I write here, because the people who read are interested in more than just a meme. But I’m torn over posting on social media (except my nokiddinginnz instagram page), because a meme becomes a label. And labels are complicated. I don’t like childless, for example, but use it sometimes in the absence of anything else. It’s the LESS part I don’t like. Equally, childFREE is relevant at times, but definitely not always. I guess we’re all much more than one label – my friends who are mothers are not only mothers. They are smart, and creative, and motivated, and ambassadorial, and managerial, and dedicated, and interesting, and funny, and much much more.

So I’m still figuring out where I’ll share this. In the meantime, I’ve included a photo (meme? heaven forbid!) that is essentially a brief version of the 100 things about me that I wrote seven years ago. (I updated it on my other blog in 2019, but this reminds me to do it here too.) Not having kids, and the work I do in that community, features in these lists, but in no way dominates. That’s the way I like it.

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I woke up on Saturday morning with a feeling of dread; an article I had been interviewed for was due out in the newspaper’s weekend magazine, complete with photographs and a video. My husband received a text early complimenting me on my comments, and so with that I knew I couldn’t go back to sleep for an extra hour, and went online to see the article.

The article is about the stigma society still places on women without children, and indicative of this is the fact that I was the only childless woman (rather than an academic or counsellor) who agreed not to be anonymous, and to be photographed for the article. My part of the article comes at the end, where I talk about how stressful holidays like Christmas (fortunately I didn’t get started on Mother’s Day) can be for women without children. There are so many clichés people roll out around Christmas/holidays that can be painful and dismissive, or nosy and judgemental, that I hope one or two who read the article might think before they speak around those who don’t and won’t have children.

In the interview, I stressed too that the isolation women without children might feel makes us much more aware of the many other people in society who might feel alone at this time of year, but it didn’t make the edit. So I want to mention it here, to remind us all to try and include, and be thoughtful around, those who might be feeling alone or left out or just plain sad this year. Being Merry isn’t compulsory, but being kind definitely should be.

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