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Unfortunately – portraying childless people as sad and unfulfilled is guaranteed to attract a huge readership

By Nina Steele 

Soon after I was featured in the Telegraph, I was contacted by a journalist working for a well-known women’s weekly. She wanted me to put her in contact with a woman, who in her own words: “can’t have children of her own, and has been envious/ jealous/ mixed feelings towards a best friend who does”. She assured me that it would be a sensitive piece. I kindly declined. Informing her that one of the key aims of this website is to change the perception that people have of childless people as miserable and bitter, particularly women.

Sad stories will always be popular. That’s because people often like to read about other people’s miseries, it makes them feel better about themselves. Imagine being a parent struggling with raising your child/ children, and reading about someone who will give anything to be in your shoes.

Hearing all these negative stories about women (and some men) who cannot get over the fact that they are unable to conceive, reinforces the long held stigma about childless people. No wonder so many couples (and some singles) are so desperate not to be one of those unfulfilled people that they are willing to run up huge debts in order to pay for fertility treatments. Equally, if you are a young person not too sure about whether or not to have children, hearing all these sad stories, may make you decide that you would rather become a parent, than end up as miserable.

Which is why the way we portray ourselves in the media matters. Going on about how sad you are is not going to earn you much sympathy. If anything, the comments are usually quite insensitive and crude.

What often puzzles me, is this idea that becoming a parent will only bring joy and happiness. I mean haven’t we come across enough stories of children in care, dysfunctional families and other children related tragedies, to realise that having children is not always synonymous with happiness?

In my article for the Telegraph, I mentioned Tania Clarence who out of sheer desperation, killed her three severely disabled children. When people talk about their longing for children, they always assume that they will have the perfect healthy child.

Like I said many times before, I believe that things happen for a reason. Some are meant to be parents, while others are meant to be non-parents. The only way to be happy, is to accept your path. Yes, it may not be what you had in mind, but this is where you have ended up. To choose to fight what is, is to go against life itself. And there can only be one winner, and it will not be you.

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