Holistic Therapist Jo Dunlop’s Story: The very idea of getting pregnant scared me

Hello, I’m Jo. I’m 30-something, currently single, self-employed, and childfree by choice. Since I first played with toys and learned the difference between mummies and daddies, the idea of having kids has been something other people do. My ambition was to become a teacher so I studied hard, was a good student, and got a reputation as a bit of a goody-goody at school. Outside school, in my teens I had plenty of boyfriends, was lectured by my mother about contraception, and enjoyed the usual things. The idea of getting pregnant (as one or two girls in my class did) was probably the scariest thing that could happen – so I made quite sure it didn’t!

Unfortunately some health problems during college put a stop to my university aspirations. I was literally sick of studying and scraped through A-levels with grades insufficient for entry into the least fussy university. Working through college as a pizza delivery driver fuelled a long-held love of motorcycles. I passed my bike test at 21 and for 12 years rode a couple of beefy Hondas – not ladies’ bikes by anyone’s standards. Most of my friends were men and they cut me no slack for being female – we were all lads together. I could drink and play pool with the best of them. Great times.

The bike helped me earn a reasonable living for about a year after college – pizza delivery and a bit of couriering. However there was a longer-term dream which would require earning a little more than £5 an hour. Since I was old enough to walk I had dreamt of owning my own horse. Most of my spare cash went on riding lessons and I had worked at the local riding school putting in 12-hour days at the weekend in exchange for stable management and riding lessons.

So at age 19, I started looking for an office job. Something that would pay enough that I could pay rent to my parents, go out with my guys, and save up for The Dream. Also, an accident on the way home from a shift at a Pizza chain rather put me off motorcycles for a bit. A drunk-driver smashed into my right leg and pulverised it. It took 3 months to learn to walk again.

During the post-recovery job search, I met my future husband. We married when I was 20 and he 30 and the conversation around children went something like this:
“Do you want kids?”
“No, do you?”
Who said it first, I don’t remember. But there it stayed. We still feel the same despite the marriage ending after only 7 years. Too young, I guess. But not too young to find a decent job in the Accounts department of a locally-based company, where I remained for over 9 years. At 25 I realised my dream and bought Mia, the great big golden horsey who will be my friend for life. She has saved my life more than once and is worth everything. Seriously, every minute of depression, difficulty, grief and pain is wiped away by looking into her eyes.

Then, in February 2015 my great-aunt passed away. We had been close when I was young – she also was a proud, independent lady who did things her way. Her passing hit me hard and I took some time to re-evaluate my life direction. After divorcing I had dated a couple of (totally unsuitable) men, one of whom had the idea of starting our own Massage Therapy business. We went off to college, got qualified, and promptly split up.

However the idea and the qualification remained. After almost 10 years in the same job, I felt it was time to strike out on my own. Chessington Holistic Therapies was born in December 2014. In March 2015 I took it full time thanks to a small legacy from my Aunt and the major wake-up call brought by her passing.

Throughout the life and relationship dramas, I have taken care to avoid becoming pregnant. It would simply not be fair to bring a child into mi vida loca, and I have never really felt the urge anyway. Fortunately, I have had much support from other single friends and from my family, although some people (work colleagues, primarily) have asked when I plan to settle down and have babies. My answer is, invariably, “none of your business. If it happens, it happens.” I’m a woman, a daughter, grand-daughter, sister, cousin, biker chick and have honorary “bloke” status among one friendship circle. I have been married, monogamous, polyamourous, and now single. But I have never seen myself as “mother”. And I’m 100% happy with the way things have turned out!!

Chessington Holistic Therapies – my new business – provides at-home visits offering lovely, luxury, affordable massage and beauty treatments in the comfort of your home. Indian Head Massage, Japanese Spa Hand Therapy, and Holistic Full Body Massage – to name just a few! At present I work with older people because I believe that there should be more services offering purely pampering treatments to those who are less able to get to a salon. My aim is to grow the mobile business so that the lovely things are accessible to all, then open a salon and make even more people feel wonderful!

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: [email protected]

Holistic therapist


  1. Hi Jo,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you success with your new venture. I am glad to hear that you are in a happy place right now, which is more than many people can say. Life can be so tough, but ultimately, it is up to us how things turn out. Determination, drive, courage and self belief are some of the key ingredients for success and you seem to have all of these qualities.

Speak Your Mind

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap