Daisy Interview

I loved meeting Daisy! I continue to be so inspired by young women who are choosing to live childfree. 

I once told Laura that I thought the hardest part of being childfree after infertility was the fundamental loss of life’s milestones – I compared it  to wandering through a big empty field. That analogy had long been forgotten until at one point in our chat, Daisy commented that making the choice to break tradition and live childfree was like running into a field and shouting, “Here I am!!” And I was floored. 

I began to wonder if the very thing that I had cast as my grief, may actually be my liberation. 

Daisy spoke a lot about how empowering it is to watch older childfree women live their best lives, but I will always feel empowered by Daisy for giving me that perspective.

Tell us why you wanted to share your story. 

I wanted to share my story, and my choice to be childfree because for the most part, women’s stories tend already written for them from birth. We don’t all live the story that has been traditionally told to us.

I think it’s important that women everywhere tell their stories. It becomes easier to find a sense of camaraderie and you can start to feel like, “Oh, I can live my own truth. I can write my own story.”

My story is unique. Everyone’s story is unique. 

How did you come to realize that you wanted to be childfree?

There was never  a pivotal moment like, “This is it!” 

My mom had me when she was 21. I’m the oldest child and the first grandchild, so I’ve been surrounded by children my whole life. I’ve seen them grow and I’ve helped take care of them. Somehow I became very conscious of living my own story and not letting any sort of constructs guide that story.

I wanted to be the first one to graduate from college, I wanted to be the first one to have a career. As a Latina, as a Mexican-American woman, you see the statistics that Latinas have the highest teenage pregnancy rate, and I grew up also in a place where we didn’t talk about family planning. We didn’t talk about choice, or reproductive health. 

At first I was tiptoeing around the topic of not having children because I felt the need to protect my journey. And then at one point, I realized that I’m happy and complete and content with who I am, and with my life without children. 

That’s also why I advocate for women’s rights and reproductive rights in my work. I just want to make sure that everyone knows that they have the choice to live, whatever life they choose to live. 

Have you talked about your choice to remain childfree with your family? What was their reaction?

Given that I grew up in a Mexican Catholic household, I’m grateful to be a part of a family where they don’t ask about grandchildren at every Thanksgiving!

They’ve been so accepting; I don’t know why, but my mom has never pressured me into talking about kids. I’m turning 27, and it’s just it’s never been a topic of conversation. 

My Grandmother is from a small town in Mexico, and didn’t have her first child until she was 30, which was “old” for that time. She had her own journey with motherhood, and has never once asked me about having children. I think that has empowered me to continue to live whatever life I chose to live. Maybe they think I’m just the “career woman,” or maybe they genuinely respect my choice. 

It also might be part of the immigrant child experience. Some immigrant parents are just happy that their child gets to live whatever life they choose. I’m really grateful to be surrounded by that, and not feel the pressure that I know so many friends have felt. 

Is childfree life something that something that comes up a lot in your friend group?

We may not have discussed it specifically, but I do notice some of my friends talking about babies more, or posting celebrity babies on their instagrams, and expressing that they have baby fever. I’m about to be 27, and am one of the younger ones out of my friends group which might have something to do with it.

It could also be a city thing. They say that in San Francisco that more people have dogs than children. I love my dog!

Many people I know from my high school have kids. I grew up in a smaller town called Gilbert, AZ. After I graduated from Arizona State I moved to DC for a year before coming to San Francisco. That was the first time where I saw career women in their early late 20s and 30s living their best lives with no shame. Happy and content with themselves. No one had kids, or even talked about it. 

That was the first time where I was exposed to the idea that you can choose to live a different life and it’s totally fine It’s okay.

I’m grateful to live in an environment that respects my choices. It’s so important to have these conversations, and to model different types of life for the women around us.

Has your decision affected your relationship with your body?

