WE ARE CHILDFREE

You are enough, with Dr Kate Tomas

The women’s spiritual empowerment mentor on finding value outside of motherhood.

Episode 1

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For 20 years, Dr Kate Tomas has worked with badass women and non-binary people to radically improve every element of their lives. In this open and empowering conversation, Kate shares professional insights and her own journey, from trying to get pregnant to living her best, ethically non-monogamous, childfree life.

Content warning: brief discussions of childhood abuse, infertility and abortion.

Follow Kate on Instagram at @katetomasphd

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Transcript

Kate: It is such a pernicious belief, that you’re not valuable if you’re not producing, and especially if you’re not producing children. There’s this belief that you have to produce something else. You just live – just fucking getting up every day, getting dressed, eating food, and existing, is enough. That is enough. And if you manage to do something that brings somebody else joy, then that’s even better. But you don’t need to earn your keep on this planet, you know?

Zoë: Welcome to We are Childfree, a podcast about childfree women and the lives we lead. I’m your host, Zoë, and each episode I’ll speak with another incredible woman about her decision not to have children, and what it’s meant for her life. That voice you heard up top belongs to my first guest, Dr Kate Tomas, the women’s spiritual empowerment mentor. Kate works with badass women and non-binary people to radically improve every element of their lives, by teaching and training them in ancient spiritual practices. I could have talked to Kate for hours! She was born in England, grew up in Brunei and has lived all over the world. She’s practiced ethical non-monogamy for years, and at one point was trying to get pregnant to make her husband at the time happy. All of this lived experience plus 20 years working as a professional psychic has given Kate a unique perspective on women’s potential for radical change, and the forces that try to keep us in our place. Before we jump in, a quick content warning. Kate and I get a bit sweary at times, and we discuss infertility and abortion. I try to have open and honest conversations, and if these are sensitive subjects for you, I completely understand if you decide to skip this one. That’s quite enough from me! Let’s jump into my conversation with Dr Kate Tomas.

Kate: So it was, it was a funny thing. When I was growing up, I was pretty clear, I definitely didn’t want to have kids, it was just something that wasn’t going to happen. Or rather, it wasn’t even about a desire, it was just a knowledge that that wasn’t going to happen for me. And I was very happy about it. But then I’m, I’ve actually been married, this is my gosh, I mean, this is my fourth marriage. Which I always sort of laugh about because people are surprised, for some reason, by that. But the first marriage was terrible. The second marriage, I was just convinced that actually I needed to have children. This was something that was culturally very important to my husband at the time. And so, I went through this whole sort of process of changing my mind and deciding “No, you know, I never wanted children. I’ve felt that this was not something for me, but maybe this could work, maybe this, you know, I was wrong. It’s fine, I can be wrong.” And so went through a process of, you know, trying to have children for about six months, then it turned into a year, and it just wasn’t happening. I think for a lot – I encountered this a lot with my clients – I think for a lot of women, there’s so much cultural pressure and expectations. Not even a question that we’re asked often, you know, like, “Do you want to have children?” – it’s only a very modern question for women. And so it was fascinating for me to actually experience that almost real-time pressure of the true expectation to have, to want to have, children and then to have them, and then not be able to have them. So I didn’t want them, then felt this deep pressure that that was the only thing really that I should be doing in that particular period of my life. And then I couldn’t so… I had what they describe as unexplained infertility, but basically, I have terrible endometriosis and wasn’t able to produce an egg that was sustainable anyway, whatever. And it was just the best thing. Hey, like, honestly hand on heart, thank fuck that didn’t happen, because the marriage was a disaster. But also, God, I didn’t, I never really wanted it. Instead, for me, it became like a sort of an achievement that I needed to finish and manage and achieve. And I just, you know, it wasn’t physically possible in the end. But then when I found that out, it was almost this wonderful sense of relief, like “Oh, my God, like, fine, I can go back to my own life now”. You know, I tried, it didn’t work. And so I’d almost like, done the job that was expected of me. But of course, I hadn’t done the job that was expected of me, not in that marriage, and not in that family. So the marriage ended, you know, almost immediately.

Zoë: Okay.

Kate: But that was, my goodness, truly a blessing.

Zoë: I mean, you know, that, the world works in mysterious ways. So, I mean, you know, it’s horrible that you had to go through that, and I’m sure it was a traumatic experience. But, you know, like you say, this is something that actually worked out, to benefit you, and that you didn’t have to be with someone, maybe – even if you split up with someone, when you’ve got a kid, you’ve got to be with them for the rest of your life in one way or another. And I can’t imagine what people go through when they have a child with someone who they, maybe they don’t like anymore, and then they divorce. I mean, nightmare.

