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Approximately 1 in 5 women in the UK will remain childless, through infertility, circumstance, choice – and this number has been increasing since the 1960s. Yet women who have difficulty conceiving, who have chosen not to have children or remain childless for other reasons, are often portrayed as selfish in a society that still holds on to the idea that women should be mothers. This in-depth discussion will look at childlessness through circumstance and choice. It highlights the complex emotions of uncertainty, guilt, and shame that women can experience as they make sense of how the taboo of childlessness impacts their lives. Chaired by Dawn Llewellyn.
Jody Day, author, trainee integrative psychotherapist and the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women with a reach of two million women across all English-speaking countries. A founding and board member at AWOC.org (Ageing without Children) and a former Fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School.
Lizzie Lowrie, writer, speaker and coffee shop manager from Liverpool. Lizzie, her husband and friends started Saltwater and Honey, a blog about the struggle of childlessness, infertility and faith written from the midst of their experience. Lizzie is a representative for the Miscarriage Association and regularly speaks and writes about her experience of recurrent miscarriage and childlessness. In partnership with Liverpool Diocese, Lizzie created the Mother’s Day Runaways Service, a safe space for those who struggle with Mothering Sunday to gather and acknowledge their grief on Mother’s Day eve.
Dawn Llewellyn is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and Deputy Director of the Institute for Gender Studies at the University of Chester. Her work focuses on gender, feminism and religion and is she currently writing a book motherhood and voluntary childlessness in contemporary Christianity.
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