I actually had this conversation with my boyfriend the other night – maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo and I never know how to turn my brain off – but I said out loud, “Am I weird for not having that thing that suddenly makes some women want to have babies? Baby fever! Is it weird that I don’t have that?”

It was one of the first times I’ve ever questioned my choice, wondering if there was something broken inside of me. Why is that switch not flipping on?  

I was trying to dig into myself – wondering, is this a psychological thing? Is it growing up as the oldest grandchild and feeling like I had to help out my single mom? Did it turn me off kids? What is it?

My partner let me go through this web of thoughts, and then he nonchalantly said, “Maybe it’s none of those things.”

And he was absolutely right. It’s none of those things. I’m okay. Maybe there isn’t anything broken inside of me. It’s just a choice that I chose to live and I’m happy with that.

It’s interesting that women even have to get to that point where they’re like, “I’m super happy with my life. Is there something wrong with me?!”

The conclusion is, I’m fine!

Have you encountered any challenges in living childfree?

Not yet. And I say that because I wonder how this will be once I hit 30. 

That’s when folks start really putting that timeline on. Maybe that’s when my friends will start having babies. As I said, right now I’m not surrounded by anyone that has had a child yet. So I wonder if I’ll face a different type of reaction around that time. 

My best friend is family planning right now, thinking about benefits and maternity leave, which is awesome! She’s going to have a child and I’m super excited to be an auntie or godmother but she respects that this is the life that I live, and she’s still my best friend.

I’m really grateful to not have to face any challenges as of now.

What are some of the positive aspects of choosing to be childfree at this stage in your life?

I think the biggest thing about accepting this choice, and being happy and content with it is that it has lifted a weight off of my back as a woman.

It’s a weight that you put on as a young girl that tells you, “You need to procreate and if you don’t procreate you’re not whole.”

I think it has liberated me to continue to live whatever lifestyle I want to live, whether it’s to continue on with my career, to continue to travel, to continue to love my adopted dogs, to live a healthy, happy relationship with my partner, to have a happy, healthy relationship with my family. 

Making the choice to be childfree has continued to open up my road and let me run freely. 

How have you approached this decision with your partner?

I was very open about it early on. I didn’t want to “waste” his time. I didn’t want to take that choice away from someone. I wanted to be completely honest and upfront. 

Of course we’ve had discussions about it. We’ve both made the decision to live this lifestyle, and I’m truly grateful for that.

I know there are relationships where both parties are not on the same page. I have been on dates where a man literally sat in front of me and said that he wants to be a “young dad.” Think about the time constraints that are being put on the woman in this situation! 

Honestly, I really wish that men would read more about our stories, because then they would understand saying things like that to a woman on a date is never ok. 

I’m grateful to be with someone who understands my choice, and wants to be a part of that choice.

If you could change something about how being childfree is perceived, what would you change?

I wish other folks could see that some women choose to be childfree!

It’s not because they’re bitter, old, single career women that just live for their jobs and don’t want to do anything for anyone else.

I see it so often in movies or TV shows – the woman who went on overdrive in her career and then she hit 40 and is like, “Oh no! Now I want children!” 

I wish we could kill this notion women end up childfree because they are crazy and career driven. I love what I do, but it’s not because I’m just trying to fill a void. 

I also wish folks would understand that some women might not change their mind. You don’t need to continue to tell them, “Oh, but you’ll see in a few years. Just wait until you wait till you’re this age, or wait till you get married..” or whatever it is. 

There could be so many things going on – fertility issues, financial issues, etc. So saying those things is not making that woman feel better. 

What are some of the things that have helped you embrace your childfree path?

I think seeing other women live their life in this way that I want to live mine is helpful. 

Seeing the women I met in college, and post college living their happiest childfree lives empowers me, and it makes me feel like there is a different way to live and it doesn’t make me abnormal. It doesn’t make me weird.

Having these conversations is going to hopefully rewrite those ideas. Whether it’s in the media, or just in society –  that being childfree by choice, having this choice, making this choice at whatever age you choose to make it, is perfectly normal.

