Designing your life after making the decision to be childfree.
Book Review: Living the Life Unexpected
When I had my hysterectomy at 35, I felt like the only person in the world whose infertility story didn’t end with a baby. I needed reassurance that it was possible to create a life I could fall in love with, even if it didn’t include children. Jody Day of Gateway Women was one of the first childless voices I found online. This isn’t surprising as she is a pioneer in and vocal advocate for the childless-not-by-choice community. Her words brought the comfort I sought, reassuring me that this was not the end of my story, but a new chapter.
Living the Life Unexpected Blog Tour
Two years later, I am thrilled to be a part of the blog tour launching the 2nd edition of her book, “Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children” available March 19. This book is the bible for those who are designing an unexpectedly childfree life. Which, I guess makes Jody the Patron Saint of the Childless.
Through her book, she serves as a guide; holding your hand, offering reassurance, walking with you as you take baby steps to envisioning your plan b. If you’d like a preview of the book, you can access the new introduction and first chapter here. You can also pre-order the new edition here. If you’re in the U.S., order through the Book Depository for free international shipping. I just ordered mine this morning.
About the Book
I love Jody’s beautiful quote in the new introduction:
It is my deepest wish that you find your place in this world again through the pages of this book, and that your dream of motherhood can be put to rest with the tenderness and love it deserves. Letting go of hope when you can’t see any other kind of hope ahead is terrifying, like swimming away from the shore in the dark without any idea when you’ll reach land again. Let this book be your lighthouse; let it be your hope in the dark. Those of us who’ve already made this trip are waiting for you on the other side, and many others are in the water alongside you, each feeling that they’re swimming alone. But you’re not alone. Welcome to your Tribe.
I was lucky enough to read this with a group of childless women through an online book club I hosted last year. I saw first hand the power of this book to heal and inspire. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of childlessness, together they take you on a path to finding acceptance, working through your grief, and envisioning new possibilities for your life. Exercises are included to help you apply the information to your own life and circumstances.
Updates to the New Edition
The introduction is just the first section that’s been updated. Jody has included a number of updates in this new edition. Including:
- New “Resources” section highlighting organizations, websites, and support groups worldwide; recommended blogs (including this one); and fifteen pages of recommended books for further reading.
- A look at Childlessness Around the World that includes up-to-date data on both the involuntary and voluntarily childless.
- New sections to the chapter on grief that include: childlessness after abortion; grieving while single; grieveing as a couple; grieving as a lesbian, gay or bisexual woman; grieving as a woman of faith; grieving as a woman of colour.
- New thoughts on ambivalence about motherhood.
- Updated list of childless role models.
- New section on fears and myths of aging without children.
Jody’s Book Club
While I am no longer offering a book club for this book, a guided online reading group, led by Jody, is part of the Gateway Women private online community. Complete with videos to introduce each chapter and weekly discussion prompts, the group is free for all members of the Gateway Women Online Community. Members can join in wherever they are in the book, whether it’s their first or fourth reading!
Coping with Mother’s Day Webinar
On Saturday, March 14, Jody will also be offering a webinar looking at the ways different experiences of childlessness and Mother’s Day can painfully intersect, offering insight, support and self-care tips. You can RSVP for the webinar here.
Pre-Order the New Edition
I am such a fangirl of Jody and am floored by all devotion she has shown to creating resources, support, and community for those who are childless-not-by-choice. I’ll leave you with the endorsement I wrote for the book, included in the new edition:
If you are childless-not-by-choice and are needing support, to know that you’re not alone, and guidance on how to create a plan b for your future, you need this book. Go pre-order your copy!
*For a chance to win a free autographed copy of the book, courtesy of Jody, head over to my Instagram account and on the book review post, answer the following question in the comments:
Why are you excited to read the book?