Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. As we conclude Season 3, it seems fitting to share this conversation with Jody Day, who was the first ever interviewee on Unclassified Woman a few years ago. How do you combat society’s ideology about those who are on the “outside”? It’s not an easy task, but one that a few brave people are called upon to challenge. Today’s show is all about how we approach taboo topics, the dominance of pro-natalistic thinking and current trends in the way families are formed. Don’t miss this eye-opening conversation!   "I found myself in midlife as part of the 'out' group because of something that was not of my choosing." Today, we’re catching up with Jody and finding out what’s been happening in her work in the past few years. Jody is the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women and the author of Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children.  Jody’s a thought leader on the topic of women's involuntary childlessness and a founding member and former board member of AWOC, Ageing Without Children. She’s a former Cambridge Business Fellow in Social Innovation, a TEDx speaker, and a psychotherapist-in-training. She’s a very busy lady who takes great pleasure in helping childless women get their groove back and find their tribe via the Gateway Women workshops’ online communities and social meet-ups that happen all around the globe.  What you’ll hear in this episode: The update on the last four years: Jody’s blog, the feedback from her work, and finding her tribe. In the UK, 1 in 5 women reach midlife without having children. The difference in the UK and the US as far as making an impact. How Jody developed and branded her blog so that women can identify with it and not feel alone in their experience. How the topic of childlessness is a combination of taboo, painful subjects like grief and infertility. How millennials view childlessness, both chosen and involuntary. The changing narrative around discussions about our bodies, sexuality, and childbearing. One area that still needs a dramatic shift in openness---menopause. Another taboo topic is abortion and its accompanying shame, guilt, and grief. Something we need to discuss more openly... Why Jody says she talks about her personal abortion experience at every opportunity--simply because it’s a taboo topic. Jody’s studies that are ongoing so she can graduate next Spring. In 2016, the 2nd edition of her book came out, with many interviews with childless women and men. The next stages of the social change that will take place and how legacy will play into the grieving process. Legacy can be a lifetime of moments of connection and empathy What “Plan B” looks like and why it doesn’t always mean something different than what you already have. Jody’s fantasy and what it meant about her value of motherhood and the validation of her mother’s heart. The compassion Jody feels for all disenfranchised groups of people. How her eyes have been opened to those who have been judged for something they couldn’t control. Jody’s Fertility Fight Club talk at Fertility Fest (find it at www.fertilityfest.com). The pro-natal ideology: the belief that you are a more important person because you’ve had children. The message is that if you are a parent, your life has more value. The prediction for Australia that by 2030 there will be more non-traditional family units without children than with children. 25% of the adult population will age without having children, but often this sector of the population are ignored. The huge need for reorganisation in our social systems. The future of Gateway Women as they tackle two main issues: pro-natalism in the workplace and getting stories of childlessness into the mainstream with humour. The difficulty in challenging and changing belief systems: how do we get the rest of the world to understand us and shift their thinking? Resources: www.gateway-women.com Find Jody on Instagram and Twitter: @GatewayWomen If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For information about more episodes go to: michellemariemcgrath.com I would love to hear what you found most helpful about this interview. Thank you.
Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm speaking to Shanghai based Keturah Kendrick, who shares her perspective on being childfree by choice. Whose voice do you listen to most? When it comes to marriage and having children, it seems that everyone has an opinion regarding how YOU should live your life. Today’s show is all about listening to YOUR voice and making the choices that make YOU happy. Keturah Kendrick is an American writer, blogger and podcaster who has lived on three different continents and travelled to more than a dozen countries. For years she has written about her life as a single woman who sees being unmarried as a lifestyle choice like any other, as opposed to an “illness from which I must be cured.” She also writes about her lifelong disinterest in motherhood, critiquing the cultural expectation that black women, in particular, are destined to birth and raise children. An English teacher by trade, she has discussed her favourite books with her students in New York, Rwanda, and Shanghai. Her debut collection of essays, No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone, will be published in June 2019. Keturah enjoys food and travel, specifically, eating her way through her favourite countries---and who can blame her? What you’ll hear in this episode: Keturah calls New York and New Orleans home. She needed a break and wanted to travel, so spent 2 years in Rwanda teaching English and then found a position in Shanghai. Her not having a child is “absolutely by personal choice”---she always knew that motherhood would never be “her thing”. How she has felt the pressure just beneath the surface and has been told she is being silly, selfish, and must be a broken woman to not want children The mockery she felt when she voiced her desire to never have kids. How she was raised that the only thing that validated a woman's life was to be someone’s wife and mother. The subtle influences that she was “being unfair to her phantom husband” by not wanting children. Where is the logic in anyone trying to convince another person to have a baby? Why Keturah has become more vocal in her writing and her podcast. Why parenting should be a lifestyle choice that some people make and shouldn’t be tied to your gender. Many women around the world don’t have a choice and don’t have access to contraception. Why there should be tolerance for everyone’s right to individual choice about their roles. How Keturah uses her creative energy in her blog, writing, and being with other people. How she’s always been true to herself about what she wanted--”When I look back, I