Living the Life Unexpected

Jody Day

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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 recognized 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.

In the media
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

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

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