Kate: Yeah. And I see it every day. That’s the thing, with the work that I do – I don’t just teach the program that I teach, which is my sort of primary passion and love and main work. But I also have been working as a professional psychic for 20 years now. And the majority of the women that I see that have children, I mean, truly, I can say this, they don’t regret having their children, because they love their children as individuals, but a lot of them either regret having children with the people that they have children with, or they regret having children, despite really loving their children. And I just think, “Oh, my God, I really dodged a bullet”. And yes, like, who the hell wants to be attached to a man that you no longer like, let alone love, forever? Christ.

Zoë: No, no thank you. Yeah, I mean, you’re so true about people having kids with people who maybe they didn’t, maybe they did at one point want to be with them. But I mean, life is, it’s tough. And then, you know, you add in a child to that – it’s a strain on a relationship, right? I mean, you have to have an amazing relationship to go through something like that. And I’m not surprised that it does break up relationships. I mean, you have no sleep. And maybe you’ve got different parenting styles, or whatever. But it’s a lot. It’s a lot of pressure for a relationship. That always freaks me out, as well, just thinking, you know, “If I ever had a kid, what if my relationship didn’t survive it?” And that’s a reality for a lot of people.

Kate: Absolutely. And also, I think for women, it doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself, “Okay. At the end of the day, I’m wise enough to realise that I’m going to be doing 75% of the work -” Whether you like it or not, whether you think that’s fair or not, at the end of the day, I’ve never, ever encountered a heterosexual relationship with a child, where the woman isn’t doing at least 80% of all labor. So even if you go into that relationship, telling yourself, “Okay, this is going to be fair, but if it’s not, okay, I’m prepared. I will do 75%-” I know because I see this, again and again, like with my good friends. If you’re never prepared for the injustice of being the prime parent, and I just, oh my god, I honestly feel like it is the biggest blessing. I know this sounds really, really, far too evangelical about not having kids, but I mean, maybe this is the right audience, I don’t know. But truly, I’m just like, thank god every every single day I’m reminded of the possibility that I – you know, I also have friends, I have like very close friends of mine that technically could be my daughters, and it’s terrifying. I mean, that’s terrifying because I’m pretty old now. But yeah I know, I just would have absolutely no way to not destroy my life by having a child.

Zoë: And why do you think it is that in some relationships, or most relationships, they end up working the main childcare – it’s always the woman. I mean, because we can have men who are, you know, they’re really woke or whatever, they’re super all about equality, they say all the right things. But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really happen. And like, what, why is that?

Kate: I mean, I mean, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. I mean, that’s the reason, isn’t it? I really feel like that’s sort of the answer to everything that’s wrong in the world. But no, I think it is almost almost impossible for any cis man, even whether they’re straight or they’re het, it doesn’t make any difference, or gay, it doesn’t make any difference. I think that you can’t be brought up as cis man in this world, however educated you make yourself and however intentional you are with being sort of focused on justice, you cannot be brought up as a cis man in this world and not just have ingrained in your very understanding of who and what you are certain assumptions that mean that you don’t have to do certain things. It’s just not who you are and what your job is. And I think that it’s not, you know, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I care to be sort of saying it’s not their fault. But I think that there is a certain level at which, you know, truly equal relationships between cis men and women are just – you’re really going to have a hard bloody time. It may be possible, it’s just going to be very difficult. If you add a child to that, then I think it’s like, just don’t bother – don’t even try and hope for equality. It’s never gonna happen. And I don’t think that’s a reason not to have a child. There’s many reasons not to have a child, but that isn’t necessarily one. It’s just, I think the the sort of culturally-endorsed idea that it’s much easier now for women to have children and have a career or a life of their own – it’s all just bullshit. Nothing has changed really, since the 70s. I don’t think I mean…

Zoë: No, no. The more women I talk to, the more I realise, if anything, it feels sometimes like we’re going backwards. And I mean, I don’t know what it will take to change it. You know, do you have any ideas of what we can do to try and change the culture, that is – men do this, and women do this? And that’s it. What do you think about that?