see that everyone was wrong but me.” The ways we encourage and blatantly tell young women that every other voice but their own is important. Why Keturah is glad she trusted in her own instincts and didn’t let anyone convince her to go against what she knew was right for her. How Keturah approached the topic of children with a longtime partner, who believed he may want children. The conditioning by society to fit the dominant narrative and how this plays out in relationships. Keturah’s advice: “Ignore everybody’s voice but your own, including your mother and your man. I want absolute joy and fulfilment for everyone. If motherhood is that for you, then do it, but if not, then listen to your voice until you make a decision.” Parting words from Keturah: Don’t get off the fence if you are undecided! Don’t be afraid to tell people to mind their own business! Listen to no one’s voice but your own! Find out more about Keturah and her work at www.keturahkendrick.com Find her on Twitter: @HappySingleGal Find Keturah’s blog: www.yetanothersinglegal.com Find Keturah’s podcast: www.unchainedandunbothered.com  If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For information about more episodes go to: michellemariemcgrath.com I would love to hear what you found most helpful about this interview. Thank you.  
Welcome to another great episode of Unclassified Woman! Today, I'm speaking to the lovely Kate Powe. Many people make assumptions about others without even realising it. We see a woman in her 40’s without children and assume she is selfish or too career-oriented to take time to raise children. Often there are circumstances playing out behind the scenes that we just aren’t aware of. Today’s show focuses on the problems that endometriosis can cause in terms of fertility and family-building and the need for women to have the knowledge about their bodies to make empowered choices. Imagine if we learnt about these subjects in school.... Kate Powe is an amazing naturopath based on the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia. Kate has a passion for helping women balance their hormones and create happy, powerful lives. By integrating evidence-based medicine with mind-body principles and addressing underlying causes of cycle and hormonal disruption, Kate aims to support women mentally, emotionally, and physically to feel balanced and in control of their bodies, moods, and energy. Kate holds a BA in English from the University of Sydney, an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy from Nature Care College, and a Diploma of Advanced Metaphysics from Chiara College. Kate’s a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) and regularly furthers her education in naturopathic medicine, particularly in women’s endocrinology, including thyroid disease, endometriosis, and PCOS. She has contributed to many podcasts on endometriosis and written articles on the topic for numerous magazines. She has an obsession with all things Italian and sneaks to Italy and the UK as often as possible. Who can blame her!  What you’ll hear in this episode: How both circumstances and choice played into Kate’s not having children. As one of six kids, she always assumed she’d meet a partner and have children---but it just didn’t happen How she suffered from endometriosis and adenomyosis during her reproductive years, which complicated matters and impacted her fertility. The factors involved when your life doesn’t follow the assumed “pattern” and the judgments that people make about you about being selfish and career-driven. Endometriosis is a real issue and taboo topic as a condition that impacts fertility and causes painful periods. Lesions, scar tissue, and inflammation impact the reproductive organs. Adenomyosis affects the muscle wall of the uterus and contributes to painful flooding periods. These conditions can take 7-13 years to correctly diagnose because everyone assumes having painful periods is completely normal. It isn't....and women should not suffer in silence. Both endometriosis and adenomyosis are not isolated conditions, but part of a larger inflammatory process in the body that can have a genetic component. Women in the past dealt with these conditions in silence, not knowing how to treat them. They weren’t aware of what was happening in their bodies and their doctors weren’t concerned. The cost of treating endometriosis can be higher than treating diabetes! Two keys to know about endometriosis: The only way to accurately diagnose it is with surgery--not a scan; It’s a moveable disease with sometimes silent and inconsistent symptoms. Endometriosis presents a wide variety of symptoms, including heavy and long, painful periods, pain in legs, discomfort after sex, and a connection with yeast infections. Now we know that endometriosis is a systemic inflammatory condition around an immune disregulation in the peritoneal fluid and much more than simply a reproductive issue. Naturopaths look at diet and lifestyle approaches to remove inflammation, detox the liver, and keep regular bowel function A key in endometriosis treatment is to guard against toxins in personal care products. How education can revolutionise women’s health, especially now that the driving force behind the push for more information is coming from women The old treatments for endo included “go on the pill” or “get pregnant”. Not very helpful is your endometriosis is causing infertility! The way Kate deals with grief now in her 40’s differently than in her 20’s and 30’s when there were lots of questions, suffering, symptoms, and surgeries. Dealing with the implication from others that “something must be wrong with you if you don’t have children”. How Kate has dealt with awkward social scenarios and the crazy assumptions people make about your personal life. How women can assume many different roles in life around caring and nurturing that don’t involve having a biological child. The added challenges for Kate in not having a partner and not feeling supported in that way. Statistics show that by 2030 in Australia, there will be more family units without kids, a changing family dynamic, and more global consciousness around “community”. Why “the pill” is not a good choice because it shuts down the female cycle, but women aren’t taught to question its use. Most of Kate’s clients are having post-pill problems and hormonal imbalances. How Kate shows creativity in her passion with women’s health, her energy medicine, and cycle essences to help women connect with their cycles. Find out more about Kate and her work at www.katepowe.com If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For information about more episodes go to: michellemariemcgrath.com I would love to hear what you found most helpful about this interview. Thank you.  
