March 23, 2023
Author Ruby Warrington joins Jameela this week to discuss her new book Women Without Kids: The Revolutionary Rise of an Unsung Sisterhood. They cover the story around her own choice not to have children, how that choice is often informed not just by independence but by hardship, the ways women’s sexuality has been tied to motherhood, the issue of “regrets”, the ways we can extend maternal care to the people in our lives, and more.
Check out Ruby’s newest book – Women Without Kids – wherever books are sold.
Follow Ruby on Instagram @rubywarrington
You can find transcripts for this episode on the Earwolf website.
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155 — The Choice of Parenthood with Ruby Warrington
Jameela Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, a podcast against shame. I hope you’re well and I hope you’re still listening even after you’ve seen the title. I hope that you know that this episode is incredibly inclusive to lots of different people, even if it might not seem so at first. We are interviewing Ruby Warrington this week, who is a British born author, editor, podcaster and the founder of Numinous Books, and she has a new book out called Women Without Kids The Revolutionary Rise of an Unsung Sisterhood. And it’s very, very good. And she’s very, very cool. However, we are in this conversation and she in this book, we’re not just talking about people who don’t want to have children or people who can’t have children, or people who feel too traumatized by their childhoods to have children or people who aren’t financially ready or they don’t have the help. I personally don’t have children. I’ve been very open about that, and that’s purely because I just don’t want to. There’s no other reason. I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be a parent. I don’t have that instinct in me. It doesn’t resonate with me at all. I like to help other people in different ways and use my kind of natural caring instincts in that way. But we really get into not just the importance of acknowledging that not everyone is built to be a parent or should be a parent. But this is very much so a fight for those people who are and for those people who want to. This is a fight against the idea that women are just predisposed to this one sole purpose of a miracle, maternal nature, and and to be these perfect, idealistic mothers. It’s fucking ridiculous. And it’s harmful, especially to people who want children, because then they feel like they have to live up to these ridiculous, unrealistic expectations of of what kind of a perfect parent they’re supposed to be. And I literally don’t know anyone who doesn’t fall short of that. It’s too much pressure. It’s not real. It’s fantasy. And it’s not fair on people who have to work really, really, really fucking hard and make mistakes and grow and learn from them at speed in order to be the best parents they can be. It’s not fair for that to just be kind of taken for granted as well, that’s your duty and that just comes naturally to you. Fucking doesn’t for a lot of people, and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be bad parents. It just means that not all of us have the skills and not all of us are completely ready or not all of us had access to the things that would make us ready to do the fucking best that we can. But don’t call it this sort of predisposed, supernatural gift. It’s hard work and not everyone is cut out for that hard work. I sure as shit am not. And so it’s a very much so a conversation about everyone. It’s a conversation for women. It’s a conversation about our time, about our value, and about the expectations that are put upon us, regardless of what we choose to do with our own bodies and our lives. And so I hope you enjoy this chat. I really enjoyed it and I feel like it was just like a passionate sisterhood cry and and plea for women to be given a fucking break regardless of the decisions they make about their futures. And I think Ruby is such a special writer and a special voice, and it was just an incredibly candid chat. And so I hope you love it. This is the excellent Ruby Warrington. Follow her, buy her books. Ruby Warrington, welcome to I Weigh. How are you?
Ruby I’m not doing bad. It’s really nice to be here. I’m very excited to talk to you.
Jameela Likewise. Likewise. I feel like you’re my sister from another mister. I’m very. I’m. I’m. I’m so glad to have stumbled across your work. And. And I think it’s while the conversation around people who don’t want children is growing, I feel as though your unique perspective is one that is very needed. And so before we get into all of that, I was just wondering if you could tell me why you wrote Women Without Kids and what that book is, what it’s supposed to represent.
Ruby Yeah, I mean, there are two sort of very distinct entry points for me into this subject and this subject now meeting at this time in my life, but also at this time kind of in the collective, all of my work has always been well, in terms of my book, it’s always come from a very personal place, not necessarily of like this is the book that I needed, but this is a subject that I am ready to dive into really deeply. And if I can get a book deal that kind of like pays me to do all the research I want to do, you know. So with this book, it was on reaching my kind of early into almost mid-forties and starting to look ahead to menopause, realizing that as somebody who’d always not wanted to be a mother, and always been told that I would likely regret that, that it would feel like there was something missing, particularly as I got older. Looking ahead to menopause and actually really reckoning for the first time with the with my biological clock kind of stopping ticking, I realized I felt zero regret. There was absolutely nothing missing in my life. I felt incredibly fulfilled and incredibly grateful to have been able to pursue so many things other than motherhood that have been deeply fulfilling to me. And I realized that having spent my twenties and thirties really questioning my own sort of inner knowing around this subject and being questioned by people directly, but also just by society at large, you know, why don’t you want to be a mom? Why don’t you want to do this thing?
Jameela What’s wrong with you?
Ruby Which is fundamental to being a woman. People didn’t necessarily weren’t bold enough to say to me, What’s wrong with you? It was implied. But.
Jameela I’m South Asian, So, you know, it’s different family members are different.
Ruby Right right. So anyway, it was a revelation to sort of be reaching, yeah, the end of my reproductive years and to say, you know what, I was right all along. I’m not unfulfilled. I don’t regret that this was exactly the right path for me. And I think that also everybody else kind of stopping, asking. I think beyond after my after I turned 40 that the external noise really died down. People just kind of got bored of asking, I suppose, and were just happy to let me do my own sort of weird thing. But everybody else’s voices ebbing away gave me clarity, the clarity that I needed to really start to dial into my own feelings about this, you know? And so that was my, my personal perspective. Within that realization, I sort of wanted to offer something back to to younger women who were maybe engaged in that inner questioning or getting that external questioning. But then from my sort of journalistic perspective, I kind of zoomed out and looked at the fact that while the birth rate is declining steadily and steeply all around the world, you know, in every country in the world, the number of children that women are having is decreasing. And so I think there’s a lot of scaremongering around that.
Jameela But we oscillate don’t we, between like different scaremongering like you know.
Ruby We got too many people, and not enough people.
Jameela Yeah, exactly. I remember there being a time where we felt like we were overpopulated and there weren’t enough resources. I mean, I don’t want [inaudlible] fucking resources.
Ruby That’s still a big part of the environmental question. But then if you turn to like politicians and economists and demographers will say we have a we have a looming population collapse.
Jameela Yeah, because who are we going to put in the jails?
