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Meet Your Host

Katy Seppi

Founder, Chasing Creation & Your Host

Three Ways to Make new Childless Friends

Being childless can have a huge impact on our friendships. I polled over 400 childless women and found that 94% feel lonely in their experience of being childless; 52% don’t have any childless or childfree friends online; and 54% don’t have childfree or childless friends near them that they see in person.

In my presentation, I’ll walk you through three of my favorite tools for making new childless friends in your area. I know how powerful friendships can be. I can’t wait to share my best tips for making new connections.

Katy Seppi (she/her) is designing an unexpectedly childfree life after infertility. After her hysterectomy in 2017, she started Chasing Creation to provide support, resources and community for those who are also involuntarily childless. In addition to the Childless Collective Summit, she offers: a monthly, virtual Childless Support Circle; monthly Childless Chat Webinars with special guests; and online workshops. 

 

She holds a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Georgia with an emphasis in community empowerment and program development.

Meet Our Sponsor

dr. Jay Zigmont

Founder, Childfree Wealth

how being childfree changes your financial future

Join Jay and Katy for this live session on what to consider when planning for your financial future without kids. Through Childfree Wealth, Jay primarily works with childless/childfree individuals and is recognized as a leader in this niche within the financial planning industry. He’ll be taking your questions live so be sure to add this one to your calendar!

Dr. Jay Zigmont (he/him), CFP(R), and his wife are Childfree and live in Water Valley, MS. He has a Ph.D. in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) and Childfree Wealth Specialist. He is the founder of Live, Learn, Plan, and Childfree Wealth, a life and financial planning firm specializing in helping Childfree Individuals. 

He has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Business Insider, Wall Street Journal, Woman’s World, Investors Business Daily, FinancialPlanning, and many other publications.   

July 14: Sharing Our Stories

brittany williams

blogger & Podcast Host, Writefully So Brittany

Boundaries: Checking yourself & Others

One thing we can control on this journey is what we tell ourselves and what we share with others. During my presentation, I will dive into dealing with negative self-talk and creating boundaries with family and friends.

Brittany Williams (she/her) is a social worker, blogger, podcast host, journal creator, and mental health and infertility awareness advocate. She has been on her infertility journey for six years with her husband and 2 fur babies by her side. She has a Masters in Social Work and Bachelors in Psychology & Journalism. Brittany utilizes her platform to discuss dark and difficult moments, while sharing her story.

Dr. Angela L. Harris

Visionary & Founder, No Bibs Burps Bottles

Chocolate & Childfree: The intersection of identities

This presentation will promote the intersections of the multiple identities that women hold. Which identities are most salient and why? How to empower those identities, if and when needed? How does one truly define themselves in the world? This presentation aims to support and educate those who want to live an authentic life.

Dr. Angela L. Harris (she/her) is the Founder & Visionary of #NoBibsBurpsBottles, a childfree brand and online community that empowers and celebrates Black women who are childfree by choice or circumstance. #NoBibsBurpsBottles hosts online events, sells childfree pride merchandise, provides 1:1 empowerment chats, and more!

 

Dr. Harris is a Speaker, Author, and Podcast Host. 

Dr. Robin hadley

research consultant & associate lecturer

myths around men and male reproduction

There are many myths around men, manhood and masculinity when it comes to
reproduction. In this presentation I will explore two of the most embedded in many societies, institutions and social structures: that men are not concerned about reproduction; and that men are fully fertile from puberty until death.

Dr. Robin Hadley is a mediated childless man. It was during his counsellor training that he became interested in the subject and he is now a leading expert on the psychological and sociological impact of unwanted male childlessness. He is a working class man from Manchester (UK) and his previous careers include bar tender, counsellor, deputy technical manager and scientific photographer.

Míriam aguilar

divulgadora y activista en redes sociales | Spokesperson and Activist

aceptar y soltar | accepting & letting go

Míriam's presentation will be delivered in Spanish with English subtitles. La presentación de Míriam se hará en español con subtítulos en inglés.

For eight years I tried becoming a mother. I felt like something was telling me that it was not my path. Nevertheless, I kept trying out of fear, I supposed that being a mother was the best thing that could happen to me-out of social pressure since all of my friends were mothers and society was always asking me when it would be me, acquired family beliefs, etc. At some point in the process, I decided that I did not want to become a mother at any price and I started to set limits. When the fertility treatment didn’t work, I knew that the moment had arrived to stop and except that I was not going to have children.

