Episode 3: ‘It’s International Women’s Day, not International Mother’s Day’ Guest: Jody Day

by | Mar 8, 2022 | NLR Pilot Episodes | 3 comments

8 March 2022

Jody Day is the British founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship, support & advocacy network she set up by accident after starting a blog sharing honestly the truth of her childlessness in 2011. It got media attention the day after the very first blog was published. Not long after, she was interviewed for The Guardian newspaper (UK) for a piece that went viral & is still being read today.

She has often been referred to as ‘the voice of the childless generation’ Her compassionate, inclusive, incisive and sometimes humorous take on all things childless-related is one that many have come to rely on, and even take for granted. Yet starting a ‘movement’, which is what she has done, often comes at a great personal cost and few stay the course. Most ‘blogs’ & ‘initiatives’ in the childless-support space, set up by individuals, close after a few years when the creators no longer need the outlet themselves, or can no longer bear the burden of the emotional, logistical & financial cost of continuing to do so. And there is no institutional support for it either.

However, the need for a spokesperson who has not only walked through the fire of childless grief, but has also supported thousands of others to do so, remains hugely important. Jody has persisted, often earning less than the minimum wage to do so. Such long-term visionary qualities, allied to her psychotherapeutic training and her deep fascination with social justice, systemic thinking, depth psychology and feminism continue to make her one of the most original voices in the non-parent space today.

Jody has written & spoken often of how pronatalism + consumerism + media have fetishized motherhood whilst devaluing non-motherhood to the detriment of all women. Another example of this is International Women’s Day, which has increasingly come to be seen as yet another day in the year to ‘celebrate motherhood’. Thus entirely neglecting the role that non-mothers play in the world, and further reducing women’s social contributions to their reproductive status. This creep has been so steady and so supported by the overculture that even to point this out is seen as somehow being ‘anti-mother’ or ‘anti-children’. She frames this social elevation of motherhood (which is entirely a lip-service glorification; mothers & children are still woefully under supported in practical & financial ways) as a backlash against the advances in gender equality made in the 1970s and thus an important one to contextualize and resist.

Whether mothers or not, we are women first, and that’s the message IWD needs to get behind. Join us for what will no doubt be a fascinating & wide-ranging discussion about the dark underbelly of the media & its roots in the ‘shadow’ archetype of the mother. The first place change needs to take place is in our own minds by awakening to the seductive & corrosive power of pronatalism and how it limits the visions, lives & futures of all women (which is exactly what it’s meant to do!)

Episode 3:

Read or download the transcript for Episode 3 here.

Visit the Gateway Women website here.

Listen to or watch Jody’s 9 April 2022 TEDxGateway talk here.

Listen to Jody’s TEDxHull talk here.

Episode 3: ‘It’s International Women’s Day, not International Mother’s Day’ Guest: Jody Day
8 March 2022

3 Comments

  1. Sandra Torres-Alcon

    Wow, what a wonderful conversation. You touched on almost everything I have ever thought of. About how ugly we are, how witchy we are, how it must be a duty to do things for the neices or nephews that mothers are too busy to do for them, and when it is all said and done and they are older, neither the children or parents need us anymore.
    We hear about how Christmas is for kids, we hear how “I got the most perfect flowers for mothers day” We are coloring easter eggs for the kids or with the kids, We become God Parents for their children because they feel sorry for us not having our own children, we give to the children and the children never acknologe us nor their parents after it is all said and done. When we get together with our friends, all they want to talk about is their kids, It is enough to make me want to scream, but I breath, swallow hard, smile and injest a mountain of anger. Im old, this year I will turn 70 but that is just a number because I dont look and act old compared to some of the persons that do have children. I think I was too proud or spoiled in my child bearing yeard to think too much of not having children, it came about when I had forgotten and accepted it that I got pregnet an had a tubal pregency and a surgery on mothers day mass 200000 years ago. I feel like I am not liked very well by our grand master in the sky. I’m catholic, but not a good one and not a practicing one after Mom and Dad left me it seems like another 20000000 years ago. Thank you for listening to my ranting and raving.

    Reply
    • New Legacy Institute

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Sandra. So many of us can relate. Have you had the opportunity to engage with Gateway Women? It is a wonderfully supportive space to connect with others! https://gateway-women.com/
      With you in heart, Christine

      Reply
    • SANDRA ALCON

      Yes I have connected with GateWay Women. I love what I hear, but it still doesn’t make me brave enough to discuss my childlessness with anyone even with my sisters. I feel guilty and ugly. Guilty because I didn’t want to have any children early on in my marriage, and ugly in my unable to do something as simple as getting pregnant, everybody does it even unmarried girls/women for heaven’s sake! I say that because I am used to doing everything I set out to do and I do it superbly. If I take on a commitment, I start and finish it and never say “well it was too hard, or I just couldn’t do it” I’m not used to failure and I feel like I failed somehow, even though I hear and understand everything all you wonderful women say. I don’t know anyone in my small community who is childless (except 3 women who have illness), except me. Failure because after understanding that I was never going to have children, and had come to terms with it, I ended up pregnant and had a tubal pregnancy, I felt that was like a crucifixion, a yes and then an immediate no. Then I think “well I probably wouldn’t have been a good mother. Then I think of a saying that says, WHAT IF YOU CANT FLY, OH BUT WHAT IF YOU CAN! But anyway, it is what it is, and I am ok except when holidays roll around, which lucky for me are not too many in the year. Old age scares me, when I can no longer be productive to myself and my husband, no one to care for me or to love me. I pray I leave before my husband I know that sounds selfish, but Maybe that wish might be granted for me in return for not having a child. Anyway, I appreciate all you wonderful women, and I wish that all those selfish women with all their kids could hear you all. Have a wonderful Day.
      Sandra Torres-Alcon from New Mexico

      Reply

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  1. [Watch now] Jody's new TED talk, 'Social Plankton: Why Single Non-Mothers Are The Fuel of The Future' - Gateway Women - […] New Legacy Radio with Christine Erickson – bringing together childless and childfree people to create systemic change.  I was…

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