Ruby Our economy is not going to survive. Right. Well, I mean, we can totally get into feeling quite fired up about that because there’s a documentary coming out that gives a very kind of like, scaremongering, patriarchal kind of take on the falling birthrate. Anyway, I was looking at this and thinking, Well, you see all these graphs with this big I’m doing this on the screen, like with this plummeting birth rate. And I’m like, That graph is mapping millions and millions and millions of women’s individual, very personal, often very fraught decisions about whether to have children, how many children to have, at what point in their lives to have children. And I’m like, why are we not talking about this? Why are we not talking about this in a way that goes beyond the really kind of surface, just sort of very prejudiced, very cliché sort of ways of talking about it? I just. I felt it was really time for not only me, but us collectively to really get under the skin of what’s happening with and without kids.
Jameela And it feels like because look, there’s this kind of growing thing that’s happening on TikTok at the moment and Instagram reels where we’re seeing people who’ve decided not to have children sort of gleefully mocking those who do. And I’ve always been someone who was like I don’t want children. I don’t like children. I you know, I know where I stand. I plan on being selfish until I die when I’m old. I’d like a like a trained nurse to insert my catheter rather than someone that I brought into the world who probably did about as well at school as I did. So I I’m definitely someone who feels like, very staunch about my decision. And I understand this, like, kind of like underlying defensiveness in people who don’t want children because we are like, bombarded with questions and prodding and shaming and and fear mongering about regret. But I don’t love twisting that around to, oh, I get up at 10 a.m. and then I have wine and then I have that. Like I’ve just seen about 100 of these videos in the last few weeks. I think as I clicked on one, I’ve just like I’ve entered like, fuck parents. Tik Tok. And I don’t think that’s cool and I don’t think that’s your angle it’s not my angle at all. It’s like no no no, I’m just making personals. I’m not mocking your choice. Your choice is fucking amazing for you. But this growing, like, spitefulness is just is not is not how to have the conversation in a helpful way.
Ruby It’s just not cool. It’s not cool and it’s not kind and it’s massively disrespectful to parents who.
Jameela Yeah who are struggling and by the way
Ruby Who are having they’re really having a really hard time.
Jameela Yeah. And also, like, who didn’t plan on shit being this hard, right?
Ruby Right. Yes.
Jameela They didn’t. No one signed up for how hard this has now become. Like if we look at reasons that people are deciding to have children is declining, of course, a massive part of that is a growing independence of women is women not wanting to be tied down, is women want to pursue their own choices or have agency over their time or their bodies or their freedom. But also it’s because having a child is fucking un-affordable now for a lot of people, like school is un-affordable, formula is unavailable at fucking baby formulas unavailable at times like there are safety concerns for people depending on where they live in the world. Like there are people who aren’t very well. There’s shit in our food that is fucking with women’s hormones. Like there are a multitude of reasons. And for, the only response from those who wish for us to repopulate the earth to be like, Well, we’ve just got to trap them into pregnancy and force them to have babies. And if they want to get abortions, if we catch them having an abortion or if we think they had an abortion or aided their miscarriage, we’re going to give them the death penalty, which is being introduced in certain states in America. They’re trying to get that passed currently to terrify women into maintaining pregnancies because in their head, then women will have to stay with their partner and then we’ll bring back their like all American families, not just America. By the way, it’s like a rise in fascism growing all over Europe as well, and many countries in the world. But rather than just going, hmm, what are we as politicians fucking up in our society that potentially could be putting off parents, people who would actually quite like to be parents, who would like to experience that, who do want to have that as part of their journey? We we we aren’t doing anything in America to support people. There’s no fuckin child childcare like you and I are English we’ve moved over here is a fucking shock. Like the mortality rate is terrifying. So it’s just like there’s a lot of reasons why a lot of people don’t feel totally equipped and like, you’re very lucky and privileged if you’re able to make that work. But a lot of people aren’t, and all the politicians should be fixing the society that makes it easier and more appealing to have children if people want to, and then leave the fucking rest of us alone. But we don’t have to turn this into a war of otherhood versus motherhood, you know what I mean?
Ruby Exactly. Yeah.
Jameela Sorry I went off on a rant.
Ruby No, totally. That was a fantastic rant. And I heard that that you’re feeling inspired after reading my book. That’s a rant like that. Because that’s all the stuff I get into. Yeah.
Jameela Exactly. And I feel as though your book is, is as much for mothers as it is for people who don’t want to be mothers. Right? You talk about these misconceptions of how naturally mother all motherhood is supposed to come to all mothers. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? Because I think that’s really beautiful and important. It makes a lot of women who I know having babies right now feel way less gaslit.
Ruby Yeah. That’s exactly what it is. Gaslighting that thing. Motherhood is every woman’s biological imperative and therefore will come naturally to her is just so damaging because motherhood under patriarchy and under some of the the conditions that you just described is actually it’s very challenging. And so even the even somebody with the most with the strongest sign of natural maternal instinct, which is not necessarily by the way, only applicable to women. Some people, regardless of their biological sex or gender, just have a different capacity for caregiving. Right. And that’s just kind of down to personality and all sorts.
Jameela How they were raised yeah yeah yeah yeah.
Ruby How they were raised. Exactly the kind of things they value, what lights them up, etc., etc.. But yes, that what you’re sort of getting into is what I call the mommy binary, which has been this very binary idea where we’ve had kind of mothers are natural, are fulfilling their rightful duty or are fulfilling themselves on a sort of a deeply sort of spiritual level almost. And then women who don’t have kids are unnatural, deluded, selfish, immature, etc.. And so I can see how that having been the sort of rhetoric around it for so long, that instinct to kind of like push back and sort of make out that, you know, choosing not to choose often not to have children, is this very empowered, sort of fabulous lifestyle choice. I can sort of see where that instinct comes from, but it’s always really turned me off and I’ve just always found it really distasteful. It’s just kind of like,
Jameela Well it’s very harmful
Ruby It’s very harmful in all kinds of ways. You know, it’s also suggesting that I mean, I state quite clearly at the beginning of the book, this is not a book about how to have a fabulous child free life. First and foremost, I’m not by any means trying to set out that having not having children is preferable to having children. I’m just sort of trying to say that this is as valid as a different and as equally valid path as motherhood. If it’s what is right for you and the reason it’s right for you could be down to all sorts of different factors. And then beyond that, I think that I was kind of I put in a note to one of my editors during the writing process. You know, having a fabulous life is not about lie ins and trips abroad and five star hotels and sh and shoes right?
