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The week even ends with the annual hopefest that is The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia, an entire exhibition hall filled with stands from fertility clinics and associated industries looking to ‘educate’ (sell to) potential new ‘parents’ (customers).
A full and meaningful life as a woman who wanted children and it didn’t work out? Which is one of the reasons that I now curate a Gallery of Childless & Childfree Role Models on Pinterest.
I realised how babymania had been what sustained me through the endless hope/despair cycle of internet dating and once that was gone, so was my appetite for internet dating.
I dipped my toe back in the water early this year for a few months but I was relieved when my ‘three month trial’ was up.
We know you’re only trying to help, we know you mean well.
But please stop and actually start treating us like grown-up women again, not an embarrassing problem to be fixed. She set up the Gateway Women friendship and support network in 2011 to support, inspire and empower childless women as they develop meaningful and fulfilling lives without children.
Yet, for some women this is not a situation they chose, but rather one that they’ve ended up in because they’ve made intelligent, honourable choices and behaved with decency and morality towards others.
Many of them have cared for vulnerable family members through their fertile years, have refrained from getting pregnant ‘accidentally’ without a partner’s consent and have worked hard as members of their families, workplaces and communities and have contributed to society as taxpayers.Single-motherhood, unless you’re very well set up with a home, an income and solid support from friends and family can be one-way ticket to depression, isolation and poverty.And without those things in place, you’re also ineligible to adopt or foster, although that doesn’t stop everyone suggesting it, like it’s never occurred to us!The fact of having never been married or in the kind of long-term partnership in which the opportunity to try for a baby arose, seems to be a their stories because they don’t feel ‘entitled’ to their pain, grief and despair compared to those women who’ve suffered miscarriages, failed to conceive or who have experienced unsuccessful IVF.There is sometimes a sense of deep unworthiness, of being right at the bottom of some invisible pecking order of childless women and not quite ‘full members’ of the childless club, and so therefore not quite due Whereas just a generation ago, being an unmarried mother was to be the social outcast, now it’s the single, childless woman over 40 who carries the weight of shame.Friends and family tell their single friends to just ‘get out there’ and suggest ever more and more bizarre (and undignified) suggestions of how to meet a partner (things that they would never dream of doing) without realising that they’ve tried it all.