Kate: I just think everything should just be burnt down. But I mean, really, like burn it all to the ground. I’m very, very excited about all the potential revolutions that are on the brink of happening right now. But, I suppose, in our lifetime, what’s going to – I don’t know. This is a discussion that we’ve been having in this close friendship circle of mine for years, which is, “In all seriousness, what does one do? What can one do?” And I think that it’s just that any change has to come from your area of influence. And that starts with yourself, which is why I’m passionate about the work that I do, because I think this is true liberative work. If you want to change things on a broader scale, you have to really, you know, it’s such a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s true, you have to do the work yourself. And so I think on a practical level that looks like, you know, really prioritising and focusing on educating oneself about the nature of structural oppression – all forms of structural oppression. As far as I’m concerned, the primary sort of, you overarching structure that maintains racism that maintains patriarchy, everything – is capitalism. So I think for as long as we have capitalism as the economic model, yeah, we’re all completely fucked. We are all completely fucked. But certainly when it comes to gender, and sexual politics, then there is that they’re so completely intertwined that you can ultimately – I think we need a full revolution, the overthrow of capitalism. That’s my answer to everything.

Zoë: I’m down for that!

Kate: Everybody is starting to realise, “Oh, this is actually bad.” It’s funny isn’t it?

Zoë: Yeah, we’re in an interesting time right now, right? It’s, so many things going on. And it will be interesting to see, can we really shake things up and actually make a change? Or are we just going to carry on in this really depressing deterioration of society? And I don’t know, I have good days and bad days. Some days, I have hope. And then, you know, some days, reading the news, you’re like, “Oh, Jesus, what has he done now?”

Kate: It’s like which one, which bloody one?

Zoë: Right?

Kate: This is the thing. Like, I also feel if one was ever looking for a reason to just desperately, desperately look for a reason to not have children, then – I mean, come on, guys, what are you doing? Why would you want to be bringing – I mean, it’s such an old story. But why though? I’ve never, nobody’s ever sat down and given me an explanation, that didn’t rely on just a pure biological selfish-ness. You know, like, what the hell are you doing, though, bringing children into this fucking shithole.

Zoë: And it’s weird. It’s as if the pandemic has just set a fire under people’s arses, and they’re – you know, I have so many friends who are now pregnant.

Kate: No, oh, god.

Zoë: I’m like, what, really? Oh, okay. And I’m trying to be, you know, happy because obviously, if this is really what someone wants, then I want them to do what they want in their life –

Kate: You’re a better person than me! I’m like, what are you doing, you fools?

Zoë: Well, it depends on the friend, if I can really be honest with them. But it is kind of mind-boggling to me, I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. Because to me, I’m just looking at the world in horror, and some people, I don’t know whether they’re sticking their head in the sand, or whether this is their kind of ray of hope – to just be able to look at a baby and a child and concentrate on that rather than the deteriorating world around us. I don’t know, it’s really weird to me, but I’m very happy with my position. And I don’t imagine I would ever want to bring a child into what’s going on right now. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to me. But you know, many people make this decision. And it doesn’t, it doesn’t make sense at all. But they still do it, you know?

Kate: Yeah. I mean, I would say that, I just feel like oftentimes, it’s just sort of a lack of critical thought. And I speak for myself, having been in that position where I wasn’t in, I had no ability to really think critically about my choice, or my decision. And I was in a space where I felt like I was just surviving, you know, like, I just had to survive, and I had to do the best that I could in this situation. And for me, as I think is the case for a lot of women, doing the best in your situation often does look like – doing something that everyone is universally going to be pleased about, and is gonna congratulate you – it feels like it’s some huge achievement. You know, I think the problem is ultimately, that we’re all – I sound like a broken record – but we are all living under various forms of structural oppression. And I think that impacts women, particularly because we have patriarchy. And, historically, of course, the only reason that women were ever considered of value is their capacity to have children, and I don’t think that’s actually ever gone anywhere. And so, let’s say you’re in the middle of a pandemic, you’re stuck at home, you’re bored, absolutely shitless, your career’s not going well, maybe your job isn’t working, whatever… It’s like, the go-to in the subconscious for most women, or people that have been brought up as women, even, is “have a baby”, because that’s something joyful and good. But actually, it’s just perpetuating the worst of everything. God, so many of my friends have children – love you all!

Zoë: You know, I think we have to be honest. And we have to put out our true feelings and thoughts about this, because I do want women to really think about what they’re doing a bit more. Because, like you said, some people are doing this as maybe a way to fill time. And, okay, that sounds like it might be a good idea. But it also might be a terrible idea. So maybe, hold on, maybe hold the brakes for a little bit. But I mean, it feels like we’re never really honest with women anyway, about what pregnancy and having kids is really about. So you know, like I have friends who were like, “I didn’t know it would be this hard.”

Kate: Every friend of mine that had a child said that – every friend.