Ruby Having a fabu is only possible to have a fabulous life when you’ve really been prepared to sort of do the work, all the stuff that makes you feel like shit. And in the realm of mothering and motherhood, that shit can get really, really heavy. Like once something I really did identify when I started to really feel into what had always been my what I term affirmative no about having kids was just that I had a lot of. Yeah, there’s a lot of family dysfunction that I lived through and carry in my body and just didn’t want to repeat. Like my experience of family was not this sort of warm, cozy, kind of fuzzy, sentimental thing. Family’s always been quite fraught for me. Like my parents are very, very loving, but they were quite challenged in their parenting for a multitude of different reasons. I had sort of experiences during my teens that they weren’t really able to help me with that were very damaging to me, and all of which I’d go into in the book. But one of my reasons for not having kids is the pain of that family dysfunction and not having ever really experienced family as something that I wanted to recreate for myself. So yes, I have tons more freedom, I have more money. I’m able to invest a lot of in my, you know, personal interests, all those fabulous things that come with being childfree. But the reason I’m childfree is actually not that fabulous at all, you know, And I think that that’s the case for a lot of people. A lot of people are choosing not to have kids. It’s from a place of pain, from a place of self-preservation in many ways.
Jameela You know, I mean, for me and I want to get back to Mother’s right for a second, but like before we do
Ruby Yeah sorry I didn’t move on to that.
Jameela No, it’s okay. But for me, it’s that I’ve been I’ve been looking after people my whole life. Like since I was about eight or nine, I’ve been looking after very, very physically and mentally ill people, adults. And so I feel like I sort of I feel like I do have a really maternal side, but I’ve done it. I feel like I I’ve mothered and I’ve raised people, even if they were older than me and now they’re okay. And now I feel like my kids have gone off to uni, basically. And it’s like I’ve done my bit. Everyone’s still alive. They’re happier than they were before. I fucking nailed it and I’m fucking knackered. So I feel like I’m in retirement from motherhood like I’ve been, I’ve been caring for my friends. I go above and beyond for the people in my life. I live with all these fucking men who I can’t stop looking after, you know? And I um. I love to cause their my friends and women and all kinds of different people, but I have a lot of love to give. I just feel like the obligatory part of like where you where you can’t take the day off. I’ve done that already. I’ve done that. Like there’s nothing there’s been nothing selfish about my life up until now. And so I totally get motherhood. Like I’m watching all my mates have babies at the moment. And like some of them. I’ve watched them open up in ways that are just unbelievable and some of them have taken to it like a duck to water and others are really fucking struggling. And I what I was trying to get at earlier with you is that like it’s so important to be able to have the conversation, the fact that actually it is a massive fucking decision and it can be quite derailing and exciting and less exciting ways and it’s not always something that comes naturally to everyone and that’s fucking okay. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t ever have had kids or you shouldn’t have kids or you can’t learn, but it just means that it’s not going to be this fucking Disney movie for everyone. And we have to create space. It’s almost like they’re so afraid that if we find out it’s going to be really challenging, we’ll stop having babies, right? That’s what I think the fear is, which is why we bombard people with the fairy tale idea of the perfect motherhood. And I think that that’s incredibly damning to the people I know who are capable, wonderful. There’s nothing I can think of that was incredibly fulfilling that wasn’t unbelievably hard to nail. And motherhood is absolutely one of those things because you are balancing so many things that are changing so fast all at the same time while you were changing at the same time. And so what I feel like your book does is also pay respect to that journey of mothers and and in liberating those who don’t want to do it, you are also trying to liberate those who do from feeling this burden to be motherfucking nature.
Ruby Right? Literally. Exactly. Yes. So I’m really it’s been really fantastic, actually, that I’ve kind of among my early readers. So many people are mums and they’re expressing huge gratitude for helping them feel less like they’re fucking it up, less like they’re failing for giving them permission to sometimes not enjoy being a mother to ask questions. Was this the right thing for me to wonder or really kind of feel into the conditioning that might have propelled their decisions around motherhood. You know, my one one dear friend who had twins after two or three or four rounds of IVF, and that was very traumatic for her. And she loves being a mom and has also been blindsided by how incredibly challenging it is. She texted me the other day, she was like, Oh, my God, didn’t I want babies? Or did I think I wanted babies because of all the conditioning? You know, it’s just like.
Jameela Well, you say swings and swings and roundabouts, by the way, which I do with my own career. I’m like, do I want to do this? I’ve sacrificed like a lot of my freedom and I don’t have a normal life and I don’t get to have, like, normal friendships. I get whisked off for eight months, which I know sounds incredibly glamorous. I’m so fucking lucky and I’m so fucking grateful. But I also, like, don’t get to see the person of my life for like months at a time. Don’t get to see my dogs. Spend a time completely on my own in a country where I don’t know anyone and I am working like 16 hours a day with terrible health. And I, I go through periods myself being like, why did I not just fucking work somewhere where I could sit down and then go home?
Ruby But this it. You sound like you sound like a mom who had.
Ruby A really hard time having a child who then is feeling like she has to give the caveat before she expresses how hard is that and of course, I’m so grateful. And of course I’m so lucky that I was able to do this. Sometimes it’s really okay for really really fabulous things, things.
Jameela No, I know. It’s just that comparing motherhood to being a famous actress is like a whole other fucking thing. But I’m just saying that, like, somedays I love it so much and I can’t believe it, and I have the best fucking time and I’m so fulfilled and I’m so ready for it. And I just like we just, we as human beings are allowed in every other area of our life to oscillate between. People have it in marriage, they have it in friendships of like regret. And ugh get away from me, I love you so much, I could fucking breath you in like it is completely normal. And yet in motherhood, like there is not that that there is not that space for people to have reasonable moments of doubt.
Ruby Right, exactly. So what you described before is that we have this incredibly sort of saccharine, sort of sentimental idea of this Disney movie of what motherhood is going to be. And I’ve been reflecting a lot on how sentimentalizing things like that. It’s almost like a protection mechanism, you know, like you pointed out, I mean, motherhood is sentimentalized by the forces the powers that be in order to corral women and some motherhood. And for the same reason, you know, non motherhood is is made deviant and made the other and made suspect for that same reason to help corral people into becoming mothers and therefore fulfilling their kind of patriarch, their role within the patriarchy. But I was also thinking that up until relatively recently, like women needed motherhood to be sentimentalized in a way because there was no other option, or at least options were very much closed off to the majority of women. You know, there was just there wasn’t there wasn’t a the doors weren’t open to other life paths until relatively recently.
Jameela Talk to me about sexual evolution, because that ties into a lot of this.
