21 May, 2024

Monday Miscellaneous: No Kidding - Otherhood, and On the Road

The last week has been interesting in a No Kidding sense. We travelled on Mother's Day, and so had booked a restaurant for dinner for Sunday evening. Although there were lots of family groups, some of them multi-generational, there was nothing triggering there. We relaxed, relieved after hours on the road, and enjoyed good food and service. No obsequious Mother's Day wishes to fob off. We were treated as just another customer, and I loved that. Without watching programmed TV or listening to programmed radio, it is all so much easier to avoid these days. Except of course the next day, when the North Americans were celebrating and I always forget and always have to get off social media!

Travelling in autumn, when the international tourists are off in warmer climes, the cruise ships have stopped calling, and the kids are all in school and university, is the best time! I loved the the chill in the air (even if it did feel as if I was cold for a week!), and more relaxed travel schedule. I mentioned to someone that that "sensible No Kidding folks" don't travel in summer when everyone else is on the road or in the vineyards, and then had to qualify it to ensure that I wasn't saying that the non-No Kidding are not sensible. Then I had to qualify that too to say that not all No Kidding folks can choose to be sensible and travel off-season (the lovely teachers, for example), and by that time my point was lost! Of course, those whose children are now living away from home can travel at this time too. That's part of what I love about it. We're not obviously the "couple without kids" when we are on holiday in May. We're a little older, which means we blend in more!

Of course I mentioned Otherhood to a few people we spent time with. I suggested they buy the book for a relative, who in recent years in their late 30s had tried to get pregnant. We had an interesting discussion, as I don't know their relative personally. "They don't talk about it," said my acquaintance. And so the two of us talked about the various reasons why they might not talk about it. Perhaps they're actually okay, perhaps they're worried about judgement, perhaps they're scared to be vulnerable and open when they're dealing with it all, perhaps they feel isolated and wish people would ask, perhaps they would just appreciate having their reality acknowledged, without pity or condescension. My acquaintance acknowledged - perhaps after reading my essay and the introduction to the book* - how isolating it must be, in the same way that assuming everyone is hetero/cis or of a particular race is isolating and dismissive. They said it as if it was a new realisation. That's a breakthrough, thanks to the book. And I really hope they do buy it for their relative. Or that it at least prompts a discussion at some stage. If that is the case, then being in the book has already been worthwhile. Awareness matters. It makes the world a more compassionate, considerate place.

Back on the 8th May, there was a radio interview with the editors of Otherhood. I get a mention** at the very end. You can read about it and listen to the interview here.  My sister and a friend heard it, and I got excited texts from them. (My 15 seconds of fame! lol) The launch event too was lovely, and a few readings covered the diversity of those of us in the Otherhood - for example, those whose religions affected them, teachers/foster mothers who were childfree by choice, etc. But they were all emotional. I took an Otherhood friend, who hasn't been involved in communities, messageboards, blogs etc in the way I have. I think it was a revelation to her too, that her reality is worth talking about. However happy she is with her Otherhood life, society isn't really that inclusive. She was a great help to me when I was going through losses, as she didn't value people's lives on whether or not they had kids. "Life is for enjoying," was her most radical statement to me. I remember being shocked, but have come to completely agree with her. (And for anyone who wants to disagree, enjoyment comes from many sources, including involvement with children, volunteering, helping others, etc. It is not of itself selfish!)

* I'm mentioned in the intro. It's thrilling, even if it makes me feel like the old lady of the group of contributors and editors! lol

** Not as Mali, of course. But if you read No Kidding in NZ regularly, you'll recognise my quote.


  1. AAAAH! That is so exciting! I have to order a copy of Otherhood. I'm glad your Mother's Day wasn't terrible and you were able to travel and go a bit incognito. I love your thoughtfulness in not assuming how your friend's No Kidding relative feels about their status, and all the possible reasons why they might not talk about it. I hope they get the book! :) Congratulations again, so exciting! (And thanks for the shout out to the teachers who have no choice but to travel when all the families do, argle blargle... I guess something to look forward to in retirement!)

  2. Congratulations on the book! That’s so exciting on so many levels. I wanted to tell you that I keep checking to see if my library has pre-ordered copies (since it won’t be published here until August) and every time my phone insists that I meant to type Motherhood. The irony!

    I will be buying the book as soon as it is released here and can’t wait to read your contribution and all the others.