The 2nd World Childless Week is happening from 10-16th September 2018 and I'm proud to be a World Childless Week Champion.
World Childless Week was started by a British woman, Stephanie Phillips, in 2017 and, like so many grassroots initiatives, was born of personal experience and frustration - in Steph's case that that our stories were missing from National Infertility Awareness Week (which tends to gravitate towards 'miracle baby stories'), and that for those of us childless for any of the many other reasons, there was no awareness at all.
Steph was already involved in administering and creating Facebook groups to support the childless, so she decided to create World Childless Week on Facebook, expecting just a few likes...
In 2017, Steph's World Childless Week went viral with 1.2million people using using the #WorldChildlessWeek hashtag on Twitter during that week. It was featured in the London newspaper 'Metro' and in ‘The Guardian’. It seems that the world was waiting for World Childless Week!
Since I started Gateway Women seven years ago, the topic of childlessness has gradually moved from the margins towards the mainstream, but those of us who are childless not by choice (CNBC) still face prejudice, stigma, ignorance and insensitivity in many areas of our lives: in our families and peer groups, in our communities, at work, in our places of workshop and from civic and medical services. Considering that we are 20-25% of the population, it's astonishing how marginalised and misunderstood our experience is in a society that still values parenthood over all other forms of adulthood. We still have much work to do to claim our place and our voice as the largest hidden minority and World Childless Week is the platform we need to make that happen.
I'm proud to be a World Childless Week Champion because I'm proud to be a childless woman and I want other childless women to feel the same.
It's not an easy place to get to, and you can't do it without your childless tribe - but it is possible (and it's what my book is about!) So I'm offering a free webinar for World Childless Week on Sunday 16th September, 5pm UK time on 'Finding Acceptance & Moving Forward'. You can find out more and register here and it will also be available to view afterwards.
I'm proud to be a World Childless Week champion because not only does it create an umbrella organisation for all the many individuals and small groups who have been tirelessly working in their own time (and on their own dime) for years, it also serves to amplify our reach. That way, someone suffering and struggling in silent grief stands a greater chance of discovering they are not alone. And the lifesaving and life-changing power of connection cannot be underestimated. Finding you, my Tribe, changed my life.