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‘The desire to have a child never goes away’: how the involuntarily childless are forming a new movement

02/10/2017 Stefanie Marsh 0

One in five British women born in the 60s don’t have children – and the grief many of them feel has rarely been acknowledged. But now they, and men in the same position, are organising with others around the world to gain recognition and comfort

Jody Day is giving a TEDx talk to a room full of people against a backdrop of signposts she has chosen for the occasion: “Crazy cat woman”, “Witch”, “Hag”, “Spinster”, “Career woman”. “What comes to mind when you see those words?” she asks the audience. They shift uneasily. Gently, she answers her own question: “All of them are terms used for childless women … I’m a childless woman. And I’m here to tell you about my tribe – those one in five women without children hidden in plain sight all around you.”

Day is involuntarily childless. She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.”

I withdrew from all my relationships. I saw doctors, therapists – nobody knew what the matter with me was

When you don’t have the happy ending, you need to know someone’s there with you in feeling that pain

Related: I imagined myself pregnant, felt tiny fingers in mine, I dreamed about babies | Sally-Ann Rowland

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Pregnant in Ireland: ‘I had no control and was made to feel ashamed’

02/10/2017 Ellen McCabe 0

The eighth amendment does not allow women the right to informed consent or refusal of treatment during pregnancy – why is this tolerated?

I had my first antenatal appointment in Ireland three years ago. I was about six weeks pregnant. Like most first time mothers I was consumed by questions: when would I feel movement? When would I have my first scan? What were my birth options? My enthusiasm was met with gentle condescension by my doctor.

They explained that most women wouldn’t even know they were pregnant at this stage and that it certainly wasn’t recommended to tell anyone other than my partner and maybe a few close family members until I was at least 12 weeks into the pregnancy. I changed the subject, struggling to conceal my embarrassment.

One mother I know described being completely dismissed by her GP after suffering two miscarriages

Related: UN repeats criticism of Ireland’s ‘cruel and inhumane’ abortion laws

As our knowledge of prenatal development grows, such control is insidiously tolerated

Related: Lack of access to abortion leaves women in poverty | Mary O’Hara

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Caesarean section late in labour increases risk of preterm birth next time

28/09/2017 Melissa Davey 0

Women who have a late emergency surgery should be monitored as high risk for subsequent pregnancy, researchers say

Undergoing an emergency caesarean section during the final stage of labour should be added to the list of risk factors for experiencing a premature birth in subsequent pregnancies, a study published on Thursday suggests.

In one of the largest Australian studies into the link between caesarean sections and premature birth, researchers from Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital and the University of Sydney studied 2,672 women who either had a caesarean section during the first stage of labour, or at a late stage once their cervix was fully dilated.

Related: Pregnancy and mental health should be covered by all private insurance, say doctors

Related: Women have the right to know about injuries of vaginal birth beforehand | Sascha Callaghan and Amy Corderoy

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