Ruby Yes, indeed. So that chapter was the hardest to write. There’s a chapter called Sexual Evolution, where I start with the hypothesis that women without kids, particularly heterosexual women without kids, are the sort of walking embodiment of the fact that sex and female sexuality has other functions besides procreation. And I’ve actually kind of evolved my thinking. My thinking about this is still evolving because it was like such a complex subject to dive into when like a 7000 word chapter in a book. But I was even thinking about the fact that, you know, women can get pregnant for literally about 48 hours a month during the time that we’re actually, you know, menstruate during our menstrual years compared to men who can get somebody pregnant like 24 hours a day, like pretty much for their whole kind of adult life. You know, and so this would suggest that actually female sexuality, especially if you then add in the fact that a majority of women actually don’t orgasm from penetration like sex is, you know, more satisfying, more pleasurable. If the argument, you know, the very sort of fundamentalist and religious argument is that sex feels good in order to get us to procreate, and the fact that women can have clitoral orgasms that a lot of women don’t orgasm from from penetration, sort of like shows that female sexuality especially is not just for procreation like it has other purposes. You know and that I think it’s a conversation that’s sort of ripe to be expanded. And it definitely is something that has been spoken about over the past sort of 40, 50 years with the sex positivity movement, movement, etc., etc., is part of the kind of sexual revolution.
Jameela Yeah, as in Sex and the City, yeah.
Ruby Yeah, exactly. So Samantha was kind of like a walking embodiment of this attitude, I suppose. But yeah, I just think it’s really that conversation is sort of bubbling up again and ready to be spoken about again.
Jameela And so do you think that there is a tie in with those who abuse religion in order to legislate against a woman’s right to just freely be allowed to have sex without having to sign up for eternal motherhood?
Ruby Right. Well, I mean.
Jameela Do you think that there is a do do you think that there is a threat from the idea that there is a growing understanding that sex for women can just be about pleasure and freedom and multiple different partners and and not feeling a need to be tied down to one individual.
Ruby I think if you look at the, let’s say, the ideologies that benefit from women’s sexuality, being ringfenced as for motherhood. We are talking about, yeah, fundamentalist organized religions where essentially we want to ensure that more people are being born who are being born into these very kind of specific familial, familial structures that have been put in place in order to ensure the continuation of our belief systems of our ideologies, etc., etc.. So there’s organized religion and then this sort of patriarchy, it’s a kind of tangential offshoot type of thing from that. Right. And then capitalism as well, honestly, because the more the more people who are born, the more cheap labor we have, like the more people there are available for employment, the lower wages can be offered. People have less bargaining power. The more of us there are, like the cheaper life is, the cheaper labor is basically. And so, yeah, it pays for it pays for corporations and corporate interests for there to be more and more people being born onto the planet. Which is why you have someone like Elon Musk who is a very pro natalist, very scaremongering messaging around, you know, the falling birthrates, while at the same time he amasses like hundreds and hundreds of billions of personal wealth. You know, women are selfish not to be having children, but.
Jameela He hasn’t been known for like I can’t imagine he’s a like a super hands on father. Like, I don’t feel like he’s wearing the fake tits that’s got the milk in them and has feeding the child like but also he’s he he was at least for a very long time I’m not quite sure on the update but quite anti-union and anti like you know anti the ability of
Ruby Anti the workers anti the workers rights.
Jameela workers to, you know, strike for their rights, etc.. And so, you know I do see what you what you mean by going hand in hand. I mean that’s getting back to the abortion thing. There are lots of theories about the fact that the reason that these things are happening, first and foremost in places that have the most people of color in the United States specifically, is that they want those people to be destabilized so that we will have more people having to take desperate measures in order to survive. And then those people are more likely to end up within the justice system and then, boom, once you’re in the justice system, you are able to work for something like $0.13 an hour. And so our trainers and t shirts are being made by people who are effectively in slave labor because they were born into circumstances that they did not choose.
Ruby Right. Exactly. Yes. I mean, that’s I hadn’t actually heard that theory. But yes, that sort of ties into what I’m saying. This idea of like more people equals cheap labor. When people talk about, you know, the dangers to the economy of an aging population, the economy as it stands currently is what they’re talking about, the dangers to corporate profit making machines, basically, you know, there are ways that the economy could be remade to support an aging population and to redistribute wealth in fairer ways that help mothers, that help children, that help old people. You know, But at the moment, are you familiar with Jaron Lanier?
Ruby He’s like a futurist. I think he was quite involved in kind of like making the Internet. And he’s since come out as being quite anti Internet. He’s one of those people who.
Jameela It’s always the way, isn’t it? Is everyone who started Facebook now comes out saying that they don’t let their children use Facebook.
Ruby I think I think he was very early in one of the big one of the big tech kind of giants. Anyway, there’s a quote from him in the book. And he’s like, the economy only works now, if you were young, healthy and childless, which is pretty, I mean, it boils it really down. But yeah, I’m not an economist, so I don’t have like, I don’t take anything I’m I’m saying it’s kind of like the final word on all of this. Do your own research. But yeah, well, when we look at just the bare bones of the fact that a lot of people who are to choosing and I’m putting in air quotes, choosing not to have children, they’re making that choice based on how difficult it is to square that desire to live a comfortable life financially and have children. That is becoming increasingly difficult for a larger sort of margin of the population alone. People who are already existing in poverty or below poverty conditions being being forced to reproduce.
Jameela Yeah. And being denied access to the health care that it would take to make that managable or even safe.
Ruby Even safe. Exactly.
Jameela Talk to me about regrets. That’s something you cover beautifully in your book and and the fact that, you know, as you pointed out at the beginning of this chat, like you have reached this this point in your life where you can look back and the door to biological ability to have children of your own is like closing and you look back and you have no regrets. My my door has not yet closed, but I already have no regrets. And I’m I’m getting past the age at which I should have frozen my eggs. And I’ve deliberately chosen not to because I just don’t want to put myself through that, given that I know how much I feel about. And also if I changed my mind I can always adopt later, now I am. I would like to talk to you a bit like a bit more in-depth about the no regrets because a friend of mine once said that if she gets to the end of her life and she looks back and she goes, Oh fuck, I should have a children. She’s like, Then only she has to live with the consequences of that choice. She’s like, Whereas if she has children, even though she doesn’t want them, then the potential of her looking back with regret means that she didn’t just negatively impact her own life, but also potentially the lives of her progeny of those who come after her and then the people who come after them. And and, you know, you and I are familiar with how childhood damage can really like, impact a lineage. And I thought that was such an amazing way of putting it, because also it’s just not realistic to say nobody will ever have a regret about anything. It’s just more to say that. It breaks down for me that a way to weigh up that regret and I personally choose the one in which only I suffer rather than anyone else.