You can be happy and healthy and you can find other women that are also living this as their truth. You can write your own story.

*Opinions in this interview are solely Daisy’s and do not represent any organization that she is affiliated with.

Laura Interview

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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?

For a long time I felt really isolated, detached and lost, like I was walking a path which was really lonely, and when I looked around I couldn’t see anybody. It felt like there was a heavy mist settling on the ground, making the path undetectable. 

It’s about sharing these experiences, emotions around living with the fact that I am infertile. It’s really important to me to share that it doesn’t have to be negative, it can be really empowering. 

I want to share my story so that other women can see – when they look around on their path of not having children that they’re not alone; there are other women out there with shared experiences.  

For me, the nub of Anotherhood is about sharing our stories and finding a common ground and not feeling isolated anymore but feeling connected. 

 

Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you found out you couldn’t have children? 

This question feels complicated. I can remember it very clearly. I was at Art College, and I was 19 at the time. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, he had clubbed fingernails, which I can see clearly to this day, and he said that I wouldn’t be able to have children. A lot of words came out his mouth but all I heard was “you won’t be able to have children” 

The reason I say it’s complicated is because it feels like it is in two parts. Five to six years ago is when I really started to understand what it means to be infertile. 

 

Can I ask you a question outside of this group of questions? Do you feel comfortable sharing what your infertility is? Medically why you can’t have children? 

This is also it feels complicated. When I was first told, it was due to heavy scarring and damage to my uterus following an infection, that would prevent me from having kids.  In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with PCOS and told my FSH and LH were sitting at levels which indicated clearly that I was infertile. I am now in my late 30’s and my hormones have done nothing in regards to changing. So, put simply, the hormones you need to get pregnant just aren’t there. 

 

What has been your experience in sharing your journey with infertility with those who are important to you? 

It has been mixed. Parents, Mum, Dad and Step Mum, have always known but I don’t think they have wanted to believe it until recently.  It was only a year ago that I shared with my Mother in Law that I can’t have kids. Her response was the best I could of ever wished for

She said, “That path, is not meant for you, you’re meant for something else.” 

And they were the most loving and accepting words I have heard in response to not being able to have children.   

In terms of relationships, and partners, my boyfriend that I had when I found out at 19 knew, but we were very young, it wasn’t really in our heads. We were just enjoying life. 

I had a long-term relationship in my early to mid 20’s, and when we split up he said one of the reasons was because I couldn’t have kids. 

Then there was always the conversation I had in my head that when I met somebody, when would I tell them? And would that be the end. So I’ve always been very forward in sharing with any potential partner that I can’t have kids. I did that with my husband very early on in our relationship. 

It can really alter the path of a relationship. If it is the make or break moment, obviously that person is not the right one, but at that time it can break you. It feels like being rejected for something that’s completely out of your control. 

 

I wonder has infertility impacted relationships with those around you, in the past and to this present day? 

I would say, yes it has. I wish I could say no it hasn’t, but it really has. I look at the ages of the friends I hang out with, and a lot of them are late 20’s, pre-having kids or 20 years older and have either not had children, or their children have left home. 

I have close friends who have young children, and I do feel like the relationships have shifted. That’s no one’s fault whatsoever it’s just that we don’t share a common language anymore. 

Our common ground of going out and socializing is gone, our common ground of living for adventures, or chasing our career dreams have gone. It’s now about their experiences and them sharing stories of what’s happening in their children’s lives. It’s lovely to hear, but it’s a life I will not have. I’m still in the social and dream chasing mind-set and that’s the one that I have, and I don’t have the choice to go over to the other conversation. I can feel quite isolated in conversations when surrounded by friends who have had kids. 

So yes I would say it has impacted relationships with friends, but I want to say really clearly that it’s no one’s fault, our paths now look very different. 

 

When you are surrounded by friends with kids, how do you participate? What do you find your dynamic to be within that group?