Zoë: Right? And, to me, it’s traumatic to think that you could go through this process and not have a real good grasp of what you’re getting yourself into. And we need to be really honest with women because, you know, once you do this, there’s no going back from it. And I really wish more parents were really on about, not just the positive, don’t just share the lovely photos and all the hugs. What’s the reality as well? Tell us the negatives as well, so we can really judge this.

Kate: And also, it’s just so ironic, isn’t it? That of course, you know, the discussion around abortion, like how is abortion engaged with, and discussed, only on all the details of how awful and traumatic it is? How terrible it is, how rough – it just destroys lives, you better be sure and make the right decision. Well, I can tell you right now, I’ve had an abortion, and it was the best fucking experience of my life. Like truly I say this, not hyperbolically – I was desperate to not be pregnant. Thankfully, it was only, I think, six weeks, seven weeks. And it was the easiest, most straightforward, non-traumatic event ever –

Zoë: Yeah.

Kate: – for me. And I swear to god, the majority of friends of mine that have also had abortions, and that have had children, say, basically what what we’re just saying, which is that the debate and the discussion around abortion is what makes abortion so terrifying and seem like this huge ordeal that scars you for life, that you carry the guilt around forever…. I can tell you, I’ve never felt less guilty about anything. Just that whole narrative of guilt around abortion and, let alone miscarriage, a totally different thing – but still a totally fucked up narrative around women’s responsibility, and main role, and like what your purpose of life is, to actually produce more men, ultimately? And this terrible sense that you’re going to feel guilty, and you’ll feel guilty for the rest of your life, if you make this decision. And yet, the decision to continue a life that you don’t necessarily want is just obviously the go-to, like, standard – that’s the default choice you should make, you know. Actually, for me, having an abortion was not traumatic. What was traumatic was everybody’s response, when I told them, “Oh, god, I found out I’m pregnant, I definitely don’t want to be pregnant. So I’m going to go and have an abortion next week”. The horror! Not that they were disapproving of the decision. But it was all this sort of whipped-up, like, projection of other people’s bullshit, onto what is basically just the removal of a collection of cells. I mean, that’s quite literally what it was. I just find that so telling that, like you say, women are not told the truth about these situations, and also not given the space to create their own truths around it, their own narratives around it. Like, for me having an abortion was not a site of failure, it wasn’t a sense of guilt, there was no mistake made, it was a truly empowering choice that allowed me to continue the life that I had built and was building for myself. And yet, if I’d have had a child, it would have absolutely destroyed many people’s lives – my life, the father of that child, I can tell you right now, he didn’t want that. The child itself, you know – we’ve got three lives as collateral damage here for one decision that I definitely had no problem making. And yet, gosh, the narrative around abortion is so tied up with church… I mean, my PhD is in Christian theology, so I know all about the Catholic Church, particularly, and how narratives of abortion are still used now as tools of oppression. I mean, like, actively – it’s just a story about a decision that a woman has been making since the beginning of time, of course, it’s not like abortions are new.

Zoë: No, absolutely not, no. I mean, how about your family, then? How have they kind of reacted to your decision not to have children? Have you had any pushback from family or friends, or anyone?

Kate: Yeah, so my part of the reason I decided I definitely didn’t want to have children was because my childhood was such a shitshow. It was terrible. And I don’t have, through my choice, any contact with my family, with either of my parents – I have completely disowned them. And that was after, you know, years of really complex psychological abuse. And so in a way, you know, maybe 20 years ago, I would have been able to say, “Okay, I definitely don’t want to have children because I don’t want to bring a child into the world and fuck them up, like my parents fucked me up.” And now of course, I have the same decision, but it’s a far more nuanced understanding of why it’s definitely not going to be the case that I have a child. But ultimately, you know, as I would say, it’s probably the case for a lot of survivors of childhood abuse, you know, it becomes really, really important for one to not have a child to fill a gap or fill a void. And ultimately, I think very, very – well I know this because she would tell me this regularly – that my mother had me so that she had someone that would love her. And that’s just tragic. But also, that’s really bad.

Zoë: You know, I, what are you meant to do with that?

Kate: Yeah, especially when you don’t. You know, like, damn, that’s your reason for being? And you can’t even do that properly. Yeah, so – perhaps ironically, I don’t know – my mother always put pressure on me to have children before I cut off all contact with her. That was sort of one of the ways in which the relationship was, the dynamic was, so abusive and messed up, was she was just constantly living through me and getting what she needed from having her own children. And so I was hoping that I would have children so that she could get what she needed through them, you know, like some sort of much less dramatic version of, oh, gosh, what’s that, what’s the awful horror film? It’s actually a brilliant horror film. But inherent is it Inheritance or – Hereditary. It was like a sort of psychological version of that. Which I – well, I did not have the child, so no one’s going to be possessed.

