Angelou gratitude

Childfree Women Find Time for Gratitude, Too

By Laura LaVoie

With Thanksgiving coming up pretty quick, I have been thinking a lot about thankfulness. I often wonder why it takes a holiday to make me consider gratitude in my life. In fact, it is a good thing that Thanksgiving exists, or I might take a lot more things for granted each year.

In 2015, as we do most years, Matt and I are traveling up to Michigan to visit with our friends and family for the holiday. So I thought, before I go, I might make a short list of things for which I am grateful this holiday season. And, I’m sharing it with you.

What are you thankful for this season?

mini Thanksgiving Etsy


By Faye Davenport

What do you do for Thanksgiving dinner? Do you host for the crowd or are do you get to be a guest at someone else’s table? Will you be at home watching football over food that was pre-ordered and picked up the day before, or will you dine at a restaurant?

Or, are you going to scale down the traditional Thanksgiving dinner feast for dinner at home?

The celebration of Thanksgiving is rooted in early traditions of giving thanks for the year’s harvest, and has become a modern tradition of big gatherings of family and friends with lots and lots of food. The showcase food of the day is, of course, the turkey.

I know that there are folk who do non-turkey meals. My best friend’s family once included me in their Thanksgiving lobster fest. The next day I went out and bought a turkey. I had my Thanksgiving over the weekend. If there’s no turkey, I say it’s not Thanksgiving.

NM PURCH-Australia

Australia’s Child-Free Women Speak Out…Anonymously

By Karen Malone Wright

“Most people who do not have kids have no regrets, but report significant social disapproval for not becoming parents, a study at Perth’s Edith Cowan University has found.”

Bronwyn Harman, a female lecturer in the University’s School of Psychology and Social Science, released findings in November 2015 of an anonymous online survey of 559 Australians over 35 who do not have children. Keyword there? “Anonymous”.

“One of the major things I found was that of the participants who were over 50 and chose not to have children, approximately one quarter said they regretted that decision,” Ms. Harman said.

The study is Australian, but I doubt one has to be a professional researcher to extrapolate some level of similarity wherever NotMoms live around the world.

It’s never the revelation of Truth that’s the problem. Frustration comes from the role of Truth in feeding assumptions to help others believe that they are true.

Strangers, friends and family may proclaim, “This study proves that every childfree woman regrets her choice!”, scream the Assumption-Believers everywhere.

No. Not really.

Big Bang Bernadette

Dear CBS, Bring Bernadette Into The Big Bang Theory’s Real World

By Laura LaVoie

If you are a fan of CBS’ hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, you already know you’re not alone. The show is so popular that the network signed a a history-making deal  guaranteeing new episodes through 2017. Among childfree communities, the 11/5/15 episode has generated a lot of digital buzz. For these NotParents, the chatter centered around the B storyline, featuring Howard and Bernadette, the show’s first married couple.

While Sheldon Cooper was off being Sheldon Cooper, these two began arguing about remodeling the home that Howard inherited from his mother. Then, the plot took a turn and next thing you knew, we were back to talking about Bernadette’s stance on motherhood.

In an earlier season, Bernadette had lmade her feelings clear. She doesn’t want kids. Howard, who does, married her anyway. Apparently, they never talked about it again. Which, as we all know, is the absolute healthiest way to start a marriage.

So, when the topic finally comes back to the screen, fans of Bernadette’s childfree by choice stance were horrified to hear her agree to think about it, for Howard’s sake. 

Here’s the thing. This is a sitcom on TV. What happens on the show is not likely to reflect the Real World in any way. And, we’ve seen the scenario over and over on TV that a woman will change her mind – you know, because she always does. And, she’d make a great Mom. And, children change you. And, it’s different when it’s your own. And, she’ll finally understand love.

But, wouldn’t it be nice, just once, to see a woman decide she doesn’t want children, and then not have children, and live happily ever after? Because it does happen in the real world. All the time.

The Children of God Include Women Without Children

By Karen Malone Wright 

When The NotMom Summit was but a dream, there were certain topics that I knew had to be included. Physical and emotional health. Work. Relationships. Money. Pets. And, Faith.

How does a woman’s decision not to have children influence her relationship with God? What does a woman whose prayers for babies went unanswered do with her anger…at God? Dogmatic traditions of religious institutions that equate ‘family’ with ‘children’ may separate those women from attending or benefitting from structured services.

The Summit panel was titled God Only Knows: The Faith of Women Without Children. I had hoped for the panel to include an ordained member of clergy (female), but couldn’t. Instead, three NotMoms of varying ages, races, locations and reasons for being child-free deftly tackled a very heavy issue and facilitated thoughtful discussion. Attendees gave each high ratings.

L to R: Shawna Atteberry, Shirley Nelson, Andrea Burns

(L to R) Faith Panelists Shawna Atteberry, Shirley Nelson and Andrea Burns at The NotMom Summit.

One speaker, an author, coach and retreat facilitator, chose to share a poem she wrote in a search for self-identity and place. Shirley Nelson shared her personal By Chance story with readers of The NotMom in 2014 and with session attendees.

As The NotMom Summit drew to a close, several attendees made a point of telling me how impactful her poem was for them. Others begged for a copy to take home.

Administrating a conference means you don’t get to see much wall-to-wall throughout the day, so I didn’t hear Shirley read her work. I hadn’t even read it. Now that I have, I agree that both childless and childfree women may find a phrase that resonates.