I just listen to their stories and I try and acknowledge how challenging and rewarding the role of being a parent can be.

“That sounds really hard that your child is doing that,” or “That sounds amazing that your experiencing that with your children.” I really try to invest my time into listening to their stories hoping that they feel heard and supported. 

 

Do you feel heard in those conversations?

This is really hard to say, but no I don’t. Their lives and minds seem so full and it feels like what is happening for me in my life, well, they just don’t have the room to hold that information. 

 

Do you feel your infertility has impacted the relationship you have with your body? 

Yes I really do. My body looks like a female’s, but when your body does not do what a so-called females body is supposed to do – that’s really hard and I have wondered in the past what’s the point of my body. 

The PCOS, causes a huge amount of hair growth in places I don’t want, like my face. Due to it being hormonal, treatments can work for a short while, but the hair does return. That’s a constant daily reminder for me, and it can take away feeling attractive and feeling feminine. 

But now I think my body is amazing and astounds me by its strength and ability to restore and rebuild itself.  My body might not do what society wants, or what it’s naturally predisposed to do, but it does what it’s supposed to do for me and I’ve gotten to the point where I can really embrace that. 

 

What has been the most challenging part of your experience of being infertile? 

The unspoken grief that comes with being infertile. Grieving for not being able to have children, for the family I will never have, grieving for friendships and for the choice to have children being taken out of my hands.   

But the hardest part has been the journey I have been on. Learning to understand and celebrate myself, realising that it’s not my fault, I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not being punished for anything. That this is me. 

The connecting to self is a on-going process but I can now celebrate that this is my path. I am unsure of what is going to happen, but now I am comfortable with it, and excited by what adventures it holds.  

 

As well as the challenges you have experienced, I wonder can you share any positive aspects of being infertile 

Yes! What I have just said has been the most challenging, has actually been the best experience. Through my reflective practice of connecting to self, I have met some wonderful women that I will be forever thankful for. Women that have just walked into my life at the right time, women that have brought a light and an understanding to the world, women whom I can be my true self with. 

It’s been absolutely amazing to feel the strength, courage and power of the feminine and realise that you can walk your own path, and your not alone.  

Meeting Kadi, that was weird and wonderful, how we just found each other and had an instant connection. Now we have this beautiful friendship, and I do not have the words to express how thankful I am for Kadi coming into my life. 

Meeting all these women brings a belonging a purpose and highlights that this is empowering, not disempowering.

 

If you could change one thing about how being infertile is viewed, what would you wish to change? 

I would like it to be normalised so it’s not such a taboo, so it becomes normal, an open conversation. Not something that is swept under the carpet, ignored or buried, leaving people to feel afraid ashamed or alone. I wish for it to be acknowledged and more widely understood. I would like to start a conversation about infertility or living without children and the conversation to grow, for the lives of those women to be celebrated and for them to celebrate their lives and their unique femininity.  

 

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, your body, and your infertility?

Being in nature and being creative is my escapism and my connection back to self. Putting my headphones on, tuning into music and picking up a pencil and letting it take its own journey across the page is like getting lost in another world. Being in nature and being creative is my from of mediation, my mind wanders, I create images, narratives come into my mind, it awakens my inner child and I sit and give myself permission to play. Take time to stop, press pause and find something that fills your heart with joy and makes your inner child dance around with glee. 

 

Kadi Interview

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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 want to share my story because I want to hear stories like mine. There isn’t enough out there about what it’s really like to live childfree. All of my closest friends are mothers, and I just don’t know many people who’s stories resemble my own. It wasn’t until I met Laura that I really felt like I was part of bigger conversation. 

I want other childfree  women to feel comfortable sharing their stories, and know that Anotherhood is a safe place, where we get it.

Can you share with us what was happening in your life when you found out that you would not be able to have children?