Welcome to another episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm delighted to share my conversation with Adebisi Adewusi, based in Nigeria.  How much courage does it take to REALLY go against what society deems the norm? As far as women’s rights and feminism have come, we sometimes forget that there are places in the world where women don’t have independence and are truly stigmatised for making 'unusual' choices. Today’s show is about someone who walks her own path and shares her own truth with immense courage.  What was even more humbling is how modest she is about her choices. I truly hope you enjoy today's conversation with the inspiring Adebisi. "African tradition teaches that if someone doesn’t have a lineage to pass on then their life has no meaning or purpose." Adebisi Adewusi of Nigeria is a rockstar photographer, writer, and content consultant from startups in Israel to multi-million dollar companies in America. She’s helped various companies across the world improve their content strategy and marketing. Besides helping businesses succeed, Adebisi uses her skills to bust myths about women and bring issues that African women face to the forefront. Through her writing, Adebisi explores issues connected to feminism, gender, and other topics with strong social and political context. She’s written about child marriage in Uganda, ending sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gender stereotypes at work, and other spaces. She’s been featured on numerous international platforms, including the Huffington Post, She Thinks, BBC’s Why Factor, African Feminism, and many others. Adebisi also runs a gender advocacy blog, The Female Orator, where she educates non-profits on how to get funding and interviews subject experts in the non-profit sector. She’s a feminist raised by women who climbed trees and spoke their minds when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. Adebisi’s feminism is shaped by the past and sustained by the present. What you’ll hear in this episode:  How Adebisi made the choice to be a writer and do her work--without being a mother. Adebisi’s path is VERY unusual for a Nigerian woman and some of her family think it’s odd to not have children. Breaking through traditional boundaries and creating her own path--and being at peace with it. How she handled the topic of children with her boyfriend, who was fine with the decision (even though men are expected to pass on their lineage). How African society’s attitudes dictate that marriage and having children is normal and not having them is not. How people believe that a childless women may be a witch. The connection between religion and African tradition in having children. If you speak openly about not wanting a child, people just assume you must be crazy. It is just not acceptable. Not having children is taboo and like placing a curse on yourself. The pressure for women of colour compared to a white woman--”It’s a grievous offence.” Being a role model for other young African women. Women in African culture are bound to the husband to do what he wants, so it takes an open-minded man to be OK with not having children. Adebisi is from an open-minded, educated family who understand her choices. Women who can’t have children will even buy them on the black market to avoid the stigma of being childless. Even though this is officially illegal, the buying and selling of babies happens more frequently than many realise. Adebisi is a strong voice who writes what she wants to, even about taboo topics, and she doesn’t care what other people think. How Adebisi is fulfilled by her writing, mentoring young women, and telling stories through photography. Adebisi’s words of encouragement: “It’s OK not to have children and to make choices about your own body. It doesn’t make you less of a woman. You can nurture other people and there are other women who will support you on your journey. It's also important financially support yourself, so you are not dependent on a man and can make your own decisions." Find about more about Adebisi and her work:  www.thefemaleorator.com Find her on Twitter: @biswag Email Adebisi: adebisiadewusi@yahoo.com If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For information about more episodes go to: michellemariemcgrath.com I would love to hear what you found most helpful about this interview. Thank you.
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