• arekidsforme

Podcast Episode #8 - Jenny & Ann Blake

In this episode, I talk to Jenny and Ann Blake about their experience of making a decision of whether to become parents or not, both as individuals and as a couple. They very generously share this personal process and important insights. These include the need to be very honest and open with yourself and your partner, to be aware of your relationship dynamics and individual needs within that, as well as the danger of focusing on the things you don't have in your life and how this can block you from seeing what you do actually have and might want. This is both informative and entertaining! 




Episode Transcript:


Mgt O Connor

Welcome to the Are Kids For Me podcast. This podcast is for you if you have ever asked, or are currently asking yourself this question. It's a big question which can be hard to answer for lots of reasons. And I am hoping to provide you with some information that can help. In each episode I will speak to people with personal and/or professional experience in this area. My own name is Margaret O'Connor, I am a counsellor and psychotherapist who offers specialist counseling on this topic. I conducted my master's research and how women in Ireland made the decision to become mothers or not. And I really really love talking about this topic. I hope you find it useful.


In this episode, I am delighted to be speaking to Ann and Jenny Blake. Ann is a Limerick performer playwright and director. She's a musician with the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, a founding member of the Choke comedy improv group and a facilitator with Narrative 4. In 2017, she wrote and performed a play called 'The Morning After the Life Before', autobiographically based on her own relationship with Jenny and their journey through the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015. Jenny currently is working as Student Support Coordinator in the University of Limerick, having previously worked as a dual diagnosis worker in Novas, and managing the PALS project, a men's probation project in Limerick. She's a well known activist, community worker and yoga teacher, and was heavily involved with the Marriage Equality campaign in 2015. She's really passionate about women's rights, equality and inclusion for all families. In February 2020, Jenny was the general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Limerick.


Jenny and Ann share fantastic insight into their process, both individually and as a couple, about deciding whether to have children or not. This was a long process which spanned over about eight or nine years, and they both have had different feelings on the subject at different times. They have now decided not to have children. Some interesting aspects we discuss include the need to be very open and honest both with yourself and your partner, how it can be useful to hold the relationship as its own entity that needs to be protected and nourished, while being really aware of your own dynamic, as well as your own life goals and needs individually. We talk about the impact of focusing on what you don't have in your life and how this can block out what you do actually have and what you actually really want for yourself. They also suggest being willing to put yourself in the opposite position, so that you can see what that's really like and what might possibly come up for you. I'm sure you'll find this conversation both informative and entertaining.


Okay, well, I want to welcome you both, Jenny and Ann, it's fantastic to talk to you this evening. And to actually catch up. As I said, I feel like I know you but we haven't really spoken before so but we're catching up on it now. So thanks very much for coming in.


Ann Blake

Thank you for having us.


Jenny Blake

Thanks a million.


Mgt O Connor

No worries at all. So I was saying we might start with.. if you're able to kind of bring us back and maybe when you met as a couple and kind of how your relationship developed. And then maybe where the whole issue of children came as part of that. If you're able to talk us through that a bit?


Jenny Blake

Ok, I'll start..you know me I like to go first. Yeah, so we're together just over 10 years. And I first saw Ann when she was playing a gig in Dolan's warehouse in the summer of 2009. And I was totally smitten, and thought she was a fine thing. But we never met and nor did we talk and then I bumped into her drunkenly in Costello's six months later at a Christmas party that I was at. And that was the beginning of a bit of a courting. But we got together in February 2010. That's our one of our many anniversaries. And yeah, so I I asked Ann out, a couple of friends of mine organized a party in their house and invited, the Blake's, Ann and her brother because so that I could have the opportunity to ask Ann out. And I did and when I asked Ann out, she told me she wasn't gay. And I was like, Oh, well, that could have been awkward but do you know, at least we'll have a good time and have a chat. So and then Ann pursued me and was the first one to make a move. She lobbed the gob basically. (laughter) That's the synopsis.. Jenny's synopsis.


Ann Blake

So you clarified Margaret that we're able to get editing on this and you can remove anything that we don't want in there (laughter). Um, yeah, slightly different from my angle. I, met Jenny, for the first time that night and Costello's when she bumped into me and didn't particularly realize what happened in in the universe. And then I met her at the party and I think just kick started a whole lot of homosexual panic.


Mgt O Connor

That's a phrase I haven't heard before (laughter)


Ann Blake

And I ended up.. Yeah (laughter), just I, I have written an entire show about this, but because it was 31 when I met Jenny, and it was quite late to be kicking and screaming out of the closet. I thought it was it...yeah. Thankfully, led to a very big love story and a very, very important relationship. So yeah, we got together then. And about two years later, we we got we got engaged. And you know, which I think is actually kind of a long time in in lesbian years (laughter)


Jenny Blake

It's less than dog years, but more than human years (laughter)


Ann Blake

But so, so I've been told anyway, and yeah, then we got married two years ago.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, fantastic. Okay. Right, so I suppose I'm really interested, I suppose to kind of figure out like, or to hear about kind of both your positions or thoughts or feelings about kind of where ye saw children, if ye saw children being a part of your lives, both separately, and then how ye worked that out as a couple. So. Um, yeah, would that have been on your radar at all?


Ann Blake

Yeah, I like I'm the youngest of five. I grew up in a big house with lots of kids and lots of activity. And, and both my parents come from kind of houses of children and that. So I think like a lot of people, certainly when I was younger, I figured it was something that would just kind of happen at some point. You know, I didn't think about it a lot, decision wise or anything. And funnily enough, then, when I did come out, and when myself and Jenny got together. There was a part of me felt oh well, that's that then, do you know, because what would have been something that might have just happened suddenly, to me, was a very deliberate, arduous kind of thing to organize rather than just seeing, seeing what happened, you know, um, so. But I know, from my own point of view, I was the youngest in the family. And, I mean, rightly or wrongly, I, I never had a younger brother and sister and I wasn't hugely, you know, into, into kids or anything. I liked kids, I like and certainly as the years went on, and I had nieces and nephews, I loved them. And I ended up working with with kids, and, you know, I, I, enjoy their company, I get them, I have fun with them. But I've never, it's very, very fleeting any any kind of longing to have them, I have never had that, ever. And when everyone around me, my friends and family were experiencing that. And then a few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with a cancer of the blood called multiple myeloma, and it was the first time in my life where I actually felt I should have a kid, and someone said to me, well, you're about to lose your mum, like, suddenly, there's thing that if you don't have a mother, and that relationship is gone. So if you become a mother, then that's linking in. So and then I suppose I'll let Jenny get an answer to the question before where we've got to where we are now.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. Thank you.


Jenny Blake

Yeah, cuz we have very different, two very different perspectives on it and feelings around it. I'm privy to the extremes. So I went, I remember being young and I always wanting six kids. I don't know why I wanted six kids but in my head, I was gonna have six kids. So we'll have three girls and three boys. So obviously I was, this was a child, a childhood notion. And then as I got older, I then went through a phase where I didn't want kids, I was very much kind of into my own independence and living a life that didn't involve servitude (laughter). And then and then I went back to really wanting kids so I would always, like I would have a physical urge to be pregnant. And I went through a phase where I say, I'd love to be pregnant, but maybe just not to be a mam like, so I'd love to, like, just feel what it's like to pregnant and to give birth. And I would have a real physical and a biological, biological connection to that and an interest and an urge. Yeah, so I would, I would dream a lot about being pregnant. And over the years I would have, I would have dreamt a lot about being pregnant and thought about it. And when myself and Ann fell in love, I had a real, real want for us to have kids. And again, for me to have kids. And so we started a very long conversation around that, because, you know, we were both coming from very different places. And, and I'm very in the moment. And which makes me, its a real asset for some of the work that I do. I don't have great hindsight all the time. So Ann has great hindsight. So it's, it's between the two of us, we get a good neutral perspective. So that's kind of, you know, and obviously, I'm all I mean ma and Ann are in this together, we only ever do anything that we're both kind of on the same page with. And so now I'm obviously in this position, that we both have made a decision together. And I've made a decision not to pursue pregnancy or not to pursue having having kids. And but I've definitely spent a lot of time in all corners. And still, like, I'm prepared for the fact that I might have a grief, a grieving period. I, you know, and I suppose we'll get into that a little bit later, I was prepared for all those kind of emotions to come up when we had made that decision, you know, and we didn't rush anything. We spent a lot of time.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, okay. Yeah. And would you mind talking about how ye came, like, what was that process of going over and back? And, you know, even where did you look to for information? Was it a internal or external kind of thing?


Ann Blake

It was it was quite a long a long road. So..I, my position was always I was kind of up for for stuff if that's what we wanted. But I wasn't a driving force at all. And I had no drive in it. Um, we went to a information night in Clane (Co Kildare) I think it was, there's a the fertility hospital in, in, in Clane. We, we talked about it a lot. And there was a point where I remember we we went away one weekend, and I had said to Jenny, Well, look, I don't think I want, I want to get pregnant myself, I will be a parent absolutely. But I'm now 41, I'm nearly 42, and I say this is a year ago, or it was couple years ago, and I was thinking, if tomorrow, we went and everything went amazingly and bing I was pregnant, I'd still be 40 having a baby. And that's not to comment on anyone else at all. In the world. This is me talking about me and my body, my levels of energy, my everything. And I just I realized the..it's a beautiful concept of you know, but I just, it was a little call I made for myself. So it was then very much about, well, if we're going to pursue this, um, it will be like, we kind of both had an NCT as such, we went and got ourselves checked out. And, you know, we were in in good shape. And so it didn't really decide anything for us.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, I've heard that I know from other people. So it was that like, kind of checking your fertility levels and your and your eggs and stuff yeah?


Ann Blake

Eggs, everything yeah. And I just said, you know, I even though things were in great shape.. I just went.. I don't I don't think I want to do this. But I will be a parent. And then and I can..I'll hand it over to you now.


Jenny Blake

Yeah so I remember at one stage, we were talking again, we talked a lot about it and because it was gonna involve a lot of planning, a lot of financial planning, which was a massive factor as well. And that is a massive factor when you have to go down the assisted fertility route. And, and so I remember there was one stage where, you know, we were we got to, we got to a place where you were kind of okay, it was with Ann and Ann was just gonna spend time thinking if she wants to pursue anything. And because I've quite a dominant personality, and we always want to make sure that again, our dynamic is healthy enough and that it's not a case where I'm pushing something and Ann doesn't want or vice versa. So for me, it was very important that if this was something that Ann, because I was conscious, I was the one who had the big drive for it, and that if it was something that we were going to do, and it did involve anything happening to Ann's body, that she would have to be in control of that. So it was kind of the ball was with Ann at that stage. And again, when your mom had gotten sick you were thinking, maybe, maybe this is something I might consider. And then when, you know well I was like okay, well, I'll leave that with you now. And I'm not going to take a cut, you know, I'm not gonna start deciding how this might happen. I really wanted it to be with Ann if that was the case, and then we gave it time, and you realized it wasn't something that you wanted to do. And then, so I was like, okay, and and in that conversation, you know, because we had taken time with it, I had realized, Oh, God, we're actually really, really in different places around this. And this has massive implications on the type of life that we will have. And I had suggested then that we should we should make a decision maybe based on the fact that.. we should we should make a decision, as if we had decided not to pursue a family and see what came up for me. Because I had spent years in the in the frame of mind of I want a baby, how do we have a baby, how can we save money, where are we going to get to sperm, and what clinic are we going to use, we'll go to Prague, we'll go to Spain, we'll go to Clare, we'll go everywhere. And that was all I was thinking about. And I never really contemplated not, you know, not trying to get pregnant or us not having a having a family. So. So I suggested, well, let's get ourselves into place where we have decided and it's particularly for me, I needed to know, because Ann was very clear if this is something that we needed to do and I needed to do, we would do it together. And I was clear, I wasn't going to ask Ann to do anything that potentially would make her unhappy or us unhappy, or change our life so hugely, unless it was really fucking necessary. Excuse my language, can I curse?


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely go for it!


Jenny Blake

And because that's a Russian Roulette, like, it's a big gamble. And I wasn't going to do that unless it was necessary, because I love our life. And I love Ann and we're very lucky the life that we have. So I wasn't given that up just on a whim. And a whim of 20 grand, or whatever (laughter). But um, so and like typical extreme style, I decided that we would do it for six months, and I was going to an ashram in India, on my own for a month, and really contemplate what was coming up for me, there was other reasons for me to go to the ashram (laughter)


Ann Blake

Because we won't blow any money on a baby but go to India and think about it (laughter).