I worked through my pain, and I began to work through all those beliefs that I had. I currently feel like a full and complete woman, happy with this path that I didn’t expect and I feel that this is my path.

Hi, I’m Míriam Aguilar (she/her). I am 44 years old and I live in Barcelona with my husband and our cat, Mini. We tried to become parents for 8 years. I suffered 4 pregnancy losses and went though assisted reproduction treatment that did not work. We decided not to do anything else to become parents and to accept our life without children. Based on that experience, I began to do personal development work and I am currently training to be a gestalt psychotherapist. I support other women who are childless not by choice.

Durante 8 años intenté ser madre. En ese transcurso yo sentía como si mi cuerpo (y la vida) me estuvieran diciendo que ese no era el camino. Sin embargo, seguía intentándolo por miedo, pues entonces yo creía que ser madre era lo mejor que me podía pasar, por presión social, puesto que todas mis amigas eran madres y la sociedad siempre me estaba preguntando que cuándo lo sería yo, por creencias familiares adquiridas, etc. En algún momento del proceso me di cuenta de que no quería ser madre a cualquier precio y empecé a pensar en poner límites.

 

 

Cuando el tratamiento de fertilidad no funcionó supe que había llegado el momento de parar y aceptar que no iba a tener hijos. Sentí mucha liberación (entre otras cosas). Elaboré mi duelo, empecé a trabajar en todas esas creencias que tenía y actualmente me siento una mujer plena, completa y muy feliz con este camino que no esperaba y que siento que sí es mi camino.

 

 

Hola, soy Míriam Aguilar (ella), tengo 44 años y vivo en Barcelona con mi marido y nuestra gata Mini. Intentamos ser padres durante 8 años, sufrí 4 pérdidas gestacionales y pasé por un tratamiento de reproducción asistida que no funcionó. Decidimos no hacer nada más para ser padres y aceptar nuestra vida sin niños. A raíz de esa experiencia empecé a hacer trabajo de desarrollo personal y actualmente me estoy formando para ser psicoterapeuta gestalt. Acompaño a mujeres en sus no maternidades por circunstancias.

sebastian Nowak

infertility Advocate

infertility: a journey, not a battle

In this presentation, I share the story of my struggle with male infertility and why I consider it a journey, rather than a battle.

Sebastian Nowak (he/him) is infertile, but doesn’t let it dictate the way he live his life. He decided to speak about it openly, and become an awareness activist. His goal is to show other men facing infertility, that they are not alone, they are not less manly, and that it is ok for them to seek help.

kat brown

journalist

writing through grief

Writing your story is a powerful way of processing difficult emotions, with often surprising results. Journalist Kat Brown has done just that in newspapers, and now as a contributor and the editor of a book collecting stories from women who have experienced infertility, including childlessness. She will guide you through how to write your story and keep yourself safe in the process.

Kat Brown (she/her) is a British journalist and commentator whose work appears in national newspapers and magazines, TV and radio. She is the editor of the forthcoming book, No One Talks About This Stuff, a ‘support group in a book’ collecting writing about infertility and almost-motherhood. She has two awful cats and one fairly nice dog.

tanya hubbard

Registered therapeutic counsellor & certified coach

exploring seconday losses

In loss we experience “primary losses” and accompanying losses called “secondary losses”. I will teach about the importance of recognizing, grieving, and managing all these losses through the lens of telling my own story in hopes that it will give context for learning as well as allow you to get to know me a little better.

Tanya Hubbard (she/her) is a counsellor and coach living in Vancouver, Canada. In her private practice she works with grief and trauma through a client centered perspective, using an integrative approach including somatic therapy. She loves supporting those who are childless not by choice and depending on the day, she identifies as childless by chance or childfree after infertility.

katie maynard

LICSW, Psychotherapist

our stories of circumstantial childlessness, ambivalence & Self-compassion

It is very common for childless people to have had life circumstances and feelings of ambivalence that stood in the way of becoming parents. This presentation will discuss research and clinical wisdom related to these topics and normalize these aspects of childlessness that can be so unspoken and shame-inducing. Attendees will be able to reflect on their own narrative and reframe their story with self-compassion.

