Can you tell us a little something about yourself?
I am Irish and I spent my first 24 years living in Ireland. I did a lot of travelling. I got a round the world ticket and I started in south America, went to New Zealand, Australia and Asia, and you know I really enjoyed it so much, and I really got the bug for travel.
I did masters in musicology with hope that I might become a teacher, and a few years later I did a yearlong course and that allowed me to travel and teach.
Whilst traveling and teaching I met my now husband and we are, for now settled in Chicago.
I am passionate about yoga, the movement, the breath, connecting to self and the philosophy of the practice.
Anotherhood is about turning up the volume of the voices of women who do not have children; can you tell us why you wish to share your story with Anotherhood?
I am very excited to have this conversation, as I am very passionate about it.
I don’t consider this a message, its purely a personal choice for myself, all I am asking is for acceptance. I am not asking to convince others of the pros not to have children.
I love children, I understand why people want children, I am not telling anyone not to I am just really saying hey, I know I don’t want to.
You may tell me how much I am going to change my mind, you may tell me how much you didn’t want them but now there the best thing in your life.
I accept that to, I understand that, I actually have no doubt in mind that the love a parent has for their child is a kind of love I won’t experience.
I love my husband, but I don’t say I love him more than you love your child. It’s a different kind of love and I don’t need to feel that. I know in my own essence I don’t want children and that should be enough for anybody.
Its not that I don’t like children, I know how hard it is to have children, that love can take over your sense of self.
That’s what you would actually hope that a good parent would give over self for a few years to, to give that child a great start in life.
I wouldn’t want to do that to be honest because I know hard it is, and I really enjoy my life and I think that’s something people may not understand either.
When I saw on reddit that someone posted their story they had shared with you, I was like oh my god, I love this because I think to myself, I, we are the ones that can change the narrative here, stop looking at women as people to be mothers.
Looking at your Instagram its evident yoga is important to you, can you share with us why yoga is so important and has is supported you in your decision not have to children?
I started doing yoga, as I had genuinely had done nothing until I was 24 and I was having a very stressful year and I just wanted an outlet.
I wanted something that wasn’t so hard on the body after doing Crossfit, the gym and gaining a knee injury. My practice has evolved so steadily over the years and I have taken a massive interest in the philosophy of yoga. I realise yoga is not the postures even though you might think that’s what it is, its a lifestyle.
That’s how I felt so confident in knowing myself because, basically what yoga tells you is all there is, is now. You know your now, so what future self do these people think that are trying to convince me I am going to be.
When I know this is all there is and I am so sure in my own essence that I personally don’t want to have children, and I am fine with that.
What has been your experience in sharing your journey of not having children with those who are important to you?
My husband is on board and that’s one of the first conversations we had. He didn’t want them either. So I have a partner that is accepting to. The most annoying thing, for me, is to treat a woman like she has to be a mother. You say, you are infertile, what, does that mean? if you can’t have child you are no longer a human being, worthy of respect, NO. So if this God that the people think they know they are talking about wanted everyone to be a mother or needed every woman to be a mother then there would be no such thing as infertility.
What people are forgetting is we are all individuals experiencing life through our own eyes.
Can you share with us what was happening for you when you realised you wouldn’t be having children?
You know I didn’t have an aha moment, but I actually had niece’s and nephews early in my life because I am the youngest in my family.
I had first hand experience of babies all of sudden and I was like oh, this is not what my ‘Baby Born’ (toy doll) was like, my ‘Baby Born’ didn’t cry, it just did what I told it to do, I liked to dress it up sure, but it didn’t talk back to me.
As I got older, I never really worried too much about it, because I really knew I wasn’t going to have kids. I am just not going to, so I just don’t need to worry.
What has been your experience in sharing not having children with those who are important to you?
I am lucky, very lucky, I am the youngest of 5 my Mum has seven very beautiful grandchildren, ranging in ages from 6 to 21.
My brothers they do say “your change your mind” sometimes and I understand, because they love there family, and they want me to feel the love.
My sister, she is one of my favourite people in the world and she has never had kids so I saw her live her life. I had a role model and she never complained about it you know, she never said “I wish I had kids.”
I don’t think of it as a taboo, I don’t think of it as something you need to have to have a good life I just never thought of it that way.
You have spoken to your mind and body connection and about the importance of being in the present moment; I wonder has not having children impacted the relationship you have with your body?
This is another fascinating one because I haven’t grown in an inch since I was 12 years old. I got to be my height when I was 12 with the hope I would be a tall person because my brother is tall, and then I got little boobs and that was it. My hips, I don’t have hips, they are narrower than my shoulders I am tiny. I find it so hard to find clothes, and that’s not a good thing.
