The wonderful human, Buddha, friend, actor Tanya Moodie took this picture of me tonight at Women’s Equality Party conference open mic (and I had to wait until almost the very end to get to speak, which gave me an amazing chance to listen to so many wonderful women) – but it captures something really important to me.
I hadn’t planned to say anything tonight, I’m presenting about the WEP Steering Committee with Chris Paouros on Sunday and will probably speak to one of the motions, so I was happy to listen, but I felt something welling up that I needed to say. To speak about the need to notice and include the childless women too, the women who did not get to have children and the women who did not want them, not to leave us out of the discourse of ‘women’ just because our lives are different to the norm. And we are very often left out, usually unintentionally, but all the same … in a culture which simultaneously denigrates and lauds mothers and mothering – constantly – we are always othered.
I’ve written loads more about my experience of cancer-related infertility if you’re interested.
It welled up so big I needed to say it, even though talking publicly about the infertility stuff is harder for me than pretty much any of the other speaking I do. But I’ve been working on listening to my body more, and Tanya’s pic so clearly shows it – one hand on my heart, one on my childless uterus.
Good work, body.
Stella, your pain is reflected in many childless women, you speak to our hearts. Thank you for responding to your welling up.
yes!! Some of us are childfree by choice, but so often, not least due to ads targeted at me, I feel like woman = mother. All of my friends my age have young children and I’m cool with that, but I do feel left out, like those of us without children still have struggles, especially if we have chronic illnesses, but it’s like we don’t exist
thank you Jakki and Jen, very grateful.
This reminds me of WiP discussions – of the issues childless women face not being acknowledged – such a difficult and emotional subject.
Much love, Stella. Your honesty and openness is humbling and unbelievably touching and I’m sure many women in the same situation will take comfort from what you say. Thanks again for sharing xxx
thank you Ann. x