Ruby I love that. That is such a brilliant quote perspective. I’ll be taking that on board and I’ll be sharing that elsewhere. Jameela’s friend once said, but yes, it is regret thing. When I shared at the beginning I had no regrets. I want to acknowledge that it’s very specific to me and for me that was validation that yes, my intuition around this being right for me was correct. You know, this is validation. So there’s a book that I reference throughout Women Without Kids, and it’s called Regretting Motherhood. And it reports the study. The findings from a study conducted by an Israeli sociologist called Orna Donath where she interviewed, I think, like 25 women. Some of them had become grandmothers by this point who openly regretted, like regretted motherhood. They regretted having had children. And it’s just fascinating reading, finding this book was just like the missing piece because actually, of course, user detached, done. I think it’s I think it’s impossible to make any decision without even some degree of regret. But like, there’s no way to go through life without having any regrets. And given the nature of this decision, which is like literally one of the only decisions that you can’t reverse.
Jameela Mm hmm.
Ruby The thought that nobody ever regrets making that decision is just completely unrealistic. And reading it is also incredibly edgy because this is one of the biggest taboos, I think. I did some more research around it, and statistics show that between seven and 14% of parents say that they regret having children, which is actually quite a high number and possibly even underreported. Given what a taboo subject it is.
Jameela Yeah there’s stigma around it.
Ruby Such a stigma, but then that regret can be fleeting. I think it’s possible to feel regret for a day and then the next day feel like mad love and like, just how could I live not having done this, you know?
Jameela But also but also that regret can also be a product of the fact that we don’t talk clearly enough about how to make that decision. Right. So we tell people like, oh, the baby will bring the couple that isn’t working currently when they don’t have the stress of a child together and make them closer. The kind of concept of the Band-Aid baby. What work like this does in stipulating how hard motherhood is, is not from what I take from it, to discourage people from motherhood. It is to say, make that fucking decision if you’re going to so fucking carefully, like do not think that it’s going to be seamless and it’s going to bring you necessarily always closer to your partner if you have issues beforehand. Get them fucking sorted out before you bring that other person into the world. Like was any of my friends who get pregnant one of the first things I do, especially if there are any kind of issues in the relationship that I’m privy to, I’m like, You have to go to therapy and couples therapy now because once that baby arrives, it’s going to be you’re not going to have that space to fall apart that you need to. And so, you know, I think that I think it’s a really important reminder, to. It’s an imperative reminder that, like, set yourself up. Your life doesn’t have to be perfect. A lot of people make fucking do and have amazing experiences of parenthood with not very much, but emotionally, I think that’s a huge obviously financially that’s important, but emotionally that is non-negotiable. That given that you and I were raised in situations where not everyone who raised us was emotionally ready to be able to raise a child. I urge anyone considering it to not feel like it’s an impossible task, but that it is vital for your happiness and for the best results possible for your offspring and for your family to ready yourself and not and not do it with the wrong person if you can possibly avoid it or not, do it because you think that’ll fix what’s going on. Fix what’s going on first. You doing it alone is difficult, but it’s also incredibly possible. And a lot of my friends are doing that and they’re just making sure they have the right support system with friends or family around them, or they have a job that is understanding around those things. It’s just it’s just urging people to take it so much more fucking seriously than anyone necessarily reminds us to. We don’t and we don’t sell the same things to men. We just help the amount of men who try to convince me to have a child because they think that my boyfriend is like a very impressive musician and they just feel like, you know, his legacy needs to be carried on. And that’s my responsibility. And I’m like, I don’t I that’s really none of my business, right? And I don’t I don’t give a shit, you know
Ruby It’s really none of their business, actually.
Jameela Yeah. And he said, you know, and I said to him, I was like, If you ever feel the need to have a baby, you can have a baby with someone else and either be with that person or not be with that person, and then I’ll be, you know, here and I’ll be fun on the weekends. But I don’t ever want to stop you from having a baby, but I won’t be the person doing that. And these men, it was one of the most famous producers in the world. He said it to me and I won’t name him because it was so weird what he did. He was just like, No, it’s fine. You know, like, I’ve got six children and and I’m still able to have my career. You’ll still be able to have your career. You’ll still have your freedom, and it’s like mate, I see you in the recording studios all day, every day. There are no children in that recording studio. Your wife is doing the majority of that care. And so and this is another like, ridiculous fallacy that, like, it’ll be fine. It’ll be easy. Like men of all people should not be saying that to us. Life does change and it changes in brilliant ways, but also changes in ways that do, of course, take things away from you. And I couldn’t fucking believe that this man was standing there trying to pressure me at a fucking party to have in his head my boyfriend’s baby. Not even my baby.
Ruby Right. Not even for you or for your fulfillment.
Jameela This obsession with legacy is so weird. Like I personally don’t care about legacy, right? I don’t plan on being remembered, which is why I’m so weird on the internet because I don’t really care if anyone like I don’t need a statue built of me later or if anyone to think of me once I’m gone. Because I won’t know because I’ll be gone. So that’s not a factor that I have. I don’t want to see a small version of me. I don’t have any of those particular urges, but I do. I just remember finding that so, so prevalent, like from men. I got so, so many men, like, trying to pressure me into doing it and telling me that I’m being selfish. This man at one point was at 1 a.m., tried to make me pinky promise that I would never have an abortion
Ruby Oh my god.
Jameela That I would never abort a baby if I ever got pregnant with James’s child, I was like no. And then James just wanted to get away from him, and he leaned in and just whispered in my ear. It’s not legally binding. You can just pinky promise so I can go home. He was like, I’m not going to hold you to it. I don’t give a shit. I don’t want children either. But just out of fucking principle.
Ruby Yeah but you knew you did it do you know what I mean? Just no
Jameela I just fucking stood theire for half an hour until this man just got drunker and drunker. And finally left but.
Ruby Oh my God.
Jameela Yeah, I just can’t believe how many of those types of conversations I’ve had. Like no regard as to like what I want, what I’m ready for like, I’m incredibly sick. I’m incredibly sick. That’s a massive part of why I don’t want children. Not to say that sick people shouldn’t have children, but like, I’m not very well, I can just about fucking keep myself together. I don’t want I can’t I literally can’t give someone enough because I’m sick. I’m like, That’s okay to say and that doesn’t mean that’s the only reason someone else shouldn’t have it. Like someone shouldn’t want a baby or whatever. It’s like if you’re well enough. Therefore, then you should be a mother. No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. But there’s just a multitude of reasons someone doesn’t want to do it. Like, leave us alone. Don’t make us have to explain ourselves. It’s ridiculous. Our party. It is wild how casual the conversation continues to be.
Ruby Which just shines a light on how normalized motherhood is and how normalized it is for people, for other people, in particular men, to assume ownership, entitlement to women’s bodies as the technologies of reproduction. You know, it’s just so normalized. So as much as I’m I’m sorry that you experienced that, which I see actually as a form of harassment, not to even laugh about that is harassment, but that level of entitlement to even have an opinion about it is just so indicative of how ingrained it is in our society that that’s what women’s bodies are for. You know what female bodies are for. There’s a few things I really want to reflect on. I don’t want to forget this. You’re asking about regret. And one thing that Orna Donath said to me when I spoke to her about it, she described that thing, Oh, but you will you will regret it. You sure you won’t regret it? She described it as a politicized use of emotion. Which I think it was really an interesting way of phrasing it, because I just think this
Jameela What does that mean?
Ruby Politicized use of emotion, it means it’s incredibly manipulative and it’s incredibly coercive. And whether it’s intentional or not, and when I say intentional, I mean conscious or not, that statement or that sentiment you will regret, it is designed to coerce you into.
Jameela Yeah it’s designed to invoke fear.
Ruby This kind of role. Exactly. It’s designed to invoke fear and sort of therefore get you to do the thing that that person wants you to do.
Jameela Yeah. And fear is now at the heart of politics. Like fear is is the is the leading tool of politics. It used to be inspiration. It used to like in America, it was the American dream. It was people being together, it was the land of the free and the brave. Now it is very much so like the immigrants are coming in to. Everyone’s becoming trans or like everyone’s regretting their abortions. And it’s just it’s bonkers.
Ruby Fear comes in when the masses start to rebel, when rebellion and uprising starts to kind of reach a tipping point where to where the people who are supposed to be disempowered actually start to get some power is when fear kicks in and the fear messaging kicks in. And I think that’s exactly what we’ve seen with Roe v Wade and with so much of, you know, what you just described. But yeah, just that idea of kind of regret being a politicized emotion I think is really interesting. But you also you I love the way this is so progressive and I fucking love it. And these are the kinds of the kind of conversations that I want this this book to spark. You’re like, you know what? If James does decide to have a baby, he could have a baby with someone else, and maybe I’d be part of their life and maybe he’d be in a relationship with her, but maybe not. Maybe I’d be like the weekend girlfriend. I mean, fucking brilliant. That’s just another way to think about having family, right? And just thinking about, Well, if we do want to have children, then how do we make it work? And just being really open minded about like what that configuration of what that family situation could kind of look like. I think it’s brilliant that you just gave us a little vision there for how that could be.
Jameela But I just it just doesn’t bother me. Like I, I, I live with all my mates and my boyfriend at the same time, and I’m almost 40. Like I already live in like a, you know, a commune style home. And I remember at one point when James wasn’t sure if he wanted kids or not, he’s now decided he doesn’t after how stressful it was to have a dog. Long but but.
Ruby Good. Good aiding the decision making process.
Jameela No it’s great. Yeah and I had nothing to do with it. But but at one point a friend of mine was looking to have a baby on her own, and she’s she’s still on that journey. And she was looking for sperm. And James kind of wanted to be a dad, wasn’t ready for the full responsibility of that. And I definitely didn’t want children. I was like, You should have a baby with her. I was like, she’s fantastic. I was like, She did so many drugs when she was younger and she still looks 12 and she’s in perfect health and she didn’t get covid one time in three years. I was like, She’s a fucking viking.
Ruby She’s obviously got some good genes. Like go for it.
Jameela Yeah she’s got insane genes like she’s brilliant. She’s got an amazing personality. Your kid would have an amazing personality. It would be the combination of the two of you. Like, he’s got like, you know, he’s they’re just both, like, such wonderful people. I was like, they would have an amazing kid together if they wanted to. And we had this like, little bit of extra land that we could build, like a little mini house onto. And I was like, she could just live there and then like, we’d all live together. And then my mate would be and I’m not naive to think that that couldn’t create any kind of like weird political dynamic, but I really don’t feel like it would because I want nothing. I would never be jealous of that situation. I don’t want anything to do with it, but I don’t want to deny anyone that and I want everyone to have something. I was like, I love the idea of her, like raising a kid with all of us and we can all help. And then she’s a bit more supported than she would be on her own, like on the other side of the world from me. Like, it just felt like we have to, like, break out of these narratives of, like, one way to do it. It takes a fucking village. It takes a fucking village.
Ruby Especially in this climate. Yes.
Jameela Yeah. And so, like, build the motherfucking village if you have to and that village is allowed to be weird. And so it’s something that I maintain open about. If he changes his mind and he gets older cause he’s a bit younger than me, but like, I just, I don’t have any rule book here other than myself. You talk about that as like your decision impacts no one other than you. My decision doesn’t have to negatively impact anyone else. It’s my personal decision. I’m not getting in anyone’s way and I’m down to clown. I’m down to like, do this the weirdest possible fucking way. I’m down to be a weird Auntie. You know, it.
Ruby The world needs more weird aunties. Basically. I feel like weird aunties have been kind of like missing. We’ve been sort of erased in a way. I feel like there were probably historically always weird aunties and weird aunties were like a necessary part of the support system for mothers, you know?
Jameela Yeah we couldn’t used to have IVF or we didn’t used to have like not everyone was able to have a fucking baby, you know, before or still aren’t.
Ruby Right, exactly. They have throughout history been women without kids, right? And they’ve always kind of had their roles. And then I suppose as this sort of really strict patriarchal order took hold, those women without kids would more and more be ostracized and sort of painted as weirder and weirder and weirder, and to ensure that as many women as possible were kind of like fulfilling that, that duty.
Jameela Because no one wants to be othered. And this
Jameela you’re the idea is painted that you were alone but actually like more and more that’s not the case. And and I find myself, like, not now more uncool than I’ve ever been before because all my friends are having kids. And that’s why I don’t like the divide of, like, fuck you mothers that’s happening. I can understand how it happened because you ostracize and demonize people for decades. They become defensive. But I’m not about I don’t want to be the ringleader of that fucking group. Like, that’s not what I’m here for. Like, I don’t want there to be a battle between us because we’re on the same side and we’re here to help each other.
Ruby Exactly. This is why I talk about a concept that I termed the motherhood spectrum, which is basically like, instead of this kind of like you’ve got natural valid legitimate mothers, and unnatural, weird, like freakish non mothers. Actually, every individual’s aptitude and desire for parenthood exists on a spectrum, you know, a spectrum that is influenced by so many different factors, factors that could change where a person orients on that spectrum at different points in their life, you know, And so this idea that I don’t know, some people are destined to be mothers and some people are destined to be these kind of non mother outcasts, it’s just it’s just ridiculous. It doesn’t reflect our humanity at all.
Jameela Well, something because I’m not very good at connecting with babies. What I have chosen to do with all my mates is like, I’m not going to be their godmother, but I will be yours. So I’ve become like a fairy godmother to my mates who are having babies. I’m here to come in and bring shit for you. And on your baby’s birthday, I’m going to buy you a mass like a fucking massage and dildo and, like, all the brilliant things that you’re going to need. Like, I still want to, mother. I just want to mother adults. Because then we can chat, you know, and I can’t break them.
Ruby Right I think adults need mothering as well. Like honestly sometimes we all need to be a baby.
Jameela We turn 18 and we’re like off on our own.
Ruby You’re having a conversation with someone. I help people write their books in my day job. When one of my clients we were talking about this one part of her book, and we just kind of landed on this thing that like, Yeah, actually part of us is always still a baby. Like, part of us always needs a nap, you know what I mean? It’s like we still have these kind of like, we just need we all need to be mothered still. And I think that I think that’s something that I’m seeing among people, younger generations who are more open about or more well versed around mental health, which you do such a brilliant job of kind of like bringing into the consciousness and have done a really good job of sort of bringing into the mainstream in a way. But I think this idea of re parenting and like parenting ourselves has become very popular. And I think a lot of people are realizing that, yeah, maybe they didn’t get like all of the parenting that they needed from their primary, their designated primary caregivers, and that perhaps some mothering of the staff is necessary before they even think about becoming a mother themselves.
Jameela Yeah, and a bit of mothering, not mothering, but, you know, I mean, like a bit of providing that maternal energy to each other. Like, if I have my own family, I’m not going to have the time or the fuckin energy to go and help any of my mates out. It serves all of us. If some of us are available, as you know, stand ins, you know, and back up.
Jameela I’m there with my kind of like I have like a bat signal that my mates have and and they can shine it in the sky and I’m available because I freed myself up. So
Ruby Is it like a pizza box?
Jameela Yeah, exactly. It’s a pizza box and a dildo is like a flying cock in the sky. And I, you know, I turn up with, like, gifts and tissues and a shoulder to cry on and like, I wear a very soft jumper, so I’m really good to hug.
Ruby Really comfortable yeah.
Jameela Yeah, exactly. Like weed like whatever you whatever you need like I’m there to provide it. And, and I think it’s so good if we work in tandem with each other to, like, be like, I do have a bit of love to give, it just like, I can just I’ll, I’ll be there to support you when, when you do the thing that’s a bit too hard for me to do.
Ruby And this is what this is reminding me of such a validating conversation that I had when I was researching this book, because I am really shit with babies, like put me in the same room as a baby and I literally freeze up. I turn into completely incompetent, kind of like jelly. I’m like, What do I do? Does not compute. Like, I’ve got no idea how to interact with babies. And, you know, a psychologist would have a lot to say about that. But also it’s kind of just how I am. But I’ve always felt when people when I’ve heard people talk about, oh, well, that’s like, you know, you’re not a mum, but you can like help mums in their mothering. I’ve always kind of been a bit like, no shit. I probably can’t actually, because I’ve like literally never changed a nappy in my life. I’m going to be 47. I’ve never changed a nappy, I probably never will. Sorry, Diaper to all the Americans who are listening, but I’m just not that person. I’m not going to be your baby sitter. Like I’m just not. You wouldn’t want me babysitting your kid because I would literally be a gibbering mess in the corner not knowing what to.
Jameela No but I’ll pay for your babysitter and I’ll take you out for the night of your life.
Ruby This conversation this conversation I had with someone. I didn’t even bring this up with her. She just started talking about how she’s like, I’m. I really value my non mum friends because honestly, it would be completely impractical of me to to ask them to help me with the day to day like childcare stuff. It’s so specific and so intuitive and so like, you know, minute by minute, like I can delegate that. But what I do need is people to hang out with where I can forget the I’m a mum that I can go and hike, I can talk about politics, I can talk about work, I can talk about everything except being a mum. She’s like, Please be that friend for me. And I was like, fuck yes, finally I have my role. Yes, I can so be that friend. And it made me reflect on how without even letting me know that was what was happening, or maybe not even being conscious of it on their part. I’ve got friends, you’ve got kids that I’ve never met, which is just so indicative of the fact that these people obviously valued having me in that role in their life, someone they could escape from motherhood with, you know? So I’m really happy to be that that escape hatch from motherhood for my mum friends.
Jameela And so what would you say as we, you know, bring this to a close, just like some of the some of your favorite takeaways from your book, like the takeaways that you feel like have been most responded to?
Ruby The one I really came away from in the book personally with was just how much how important my female friendships are to me and how important it is to invest in my female friendships especially and not take them for granted. I think this came out of really thinking about.
Jameela How does that. Yeah, how does that relate?
Ruby Well the question one of the one of the things that you might have heard this I’ve certainly heard this. The who will look after you when you’re old which we kind of touched on with what your friend said about regrets and things Who will look after you when you’re old was the one sort of real looming specter of just like, Yeah, actually shit. Like, I’m not going to have any connections with younger generation. Like, how am I going to how is this going to work? You know, had been the one thing that, if anything, was going to sort of push me to override my intuition on this, it would have been that. But you actually I’ve got like I’ve got an Instagram post, which is probably I’ll never post because it’s a little bit too in the camp of what we were talking about before to reflect my true feelings on this. I’ll share it here. It’s it’s something along the lines of, you know, having a kid to look after you when you’re old. What you’re talking about is a nurse. That kind of vibe. Do you know what I mean? It’s. And it’s kind of like it’s unfair. It’s unfair to have children with the express kind of idea that, well, you’re my, you’re my safety net for when I’m old. That’s just you’re setting yourself up for a no guarantees that your child is even going to survive you into old age, like, let alone be in a position to be able to support you in any kind of way when you need them. But anyway, I just I really came out of it feeling like my friends, you know, And I realized that part of my not that my friends are going to support me necessarily, but my friends are going to be my connections. I’ve got really strong, wonderful friendships, but I do take a bit for granted sometimes. And if I if I’m thinking about little old lady me, I want to know that I’ve got those that same level of connection with my friends. And so I came out this. But given that I was also writing it during the pandemic, during kind of like years of social distancing
Ruby And isolation, but just really strong realization and that my found family connections are as valid as my biological family connections. And that actually because they’re not biological because there wasn’t that element of duty. I do have to actively invest in them. And so that’s something that I’m working on and have come away from the book with personally.
Jameela Yeah, I have a set up already kind of planned out and who knows if it will actually, you know, come to light. But me and my mates more than even just the people who live with me. A lot of us have been talking like in a very serious way about what we’re going to do when we get old and and how we want to live together. And so we’re planning on just like buying some land somewhere and just like apparently Ed Sheeran bought like a village with his mates. And he I mean, it’s colloquially called Sheeranvile, I don’t think he’s a psychopath who’s actually called it that. But just like these little where we could all build like little one storey bungalows. So those don’t go down any stairs that are really like manageable somewhere like right next door to each other or live in a massive house together, all a one story, no stairs or like amazing [inaudible] lift. But yeah.
