Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different, and we define ourselves without the label of ‘Mom. And if you’re not a Mom, who are you?
This series by TheNotMom writer and childfree blogger Laura M. LaVoie features interviews with the women who will be presenting at The NotMom Summit on October 6 and 7, 2017.
Meet Dawn Barnett, who will be participating in the Couples without Kids panel, along with Crystal Money, Robyn D’Angelo, and moderated by Laura Carroll, on Friday morning at the 2017 NotMom Summit. Join the conversation about how to navigate the world as part of a family of two.
Originally from Texas, Dawn now hails from Colorado where she works as a local coordinator for international exchange students and teaches Pre-Kinder children at a private school. She knows the exact day when she became a NotMom due to medical circumstances: February 19, 2008, when she was 30 years old. Although Dawn enjoys her family, career and hobbies, the joy she gains from encouraging, lifting up, and sharing life with other childless and childfree women is unmatched.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
I have lived in Denver, Colorado with my husband and beloved pup for almost nine years. The West has been so healing and refreshing to me in that time. I have spent the majority of my career working with children and adults with various developmental disabilities. I earned my master’s degree and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2014, only to find I was incredibly unsatisfied.
In December 2016, I left the career that I worked so hard towards to return to teaching. At 40, I am embracing the journey of a midlife “crossroads”, relishing in finding my calling and the realization there is no shame in doing so.
Do you consider yourself a NotMom? If so, are you by Choice or by Chance?
I consider myself a NotMom by chance and choice. In September of 2007, I developed what is known as a “molar pregnancy”. This molar tumor later developed into gestational trophoblastic disease (otherwise known as a type of cancer). I had six months of chemotherapy and a surgery that went awry and led to an emergency hysterectomy. According to my surgeon, I should have died on the operating table that day.
Thankfully, I received a significant blood transfusion before I went into cardiac arrest. The gratefulness I experienced following this near-death experience and the physical recovery required following these events delayed my grief. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado in 2008 that the grief began.
My husband and I have explored the options around adoption, and while he admittedly flounders in ambiguity, I have closed the door to this option so that I can flourish in a committed decision of “No”. My grief lasted eight bittersweet years. Now, I am left with such an overwhelming sense of freedom and gratefulness.
Why did you want to get involved in the NotMom Summit?
I am discovering that my calling is to encourage, inspire, and change minds. This both terrifies and excites me. I am so saddened by the shame that many women without children carry. Many people respond to us with pity or criticism, and we can be left with feelings of inadequacy.
I strongly feel that part of my calling is to help women come to know their worth as a woman, and to make the discouraged feel encouraged. When I saw the opportunity to speak at the Summit, I could not wait to apply! I feel this is a way to use my gifting and experiences to help others.
What are you looking forward to the most?
I am most looking forward to meeting hundreds of women just like me. I believe the NotMom Summit will be an empowering, amazing, life-changing event for many, and I am so humbled to play a role. I am excited to make new connections with women, learn more about myself, and help to inspire others to live their fullest life.
Don’t miss out! The NotMom Summit is the only conference of its kind in the world for women without children by choice or by chance. Register now!