On Feeling “Othered”

Time to share your wins!

Ever felt “othered”, First name / lovely?
This idea really jumped out when we were reading an article about how childfree and childless people are the “unseen majority” at work, where women especially experience “othering”:
“They are excluded for not having a family and are more likely to be targets for workplace incivility and aggression. They are also likely to be negatively stereotyped and engage in coping strategies to deal with stereotyping that may be detrimental to them.”
Of course, this is focused on what it’s like to be a non-mother at work (something we’re working on!) but it really sums up the whole childfree experience, doesn’t it? The article calls this “social discrimination”, and we’d have to agree – that’s why we’re on a mission to destigmatise the childfree choice ✊
We’re aware that folks with multiple minority identities experience an even greater sense of “othering”, like Kathrin, who shares her story of being diagnosed first with ADHD and later with Asperger’s syndrome. But the more childfree folks we speak to, the more we hear about the universal experience of being made to feel weird, unnatural, less of a woman… different.
It’s worth remembering that today half of women under 30 don’t have kids, and 1 in 4 never will. There are billions of us out there, more every day. So, no matter how the world tries to make us feel, we’re not abnormal. Can you even think of anything else that a quarter of people do (or don’t do) that’s presented as weird in this way? We can’t either!
So while we’re working on changing the world, you just have to work on being proud of yourself. Like Kathrin says, “It means the world to now understand myself” – that kind of self-compassion can truly change your life. And when you need us, we have a whole community of other “others” who can make you feel truly accepted and understood 💝

Originally published in the We are Childfree Newsletter. Sign up to get more childfree tea, plus a brand new childfree story, straight to your inbox – “a childfree hug every week”.