On Thursday for Men Matter Too Michael Hughes did a Facebook live and talked about how we need to own the word childless. I agree. By owning the word childless we take control of how we use that word. It is a word that society recognises and understands. It is a word that explains our situation. I say situation because whilst it allows others to understand that we have no children it is not a word that defines who we are.
If anyone asks me I will say that I am childless, not by choice. It does not embarrass me because I own that word. I understand that being openly childless is not something that can be done easily. There was a time I would back away from using childless in any conversation that referred to me. I would prefer to have hidden my childlessness behind jokes or walked away from awkward conversations. It took time to creep out of the childless closet and find my voice, but now I have, it has empowered me.
Childlessness does not own me, I own it.
I have control of when I use it, and how I use it.
Childlessness is part of my life, but it does not rule me.
Today as we celebrate our worth, try and think of what you can do that will help you start to own your childlessness. One way is to look at yourself as an outsider. What does anyone see in you; what do they feel makes you worthy? It can be a hard exercise and I still have my own insecurities and self doubt, but they are not focused on my childlessness. They are focused on me as a whole. Where I feel I could have done something differently or perhaps how I need to change going forwards. When the survey results for We Are Worthy are published later today, have a look at some of the facts presented and see if they can help change your mind set.
Having said that being childless does not define me, what does? My personality, my acts, how I treat others and how I treat myself. These are my traits and these are what define me as a person, not only to myself but to others. If someone sat across a room and watched me they would see my personality, not that I am childless. If you asked me who I am, the first thought in my head would not be childless. It is not a label I need to use. It’s not that I am ashamed to use it, but it does not and will not define me. I am so much more.
You may or may not have spotted over the last few weeks that there has been a little revolution starting in the childless community. People have begun to share #IamME photos. If you haven’t spotted them yet then make sure you take a look at the #IamME gallery that will be available later today. It is full of amazing photos by inspiring people who have wonderful personalities, that just so happen to also be childless.
So today take time to read the articles and see if you can discover a little of what makes you worthy, because you are. Then grab a pen and piece of paper and contemplate what words define you. You don’t need to say I am childless, you just need to say, #IamME
Founder, World Childless Week