I was 32 years old, and just coming out of a relationship. I was making a career transition, and living alone. I had taken a pretty heavy pay cut, and felt a little like my life was taking a step back. Having children was not at all on my radar. 

After the breakup I went off birth control, and my cycle just never returned. I saw a slew of doctors, but by the time I got the definitive diagnosis, I was considered officially menopausal. By then I was 33 years old.

What has been your experience in sharing your journey with infertility with those who are important to you? 

The word that immediately comes to mind is: Incomplete.

 There are a lot of layers. Medical factors, social implications, grief, and the search for community. When you talk to someone who hasn’t gone through it, you can really only tackle one layer at a time.  

I tend to focus on the social or the medical aspect. The grief is too much to share with someone who may not get it.

Some people think it’s about pregnancy, as though getting pregnant is the biggest issue. At that point I can’t go any further, because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be infertile.

I wonder has infertility impacted relationships with those around you, in the past and to this present day?

I in terms of the relationship with my partner, it has made the milestones a little harder to define. Removing traditional expectations of a family has opened up a world of opportunity that can feel overwhelming. The only milestones in our lives are the ones we intentionally put there. 

My friendships have naturally shifted as well. My parent friends and I do our best to show up for each other. But our day to day experiences are so vastly different, it can feel like we’re speaking different languages.

Do you feel that this experience has impacted the relationship you have with your body?

Absolutely. Initially didn’t feel any different in my body, which was hard to get my head around. But I started to learn about the impact that a hormone imbalance can have on someone so young. I tried going the holistic route, and balancing it with acupuncture, lifestyle and diet. But ultimate for me, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) made the most sense. I know that’s not the case for everybody. And there’s obviously arguments for both sides. 

I’ve really had to tune into what makes sense for my body. It might change again, and that’s ok. 

My joke is that my body thinks I’m one of the Golden Girls. I naturally move at a slower rhythm. I have different sleep needs, and nutritional needs. I have osteoporosis in my hips due to the hormone imbalance.  I have to respect that and know that I have the body of a 39 year old on the outside, but on the inside that’s not exactly the story.

Everyone has a body they have to figure out, and this is mine. 

What has been the most challenging part of your experience of being infertile?

For me it’s been the loss of choice.

I was absolutely not moving toward having kids when I found out that it was off the table. It wasn’t even in the stratosphere of my life at the time. But I anticipated that someday I would be able to make the decision of whether or not to have kids. I was excited about making that choice. I never thought it would be taken from me. 

Accessing a community has been very hard. When Laura and I connected 2 years ago, it had been 6 years since I found out that I was infertile.  She’s the first person that I’ve really been able to open up to about the nuances of living childfree, not by choice. We don’t hold anything back, and it feels great. 

I wonder, can you share any positive aspects of being infertile?

Yes! The absolute freedom has been such a gift. I’m truly free to do whatever I want to do. Other than the fact that I have to report to a job – which I have willfully chosen and worked very hard towards – my time is my own. 

I see my friends who are parents that don’t have that. I never take for granted the fact that I do.

If you could change one thing about how not having children is viewed, what would you wish to change? 

Actually, I think the perception of all that freedom can get misconstrued. People, often parents, tend to project onto me all of the things that they would like to do with so much free time. There is a lot of pressure on women who don’t have children have big fancy careers, and to be world travelers who live big lives. And that’s just not everybody.

It’s as though you have to either be a mom, or you have to be Samantha from Sex and the City. There’s no room for just a regular life without kids. 

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, your body, and your infertility?

I found Laura! Our friendship has really helped me embrace all of it. Being able to talk about it is just so helpful. 

I love hearing other childfree women’s stories – whether they involve fertility or not. Knowing that there are so many ways to live this life, and that there are so many paths to follow has been so helpful. 

I have found so much joy in diving deeper into my own interests of feminism, and activism and political engagement. Being out in nature and taking time to focus on figuring out what makes me happy has, well, made me happy! 

But the thing that I have found that helps the most has been this friendship.