Katie Maynard (she/her) is a licensed psychotherapist, practicing in Washington state since 2000. She has worked in community based agencies, clinical research, and her own private practice. Her personal and professional experiences with childlessness have led her to create a triad of services: working with childless clients, supporting the clinical growth of other therapists, and spreading awareness about the importance of childless affirmative therapy within the mental health community.

Stacey brown

poet & Founder, wombless & worthy

wombless & worthy

At 25 Stacey was diagnosed with MRKH which stands for Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome. Is a rare congenital syndrome where you’re born without a uterus and with an underdeveloped vaginal canal. Stacey will take us on a journey full of grieving with grace and defining what it means to be Wombless and Worthy.

Stacey Brown (she/her) is a poet and MRKH advocate. MRKH is a congenital syndrome that effects 1 in 5,000 women, where you’re born without a uterus and with an underdeveloped vaginal canal. In May 2021 Stacey launched Wombless and Worthy where she uses poetry to redefine what it means to be a woman.

 

The world tells you this is what a woman’s body is supposed to do and this is how a woman’s body is supposed to do it. Her goal is to use poetry to inspire and share a message that remind others that are apart of the MRKH and infertility community that they still have a purpose and their body still has a purpose.

kate kaufmann

owner, never expecting

getting close: singlehood, intimacy & aging

Single or partnered (for the long-haul or for the moment), intimacy is crucial to healthy aging, especially when you don’t have kids. Kate Kaufmann, author of Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No, talks with Katy about creating fulfilling intimate connections at all ages.

Kate Kaufmann (she/her) is the international, award-winning author of Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No. She advocates for better understanding of the childless/childfree demographic and is a popular speaker, media guest, and conversation-starter. Outlets where her work has been featured include NBC, Psychology Today, the National Organization for Women, and the Washington Post.

July 15: Finding Healing

aisha balesaria

Coach & founder, mind body revival coach

trying to heal when it still hurts

Aisha’s presentation focuses on  ‘Finding Healing’. Rethinking what’s possible, transforming ideas, and using a model of transformation to understand the grieving process. Including where you’ve been with childlessness, where you currently are and where you want to be. Re-framing endings into new beginnings and how CNBC folk can fill our lives even without children in them. It’s very much about transformational coaching but in a non-toxic positive way.

Aisha Balesaria (she/her) is from London – UK. She’s a Certified Transformational Coach and the founder of mindbodyrevival_coach.

Aisha is an endometriosis warrior who embraced childlessness after ten-years of over 11 unsuccessful IVF attempts and numerous miscarriages. She’s fiercely passionate about creating childless community – “why on earth should anyone feel alone, ashamed or excluded because they’re not parents?”.

Through 1:1 coaching, Aisha supports individuals in their deepest pain and their most genuine hopes. She writes and speaks on global platforms about the ‘silent struggles’ of being involuntary childless, a huge diversity issue even in the 21st century!

When Aisha isn’t coaching she loves travelling, fine dining, cat cuddles with Peaches and ‘me time’. Aisha is loud about social justice, the impact of chronic illness and cultivating a diverse and inclusive society.

lana walker

founder, worthy & content

letting go & healing with emotional freedom techniques

Knots or churning in your stomach when friends/family/colleagues talk about their children? Feeling tearful and heavy-hearted when confronted with images of babies/bumps on social media? Let’s gently tap into that energy to release those feelings so that you can live your life without being affected by other people’s circumstances. Learn how Emotional Freedom Techniques (aka tapping/EFT) can change your life by releasing those negative reactions and emotions.

Using her caring heart, empathic listening abilities and the energy therapy of Emotional Freedom Techniques (aka tapping), Lana Walker (she/her) helps women and men to gently yet fundamentally let go of the weight of childlessness, easing that guilt of “am I allowed able to be happy if I don’t have children? ”and helping them tap into the curiosity of their new identity. She makes life easier, lighter and more enjoyable for people without children, so that they feel worthy and content.

veronica santini

yoga teacher & women's health mentor

healing your body, mind & heart

Being unexpectedly childless can feel like we have failed in life. Knowing that the future we had imagined for ourselves is not going to materialise can leave us feel heartbroken and mentally drained. And when the childlessness is also linked to a physical condition, we can feel betrayed by our body and disconnected from it.

I believe that feeling at peace with ourselves and healing within is the foundation for living a joyful childless life. We first need to heal ourselves, before we face the society around us with all their comments, questions and opinions.

