This week (13th-19th September 2021) is World Childless Week – a week to raise awareness of the childless not by choice community.
1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
1 in 5 women reach 45, childless.
48.5 million couples are childless.
An easy way to help is to be aware of which phrases can be triggering and try to avoid using them as you never know who may be childless not by choice. Making a conscious effort not to say the following (or similar) could really help someone who is having a tough time:
“You’re so lucky not to have kids.”
“You don’t know pain or tiredness until you become a mother.”
“What do you do with your time? What a waste.”
“At least you can have a lie in, I’m exhausted.”
“Have mine for a weekend, haha!”
“Look on the bright side.”
“Children are expensive. Look at the money you’re saving.”
“It’s not for everyone.”
“Who will look after you when you’re old if you don’t have family?”
“Life is meaningless until you’re a mum.”
“As a mother…” being used as a way of implying you have more empathy because you’re a mum.
“You wouldn’t understand, just wait til you have kids.”
“I know exactly what it’s like. I’m in the same situation because I want ANOTHER child.”
“It must be nice only having to worry about yourself.”
“You don’t know love until you have a child.”
“I’d be so bored without my kids. They’re everything to me.”
And please never ask someone about their pregnancy/when the baby is due unless they have told you that they’re pregnant as this can be very upsetting to someone who is childless not by choice. I’ve been asked before because all my abdominal surgeries and IBS mean my stomach is a bit larger than average and I thought that was bad enough, but I recently heard of how someone was asked about their pregnancy/when their baby was due multiple times following an emergency medical termination followed by a hysterectomy. So unless you know for certain that someone is pregnant please keep quiet.
Don’t forget that all of the above can apply to men too, it’s not just women who are affected.
If you’re reading this as someone who is childless not by choice then there are support networks out there if you want to reach out. Being childless not by choice can feel very lonely at times, especially when your social media feeds are full of friends and relatives talking about and sharing photos of their children. Please don’t suffer in silence 💜