With Shirley’s permission, I’m reprinting her poem here, All Rights Reserved.

NM PURCH searching bionoculars

Women Seeking A Name, Childless and Childfree

By Laura LaVoie

When I was in my 20s, the most common question Matt and I would be asked was, “When are you getting married?”

After we turned 30, I think friends and family kind of figured that ship had sailed. And for many people, they never knew us when we were single (teenagers!),so as far as they were concerned, we were “married.”

Then their questions then shifted to babies. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “When are you having kids?” or some variation, I’d be quite rich indeed.

Over the course of 10 years, this question became very tedious and I would start to think of creative ways I could answer.

“Yes, we are going to have a kid. It’ll be a boy and his name will be ‘Beowulf Odysseus’.”

That shut them up.

hands globe

Women Are Connecting Worldwide. Motherhood Not Required.

By Karen Malone Wright

“American in focus and global in scope” is the way I prefer to describe the range of posts and information readers will find at this site. The increase in women without children in developed nations worldwide can’t be ignored; at least, not here. Neither can the experiences of NotMoms everywhere on the planet.

Promotional text became manifest before my eyes when childless and childfree women from 3 continents, 15 states and 5 countries (including the U.S.) attended our first NotMom Summit in October 2015. When volunteers told me there was a NotMom from Iceland among the crowd, I told them it had to be a mistake. It wasn’t.

The Summit was almost a month ago (how did THAT happen?!) but the global hugs keep coming.

My November 2015 kicked off with an email from a woman in Paris that was so encouraging, thoughtful and inclusive in its message that I asked her permission to share it here. 


I honestly believe that what you do is wonderful, and feels like a huge breather too. I plan to be a mother, but you see, [I] was always deeply concerned by the fact that it feels like the normal thing to become by society standards, to be happy or fulfilled, and that should I chose not to, it meant something was wrong with me.

NM PURCH-woman job autum

Falling Leaves Send Messages About Your Health. Are You Listening?

By Samantha Pollack

Fall is most people’s favorite time of year, and with good reason. It’s a huge sigh of relief after the mugginess of late summer. Jeans and sweaters are back. And the FOOD. Apples and chili and pumpkin everything!

But there’s more to this season than ruby-colored leaves and snack-sized Snickers. It’s also a time of scattered energy, anxious thoughts, and major decision fatigue.

I wrote a post in Spring 2015 explaining the basic principles of Ayurveda: three doshas that correspond to body types, personalities, and the three major seasons of the year (Fall/Winter, Spring and Summer.)

Fall — Vata time — is cool, dry, and crackly. Imagine crunchy, dry leaves rattling around in a blustery October breeze. Cold fingertips and rosy cheeks while you pick apples or wander through a Renaissance fair.

Everyone can benefit from some seasonal mindfulness and attention to balance. Vata-dominant people can feel just a little…unglued right now, and in need of some constitutional balancing. (Take this questionnaire from Deepak Chopra to determine your dominant dosha.)

The antidote to the flighty, dry, scattered energy of Vata imbalance can be summed up in one word: grounding. And warmth.

Okay, two words.

Try these five simple ideas to get you back to reality (and warm up those fingers and toes). 

Karen Malone Wright and me, meeting for the first time after working together for three years.

Can Childless Women Who Dreamed of Motherhood Connect with Women Who Didn’t?

By Karen Malone Wright

The thing about throwing the conference you always wished you could attend is that as host, you are decidedly NOT an attendee.

As host, or hostess, if you prefer, of first The NotMom Summit in early October 2015, I did my best to talk with every woman who was an attendee. I failed, but I tried. Luckily (on SO many levels), media coverage introduced me to several women who weren’t shy about discussing their Summit take-aways and personal experiences.

From what I’ve read so far, Summit co-administrator Laura LaVoie and I achieved our primary goal for the conference. Over two days, women who once dreamed of motherhood discovered something they shared with the women who never wanted children, and vice versa.

Laura, in case you haven’t read her posts here, is decidedly childfree. Me, I’m decidedly childless By Chance, though I truthfully admit to representing some of both “sides”. Blessedly, we were each respectful of NotMoms unlike ourselves before we met each other in person, which happened for the first time at The NotMom Summit. And you know what? That particular difference doesn’t mean a thing in terms of our friendship.

Have you considered your own deepest feelings on the subject? How do you feel about NotMoms on the opposite end of the spectrum from yourself?

NMS Break 2

Childless & Childfree, The Search Is On For Tribe and Community

By Laura LaVoie

At The NotMom Summit, there was a lot of talk about Tribe. As women without children, whichever direction we came from, we all had something very intimate in common. The By Chance women could lean on the strength of the By Choice women, and By Choice women were able to see their own vulnerability in their counterparts.

Then, another thought permeated the discussion. Everyone felt the need to connect with other NotMoms on a more regular basis. And, with people attending from all over the world, we quickly knew we wouldn’t be able to fill that role for one another after the Summit.

So how do you find NotMom friends in your own community?

I have been very lucky in my life. Many of my very closest friends are NotMoms, or other couples without children. Some of them I met because I write here at this very website. I’ve had two people connect with me who also livedin Asheville, because they found me on this site.

My best friend is also a NotMom, which has always helped us share the same perspective, even though we rarely discuss it. And over the years, I keep adding amazing women to my friends list, both in person and online.

So, how do I do it? To be honest, I’m not sure why I had so much luck, but here are some of the things I’ve tried that have worked.