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This Meetup Group is for Canadian childless-by-circumstance women from everywhere in Canada. It's just that Meetup made me pick a 'place' to start with, so I chose Toronto... but it's not a Toronto-only group!
Your circumstances might include infertility, not meeting the right partner in time (or yet), your partner not wanting (or more) children and so many other ways that we can end up not being mothers when that wasn't the plan! It's a lot more complicated than 'didn't want' or 'couldn't have' although it seems that the mainstream hasn't worked that out yet... In fact, I wrote an article called 50 Ways Not to Be a Mother (http://gateway-women.com/50-ways-not-to-be-a-mother-with-apologies-to-paul-simon/) that a lot of childless women have identified with... and there are more yet reasons than that...
This meetup group is part of Gateway Women, the friendship and support network for childless women created by me in the UK in 2011 and continues the work of my book "Rocking the Life Unexpected" in helping modern childless women like us find our 'tribe' and drop our mantle of shame. We haven't done anything wrong!
As you no doubt know (or you probably wouldn't be here!), one of the things about not having children when most of your peers do can be that your social circle dwindles or dries up completely. This can leave you feeling very left out of 'normal' life - which in turn can make dealing with the unexpected situation you find yourself in even tricker on some days!
Here at Gateway Women our motto is: We may not be mothers but we're here, we care, we count and we ROCK!!
If you're childfree (ie: childless-by-choice) you're welcome to join us, but you'll find that most of us are childless-by-circumstance which means that we wanted to have children (or are still hoping to one day) but:
• we didn't (or haven't yet) met the right partner
• we've got infertility issues of our own or as a couple
• we've come to the end of fertility treatments
• becoming a voluntary single-mother isn't right for us
• we've got partners who don't want children (or more children)
• we've got genetic or medical conditions that mean we've chosen not to have children
• we're ineligible as adoptive parents
• adoption isn't right for us
• etc, etc...
There are so many reasons why a woman doesn't have children, and this is one group where no-one will mouth well-meaning platitudes at you! Or even talk about it because it's the ONLY place that you won't have to explain how complicated and loaded childlessness can be in our culture right now! You might also like to check out the blogs and resources on http://www.gateway-women.com
Gateway Women also hosts a private online community over on G+ which you're also very welcome to join. Sometimes members get to know each other there and then progress to meeting each other face-to-face via Meetup. http://www.gateway-women.com/community
Any member of this meetup group is able to 'suggest' a meetup and it will then be approved by one of the organisers and will go live. So don't wait for something happening in your town - suggest one!
Gateway Women can be any age with the majority of us are from our 30s to late-50s although we have a growing number of members 60+ too and some younger - it all depends on those pesky 'circumstances'! Some of us have partners, some of us are single, some of us are divorced, some of us don't fit any of those categories and that's fine too. Heterosexual, bi and gay members welcome. All ethnicities and faiths welcome.
Gateway Women are a band of very diverse women, but we all share the feeling of 'not fitting in' to a culture that doesn't seem to have a place for us.
You're not weird. You're not alone. You're a Gateway Woman.