There is so much systemic prejudice towards childless women ingrained in our society today that stem from ancient patriarchal and pronatalist views and government policy.  Most of us don’t even realize the extent.  I didn’t realize it and received a bit of an awakening right on the show. 

Jody Day, the “mother” of the childless woman movement, joined me on this episode to share her story and why she started Gateway Women.  Her own need for community and support led to a network for childless women, a book, two Tedx talks and countless other accomplishments in the childless space.  

Here are some of the highlights:

14:05 – Jody’s network, Gateway Women, represents a threshold between one stage of life and the next

19:26 – the shift of the male gaze and the expectation of childless women to be fitter, better-looking, and slimmer than women who’ve had children, as if the aging process doesn’t apply to us.   

24:52 – the systemic issues underpinning the experience we have as childless women resulting from pronatalism

30:55 – unpicking our own desires versus the pronatalist agenda and how it influences the choices we make

37:56 – the identities linked to motherhood to which we’ve tied our value

43:53 – the shame based identities of childless women and the fairy tales we get them from

49:56  – the male model of fertility has dictated the template for women and the need for a new model.

54:51  – becoming a conscious childless elderwoman

55:59 – shame’s role in how we feel and how it’s used as a tool for social power

59:41 – the power of sharing your story to vanquish shame

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References from this episode:

Download a free chapter of Jody’s book: www.gateway-women.com/book

Jody’s Instagram account: @gatewaywomen

Jody’s conscious elderwoman account: @apprenticecrone

Facebook page: @gatewaywomenuk

David Kessler’ and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ work and website: The 5 Stages of Grief

Episode 66: Applying the 5 Stages of Grief to Childless Women


Sheri Johnson