I don’t care about being small; it can be more of a hindrance more than anything.
Would you say you have faced any challenges in choosing not to have children?
Personally no, not a lot, I have had the people who have told me I will change my mind, I haven’t had a lot of people who say I will regret it but I certainly read a lot of stories of this. I do go onto the childfree reddit quiet a lot, I have quiet big awareness of the issues that people do face and how it is such a pressure for some people.
I haven’t had that pressure put on me, because of course that makes it more difficult, its not as easy for everybody and I do truly understand that, but I can’t take on there sorrows.
I wonder what would you say there are many positives in deciding not to have children?
Ohhh I could go on forever… well I love my life, I really do.
My life it has had its challenges, there has been death, sicknesses there has been moving and the K1V visa nearly cracked me last year. There has been a lot of movement in my life, but I don’t feel like stopping the movement; I just want it to flow freely.
Without your past you would not be where you are today.
Its so fascinating that now in the first time in my life I love to gain knowledge, I love it, because now everything is connected, it is as soon as you look for its like whoa wow, it all makes sense.
Death is not to be feared, we will all die we will all loose this body, no matter how fit I am now I am not going to be this way forever but I am now. So why fret about that future.
If you accept what you have you don’t want for more. Its only when you want for more you feel you don’t have enough. So when you don’t want a child, please people just realise I mean that. I don’t mean anything else other than that, I don’t need to give you another a reason, if that’s the first thing someone says I don’t want them, leave it at that, if they ask for advice give it, if they say its to expensive even that’s fine there might be some want for a child there, but if the first thing someone says is ‘I don’t want a child’ why would you try to convince someone who says they don’t want a child to have on.
Or even better don’t ask somebody if they have kids.
Right, you know if someone has kids you know in the first few minutes, you know that there a big part of someone’s life because they have come up.
If you could change one thing about being a women without children is viewed what would it be?
The social stigma associated with it, that’s really it, that’s all I could ask.
Especially for whatever reason now women think they have to be young, to be whatever, but I have nothing against people modifying what ever they want with Botox or with plastic surgery but why is it a bad thing for a woman to age?
That’s got of course a bit, but its the same premise, its like the social stigma of a woman just living her life happily or a couple living their life happily without kids shouldn’t be something that is looked down upon, like they are missing out on something in life. They are not missing out on anything in life because if you could open your eyes to see the happiness that they are showing you is genuine then you wouldn’t wish anything else for them.
I want to get rid of the taboo, when someone sees a woman who is older and she is not married and she has no child they may say, “isn’t that awful sad, that poor woman”.
No that woman for all you know is so much happier than you and even if she’s not what does it matter your judgement is not going to help her.
Have loving awareness that maybe she doesn’t have child but don’t feel sorry for her, she doesn’t need your pity, we don’t need people’s pity we are people, we are not just mothers, we are women we are beings and that is what yoga has really helped me with.
Anotherhood is about connecting women with shared experiences, I wonder can you share anything that you have found that has helped you to embrace your life without children?
Getting to know yourself, that’s not a scary thing to do, its actually really fun when you learn your personality traits, learn the things that make you angry, that make you happy, and try and do more of the things that make you happy.
It doesn’t mean getting attached to them it is really a self-study. If you think you are really missing out on something by not having a child, ask yourself why do I think that? Why? , who or what am I missing out on.
That’s what I think is going to be helpful, and that doesn’t come automatically to a lot of people, because people have labelled themselves for example infertile is a label is and its a hard thing to lift, and that’s where yoga can help.
Its not to say yoga can fix problems for everybody but it can be therapy for somebody, it could be an outlet that lets you be still in yourself. That’s really what the physical postures in yoga do, they give you a taster of what its like to be in the present moment because you have to breath and you have to move and that’s all you have to do.
The thoughts creep in, but you can’t have a whole load of thoughts when you’re trying to balance on one leg.
What your saying is tune in and find what works for you, what works to help you be still and reconnect to self.
Exactly. Before I really understood what it meant I got Santosha tattooed on my body because of course why wouldn’t you. It means contentment, to be connected in the present moment. If the concept seems to hard to grasp, know you can do it at any moment, it’s not something that’s learned its just experience.
Are there any podcast/ books that you have found have helped you on your journey?
Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey podcast, ‘A New Earth.’
Bhagavad Gita (Lives of Great Religious Books) Richard H Davis
Would you like to add anything else?
Just that I am so happy to share this with people.
It’s a fantastic moment to have this conversation with you.
I really enjoyed that!