Living the Life Unexpected
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Living the Life Unexpected : How to find hope, meaning and a fulfilling future without children

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'The book to recommend to patients when they face coming to terms with unavoidable childlessness.' British Medical Journal

In Living the Life Unexpected, Jody Day addresses the experience of involuntary childlessness and provides a powerful, practical guide to help those negotiating a future without children come to terms with their grief; a grief that is only just beginning to be recognised by society.

This friendly, practical, humorous and honest guide from one of the world's most respected names in childless support offers compassion and understanding and shows how it's possible to move towards a creative, happy, meaningful and fulfilling future - even if it's not the one you had planned.

Millions of people are now living a life without children, almost double that of a generation ago and the numbers are rising still. Although some are childfree by choice, many others are childless due to infertility or circumstance and are struggling to come to terms with their uncertain future. Although most people think that those without children either 'couldn't' or 'didn't want' to be parents, the truth is much more complex.

Jody Day was forty-four when she realized that her quest to be a mother was at an end. She presumed that she was through the toughest part, but over the next couple of years she was hit by waves of grief, despair and isolation. Eventually she found her way and in 2011 created Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women which has now helped almost two million people worldwide.

This edition, previously titled Rocking the Life Unexpected, has been extensively revised and updated, with significant additional content and case studies from forty involuntarily childless people (mostly women) from around the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 25mm | 299g
  • Bluebird
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1529036135
  • 9781529036138
  • 24,322

Review quote

Warm, witty, and wise, Living the Life Unexpected is essential reading for any woman whose life has taken her down paths that she did not anticipate. Blending personal stories with an impressive understanding of the historical and social contexts of childlessness, as well as creative activities to help readers embark on different life journeys, this book is an unexpected pleasure. It never forgets heartbreak, but also frequently makes you laugh. Jody Day is both counsellor and friend - someone who will help readers to live with, perhaps even to love, their scars.' -- Professor Tracey Loughran, Chair in Modern History, University of Essex, Editor (with Gayle Davis) of The Palgrave Handbook of Infertility in History Living the Life Unexpected is a gem of a book that offers something for everyone regardless of where they call home. Her work is a gift for those seeking revealing insights, useful exercises and food for thought. I've no doubt Living the Life Unexpected will become a trusted companion you can revisit and learn from in the years to come. -- Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos, author, Silent Sorority I wish this book had existed in the early 2000s when my wife and I were trying to become mothers. I wish it had existed in 2004 when it was time to stop trying for our mental, physical and emotional health, time to stop trying for our lives. I am so glad it exists now. -- Stella Duffy OBE, author, theatre maker and Founder and Co-Director of Fun Palaces Jody Day's Gateway Women - a support network for childless women - was a joyous discovery. Jody (whose marriage failed after repeated attempts to get pregnant) is passionate about helping other childless-by-circumstance women grieve their losses and restructure their lives. Her book helped ease the burden of what I previously considered to be a major personal failing on my part: the failure to breed. After the grief, I started to feel anger at the prejudice experienced by childless women. This also helped dissolve my shame. -- Rachael Lloyd * Daily Telegraph * Everyone needs a loyal friend and a plan B. However hard we try, life doesn't always work out as we hope and expect. Jody recovered from the identity-threatening blows of Fate; the inexplicable, unfair journey that is unchosen childlessness. She makes sense of our painful wounds, fears, grief and even shame of reproductive death. She gently helps us find meaning to transform these into useful anger or refound creativity. This is a remarkable and empowering book. -- Dr Susan Bewley, Professor of Women's Health, Kings College London The book to recommend to patients when they face coming to terms with unavoidable childlessness. * British Medical Journal * A huge part of my coming to terms with my child-free status came via Jody Day's Gateway Women - a support network for childless women. Jody (whose marriage failed after repeated attempts to get pregnant) is passionate about helping other childless-by-circumstance women grieve their losses and restructure their lives. Her book helped remove the guilt and shame I felt about my childless status and I would urge anyone struggling with these issues to grab a copy. -- Rachael Lloyd * Independent * This book, Jody's beautiful baby, changes lives. And probably saves a few, too. By offering love, support and empathy - and, crucially, practical help on moving through the grief of childlessness and finding joy in your unexpected future - Jody offers hope. Nobody gets this like Jody does. The devastating visceral past, present, future pain of being childless by circumstance. And nobody deals with this like Jody does. She talks of the agony, of course - but then she offers hope. This book's practical help on moving through the grief of childlessness and finding joy in your unexpected future is priceless. -- BIbi Lynch, Journalist and Broadcaster
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About Jody Day

JODY DAY is the British founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women with a reach of almost two-million around the world. A thought-leader on female involuntary childlessness, she's an integrative psychotherapist, a TEDx speaker, a former Fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School and a former board member at AWWOC (Ageing Well Without Children). A proud World Childless Week Champion she now lives in the Republic of Ireland.
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