In this session, I will share some reflections, practices and rituals you can integrate in your daily life that can help you heal the relationship with your body, find balance in your mind and repair your broken heart. It is time for you to feel whole and enough as you are and to fall back in love with yourself.

Veronica Santini (she/her) is a yoga teacher and women’s health mentor for unexpectedly childless women. She helps conscious women to overcome the emotional overwhelm of unwanted childlessness so they can reframe womanhood and live fulfilling lives. With her knowledge of yoga, healing arts and women’s health and first hand experience facing an infertility diagnosis, Veronica understands what it means to want a child so badly that you start forgetting your SELF in the process.

She believes that every woman deserves to live an empowered, easeful and joyful life. Her approach helps women to rediscover their confidence, reclaim their life and fall back in love with themselves, regardless of the outcome of their fertility journey.

Juli Angelis

trauma therapy practitioner & holistic life coach, mia vita healing

Self-Healing Tips & Tools - A Trauma Informed Approach

Juli, a trauma therapy practitioner and holistic life coach who is single and circumstantially childless, talks about using a trauma informed approach in regards to “finding healing” after childlessness. She also runs through some self-healing tips and techniques that can be used day to day as part of any healing journey. Juli uses a trauma informed approach with all her clients, and believes that body based practices are essential when treating any type of trauma, including involuntary childlessness.

Juli Angelis (she/her) is a Trauma Therapy Practitioner and Holistic Life Coach who specialises in involuntary childlessness, as well as childhood trauma and healing from abusive relationships. Juli is CNBC herself and lives in between London & the South of Italy.

Helen Segal

counsellor, MBACP & founder, empowered childless

art & creativity as supportive, soothing & healing tools

In this workshop I will discuss the power of connecting to our personal creativity. I believe everyone is creative. When we make space to nurture creativity it can help us. It is a window into our unconscious and has wisdom that our complicated, at times chaotic, negative brains do not.

I will show you how to connect to this creative power within and use it to support you through grief. Experience the magic of placing your pen onto a piece of paper and allowing it to move, speak and express your truth. Within the lines, marks, shapes and colours, you will find connection, expression and freedom.

Learn the magic of mindful creativity and the effects it has on your body. Doodle your way through grief and start embracing your life again.

Helen Segal (she/her) is an Arts Counsellor (MBACP), Coach and Mentor. She taught art in schools for 17 years and has been working as a counsellor since 2018. She has almost 3 decades of personal growth behind her.

She personally knows the devastation of failed fertility treatments and each month seeing that dream of a family not come true. She has been on her own Courageous Grief Journey since 2015.

She founded Empowered Childlessness in 2019. Her mission is simply to empower childless women and men who are in pain to heal and find peace. Through the therapeutic healing arts, she supports them to stand in their power and truth, so they can walk their personal journeys to find themselves and then create meaning, joy and freedom in their lives again.

Sarah jane smith

owner, life coach & embodiment teacher, embodied possibility

come home to your body and be kind to yourself

Self-Compassion is a practice of meeting and accepting the parts of ourselves that are in pain and directing kindness to those parts. Join Sarah Jane and learn a self-compassion practice that you can use anytime you feel you need a dose of kindness.

Sarah Jane Smith (she/her) is an embodiment teacher and life coach who helps fellow childless not by choice women re-establish trust and connection with themselves and their bodies so they can open up to the possibility of what life holds.

She lives on a small island off the west coast of Canada where she runs a yoga studio, has a big garden and spends lots of time in the woods with her dog Leo.

beth McDonough

owner & founder, the inclusive stepmom

how to heal the childless stepmother wound

“Childless” stepmoms, whether by choice, by chance, or by circumstance, are faced with unique challenges. Society looks at us with skepticism, as somewhere between a parent and a pariah. In this presentation, Beth will explore how being a childless stepmom can be like rubbing salt in a raw wound. She will also explore how we can all heal that wound and start to see this role as freeing, fulfilling and empowering.

Beth McDonough is Co-founder and Co-host of The Stepmom Summit, Co-Owner and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Stepfamily Magazine, a Certified Stepparent Coach, and owner of The Inclusive Stepmom. She takes stepmoms from hopeless to happy through 1:1 coaching, group coaching, and her signature Calm Over Chaos course. Her work has been featured in NPR, Good Morning America, StepMom Magazine, SheKnows Parenting, BabyCenter, Bustle, Romper, Mom2.0, and ParentMap. The Inclusive Stepmom was also named one of the best stepparenting blogs by Healthline in 2020.

Sarah Roberts

grief Counsellor & cNBC Advocate, the empty cradle

Judy Graham

Counsellor, WomanHood

wish you had a map? A practical tool for navigating childless grief

The grief of childlessness is unique to each of us, though it is common to feel overwhelmed at times. If you’re feeling a little lost, you’re not alone. In this session, grief therapists Judy and Sarah acknowledge the complexity of love, loss and living. They offer a practical resource for finding your bearings, mapping your grief and navigating movement and healing.

Sarah Roberts (she/her) is the founder of The Empty Cradle, a service that supports women to grieve the loss of motherhood and create lives of connection, meaning and joy. She combines lived experience, specialist grief counselling and academic research to create resources and support women in this sacred journey of adult womanhood.

Sarah sees involuntary childlessness as a mystery. A hidden landscape that is no less challenging, valuable or worthy than motherhood, yet it is socially invisible and stigmatized. In her quiet time, Sarah restores a native forest, creates visual art and loves juicy conversations about life. She is passionate about the complexity of the human experience and what it means to live a good life.

Judy Graham (she/her) is the founder of WomenHood Counselling in Australia. Judy combines years of professional practice with her own experience as a childless woman. She has a gift for creating the kind of safe and sacred space women need to be able to speak about their childlessness.

With knowledge and expertise in grief and loss, Judy supports childless women to be with their own grief as they readjust to a life they didn’t expect and connect with new hopes and possibilities. Judy describes being in nature, creative projects, yoga, nurturing relationships, conquering sudoku puzzles, and laughing at her cat’s antics as things that sustain her.

mayumi boelens

presenter & NLP Life coach, flow japan

kintsugi: the japanese art of embracing imperfections

Introducing “Kintsugi mindset” which helped Mayumi let go of her control and open up about her imperfection, which in her case is infertility, instead of hiding it.

Kintsugi is a Japanese art concept to repair broken objects using golden glue instead of transparent superglue, to emphasize “the scar” to make it even more beautiful than before.
She will be introducing how this concept helped her accept and embrace the imperfection and living authentically even under the social pressure that many Japanese childless women are facing.

Mayumi Boelens (she/her) is a Japanese presenter and NLP Life coach based in Singapore. After spending 8 years on fertility treatments in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, she and her Canadian husband decided to let go of their dream of becoming parents. Through her journey of re-defining her IKIGAI (a fulfilling life) she found there was a lack of support and understanding for Japanese childless women who live apologetically under the social pressures of Japanese culture. Today, she hosts a podcast show called “FLOW” to introduce and celebrate the diversity of life choices for women and guides childless women to find their own fulfilling lives.

July 16: Making Connections

bindi shah

meditation guide

meditation: self-forgiveness with an emphasis on the body

The involuntary childless journey brings with it an attention to the body. There are often tests, scans, treatments and then the feeling that your body has failed you. Let’s start bringing in self-forgiveness to the body – releasing the self-blame and allowing in understanding.

In this session, you’ll be invited to participate in a guided meditation with affirmations. Statements of forgiving the body which you can repeat along with me. A powerful self-talk session with a focus on understanding, loving and yes, forgiving the body.
There is no meditation experience required and you will leave with affirmations which you can continue to use for your healing.

Bindi Shah (she/her) is a meditation teacher and writer who specialises in guiding meditation classes for childless not by choice. After leaving her corporate job in 2001, she studied Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation in India and brought this ancient healing science back to London. Finding herself seeing clients mostly for emotional matters, she studied Life Coaching and added this to her practice. She has recently published the ‘Daily Truth Oracle Card’ deck, a deck of 44 cards which feature soul messages for meditation, reflection and support.

gloria labay

midwife, la vida sin hijos | midwife, the life without kids

la importancia de encontrar tu tribu | finding your community

Gloria's presentation will be delivered in Spanish with English subtitles. La presentación de Gloria se hará en español con subtítulos en inglés.

Gloria’s presentation will focus on the importance of finding your community, a place to go when you feel disconnected from the world. A group like an emotional community. A place that can support you. A place where you can be yourself at that specific moment in your life. Knowing that that community exists will bring you peace.