Jameela Terrifying terrifying. But
Jameela But we want to grow old together. And as I said, it’s a lovely way. That’s a love that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. The idea of like just shitting myself with my friends as we get old together, literally shitting our pants together, but, you know.
Ruby Changing each other’s diapers.
Jameela Just the funniest, best people I know, all of us like not having to do because, like, spousal living is also really tricky. What happens if something happens, you know? We saw that during the pandemic.
Ruby Oh yeah I’m fully prepared for my husband to die before I do. Yeah.
Jameela Why, What you planning?
Ruby Oh. Fully prepared it’s all mapped out.
Jameela Yeah. All right. Jeffrey Dahmer. You know.
Ruby He is older than me, and he’s a man, so statistically, he will die before I do. And he’s like, you know, I’ve been living with him for more than half my life. It’ll be like. I mean, I don’t, I try not to think about it, but of course, it’s the thing that keeps me awake at night.
Jameela 100% But I’d like. Me and my mates, I’m just like, there’s strength in numbers. Like, we’re going to live longer and we’re going to live happier if we all live together. So I’m. I’m. I’m. I’m really working on my friendships at the moment, focusing on those friendships as I approach 40 because I really want to keep those going strong because they are like, We will have a fucking riot if we grow really fucking old together.
Ruby We can figure shit out, like we can figure hard stuff out together. So much easier than we as individuals can figure hard stuff out. There’s going to be shit. Some parts of getting older are going to be really hard, and if we have like really reliable, trusted friendships who we can call on. We’ll get through it. We’ll figure it out, you know?
Jameela Yeah. And they’ll have family members come out, apparently. But there are like studies on this that’s happening around the world. And apparently it like, extends your life span and makes the chance of illness much less likely to live in like a communal space. Not like a hospice. Not not necessarily like hospice. Obviously that like a care homes can be great, but like a home where you are independent. Maybe there is a nurse who works there. Just assist everyone in case anything goes wrong. But then when one of you is got like family come to visit, then everyone gets that family visit rather than often isolated ward rooms, you know what I mean, it’s like, oh, there’s an event, there’s a big dinner happening like the kids, or grandchildren. It’s like they come and then they go, and then you’re still together at the end. Anyway, we veered off into, like, my life plan. But I just want people to know that, like, unusual, like.
Ruby This is like, you know, if you look at the news, oh, what are we going to do about this aging population? Don’t worry. Like the aging, we’ll figure out. We’ll figure out. Just let us let us do our thing, you know? But yeah, I, I think conversations like this are actually really important because is a fear, you know, and it’s one of the biggest fears when you don’t have children, I think. Or can be.
Jameela Yeah. Well, I’m glad. I’m really glad to have met you. This book is excellent and people should go out and read it and follow your work. And and I really resonate with you. And I’m really glad to see someone say it in a way that makes me feel like I’m not attacking my mates who are having kids because, like, I think there was something toothy about me even on this podcast when I first used to talk about it would be like yech, but I think I’ve changed it as my friends are having children. It hasn’t made me want children, but it’s definitely like shifted my empathy and how I fucking talk about it and and how amazing and how challenging it is. And I just want to be there for them, For them, not for the kids. We’ve been very clear.
Ruby Let’s see what’s come out of it. And like I said, you know, a lot of the early readers have been moms, and one of the most beautiful things to have come out of writing this book. It’s a realization that this is a book that’s equally for mothers and that it can do that, well, I was unsure if it was possible in a way to bridge this divide because our lived experiences can be so different, you know, and it can be so much envy on both sides. You know, mothers might envy non mothers free time, non mothers might envy the closeness that mothers have with their children. And I do feel that sometimes, like it’s my nephew’s birthday today and my brother’s very not anti social media, but he did this big content drop of like how adorable and cool my nephew is. And I had a bit of like and I’ll never I’ll never have that I’ll never have that with an another human being with a little human being I made like I won’t and I felt some sadness around that. And it was nice to just kind of having been through the work of writing this book, to be able to actually acknowledge that that sadness is there and that that’s okay. Doesn’t mean I made the wrong decision. It doesn’t mean that that was the right line for me. But sometimes we will feel it’s okay not to get everything that you could possibly have or want, you know?
Jameela Yeah, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right thing for you every single day of your life for the rest of your life. Yeah. You’re brilliant. And I think you and I are just both about allowing people to give themselves the permission to live their lives as unusually as they please. Just fundamentally. Before you go, will you tell me what do you weigh?
Ruby Ooh. I mean, after writing this book, I feel a bit like I weight the weight of the world. Honestly, like, I do think one of the one of the reasons I’m not a parent is that I kind of care too much. I give a few too many fucks, actually. I can’t help but sort of like, take on not take on in a kind of activist way, but just like deeply absorb the weight of the world and writing this book was very heavy at times just to really acknowledge like how hard it is to be a parent and the conditions that make it so hard to be a parent.
Jameela For far too many people.
Ruby For far too many people. And yeah, so I hope I’ve been feeling pretty heavy. So I’m I’m looking forward to it being out in the world and for it to just kind of go off and do its thing and oh, it’s have be this child free vacation.
Jameela Yeah, you’ve been a joy. Thank you so much for coming. And and I hope you get lots of lovely feedback. I think you’re doing really important work.
Ruby Thanks. It’s been great talking to you.
Jameela Likewise. I weigh my resilience and learning to read despite my dyslexia, even though I still have a bad stutter. When I read out loud, I weigh being a suicide survivor and still being young enough that maybe I can have my whole adult life ahead of me in a better place. I weigh being on that journey to recovery. I weigh being bisexual. I weigh my love of my country, England. I weigh my love of reading and writing poetry. I weigh my love of learning about religion and culture all over the seven continents. And I weigh my love of cats and animals.
November 27, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by writer, broadcaster and feminist organizer Clementine Ford to discuss the historical roots of marriage as a tool of patriarchal control, the illusions surrounding modern matrimony and the modern marketing machinery that sustains its myth.
November 20, 2023
Jameela is joined by beauty culture critic Jessica DeFino in a candid conversation about where her current research and journalism is taking her, after years of covering a multi-billion dollar beauty industry for major women’s magazines & beauty apps in the US.
November 13, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by director, producer and sexual educator A’magine Goddard to discuss her award-winning new documentary ‘At Your Cervix’ that breaks the silence about the continuous violation of bodily autonomy for educational purposes.