30 November, 2017

Defining myself

I've been thinking a bit lately about how weird it is that my name will soon once again be used to represent the opinions of women without children. Yet being a woman without children is only a small part of my life. Sure, I write about it because it is an area I have some expertise - both of my own feelings but the feelings of many other women who have either been through loss or have been unable to have children at all. It helps people, and I feel useful. After all, what a waste to have all that knowledge that could help someone, or could help others understand people in their lives without children, and not use it!

But I don't define myself as a woman who doesn't have children. After all, simply the language we have to use to describe that situation - a woman without children - relates back to the thing we don't have, and implies either loss or lack. For many of us, at some stage of our journey, there is loss and lack. But for most of us, in time and as we learn to embrace our lives without children, to reclaim our lives, we are happy, busy, and content. Normal!

So I prefer to define myself in many other ways. I am a family member and friend and neighbour, a carer, a traveller, a writer, a counsellor, a feminist, a when-I-can-be-bothered cook, a very amateur but enthusiastic photographer, and so many other things. In fact, about five years ago I wrote a post listing 100 things I am, rather than focusing on what I am not. It's worth reminding myself of that again. And reminding anyone else who visits that we are all so much more.


  1. I think it is fantastic that you are doing this. I think the "woman without child" as identity is probably carried over from the "mother as sole identity" trend we see a lot. Yes, being a mother is intensive and can feel all-consuming, especially in the early months, but it should never be the only way a person thinks about herself or how she is viewed by others; we're all multi-faceted individuals. But I think there's a tendency to subsume everything else beneath the mother layer and then to impose that same hierarchy on women who do not have children (by making the absence of children somehow the most important thing about them). It's frustrating and unhealthy for everyone.

    I'm so glad you're speaking up! I hope you are happy with the final result.

  2. All of us women are more (far more) than our children, or lack thereof. But I am glad you are speaking up about this particular aspect of your life to support & encourage others who are having a hard time with it. <3