1:5 women in the UK/USA, Canada & Australia are currently turning 45 without having had a child. Although some are childfree by choice, many others are childless-by-circumstance and are struggling in a life they didn’t expect and for which there are no roadmaps. Most people think that women without children either ‘couldn’t’ or ‘didn’t want’ to be mothers. The truth is much more complex.
A mixture of autobiography, social history and self-help, "Rocking the Life Unexpected" is a book that blends the personal, the political and the practical to support childless-by-circumstance women to move forward with their lives. Its British author, Jody Day, is the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless-by-circumstance women.
Reading this book feels like sitting on the couch with a good friend, a bottle of wine, and a box of Kleenex. Yes, there'll be tears, but there'll be laughter and camaraderie, and at the end of the book, there'll be the feeling that it's all going to be okay in the end. Lisa Manterfield, author of the award-winning "I’m Taking my Eggs and Going Home" and the Founder of LifeWithoutBaby.com
Each of the 12 chapters has a specific focus and contains exercises to help you look at your personal situation. The book can be read alone or as part of an online or local Gateway Women reading group. Week by week, this book will guide you as you work through the distress, confusion and isolation of your situation and towards your very own Plan B for a meaningful and fulfilling life without children.
Now in her late 40s, Jody realised at the age of 43 that her quest to be a mother was finished. She presumed that she was through the toughest part but over the next couple of years was hit by waves of grief, despair and isolation. At times her reality felt almost unendurable, as was the way that her situation was trivialised by others. She looked in vain for recognition and support amongst her dwindling peer group, the therapeutic profession and online, but found nothing except childfree sites, some of which disturbed her deeply with their ‘anti-kids’ rhetoric.
Rocking the Life Unexpected shares what Jody learned as she pulled herself from the pit of despair she found herself in and how she found a way to make her life feel meaningful again.
It is unlike any other book about childlessness because of its three-tiered approach:
· Personal: Jody’s own story of how she came to be a childless-by-circumstance woman through a combination of childhood issues, ambivalence, unexplained infertility, divorce and subsequent social infertility - at a time when it is still a taboo to be open about this. Most people refuse to acknowledge the stigma that surrounds childlessness, yet childless women experience it regularly from their friends, family, peers, colleagues and in the culture;
· Political: how the women experiencing involuntary childlessness today are part of the ‘shock absorber generation for the sexual revolution’ and why motherhood (or not) has become such a hot button issue – and what we can do to increase societal understanding and create a more progressive and positive debate.
· Practical: what childless women can do to themselves to recover from the pain, isolation and devastation of not becoming mothers, and how to move on and create a Plan B that is more than just a booby prize!
As Jody says: These days, I love my life again. If I had my time over, I’d still wish to be a mother, but these days I’m genuinely fine with the way things have turned out. I find I’m able to enjoy the advantages of not being a mother, take pleasure in being around other people’s children without dying inside, and really look forward to my future again. I call that having a Plan B and this book is going to help you start moving towards yours.
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