Motherhood Missed: Stories from Women Who Are Childless by Circumstance – NZ launch

An evening with Dr Lois Tonkin discussing her book Motherhood Missed is on on Tuesday 27th November 6pm Spark Place, He Hononga | Connection, Ground Level, Tūranga.

You are invited to hear Dr Lois Tonkin who has written a book honouring women who are childless by circumstance. She has interviewed women who are straight, gay, partnered and transgender women all of whom come from different backgrounds who have taken different paths, for complex reasons, leading to childlessness.

Stories are presented in the voice of women from New Zealand, Australian, Europe and the United States. They reveal feelings of grief, and the search for fulfillment and purpose in their lives. Their hope, and the positive way in which they have found meaningful lives gives us insight into a growing issue for women today, in a society which does not recognise the grief of childlessness through circumstance.

Tonkin, who lectures at the University of Canterbury as well as working as a counsellor at Genea Oxford Fertility in Christchurch, will read an excerpt from the book and talk about it in an open discussion. Her book published in September by Jessica Kingsley Publishers was published to coincide with World Childless Week. Jody Day has written an insightful foreword. She met Tonkin at Fertility Fest.com in 2016 and is the founder of Gateway Women.

One story from the book tells of being part of a generation of women told the worst thing we could do was get pregnant. This is the story of our generation. This book tells the stories of women who fear having a child for the wrong reasons at the wrong time, with the wrong person, and then the desperation of trying to get pregnant in their late thirties. Then the acceptance that it would not be happening and what that meant for the future, and how they might build a fulfilling life in another way.

Come along and hear their stories at the launch of a book dealing with one of the most important and least discussed topics for this generation of New Zealand women.

Those who choose the traditional route of motherhood need to be aware of the sense of social isolation and the judgement these women feel, and the lack of understanding we have of the complex issues at play. Most women see themselves having a child at some point but in their thirties find themselves thinking "is this the way it is going to be?"  They still see themselves having children at some point, but due to expectations to fill early promise in education and career, or due to economic vulnerability and family background, they choose to postpone motherhood.

We have only to look at the different paths our female Prime Ministers have taken and the way the world perceives them regarding motherhood - the role chance has played in our latest Prime Minister's choice regarding motherhood and how the media have feted her - to see how society views childlessness.

Come and hear Lois Tonkin and listen to the gift of these women's experiences, and find out what it is to be childless by circumstance, and how women find other ways to forge valued and fulfilling lives.

Come and be part of the conversation.

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