 

I am Gloria Labay (she/her), midwife and childless woman. I founded Life Without Children, a network of support and friendship for women who are childless by circumstance in 2018. I create and facilitate groups for women who are experiencing grief due to being childless. I work as a midwife in Public Health.

La presentación de Gloria cubrirá los siguientes temas: Un sitio a donde llegar, cuando el mundo exterior se siente como ajeno; El grupo como comunidad afectiva, un sitio donde sostenerte; Un lugar donde mostrarte tal como eres en este momento de tu vida; y Saber que existe una tribu así, ya te tranquiliza.

 

Soy Gloria Labay (ella) matrona y mujer sin hijos. Fundé La vida sin hijos: Red de soporte y amistad para mujeres sin hijos por circunstancias, en 2018. Soy creadora y facilitadora de grupos para mujeres en duelo por su No Maternidad. Trabajo como matrona en la Sanidad Pública.

sadie tichelaar

founder & life coach, this curious life coaching

the magic of rest & play

Sadie’s workshop is an exploration on how the concepts of rest and play are vital to how we connect with ourselves and the world around us. Her session will include why rest and play is important; ways to bring in more rest and play; an inner child meditation so you can connect with them as your rest and play muse.

Sadie Tichelaar (she/her) is a qualified, certified UK life coach for women who are ready to embrace their truest self – the light and the shadow – and bring more magic and play into their life. She’s also a feminist in progress; a walking contradiction and still working out who she really is as the answer changes daily.

 

Using a blend of her own personal and potent blend of magic – curiosity, empathy and intuition – Sadie supports creative souls to tap into their own magic and feel confident to show up as their whole, imperfect beautiful self.

James D' Souza

Infertility Advocate

how men can build emotional resilience

Men’s experience of fertility treatment can sometimes get ignored. The challenges are different – and can be no less significant. In this presentation I’ll give an insight into the current state of masculinity, it’s effect on men dealing with fertility, and three practical ways men can build emotional resilience.

James D’Souza (he/him) is an emotionally articulate man who still loves being married after nearly 15 years. His fertility journey with Davina started in 2012 and completed in 2021 after three failed rounds of IVF, a diagnosis of Endo-Adeno for Davina (with multiple surgeries), and a testicular cancer diagnosis for James.

 

Along the way, he discovered that talking about his experience contributed to others whilst slightly intimidating them. His ideas about fertility and masculinity have been featured in The Guardian, BBC Breakfast, Good Men Project, BBC Radio5Live, and others. He also appeared in the film ‘The Easy Bit’ about the male experience of fertility treatment.

 

He loves playing guitar, avoiding getting punched in the head at sessions of Urban Krav Maga, and asking awkward questions.

Helen Gallagher

Founder, Happy & Childless

The power of connection

Connection singlehandedly changed my life. Here I show you that by looking into yourself and your community you can uncover powerful connections which will enable you to experience a life with more love, meaning and purpose.

 

Connection is the energy that exists between people who understand each other, listen to each other and feel heard and a sense of joy and fulfilment can be drawn from these connections. When we derive strength, sustenance, and contentment from a person, situation or environment then we are experiencing true connection.

 

Connection to self can be just as rewarding if we allow ourselves to really listen, show empathy and understand ourselves.

 

The connection and connections which transformed my experience of life were intentional, they derived from a new found openness and availability but most importantly a deeper understanding of self.

Helen Gallagher (she/her) is striving to live her best life being childless. She provides support to the childless community through life coaching, podcasts and sharing tips and techniques to move forward and embrace life again.

stephanie joy phillips

founder, world childless week

as a (childless) mother, i know true love

Have you ever questioned when we become a mother? Is it only at the point of giving birth or could it be in the months or even years preceding? I’ve encountered true love throughout my life and feel sorry for any parent who believes it can only be felt upon giving birth, as their mindset dictates their love will never be reciprocated.

At the age of 39 Stephanie Joy Phillips (she/her) and her husband were told by a doctor “If he manages to get you pregnant it is highly unlikely you’ll carry full term.” Stephanie knew in that moment, she would never be a mum. The grief that followed was deep and dark but she found support, validation and friendship through online support groups.

 

In 2017 (having become acutely aware the childless were not represented en masse anywhere) Stephanie founded World Childless Week to enable the voices of the childless community to be heard globally, and in 2022 World Childless Week reached over 100 countries.

 

Stephanie also runs several Facebook groups specifically for the childless and in her spare time enjoys arts and crafts, reading and relaxing with her husband and two rescue cats, Storm and Tea-Cup.

katy deJong

sex Educator, The pleasure anarchist

connecting to pleasure

In this class we will discuss the healing power of connecting to pleasure through the body. Participants will learn about the foundational elements of creating a joyful, sensual and sustainable pleasure practice!

Katy DeJong (she/her) is a sex educator and feminist philosopher. Her work in sexuality is dedicated to supporting folks who have experienced the sexual impacts of infertility and childlessness.

 

Grief, medicalized sex, prolonged disappointment, body distrust, social isolation, hormone fluctuations and timed intercourse/insemination are just a handful of ways that infertility disrupts the sexual connection we have to ourselves and our partners. Intentionally pursuing pleasure helps us heal.

danisha ware

empowerment coach, eFT & breathwork facilitator, embodied + enough

how an embodiment process can help you through challenging times

You have a purpose. When motherhood is not an option, we will explore how an embodiment process can help you to begin to discover and redefine your life.

Danisha Ware (she/her) is an Empowerment Coach and Facilitator based in Cincinnati. Through her holistic approach and deeply supportive process, she helps clients navigate an unexpected life path.

 

She guides clients to unpack limiting beliefs, doubt in self, and patterns that keep them stuck and unfulfilled. Her process helps clients to redefine and discover what’s next and what’s possible. She is able to meet her clients where they are and guide them back to their innate wholeness and wisdom.

July 16: Looking Ahead

Carrie hauskens

founder, blooming with care

embracing the childfree life

I’ll be discussing how acceptance and creating goals helped me embrace the childfree life after 8 years of infertility. Working with my grief and loving all parts of my story creates a space to thrive exactly where I am.

After 8 years of infertility with numerous miscarriages and a stillborn, Carrie Hauskens (she/her) is embracing being childfree. This journey has shown her how to love the life she is currently living while still striving for more.

Jody Day

psychotherapist, author & founder, gateway women

embracing childless elderhood

Aging without children is one of the biggest fears of childless women. Join Jody Day as she shares her wisdom on how we can embrace childless elderhood. Engaging with our elderhood planning helps us feel much less fearful about it. Instead, we find ourselves focusing on what we really want our elderhood to look and feel like, and what steps we need to take to make that a reality.

Jody Day (she/her) is the 57-year-old British founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship, support & advocacy network for childless women (founded 2011) and is the author of the ‘go to’ book on the subject, ‘Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children’ (PanMac 2016/2020).

 

Chosen as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2013 & awarded UK Digital Woman of the Year (2nd place) in 2021, she’s a global thought leader on female involuntary childlessness, a psychotherapist, a TEDx speaker, a social entrepreneur, a founding and former board member at Ageing Well Without Children and a former Fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School.

 

Often referred to as the ‘voice of the childless generation’ she’s also an Ambassador for both World Childless Week and PLICA (Australia). She lives in Ireland where she’s writing a novel (featuring a childless heroine of course!) and also nurturing the emerging Gateway Elderwomen project for ‘conscious childless elderwomen’.

sophia andeh

coach & yoga teacher, butterfly & beyond

coaching in childlessness

Based on her research, Sophia will discuss why someone who is involuntary childless may seek coaching, how coaching may help with the issues childlessness may present, and the coach qualities valued by childless women who have received coaching. This topic may be of interest to those seeking coaching, and for coaches working with the childless.

Sophia Andeh (she/her) is a coach and founder of Butterfly and Beyond. She has coached team members in the corporate sector for over 20 years, and now has a special interest in coaching to help childless women create fulfilling lives without children.

 

Her Masters research exploring the experience of coaching in childless women received an award from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, UK, for the dissertation with the highest potential for societal benefit.

Sarah Lawrence

Berenice Howard-Smith

Michael Hughes

Founders & Co-Presenters, The Full Stop Podcast

moving forward: take a seat with us

Pull up a chair, as Sarah, Michael and Berenice discuss how healing conversations from our experiences as the podcast, can shape our collective identity as a community. And in doing so, we can claim our place at the table and within wider society.