Jenny Blake

Also, if you're thinking of having a baby, definitely go to Falls hotel and treat yourself to a weekend because you have all the magical discussions there, in the spa. See we love our life, and we're not going to give it up easily! (laughter)


So what was really interesting, Margaret, was like, I prepared for the grieving and the crying. And because I'd had that I you know, while we were in the headspace of thinking about having a baby, and whenever people would tell me they were pregnant, or I'd just be crying, and I'd be getting upset. And because I was constantly focused on what I didn't have in my life. And, and so when we had.. when I, when we had really decided, and I had really decided to get into that into the frame of mind that I wasn't going to have kids, I was waiting for the sadness to come, I was waiting for that wave of what I'm missing out on and all that sort of stuff. And it didn't come. I was really interested in it, not only did not come, I felt really, really liberated. And I wasn't expecting it. And I didn't think about a baby once when I was in India, in the ashram. And even for the six months before that was actually I think more seven months was it..anyway, we we gave it lots of time... all of a sudden, the world opened up and I was like, really got a sense of the set of possibilities that I had, that I'd been blind to. Because I was only looking at this one thing, which was how can we save enough money to get IVF. And, and and so that was a huge.. that opened, that blew my mind actually. And, and I just decided I was gonna go with that, I was just gonna stay with the feelings as they came up. And not try and put a narrative on what I thought and how I thought I should react. And, and, and yeah, and so a couple of realizations came to me. And one was that I had been spend spending years focusing on the one thing that was absent in my life. And I hadn't actually asked myself is that thing that that that is absent in my life, is it actually making me feel like I'm missing something? And like, and do I wake up in the morning and realize I'm not content? And that and the answer was no, I wake up feeling really content. When I started thinking about what it might be like to pregnant and then a few hours later when I'm down the line, you know, singing to my baby, and then I don't have it anymore, I might be crying in the corner. I realized I was working myself up into something, and, and working myself up into focusing on something that I didn't have in my life that I hadn't even fully questioned properly, did I want it or why did I want to, and and when it came down to it, my life with Ann is is more important than something I don't have. I don't feel like my life is missing anything. And I realized I hadn't actually kind of asked myself that question before, I mean, there's a lot of things I want to do, but should I do them? (laughter) You know, there's a lot of things I might never get a chance to do. And does that mean, I'm not gonna have other wonderful adventures? So it was a real, it was a real surprise reaction, and I wasn't expecting it.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, that's fascinating. Like, because this was, that's what I try and do say, with people who maybe come to me is exactly that. Because I think sometimes people can be so focused on one thing, to just maybe move out of it and consider other things. But that's really hard to do. Like, if you have just assumed, or pictured your life going in a particular way, all your life, it's really hard to step out of this. Would you have any advice? Because again, I'm aware of it like when you're thinking about it, I presume all you're seeing is babies and pregnant people that you know, because it's everywhere, anyway. So if you're aware of it, you're gonna see it a lot. How were you able to kind of separate yourselves from that for that time, because it sounds amazing that you gave each other and yourselves that time with it, to not get kind of overwhelmed by it, I'd just be really interested to know how you managed that.


Ann Blake

I think it was quite a practical situation. So Jenny had booked this very big trip for her to go to India, something also that you always wanted to do. And it was to go for a month. So this, she booked this in June, or July. So that immediately.. if you're going away in six months time, you're not you can't be pursuing IVF. Now obviously, if you're a heterosexual couple, you could be trying to have a baby in the meantime. But if you're thinking, well, I don't want to be pregnant, while my partner is away for a month, or I don't want to be pregnant when I'm away for a month, whoever it is. Um, so that immediately, I think, for Jenny, because the kind of a hypothesis or the theorizing needed to come from Jenny of trying to explore something. And because that was literally Okay, this means for the next six months, we cannot even be thinking about this. Yes, we could technically be saving. But Jenny, in fairness to her, went well, let's try this, let's just experiment with the idea that we're never doing this, not just the next six months, and let's just see what that feels like. And there's no consequences to it. There's no like, yeah, like, you can come back from that, you know, there's no pressure with it. And, um, so I think that was, it was a very circumstantial, it was something external, that helped make that possible. And so, an advice for someone, I suppose, maybe is to take something really important and wonderful to do for yourself that you could not do if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and put it a little bit in the future. So it puts a little space there for you.


Mgt O Connor

That sounds brilliant! Yeah, because I suppose people feel so pressurized with time in particular, so that's that's really good advice. Yeah. And would ye talk about it in between or did you like was it kind of..


Ann Blake

Yeah, we did. I checked, I would check in with Jenny, because I think in this conversation, it's awkward being the person who's less inclined because there is a feeling of guilt or well I'd a feeling of guilt or fear that I was manipulating Jenny into into something she didn't want to by being somewhat passive, like well, like I mean, I'm I'm up for it if you want to do it, which is very kind of annoying to some someone who really wants something in their life (laughter). So I, I was conscious of that. And I I think I did check in about it and I didn't.. even when Jenny was observing, I'm feeling okay about this, I was going are you sure you are? Is this a euphoric false feeling or something? So I didn't take it at face value, when when Jenny said she felt the freedom. I didn't also.. I do love her but she is someone who changes her mind frequently in a day. So I would be slow, and I trust her but I would be slow to just go great brilliant. You've said that jinks, that's it, you can't un-say it, I'm gonna hold you to it. Yeah, so I think and that's, that's from the perspective of the person with less of a drive.


Jenny Blake

Yeah, and in terms of advice for somebody or a couple, I think, if I can talk about a cobra for a minute, like, I think what was good about our situation was that we had kind of, we were used to talking about the dynamic of our relationship and how the dynamic can get a bit unhealthy, and what dynamic we want, and then how we try and keep that. And, and I was chatting to a friend of mine a few days ago, and she was saying like, every few times every year, you have to kind of recalibrate your marriage or your relationship and, and so I think it's really important that you and your partner, really contemplate what you want, what, what's needed for you to try to get pregnant, if there are any fertility issues, and what that will, how you will react to that in terms of what your your individual reactions to that. And then think about a life with a kid, think about a life while pregnant, think about a life while waiting for adoption, fostering whatever it might be. And again, how you'll be in that if that's something you want, and what will have to stop while that's all happening. And again, what kind of life do you both want and making sure that there's room for both people, to have a say, to be able to shape that. And, and I think a lot of couples don't do that. And I think we were lucky we were two women, because it meant nothing was going to happen accidentally, (laughter) you know, and so it was gonna have to be a conscious decision for us. And also, we.. there wasn't the same traditional pressures for us. Even though after marriage equality, everybody's like when you get married. And then when you get married, when are you going to have a baby, people will ask you all sorts of things. But even with that there is less traditional pressure, because, because then people are like, well, well, what, because then also with internalized homophobia, some people just assume you're not gonna have kids, because gay people don't have kids, you know. So there's lots of other pressures, and stereotypes that can be negative. And some stereotypes can be liberating and a mixture of things. But it was because we had, we had done that already, as a couple that we could talk about it. And that that definitely helped me realize, well, if this all worked out, because as soon as the pre baby, everything that has to happen up to it, and then there's the post baby, I was like, actually post baby life is something I'm really into, I'm totally fine with the idea of being at home. And, you know, like, I love having people over. And, and for me, I saw lots of lots of possibilities with that. And in chatting with Ann, that wasn't shared. And then, you know, so in terms of the life that we want, that was, I realized that that would have been a really big change, for something that maybe two of us don't really want as much. And, you know, and if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't realize, well, actually, I kind of like my life better now than that post baby life. And, you know, and I think that that's that, that I think couples should and individuals, should really ask themselves, do I want that life and everything that it entails? And, you know, all in terms of whatever has to happen before you get pregnant, then while you're pregnant, or again, while awaiting for your adoption or fostering. And then when you have a child, what that might be like, you know.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely. And it was even you when you started talking I suppose you know, with that type of language that you're using, ye obviously do check in and are very present and do that. And the recalibration, which I think unfortunately, you're right a lot of people don't do and then sometimes other issues can get caught up in this decision. So if there's other things that people aren't happy about are worried about, like I hear a lot that, generally, women, I suppose, are worried that the division of labor, when a child comes along won't be balanced. And no matter what lovely promises people make, that it won't necessarily follow through and that's a real concern for people..but maybe that's been an issue along the way anyway, and you know, so it's just it's really interesting to hear that you're having those conversations anyway. It sounds like ye can be open and honest and bought in in a positive way. It's not, it's not passive aggressive it's not emotionally..


Ann Blake

Well, it's sometimes passive aggressive, like, you know, but let's be honest..


Jenny Blake

I'm just overtly aggressive and Ann's passive aggressive. I think just pure aggression is is more honest (laughter). I think that's a passive aggressive comment actually!


Ann Blake

That's totally a passive aggressive comment! (laughter). I think something, and I'm concerned how this is gonna come across that like Jenny had these dreams of babies and I went no. Like it was it was very much a conversation. Also, I suppose it's a personality thing that I'm, I, I'm a very slow processor, it takes me longer. But once I'm there, I'm there, I'm there. And I felt very much that I'm pretty sure if we had a kid I, I'd really be into it and it will be brilliant. And I, I had very, I was very kind of positive about that. I wasn't like that, you know, my life would be over and keep your horrible child notions to yourself do you know, but I think I was just, I just wasn't gonna ever push for it to happen. I realized that, I'm not saying like, there wasn't conscious. And like Jenny even said, look, Ann you know, you wrote a show, you toured it, around Canada and England, when you want something to happen, it happens. And this is not happening. And I think it was that acknowledgment, we're, we're pushing something up a hill, we need to talk about it.. but yeah..


Jenny Blake

We just on that, in terms of advice to people, I realized as well, I was trying to manipulate Ann into going first because I was thinking, well, if we get Ann to go first, because she's older, that was my excuse, and then what will happen is, she'd be more confident in realizing she really does want the baby because, I'm as the dominant person in the relationship, I won't have done it first. So she'd have done it first. So she'll feel more confident. And all this sort of total bullshit. Talking about a recipe for ruining your marriage. And, you know, when I realized God, I was doing that. And so I was trying to, you know, fit the rationale or the suggestions into a box so I could get what I thought I wanted. And when it comes down to it, like, I thought that this was something that was gonna risk our marriage in terms of our happiness, because like, we can do whatever we want whenever we want. Ann is a full time artist, you know, I work full time and do other stuff voluntary that I love, you know, and we have the total craic all the time. We love having the craic and, and I realized that I could blame Ann for that, you know, as much as I want. But I'm right in there. I love it too. Like, I haven't been saving loads of money for IVF either. I've been going to India and doing yoga courses and doing different random fun things. And we love that, we love life. And I think there's still a pressure on women, whether it's the unspoken desire for women to live a child free life, to just be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want. And I suppose I realized I hadn't even let myself really have that. And I was also, you know, making sexist assumptions for Ann as well. Well, when she's pregnant, you realize she really wanted a baby, but like, you know that that wasn't the case. I mean, I was just honest. And and this is where advice for other people, give yourself time in the place you don't think you want to go. And really be with that. You know, and see what comes up. You might be surprised. And vice versa, if you really think you don't want kids, maybe spend time really getting into the place that you have a baby. Or that you are pregnant ,or the whichever way you bring a child into your life, that really imagine that and spend time with that. And if you've a partner, spend time with your partner in that and again, you might be surprised. I think that's really important.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, I agree. Absolutely.


Ann Blake

And it's funny cuz I mean, people do say like, I, I think as well, being okay with the life you you're not having, you know, not saying well that would be crap. Like, I have no doubt if we had a child, we would have a great life, we would have a very enriched life. But..and I think you don't want to demonize either having kids or not having kids to make yourself feel better about your own decision. I'm pretty sure we'd be great parents. And it's just this the thing is we have a lot of children in our life because between nieces and nephews ,and so there's a part of us has decided well, we are a space and a home for them at whatever point in time in their life, we are a support to them. Let's put our energy into them. Um, gosh, if any of them hear, if any of my family hear that sounds like great, you're up for babysitting seven nights a week.


Jenny Blake

That is all talk from Ann Blake (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

She doesn't mean it at all (laughter)


Jenny Blake

This is something that as well yeah, I know I kind of said it earlier that I kind of when I had that realization, I felt quite selfish, not selfish sorry. I felt quite greedy. Now again, it is really important that this is just our experience. And this is just my experience. I felt like I have a safe home. I have a job I love. I have volunteer activity I love, I've you know, and and yet, I realized I was focusing on the one thing that was the absent in my life, and when I realized God, I, that's something I actually didn't, that I'm actually okay with not even having in my life. And and I felt like there was, I felt there was a sense I was pursuing greed for me, you know, and I'd been doing a lot of work with with different things in my life anyway, in terms of aspects of my personality. And, you know, and that was that was, again, a strong realization that, well, if I, if I, if I wake up in the morning, and I think about when I wake up in the morning and the life that I have, again, coming back to it, I feel really content, I feel really fulfilled. There's lots of things and lots of adventures I want to do, with Ann. And it is about the life I have with Ann. And I realize I'm not willing to threaten that for anything. And pursuing something that wasn't happening anyway. And things work out for us when when, you know, we got married, when we were supposed to, we got engagement when we were supposed to, like, you know, we got our house when we were supposed to when, like Ann said when we're pushing something up a hill, it doesn't work out. But when we're on the same page, it really does. And I wasn't going to pursue anything that was going to risk that, or even potentially risk it, unless it was really necessary. And like that, I realize it isn't necessary for me.


Mgt O Connor

Ok..that's really lovely to hear. And your so cute, the two of ye, ye are smiling, it's lovely (laughter). But it is lovely because I suppose again, sometimes if couples come to me I suppose, it can feel like such a division, you know, people can feel so far apart. It sounds like even though ye were both doing your own thing. And I'm sure it was challenging, I'm not saying it was easy, but it sounds like ye stayed really connected throughout it or certainly tried to..


Ann Blake

I think we did try it like, it was a source of friction, you know, like, I'm not gonna completely sugarcoat it, it wasn't easy. They weren't easy conversations to have, they weren't happy conversations to have a lot of time. And like, there's something I said to Jenny before we went on, don't say don't tell that story. But I'm gonna, I'm gonna rat myself out. There was something I said to Jenny. And I mean, let's say I wonder would other other people in relationships, or maybe even men feel like I or, whoever it is, the less, sorry, I don't want to generalize. Whoever is less, less, slightly less pushing for it, you know, I said to Jenny, you know, I'm afraid of, I'm not going to be your number one anymore. And I didn't mean that, like, I don't want to compete with that baby (laughter). Um, but I think, like, we're still discovering our lives, discovering each other, we're figuring things out. And and if suddenly, we throw an unknown into that, like, I'm not. And that's it is a bit of a selfish thing to say. But I suppose it was, it was honest. And it was a genuine fear that,


Mgt O Connor

Yeah because you're not two anymore. Like anytime you have three people in a situation, there's different dynamics going on. And so yeah, I think that's a it's an honest thing. I think expecting that it won't happen is probably worse, you know, thinking that it wouldn't change anything. And so at least being aware of it and talking about it is useful.


Jenny Blake

Yeah. And I'm.. for me hearing Ann say that, I thought it was really brave to be that honest, because I think lots of people feel that but they don't want to say it. And I think, you know, a lot of women feel it and lots of guys feel it, you know, and, and I needed to hear that, actually, because that was something that was lots of recipes here in terms of whether, including that what Ann said, the nature of how we were going to get pregnant might have included us having a biological baby that was mine. And someone who has the dominant maternal instincts to dominant personality, who's had the baby who wanted to change the life, you know, like, there was just recipes for us completely going off, off the same page. And not that they necessarily are reasons why you shouldn't pursue it, but for us, they were factors that we needed to consider. But I thought that was, when Ann said that to me, I thought it was really honest. And I thought it was something I really needed to hear and take stock of.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely yeah yeah..


Jenny Blake

Interestingly enough, when we had got.. when I cuz Ann is right, like I'm very good in a crisis, because I can react quite quickly. And I process really quickly. And then I pivot and all this sort of stuff really quickly. So I'm very, so again, it can be a positive thing, but it can be a negative thing as well. Because I can get a false sense of, if it's a long term decision, and I'm in a place and I feel okay with that. Cuz again, I'm very resilient. And I'm also very adaptable. Again, the negative side of that is I can feel like I'm in the place I can be in forever, you know, and it'll change three months down the line. So Ann was very clear like I know you're saying no, you don't want a baby but we're gonna wait for a while. And then I think when it was like seven or eight months and I was like, I'm waiting for the.. waiting for the thing and it hasn't come you know, and but I was like, but I do want us to buy a boat. So we asked our parent friends, we're like, Okay, if we were to spend 20 grand, should we either a, buy a baby or a splodge and get pregnant? Or should we buy a boat and we can all, you know, participate and and have the benefits. And every single one of our parent friends told us we should buy a boat (laughter).


Jenny Blake

For us, again this is advice for other couples, or individuals. For us, our financial situation means we have to choose. And for us to decide to pursue getting pregnant would have meant that everything else in our life would have to stop because we would not have been in a position to continue the life we have, and financially be in a position to do IVF. So we had to decide and we just chose our life. Not that we just chose it, but we chose it very strongly and happily but it is a factor and financial pressure can put so much friction into a relationship. Because I realised there was one time and I don't know when this was but in the midst of those years chatting about it, I was making demands of Ann so we could save money to get a baby, or to get pregnant or to do IVF, and in my head I'd worked it up and it was this big sum and all this kind of stuff. And I remember even once thinking that Ann doesn't even need to be an artist, she could just do something else you know. Like what was I thinking, you know, because I was just focusing on this one thing that we didn't have. And that's really dangerous, it really is.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, I mean for anything but for this as well. So really I suppose you were really trying to prioritize. It wasn't necessarily a black and white choice, it doesn't have to be all or nothing but you were trying to prioritize what you have individually and as a couple, and the impact the baby could potentially have on that and really prioritise what was most important, do you think?


Jenny Blake

Yeah, and I also really believed when Ann said to me if this was something I really felt like I needed to do, biologically, that she would be there with me on 100%. I really believed that and I still believe that if in a years time I changed my mind (laughter), which I don't feel like I will, I needed that. It was funny, it was the freedom to say yes that allowed me to say no, kind of a thing.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah so it's really important to give each other permission, for people and in a couple to give each other permission to do what you need to do, to kind of work through your own processes at the same time but come in and out, to stay connected but do you own thing..Okay, thanks for sharing that, it's really interesting to hear. I suppose it can become a real issue for some couples. And it can be very difficult to negotiate. And still, I know it was difficult for you, but in a way, do you think it's actually strengthened your relationship?


Jenny Blake

Yeah definitely.


Ann Blake

I think going through any kind of process together is going to be healthier, it's going to enrich your relationship, if you come out of it intact (laughter). There's been a nice lightness that has come with it, rather than overtly a grieving. I suppose I feel in myself..I felt like I probably over a period of time, let go of this idea..Like I have to admit coming out late in life did have a big effect on me. And the concept of having a family, I had to overcome tons of internalised homophobia. I had a lot of concerns over my parents, supporting us in getting married or you know.. and some of that came from them but a lot of that came from me. I throw my hands up and own that. But I still wasn't like, when I was coming out the other side of that stuff, I still and I'm young enough and I still am young enough, but there's just this point for me.. I just felt like I said earlier, there was this feeling of at certain age, at a certain point in time, certainly to be having a first child for me, felt like, not like something I was driving or longing for.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. And I know you mentioned going for the fertility tests and things, but did you find apart from that, was there information or helpful information available? Did you feel you had anywhere to turn to externally for help with this?


Jenny Blake

Well, as Ann said earlier, I'm a balls out kind of person (laughter) so I just talked to everybody. Like anyone who was willing to talk to me about it, like all my friends, family, I process publicly as well, you know the community, I like the community process. And I remember trying to encourage Ann to talk to her friends and family. That I wouldn't feel in any way betrayed or anything. I come from a working class family. Like one of the traditions we have is we might get a fortune teller in, and we would all go to see the fortune teller and then come down and tell everyone else what was said so it's all very communal and open, in public and out there. We did couples counseling before the wedding. It was great, advice to any couple, do couples counseling. It was brilliant, really helpful. And talking to, we have friends who have chosen not to have kids. We have female friends who are a little bit older than us who have chosen to have a child free life and that was great. I spoke to a lot of women, we have a lot of friends, gay friends, gay women who we have very close friendships with, and I had lots of chats with them. I probably had lots of chats with lots of people. Ann, maybe less so.


Ann Blake

Yeah, not many (laughter).


Jenny Blake

If you meet me out having a drink, I will probably tell you all about it (laughter). But for me, I think that's really healthy and in those conversations people would say to me, and you'd have mothers saying, I did have kids and I love my kids but I think I'd love a kid free life. And not because I'm stressed out or whatever, but because my personality is such that I don't have massive maternal instincts or whatever. And it was more mothers that acknowledged that they feel it's not really encouraged for women, particularly in straight relationships and heterosexual marriages, to not have kids.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. And I suppose I was curious I know you mentioned that already but I was curious, was there assumptions or pressure, or how it is for same sex couples, are there assumptions, or is that changing?


Jenny Blake

I think one positive side of homophobia might be that people might assume you're not having kids. I think that means for women. I think there can be a positive spin to that, that we're allowed to not have kids. And I think the negative side then for gay dads, or for men who want to have kids, there's an extra layer of homophobia, because there's the assumption that they're not going to have kids, there's the assumption that they're not meant to have kids, nor should they. And if they do want to it, then they have an extra hurdle to go over, so I actually think in one way, there might be a small amount of positivity dare I say for women in gay relationships and extra difficulty then for guys. But I think it does all depend on your community and your family. Like my ma would have been very supportive of us and is very close to myself and Ann. I remember telling her when we had decided, we were kind of wondering how would she feel when we tell her we are not going to try to have a family, how will she react. And she was like God, I love your fucking life. I'm delighted you're not going to change it, delighted for you. Because she has seen a lot of women, a lot of working class women just being dealt a very bad blow. And I think something in her, I think something in her was like you will be free forever (laughter).


Ann Blake

It is funny actually when you say about the kind of reverse sexism. Because there's two friends, two couples I know, male couples who have recently become parents. And it was a really long journey for both of them. One couple have adopted a baby and the other couple are fostering, I think the boy is six. Both kids, I'm like oh my gosh, they are the luckiest kids in the world you know, they've just gone into two beautiful homes. But it was a very long journey. And I suppose I was kind of watching it from a very different perspective. But it was very beautiful to see their drive and longing for that. And I found that I could watch that and really admire it and revel in it, but not identify as such, and I don't mean that in a horrible, negative way. And it's funny even I said earlier, I feel that if we did have kids, we would have a fantastic amazing life. And I feel the life we have is amazing and fantastic too, and it's easier to hypothesize when you don't have kids, but I know from my friends with kids..our life, often looks like the greener, the grass is always greener in our house (laughter), but at the same time, especially I see my friends as their kids are getting older and are becoming beautiful little humans. There is something so so special about that. I love it, I might get the odd tiniest twinge. But it's very small, comparatively. It's very small, I think but I just enjoy their company, I think they are great little people.


Mgt O Connor

And like you're not saying that you won't ever have any kind of contact with children ever, (laughter) you're not saying that!


Ann Blake

No vectors in our house (laughter)


Jenny Blake

Ann Blake, I can't believe you're the one who has said something that will have to be edited later on.


Ann Blake

Sorry!


Jenny Blake

But I do think, just on the reverse sexism and homophobia. I do think that we are very lucky being two women, two guys are not as lucky. We're even talking about the financial difficulty for two women get pregnant through IVF if that's how we decide to pursue it. You're talking a whole other level of financial cost if you want to pursue surrogacy. If you want to pursue a biological pregnancy, where you have some kind of genetic connection to the child. You know, it's so much more exclusive. And also we don't have the legislation. And we don't have the correct parental rights or the same level of parental rights for dads, for gay dads. And just one thing to say as well, you know I've seen a lot of single mothers and mams do a lot of great things with kids, like Anne said if we, we decided to have a family, again we would have had a lovely life. We would have had a lovely life. And I remember saying to Anne, listen love, even if we do have a baby and you still get offered artists in residence in Montreal, like we will just go. I remember going to protests with women and mams I knew who took their children to Sellafield for anti nuclear protests. So for me, having a kid is not the end of fun, it's not the end of moving, it's not the end of anything like that. That was really important for us as well to acknowledge ourselves in our conversation. And I think, again, looking at what advice we might have, like when you're talking to your partner, talk about your parenting styles. What sort of values are important for you and what way would you like to bring a child up. And again, I think sometimes you might realise that you're on different pages, or else you might realize that you're on the same page and that could be the deciding factor.


Mgt O Connor

I think that's brilliant advice. Because I think, again, maybe it's not something we think about, we maybe assume we know how it will be and then you know, everybody has their own stuff from childhood. So, it's important to look at it and see would one person be really strict One might be more relaxed. Decisions around school and religion and all those things. Not that you have to make a decision now but it's really good conversation.


Jenny Blake

Yeah, definitely. When we had made the decision, you know when you asked and Ann was saying, there was a level of friction in the relationship when we were trying to pursue different things or we were on different pages. And I definitely felt when I had, I had made my decision, and realized that this wasn't something I had to pursue. And it wasn't something that I wanted to pursue, because of everything that was at risk, and everything I have spoken to you about, and just the life I wanted with Ann and wanted to continue with Ann. I felt a coming together between me and Ann. I felt that there was less friction and we were back on the same page again. And we were very much in our life together, and enjoying that and all its wonders and all that. But there was definitely a big release. And I even felt like we were closer together. You know, we felt physically closer.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah ok. And have you put much thought into what your lives are going to look like now? Is it a continuation? Do you think you need to change anything?


Ann Blake

I suppose it's funny having this conversation in our world, where it's hard to see the future


Jenny Blake

What's going on?


Ann Blake

I don't know, there's something going on somewhere..people are wearing masks (laughter). Seeing the future is a little trickier. I think it's really.. what was lovely from jenny's point of view, was that Jenny started talking about possibilities and maybe living in other countries. And obviously at the moment, that's not something we're really exploring (laughter). But it's really our approach to life I suppose is what is important. Like what are our values about minding each other and minding those around us and having a home that is open and welcome. And as I said, the future is hard to see. But of course there's the boat. There's the boat that we need to get working on, I guess that's the long term plan. It's going to happen because we've said it on two podcasts now I think (laughter). Yeah, it's tricky at this time in the world, when it's hard to see, but actually it's also the way I'm built as well. I find it hard to see the future myself at the moment. But Jenny has a different form of clarity so I will put her on to you.


Jenny Blake

I have many clarities of many realities in the near future (laughter). No, it was interesting because at the end of my period of time, where I had given myself my cooling off six months, after I had decided not to try and get pregnant or pursuing having a family, I was asked to consider running in the general election. It was really interesting because there was this, this big opportunity came, something that I'd always secretly always wanted to do. And again, I was able to pursue that because I wasn't using all of our resources to do something else. And I remember thinking, God, actually I'm very open to this possibility, and maybe I mightn't have been open to this possibility if I was just focused on one thing. You know, again, whether you're pursuing to have a family or not, if we're focused just on trying to get one thing, we can miss other opportunities. But I definitely feel that if we did want to change how we are living, whether that was a change of work with Ann or for me, if things worked politically and I needed to be in Dublin more, all of that would be much easier. All we would have to think about is ourselves. And if we did want to spend a bit outside of Ireland or outside of Limerick or whatever it might be, for whatever period of time, we only have to think of ourselves in that. And it would be easier to move. The transition would be easier. So again I'm feeling much more of a sense of possibility, as opposed to a sense of loss, I actually don't feel any sense of loss


Mgt O Connor

Ok yeah, good. Because I think sometimes people struggle to imagine what life, long term..I always think it's funny because everybody is childfree for a part of their life, but then imagining it full time can be difficult for some people, like what will they do with all their time...


Jenny Blake

Or all our with all our money ? (laughter) We're just going to lie in our money and throw it around. You know it's interesting, yeah but look at popular culture, look at the media. look at the representation of child free women, they're generally like mentlers, the stereotypes that you see like the old mad woman with cats. Probably it's changing now I would say, but not hugely. You know, if you can't see it, and this comes back to female representation and LGBTQ representation, and visibility. If you can't see it, and if you can't see it to the level where it becomes normalized, then it's hard to imagine it. You hear people say, I just assumed it would be the next thing we did. We fell in love, we got married, or we made a commitment to each other, whether that was marriage or not. And then you have a family. That's what we do.


Ann Blake

As well I think, just from watching a lot of shows, because we are all watching a lot of things, at the moment, watching things that were made in say the late 90s, or noughties. I rewatched Alley McBeal recently. And obviously there's a huge focus on babies and dancing babies. But there's also kind of this feeling that ultimately, it's a failure for a woman, not to have a baby. It's a very obvious thing, but it's also a very subtle thread throughout. And that's the stuff we grew up with. And that's the stuff that still is being re shown. And you're talking about a long time in culture of that kind of washing out. It's going to take a long time and you also need something to be put there in its place. You need different visibility so that people don't see it as well obviously she didn't have kids because nobody would ride her or whatever. Sorry, I know that's awful but that's the rhetoric


Mgt O Connor

It is unfortunately


Ann Blake

Yeah and that needs to be challenged.


Mgt O Connor

Yes and you're absolutely right, so yeah failure that you're missing something and that you will regret it, that this last minute panic will set in at 35, or 40 or 45, or whatever age and the need to change your mind, I suppose is what we see.


Ann Blake

And there is actually it's funny when you say that, it reminds me..there have been times in the last number of years when we were talking, and I was like, oh my gosh is 50 year old Ann going to want to throttle 35 year old Ann. You know, so let's have all these conversations now. Because I know sometimes 41 year old Ann wants to throttle twenty one year old Ann. When I think of things I did or didn't do at that time. Or the fact that I thought I was fat or stupid things like that do you can't know. And you can't know, you can't future proof it. But I think as long as it's not that I just went lalalala fingers in my ears, I'm going to ignore this, or we're going to ignore this and not talk about it. Then 50 year old Ann will go, well maybe I changed my mind but it's not like forty year old or 35 year old Ann didn't think about it at least.


Mgt O Connor

Yes, absolutely.


Jenny Blake

I also just think it's important to say that like obviously we're using using humor and we're chatting a bit around the future and what might happen, and what mightn't happen, and possibilities that have come up. Politically, I don't think it should ever be the case that a woman should feel like she shouldn't have a child to be able to meet her achievements or to become successful, whatever that is. We shouldn't have a society where women have to not have kids if they want to, so that they can become successful. Or that they can not be burdened with all of the domestic duties, and the caring, and then pursue a career, like that has to change. I just wanted to clarify to make sure it wasn't a subliminal message that was coming through.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, and I know I'm always going on about this but I did research. And I asked about that like the work/life balance, to women who didn't have children yet and how they saw that going. Everybody saw it as being a problem, and everybody saw it as their personal responsibilities to make it work. So there's this idea, I don't think people look at the system enough, like the child care system and the pay system. There are systemic issues that make it really difficult for women to balance all those things. But it's not always viewed that way, which is worrying. But you're absolutely right, you shouldn't have to choose. Absolutely.


Jenny Blake

Definitely and say even in my job now, one thing that was very important thing was for me to try and get full paid full maternity leave, and eventually full paternity leave. No matter what I choose to do. And I think particularly for people who, who haven't pursued families, in one way I feel there's a bit of an onus on us to try and fight for that, even harder. Like the whole ally thing is extremely important. But still I would believe it's still a massive. I think industries are very happy to benefit from that.


Mgt O Connor

Well, it's very convenient for them if everybody is trying to sort their own individual situation and then not addressing the bigger thing, that's easier for everybody else yeah. Okay, so we've done the time and money question. So the last horrible question, which I hate asking people, is who is going to look after you when you get old? (laughter)


Jenny Blake

Oh, I joke with Anne. And I say we are going to have a great life. When it gets to a stage where we are happy with our lives, we are going to go for a gorgeous picnic and a beautiful walk. And then have the best grade heroin ever, and don't wake up. (laughter) It is a joke. But I would agree with a person's right to die. But we did chat about the house because we have a house, well we have a mortgage, so we will have a house in 25 years.


