Jody Day is a rock star in the childless-not-by-choice (CNBC) community. :) Since founding Gateway Women in 2011 (a support & friendship network for CNBCers), her blog posts and articles, videos, meetups and workshops, as well as her personal warmth, generosity and wise advice, have helped thousands of involuntarily childless women around the world (including me!) to think more positively about themselves and their futures.
So when Jody asked me if I'd like to help launch the newly revised & updated edition of her classic book "Living the Life Unexpected," I was happy to say yes! :)
"Living the Life Unexpected" had its genesis in a 2013 book -- crowdfunded by Gateway Women from around the world and self-published by Jody -- called "Rocking the Life Unexpected." In 2016, it was renamed and republished as "Living the Life Unexpected" by Bluebird (Pan Macmillan).
This new edition is being published on March 20th, just in time for Mother's Day/Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom (on Sunday, March 22nd). It may not be available outside the UK until later this year, but until then, non-UK readers can order it from Amazon UK or the Book Depository (which offers free international delivery).
I found Jody's Gateway Women blog early in its existence, and read and reviewed "Rocking the Life Unexpected" back in January 2014 (here). More recently, I've been working through the 2016 edition of "Living the Life Unexpected," chapter by chapter, with the LTLU reading group on the Gateway Women private community.
This new edition includes more of everything that made the book such a great, invaluable read in its previous incarnations. It's a mixture of personal stories (Jody's own, plus the voices of some 40 other childless women -- and a few men!), historical background/cultural commentary (including some eye-opening statistics -- we're definitely not alone in being childless!), and self-help guidance, including questions and exercises designed to get you thinking in new ways about your childless life. (These are similar to the exercises used in Gateway Women's Reignite weekends and Online Bee courses.) For a sneak peek, here's a link to the introduction -- which summarizes the changes & updates in this edition -- and the first chapter.
Early in my blogging career, many of us batted around the idea of "Infertility Island" (and how and whether we'd ever manage to leave and join the majority living over on the mainland). (Sharah had a great post explaining that whole metaphor, particularly in terms of childlessness and acceptance.) So these lines, near the end of Jody's new introduction to her book, gave me a jolt of deja vu, and had me choking back tears:
It is my deepest wish that you find your place in this world again through the pages of this book, and that your dream of motherhood can be put to rest with the tenderness and love it deserves. Letting go of hope when you can’t see any other kind of hope ahead is terrifying, like swimming away from the shore in the dark without any idea when you’ll reach land again. Let this book be your lighthouse; let it be your hope in the dark. Those of us who’ve already made this trip are waiting for you on the other side, and many others are in the water alongside you, each feeling that they’re swimming alone.
But you’re not alone. Welcome to your Tribe.If you are struggling with involuntary childlessness, this book is an absolute must-read. I only wish it had been around when I was first coming to terms with the realization that my childless life would be permanent! It would also be a great one to recommend (or simply hand over!) to friends & family members who want to better understand & support you (but aren't quite sure how to do that).
Five stars on Goodreads. :)
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For more information on Jody, her book and Gateway Women, check out the Gateway Women website, and the Gateway Women private online community. The private community includes an LTLU reading group, where members have been working through the book chapter by chapter, supplemented by special videos, exercise prompts and scheduled chats with Jody.
If you live in the UK (and even if you don't), you may want to check out Jody's "Coping with Mother's Day" webinar this Saturday, March 14th, as well as well as a live, moderated all-day Mother's Day Support Chat on Sunday, March 22nd, in the Gateway Women online community.
** Jody has generously offered a free signed copy of her book to one of my blog readers! If you'd like to be entered into a random draw to win it, please say so in the comments below. I will announce the winner (in a new post, and also in the comments on this post) on Friday, March 20th. (I will need the winner's email to pass along to Jody.) And if you don't win here, you can check out the other blog stops on the tour listed here for further chances to win.**