Sarah Lawrence (she/her) is a qualified counsellor who works exclusively with the childless community, helping to support people through their grief and trauma. She’s also one third of The Full Stop podcast, shining a light on our community and the issues that affect us. In her spare time, she like walking and researching beer.

Berenice Howard-Smith (she/her) is an award-winning designer, speaker writer, and one-third of The Full Stop which shines a light on non-parents. When she’s not creating, she’s walking beaches with her beloved rescue dog, Lady Molly Lickalot.

Michael Hughes (he/him) is one half of a childless marriage and one third of a childless podcast. Originally from the UK, his parents emigrated to Australia back in the 80’s and he loves the life they have there. He met his wife Vickie when they were quite young and they’ve been together ever since. They took for granted their life would be just like everyone else: marriage, family, house and a white picket fence.

 

Of course that is not how it panned out and he’s now here, trying to be a good example for other childless men by speaking out and being part of the global movement of creating the childless identity.

Karen Malone Wright

founder, the not mom

Introducing grandyou

In this presentation, Karen shares a bit about her story and her groundbreaking event for childless and childfree women, The Not Mom Summit. She also talks about who we are as a community and what to expect as you grow older, or as she calls it, your GrandYOU years.

Karen Malone Wright (she/her) held on to the dream of motherhood through two marriages and a successful career as a communications strategist. Her first marriage led to divorce and no children, but she met Andrew, her current husband, soon after. At 41, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and warned that she could to try for pregnancy, but at much greater risk. In 2012, she launched The NotMom to be the welcoming online resource she could not find for women without children by choice or by chance.

 

In 2015, Karen hosted The NotMom Summit, a groundbreaking two-day conference, and a second in 2017 that were attended by more than 400 women from seven countries.

Alisha saavedra

childless advocate

embracing the shift: from less to free

What does it look like to live an unexpectedly childfree life? I am navigating through some of the big grief of infertility and feeling some shifts happening, but I’m not sure what that means for me. Where do I go from here? If you have had similar thoughts, you are not alone. This presentation will share what it can be like to embrace the shifts and transitions when considering the possibilities of having a childfree perspective.

Alisha Saavedra (she/her) is embracing her childlessness and living a childfree after infertility life. She unexpectedly had two chemical pregnancies which ended in miscarriage. After seeking treatment and having no explanation for her infertility, she embarked on a complex healing journey where her trauma and childless grief intersected.

Since declaring to live childfree after infertility, Alisha has grown in strength and confidence to share unapologetically about what it is like to not further a pursuit to parenthood. She has been featured in an episode of the (un)Ripe podcast where she shares her particular perspective as an only child childless individual.

As a healthcare professional, Alisha is a certified child life specialist and currently works as a university professor at the graduate level. Her education and clinical training in psychosocial support, grief and trauma, and advocacy for inclusion gives her a unique dual lens as a support provider while also recognizing her personal experiences as a patient.

Betsy Austen

Founder & Co-Host, Not Cha Momma Pod

Top 5 things that helped me embrace my childless life

Join Betsy and Katy for a live, interactive session where we’ll each share the top 5 things that helped us embrace our childless lives. We’ll have some fun polls and chat box questions for you to answer live, so be sure to add this one to your calendar!

Hi, I am Betsy (she/her) & I am 34 years old & childless after infertility. I live in Ohio with my husband, Jim, and Luna (our whippet/basenji mix & love of my life). We lived with infertility for about 6 years before deciding that we were meant for something greater and more beautiful. I want people to know that life can be amazing (even without kids!) & that your worth is not tied to motherhood. 

tiffany j. marie

writer

a million little yes's: Living happily after childlessness

Transitioning out of a place of grief is never easy but neither is staying in a holding pattern, leaning into a childless life is saying one big no in order to say a million little yeses. Tiffany will discuss her own journey of infertility, how she came to live a fulfilled life without children and how you can move out of the sadness and into the joy filled life you deserve.

Tiffany J. Marie (she/her) lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Phil and their two ‘fur kids’, Audrey and Luna. After being diagnosed with infertility Tiffany was longing for positive community and connection, being unable to find that online, she decided to create a space herself.

 

Her writing and community strives to create an atmosphere for both childfree and childless people to connect and engage without the negativity and hate that so many other communities display. In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, yoga and watching (not so) guilty pleasures like Twilight and Harry Potter.