By Moira Smith
Jody Day is an intelligent, eloquent, attractive woman who has a steely determination to help others faced with the heart breaking prospect of being childless.
In order to fulfil this ambition she set up Gateway Women – an online community which offers support and guidance to women faced with involuntary childlessness.
She has written a wonderful book called “Living the Life Unexpected” (published by Bluebird PanMacmillan in 2016). The book talks about her own journey through infertility and goes on to explain how she has recovered from the state of hopelessness she first experienced when she came to the realisation that she would never have the baby she had longed for.
Jody explains: “When I was a little girl I didn’t think I wanted to have children – I didn’t have a very happy childhood, I didn’t have a very happy mother and I grew up with the belief that there were far more interesting things to do with your life than have a baby. So that was my outlook.”
“At the age of 20 I got pregnant and decided to have an abortion as I just knew that I wasn’t capable of being a good mother as there was so many unresolved issues from my own childhood.”
Jody met her husband at 22 and got married at 26. When they met she told him that she didn’t want children.
“As time went by my perception changed – I began to realise that having children didn’t necessarily mean that I had to repeat my childhood. I began to see that a baby would be the product of our love and our genes and that was something I wanted.”
Jody started trying to conceive at the age of 29. After nearly three years of trying she decided to investigate and so had a laparoscopy. She had a very avuncular consultant who exclaimed:
“Finest uterus I’ve seen all week. Excellent – first class property – ready to move into. You lovely young people should just go off and have lots of sex!”
In hindsight Jody now realises that with her set of circumstances – having been trying for four years, being 33 – that she should have had more tests.
“I then entered a phase which I refer to in my book as “Baby-mania” It was a period of trying everything I could to get pregnant. I tried acupuncture, reflexology, I even went to shamans to see what they could do – I might as well have just wandered around putting £50 notes through people’s doors.”
“My marriage had become increasingly unhappy – the more successful my husband’s business became the more addicted to work and alcohol he became.”
“One night he suggested that we try IVF. I had a moment of clarity and realised in that moment that I could not bring a baby into the chaos of our lives – a business that was eating our lives and an illness that was eating him.”
“I was driven to end the marriage quickly as my baby mania was still in full drive. I started internet dating – coming reeling out of a 16-year relationship I was not in a fit emotional state so it’s not all that surprising that this did not end happily.”
“I was 44 and a half when my second post-divorce relationship ended. At that point I realised that was the end of my journey – that my 15 year journey of planning, wanting and dreaming of having a baby was over – I was physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt.
I had a hopeful afternoon thinking I could maybe do the things I had dreamed of when I was younger but the day after that I fell into a pit of despair – I now know it to be grief. Grief is the emotion that comes up to help us deal with irrevocable loss. This was an irrevocable loss.”
Read more here on the second part of Jody’s inspirational story where Jody tells of her path to recovery from the terrible grief and loss she experienced as the result of this life-changing realisation.
“Living the Life Unexpected:12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children.” By Jody Day, 2016, Bluebird (Pan Macmillan).