Tickle Your Ears with These Podcasts About Childlessness

Dear readers,

Podcasts abound on just about every subject, including childlessness. I often use them as sources for this blog, and today I’m going to share a few. I find most of them via https://www.listennotes.com, which is an inexpensive service that allows you to plug in any topic and get a list of podcasts on the subject. You can also go to Apple or Spotify for similar results.

Geeta Pendse: 1in5 Podcast

Most recently, I listened to the brand new 1in5 Podcast. It covers all sides of leading a life without children, whether by choice or by circumstance.” Host Geeta Pendse plans to explore a range of subjects, including the pressures of social expectations, the biological clock, infertility, ambivalence around parenthood and embracing a life without kids, in whatever shape that comes.

Civilla Morgan: Childless Not by Choice

I can testify that I find Civilla’s voice soothing and her interviews enlightening.

“The Childless not by Choice Podcast is the story of an entire segment of society that goes largely ignored and misunderstood as we live and sometimes hide, in plain sight. I lived that story. I am living the story. Childless not by Choice is a podcast about the woman and man who wanted but could not have children. Of course, I invite everyone to listen. Because this is also a podcast that was created to bring awareness and conversation. It is a message for everyone: we are all walking the journey called life. But our paths are not the same. When we realize this, our minds will open up to the realization that we can treat each other with understanding, empathy, and grace, regardless of our journey, our paths.”

Jody Day: Gateway Women podcasts

Jody Day, who is frequently interviewed on other people’s podcasts, also conducts her own podcast interviews of other people, as well as hosting the quarterly Nomo Crones Childless Elderwomen chats that I have participated in. Find a wealth of listening pleasure at her Gateway-Women site.

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Robin Hadley: podcasts about childless men

Remember our discussion last week about childless men? Robin Hadley, who sparked that post, has a great list of podcasts on his website at https://www.robinhadley.co.uk/podcasts/ to give us the male point of view.

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That should keep you busy while I do a little more research for my next post. I didn’t want to give it to you half-baked. A hint to what it’s about: ambivalence.

If you know of other podcasts we might be interested in, please share in the comments.

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My sweet Annie celebrated her 14th birthday yesterday. That’s 98 in dog years. She has weathered her tumor surgery quite well. The lab decreed that it was not cancerous, to our great relief. Today the vet will probably remove the last of her stitches, and she will soon be free of the plastic cone around her head.

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Do We Settle Because We’re Afraid of Being Alone?

Do we commit to less than perfect partners because we’re terrified of being alone?

A webinar about spinsterhood got me thinking about this over the weekend. On Sunday, Jody Day of Gateway Women led the discussion with Civilla Morgan, who hosts the Childless Not by Choice podcast; Shani Silver, host of A Single Serving podcast, and Donna Ward, author of She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations on Life. (Read my review of her book here.) Ward, who lives in Australia, has just released an American edition of her book.

Our world is not kind to women who for whatever reason, aside from becoming nuns, never marry or have children. The assumption that everyone has a partner is even stronger than the assumption that everyone has children. Have you noticed how the world is set up for couples? Two settings at the restaurant table. Win a trip for two. Here’s a two-for- one coupon.

The word “spinster” has ugly connotations. It implies that something’s wrong with you, that you failed to attract a man. You’re unattractive, weird, asexual, can’t get along with people. Then again, as Ward writes, maybe you attracted plenty of men, but none of them were good enough to spend your life with.

Bachelors are not quite as frowned on, but still we wonder: what’s wrong with you? Why don’t you have a wife and kids like everybody else?

Maybe, like Silver, you like being on your own. You don’t need to be married or have children. She complained that every resource she sees for single women focuses on dating: how to get a man and end your single state. But for some singles, that’s not the issue.

It’s like being alone is a fate worse than death.

I have been alone for 12 years now. I get lonely. I have my memories to keep me company, but memories don’t put their arms around you. Memories don’t help you move that fallen tree branch that weighs more than you do. Memories won’t watch your purse while you go to the restroom, drive you to the ER when you sprain your ankle, or listen when you really need to talk to someone.

But having been married, it’s like I get this check mark from society on the box that says, “Approved.”

The list of challenges living alone goes on for days, but I don’t want to get married again. I like my freedom. Most of my widowed friends feel the same way. We have found our solo power and we like it. When we need help, we call each other.

When I was younger, would I ever have considered a single life? It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it could have happened.

No one asked me out until I was in college. Too nerdy, too fat, not social enough, parents too strict? I don’t know. I was already wondering if I’d ever find anyone, if I’d be like my Barbie doll without a Ken. I was afraid no man would love me when everything in my world told me a woman needs to get married and have children. So when someone finally wanted to date me, I didn’t ponder whether I liked him; I said yes. And I continued to say yes through a first marriage that failed and a series of unsuitable boyfriends between marriages. When I think of all the garbage I put up with just to hold onto a man . . .

By the time I met Fred, I had come to believe I would be single for the rest of my life. What if he hadn’t come along? I hope I wouldn’t have married another dud just to have someone. I know people who have done that. Don’t you?

I can count on one hand the number of people I know who never married. People wonder about them. Are they gay, do they have autism, are they mentally ill, or are they just plain weird? What if they’re regular people who surveyed the choices and said, “I’m fine by myself”?

My dog follows me around all day. She’s afraid of being alone. Humans are afraid, too. Maybe it’s the herd mentality. The zebra that wanders off alone gets killed by the lion. But maybe we don’t need to partner up for safety anymore. We can just be part of the herd.

So how about you? Have you settled so you wouldn’t be alone? Do you think it’s better to make a life alone rather than to be with the wrong person? Does the idea of a solo life scare you so much you’re willing to put up with a less-than-perfect relationship to avoid it, even if that means giving up the chance to have children? Let’s talk about it.

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The Nomo Crones are meeting again for another Childless Elderwomen chat. On Sunday, June 20, noon PDT, I will join Jody Day, Donna Ward, Karen Kaufmann, Jackie Shannon Hollis, Maria Hill, Karen Malone Wright and Stella Duffy. We’ll talk about coming out of the COVID cocoon and the skills we’ve learned from our childless lives. No doubt, our talk will range all over the place. We’re a rowdy bunch. To register to listen live or receive the recording later, click here.

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