The fact of having never been married or in the kind of long-term partnership in which the opportunity to try for a baby arose, seems to be a their stories because they don’t feel ‘entitled’ to their pain, grief and despair compared to those women who’ve suffered miscarriages, failed to conceive or who have experienced unsuccessful IVF.
There is sometimes a sense of deep unworthiness, of being right at the bottom of some invisible pecking order of childless women and not quite ‘full members’ of the childless club, and so therefore not quite due Whereas just a generation ago, being an unmarried mother was to be the social outcast, now it’s the single, childless woman over 40 who carries the weight of shame.
It’s called ‘social infertility’ and it’s affecting a huge number of women in their 30s and 40s in the UK.
1 in 5 women in the UK born in the 1960s has turned 45 without having had a child – some by choice but many by circumstance, this is double what it was a generation ago.
The week even ends with the annual hopefest that is The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia, an entire exhibition hall filled with stands from fertility clinics and associated industries looking to ‘educate’ (sell to) potential new ‘parents’ (customers).