Although not having a partner features in many of the stories of those of us born in the 1960s (like myself), it doesn’t compare to the frequency with which those born in the 1970s seem to be experiencing it.
The UK Office for National Statistics has a fairly blunt recording tool – live births by the last day of a woman’s 45th year – so it won’t be for another decade that we’ll have the full data.
The week even ends with the annual hopefest that is The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia, an entire exhibition hall filled with stands from fertility clinics and associated industries looking to ‘educate’ (sell to) potential new ‘parents’ (customers).
As someone who works for herself and runs a women’s organisation, my life is pretty testosterone free and very nice that is too!
And whatever piece of brilliant advice it is that you think you’ve got for your single friend, your daughter, your sister or your colleague – just don’t.
Only for this week if that’s all you can manage, but preferably never again.
The fact of having never been married or in the kind of long-term partnership in which the opportunity to try for a baby arose, seems to be a their stories because they don’t feel ‘entitled’ to their pain, grief and despair compared to those women who’ve suffered miscarriages, failed to conceive or who have experienced unsuccessful IVF.
There is sometimes a sense of deep unworthiness, of being right at the bottom of some invisible pecking order of childless women and not quite ‘full members’ of the childless club, and so therefore not quite due Whereas just a generation ago, being an unmarried mother was to be the social outcast, now it’s the single, childless woman over 40 who carries the weight of shame.