Cheers, dear readers,
I am so proud and happy to share with you that a member of a community that I am involved with – The Global Sisterhood – has had the opportunity to give a TedX Talk surrounding women’s struggle around childlessness and motherhood. I have watched Jody Day’s outstanding presentation video three times now, and I am blown away by her courage, her candor, and how beautifully and eloquently she discusses such a sensitive and often overlooked topic: The Lost Tribe of Childless Women.
I think the way Jody speaks about all of these sensitive and often ignored or “brushed under the rug” topics is absolutely BRILLIANT! It is so fascinating how she echoes many of my own experiences and thoughts helping illustrate the similarity of the nuances, feelings, and thoughts of other woman who experience childlessness, whether by choice, medical reasons, or circumstance.
Jody touches on a vast number of topics in a short amount of time. She shares the sobering statistic that 1 in 5 women such as Jody born in the 1960s turned age 45 without having had children. That’s double our mother’s generation. These numbers are even up to 1 in 3 in Germany and Japan! Wow! Of childless women, about 10% are childless by choice, another 10% are childless due to medical reasons such as infertility and subsequent IVF treatment, and up to 80% are childless due to circumstance – such as not finding a suitable partner during a woman’s most fertile years.
Jody speaks beautifully about how childlessness is a form of disenfranchised grief – a grief that we’re not allowed to experience or talk about. She discusses how those without children will never be part of the community of mothers that surrounds us, and even will “never be considered a women in the eyes of a society that equates motherhood with womanhood.” That feels pretty ouch-y I can tell you firsthand.
Our very real losses – losses that can “make you weep for years” – may be invisible to society, but Jody shares that she “is astonished that she survived the initiation right it took to join this tribe.” She goes on to notice society’s “refusal to accept the reality of our situation and the pain that we are in. The unspoken message that we hear is ‘will you please shut up about your childlessness and go away and fix it!’ Well some things aren’t fixable. In our society we are really uncomfortable with unfixable things. We prefer to believe that if you have enough data, make smart decisions, throw enough money at it, and have a really positive attitude, anything is possible.”
Jody touches so beautifully on grief:
“We are a grief-phobic society. We see grief as something awkward and self-indulgent to be gotten over as quickly as possible. But grief is an emotion is that enables us to deal with devastating loss and irrevocable change.”
Without further ado, if you have 17 minutes to spare, here is the video of the TedX Talk:
Jody, thank you so much for capturing our stories, our views, our pain, and our grief in a way that speaks not only to MY heart, but I hope many others as well. I hope this TedX Talk helps shine a much needed light on a forgotten and often ignored topic in the human experience, and one that is only going to grow over time. As a friend said in our Global Sisterhood community and I can’t say any better: “Thank you Jody Day for your intelligence, wit and pioneering advocacy. Gratitude and respect!”
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. I wish you the best on your journey.