On Friday the 31st March I attending a live Ted Talk event in Hull. OMG I was so excited esp as I’ve watch a few Ted talks on YouTube and most importantly because Jody Day was giving her very first talk. And I was there to experience it!!! The event was labelled ‘From Where I Stand’ where 10 speakers presented their talks, on varies topics from ‘How culture is messy and how that’s good’, ‘Alien worlds and extraterrestrial life – where are they?” to ‘Alograve: algorithmic dance” and “The surprising things I learned exploring the planet earth”.
Dr John Curran
Jody’s talk was titled “The lost tribe of childless women” and I have to say, Jody was amazing. Jody presented our (childless women’s) reality of living in this world where we can find it difficult to truly belong. Jody talked about how we are perceived and sometimes not accepted including how others (with children) try and fix us with their endless misunderstanding of what we are going through. I just loved her term ‘bingo questions’, because on a good day you can get a full house’ which listed questions such as; “…have you thought of adoption and did you hear about the 50 year old who’d just given birth in….” ARGGGGGGGH!!! BIG SIGH!!!!!
I felt that Jody set out to challenge the mindsets of those who have probably never really considered our position in society or feelings around being childless before (and maybe in some respects she challenged their own perceptions and also where they feel they are positioned in their circles). It was great to be a part of this historic moment. Keep an eye out for her Ted talk link…
I was at an event recently where a lady spoke about the charity she started called Sienna’s footsteps. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness and money for her daughter to have an operation (in the states) that will help her to walk. Her daughter has cerebral palsy, microcephaly. I must admit when I initially heard about her charity I found it hard to engage. It was hard to hear this women’s journey of fighting for her child to experience taking her first steps, something that her other children naturally did. I was unable to relate, trying just brought tears to my eyes not because I could understand her sadness but because mine was greater. As I listened I was reminded that I would never get the chance to stand up and fight for my child, I will never be their voice when they needed me the most. Don’t get me wrong, I am not sure that are many women who would want to trade places with Sienna ‘s mum just to experience motherhood but she is experiencing motherhood (as tough as it is) and there are many of us who will never get to say that.
It has been tough writing this post, I’ve mulled over my feelings for some time mainly because I found it difficult being in the position of wanting to say “well as least you are a mum” and “at least you have other children (who have a ‘normal’ life)”. This kind of honesty is great to recognise in ourselves (so that we can deal with the feelings with care and compassion) but will not always be welcomed outside of our heads. My reality shows me that not many childless women could be honest with their thoughts and feelings without facing condemnation from their peers esp if their peers are mothers themselves.
Well as the weeks have passed I am glad that I have recognised these feelings in myself so that I could honour them, I am also still comforting myself for having them too. A good friend reminded me that Sienna’s mother needs the compassion that I would want mothers (and others) to give to me when they hear my story which has really helped me to be able to write this post. So I wish Sienna’s mum all the best on her journey with all the love and compassion that I can offer whilst I hug myself with all the self-compassion that I deserve.
I received this post on FB. It touched my heart to read these kind words
I read this article in the guardian this weekend. It’s wonderfully honest that I had to share it with you all. I plan to blog more about it soon but for now here it it.
It’d be great to hear your thoughts on the topic….
On the 26th March 2015 I had my last session on Jody’s Plan B mentorship programme. That particular session was based on endings something that I loosely thought about until now.
Jody mentioned that ‘endings are thresholds that hold the power of both the old and the new, inspiring and frightening us at the same time. Daring to sit with the experience of an ending without bolting, repressing, avoiding or distracting ourselves can give us access to the power of transformation’. So you may have guessed this but I am at the end of another part of my journey and in a place that I never expected or planned to be in so soon. I am someone who could be described as restless and am always making plans (in my head) for the next thing in my life, however the plan had to change, not out of choice but out of necessity, which has left me feeling undervalued, inadequate and weak. I felt like I didn’t matter.
I have since learnt that people with an avoidant attachment style feel value for what we do not for who we are which helped me to understand why I felt the way I did and why I felt the need to leave that negative and unproductive situation. In wanting to leave it did feel like I was giving up and to some extent I felt like a failure but on reflection (and after some great support) I realised that I valued myself too much to remain there. I remembered that I am a precious gift and needed to be somewhere that values who I am and what I have to offer. I needed to be somewhere that will bring out the best in me. So I bravely decided to leave.
Deciding to let go brought about a new set of surprising feelings which I was reminded of whilst watching Donald Trump’s inauguration. I could only image how hard it was for Obama to step down wondering what (of his legacy) will be left behind or destroyed by the new government. I won’t dwell here for too long but I had to learn to administer a lot of self compassion and give myself permission to sit with these feelings (without trying to control them) knowing that these strong and negative feelings where ok. Sometimes it is not about the understanding right now but about allowing the feeling(s) to be, right now.
Nature is the ultimate guide to thresholds and endings. She is never the same, always on the way from somewhere and on the way towards somewhere…. from Jody Day Plan B mentorship programme on ‘Endings’.
So I would like to leave you with this message that I read in the Guardian recently… “Strength does not mean ploughing forward in the face of adversity. It means changing your plans when what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you need to go…”
Here is to all our tomorrows!!!
Peace & Joy
An interesting article on the BBC news website
When the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees in 2014, the move was heralded as a game changer in the workplace.
With anyone eligible to ask to work from home and/or reduce their hours, it seemed that a narrative long synonymous with working mothers and childcare had finally broadened in scope.
Yet it appears we are some way off the level playing field anticipated. While technology continues to blur the boundary between home and the office and the rise of the gig economy demands more workplace agility, it seems childless employees are still experiencing a bias that makes a work-life balance a pipedream.
“From accommodating religious commitments to managing long-term medical conditions such as anxiety and depression, there are many reasons why people need to work flexibly, but many employers still view this as a privilege just for parents with young children,” says Kate Headley, director of consulting at The Clear Company, which helps organisations recruit staff from a more diverse base.
“Instead, they need to open up their thinking to adopt flexible working and attract a whole new talent pool of qualified people that either can’t or choose not to work traditional hours.”
And for freelance social media director Georgie Gayler, who doesn’t have children, a bias over formal flexible working requests is only part of the story.
In her experience inconsistencies are rife and unquestioned across a number of informal arrangements, from time off automatically given when children are ill to leaving work early or coming in late to accommodate their needs…..
click here to read the full article