Ann Blake

The question was who will look after us when we are old...


Jenny Blake

Oh, but obviously I'll do all the work (laughter)


Ann Blake

(laughter) Well I joke, I say to Jenny, you're not leaving me behind, I'm going first


Jenny Blake

No, we're going to do a notebook on it. Don't they die together in bed.


Ann Blake

Yeah, that's very..sudden they are answers are gone very, like really unhelpful here. I'll be honest we haven't thought hugely about it in detail. I suppose, as an adult with an elderly dad, my mam did sadly passed away this year, I do feel it's up to me to mind him. Now thankfully he is very secure and that but, as in financially but obviously if he isn't well, it is..and I'm not saying it's my job like but that's just family, you mind each other. But I do feel like that's just, like ok if we know this is our life now, we do have to think about these things and talk about these things, and plan for not having some 40 something or 30 something to lean on and demand to mind us..


Jenny Blake

Yeah, I think..it was interesting because I remember asking me ma that, you know, we were having a cup of tea and I was like do you want to be put into a home or what do you want? And she was like what now? (laughter) And we had a great chat about it. And I was like if you need to come and live with me and Ann, that's no problem, that's fine. And she was like absolutely, hands down no, I do not want to come and live with you Ann. And she was coming from a point where she was saying you have worked so hard to get where you are in life and I want you guys to live your life to have your freedom and I don't want to be a burden on anybody. And I think from my point of view, in terms of, I think I would be very happy living in a community. I think I'd be very happy living in a supportive community for the elderly, or if I have particular health needs. I'd be totally fine with that. And I think whether I had kids or not, I would probably have that position. I would have that opinion.


Ann Blake

I think like anything you could be 25 in a relationship, something might happen and you might have an acquired brain injury, and all of a sudden, you might be in a relationship with someone who might have extra additional needs that you weren't expecting. And like anything as a family, you just have to sit down and decide how do you want to respond to that and allow room for everyone's needs. And I think whether you have kids or not, that's the same and whether you're old or whether you're young, whether it's expected or not.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely. And you know the more episodes I do, the more I hate asking that question, because it's such a stupid question. Nobody can answer it, you know you can't answer it anyway, yet the assumption is that if you decide you're going to be childfree, it's one of the first things that people ask you. Whereas I don't think they ask anybody else. I don't think maybe it's a question that's asked if you have 4 children, it's not asked well who's going to look after you or who's going to look after them if anything happens. You could go down the rabbit hole of all those questions and all the things that could happen throughout our lives. But yeah, it's very difficult. Okay. Is there anything else you wanted to bring up. I know we have covered a lot and I really appreciate how open ye have been. Is there anything else you wanted to put on the record?


Jenny Blake

Yeah, I think just from something I never got to say earlier. While we were having the conversation...How long were we chatting about babies Ann? How many years? This was not a quick process or not a short process, I should say.


Ann Blake

Oh yeah, since we got engaged. So, eight years. It was seven when we decided to try nothing and talk about it.


Jenny Blake

I had had some gynecological problems. And I'd never had any kind of gynecological problems before. And I immediately went to, oh my god, I can never have a baby, and that definitely had a massive impact on then me putting a bit of pressure on us to get things done. Let's make this happen. And it definitely brought a bit of anxiety. It gave me a bit of anxiety around the whole thing, feeling something would have to happen now if it was ever going to happen. And so I just feel, again, for if people that are listening have any issues around fertility, or anything connected to their fertility, that thought is quite a normal response. And we did we found a doctor that was recommended and that we trusted and getting things checked out, It was reassuring. But also the doctor that we went to was very clear. She was kind of saying these are all numbers and they don't actually really mean anything. So don't, don't make it the be all and end all, these results. But definitely, those, the kind of medical issues that I had and I didn't have great experiences with the health service. It definitely brought an added element of challenge. And I just wanted to say if that is happening for anybody to definitely engage in supports. And probably also engage in mental health supports. Just to figure out all the fears that are coming and stuff like that, because it can be quite overwhelming. But I just wanted to say it that because I hadn't got a chance to say it earlier.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. Brilliant. Absolutely. Thank you. Ann is there anything you want to add in?


Ann Blake

I think the main thing is whether you are in a relationship or whether you are single, around all this, is just to be very gentle with yourself. And I'm very conscious I've talked a number of times about the age I am, around my eventual decision. I'm very conscious that there are people I know, in their mid 40s and older who have had children and are very happy about it. So the big thing I want anyone listening to this is that this is a very personal experience. But what has been very important for us as a couple I think, there were bumpy times and that but for the most part, the main trouble started when we stopped talking, when we put our heads in the sand about it and weren't honest with each other. That's just what I'd always advocate.


Jenny Blake

Yeah. Just don't be afraid to acknowledge it. If you don't have kids. If you don't want to be a parent. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, it doesn't make you a bad person. I think to not be open about that, that can lead to difficulties, and it can lead to bad dynamics. And it can lead to things that will be disruptive to your relationship you know, because again, I think, when Ann was honest to me about some of her concerns, it was something we really needed to consider and take on board. And I do feel like that we should encourage people to be really open and be proud about the fact that they don't want to pursue having kids. And to have a child free life, and I love the phrase child free life.


Ann Blake

And just as it can be crappy to ask people when are you having a kid. It can just be you know, just as you celebrate parenthood, you know, celebrate with your friends who are choosing not to because it's as significant a decision.


Jenny Blake

And until we have total gender equality, us women who have pursued a child free life..It is on us to make sure that we have ultimate dinner parties and ultimate fun and adventures for all our worn out friends who are mams. (laughter) Until we smash the patriarchy and reach true equality.


Mgt O Connor

Do we have a date for that? (laughter) Are we working on it?


Jenny Blake

Well, it's definitely not going to happen in 2020, where things are open anyway.


Mgt O Connor

Fair enough. Fair enough, we've pushed it out. No, I agree, I think everything you're saying is just so true. And I know you've probably come to those conclusions the hard way but it's solid advice, almost kind of back to basics as a person, in a couple and with your friends. It's about, and I don't like that word, but normalizing it, not hiding or not being ashamed of it if this is your position and it works for you, then kind of go with it. Okay, well thank you so much. It has been an education and entertaining to talk to you. Thank you so much for sharing something that is so personal. I'm absolutely sure it will help so many other people so thanks very much.


Ann Blake

Thank you, Margaret.


Jenny Blake

Thanks a million Margaret.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai



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Margaret O'Connor MIACP      ©2018 by Are Kids For Me. 

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