Being on the receiving end of the bias against childless people

By Nina Steele 

I was looking for a publicist a few months ago to help raise the profile of my website. I contacted one well established firm via the Internet and completed a form for someone to get back to me. When no one did, my first instinct was to chase them. I eventually managed to speak to the head of the company and it quickly became clear that he wasn’t too keen on taking the job on, regardless of the fact that I was going to pay for the service. He wouldn’t say it but the more we talked, the more obvious it became that he wasn’t comfortable working for a website for childless people.

Even with the experience that I have of stories of bias against childless people, I was still taken aback when he said something along the lines of: ‘I have some sympathy, because at least you tried to have children and failed’. I found his statement quite insulting. Why is pity always the first reaction when people discover that you are childless not by choice? And why should it matter whether someone is childless by choice or by circumstance?

Although I was aware of his background in tabloid journalism, I never saw this coming. We all know how obsessed tabloids are about stories of celebrities getting pregnant and babies in general. However, as far as I was concerned, this was purely about business, and anyone running a business would welcome people from all walks of life. How wrong was I! As it turned out, this was a job too far.

He promised to ring me back within a few days and of course he never did. I in turn never made contact with his firm again. It is one of those experiences that confirms how much of an uphill struggle childless people face. To think that there are people out there who believe they can claim moral superiority, just because they have children is quite outrageous to say the least. I mean, how many of us have childhood we would rather forget?

At the end, what this encounter has done, is make me even more determined to play my part in changing the perception that many still have of people without children, regardless of how unpleasant it can feel at times.

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