Zoë: Thank god, yeah. I mean, yeah, families… Well, you don’t have to pass any test to be a parent do you? So, yeah, it’s a difficult thing to work out whether people should be passing tests? Or should we at least give them skills to do this? You know, even if we, I don’t know, give them parenting classes. I mean, it would be I think, a good way to ensure children grew up in a semi-decent household. And, you know, you can’t change people 100%, but you certainly can hopefully give them more tools to be better parents.

Kate: Depends, doesn’t it I mean, who’s giving the classes now? You know?

Zoë: I haven’t really thought of it, Kate! But yeah, it is really sad when you see parents kind of putting their aspirations and pressure onto a child of, you know, you have to be a certain way, you have to live the life I couldn’t live, and it’s really fucking depressing that that’s what they end up doing. But I think it happens so much, you know –

Kate: Totally.

Zoë: – because you don’t have, parents don’t have the time, to live the life that they want to live, you know, and –

Kate: Well this is the irony, isn’t it? It’s like, if she hadn’t have had me, she’d have not needed to have me and –

Zoë: Right, right. Exactly. So it’s, yeah, really fucked up, basically. What about friends? Have you managed to kind of, you said, you have friends who have children? I mean, their response is it –

Kate: I’ve got excellent friends. I really do have excellent friends. So yeah, absolutely. I mean, it was sort of a joke amongst our friends, my friends – our friendship circle, some of us have children, some of us don’t have children, like, but nobody would ever – I would be like, “Who’s most likely to have a child?” It would not be me, and everyone agrees that that’s good, you know?

Zoë: Yeah. Oh, well, that’s what you want. You want a good group of friends who backs you up, whatever. And I mean, sometimes when I was kind of expressing my decision about not having kids, I was always very worried that my friends who had children, I don’t know, would somehow be either upset with me or would, you know, give me some pushback. But yeah…

Kate: I mean, I’ve experienced that from like, people that I wouldn’t consider friend-friends. I think people are so keen… I mean, I think there’s two things: one, not having children is the least controversial part of my life, I would say. Generally, if people are gonna have something to push back on, it’s not gonna be that. But secondly, I suppose people just, you know, and I think this is the case for, for any sort of lifestyle choice that one makes that isn’t approved, or people are just desperately, desperately looking for their own terrible choices and decisions to be endorsed. And I think the more they regret their choice, or rather, the more you represent a better choice or an alternate decision that could have brought them happiness, the more they’re going to fight you, and see you as a threat and something to be kind of attacked, and I’m just – that’s my day-to-day these days. Come at me, you know what I mean, if you think having kids is the most problematic thing about… Choices, I’ve made them.

Zoë: So yeah, when you wrote to us you explained that you have a partner, or you have multiple domestic partners Is that right?

Kate: Oh gosh, I can’t remember so I have at the moment – I can’t remember when I first wrote you, but since then, I think I was probably then marriage number three. So I’m now a marriage four –

Zoë: Sorry, I’ve been so slow in getting this off the ground!

Kate: – like Henry 8th! So probably when we first communicated I was in – so I’ve been in ethically non-monogamous relationships for years now, probably five or six, no, gosh, more like seven or eight years. But actually, the last three years have been in a technically pretty monogamous relationship. Although, politically, both of us, my spouse and I, my spouse, Ames – both of us consider ourselves to be ethically non-monogamous. But in practicality and you know, reality, we’re pretty monogamous. But I think it’s sort of important for us both to always, you know, we wouldn’t describe our relationship as a monogamous relationship, because monogamy is connected to, and and filled with so many, pretty toxic assumptions about the ways in which relationships should be structured, which we don’t buy into – at the risk of sounding like some, like New Age twat. Basically, yeah, definitely not pro-monogamy. But, you know, we’re not – we don’t, we choose not to see other people right now. And also, it’s just like, literally impossible. The stress of it. Oh, my god, it’s a very intense choice.

Zoë: Okay. So do you, when you meet this person? Did you know that they also didn’t want children? Or is this a topic you would ever broach with someone who you were either, you know, about to date, or, you know, how do you approach that with them?

Kate: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, that’s sort of a really good question. Because, um, people ask this, like, other friends of mine, and clients of mine that are dating… Yeah, straight, straight away, I suppose for me, it’s… I would, when I was dating, I would pretty much immediately let them know that that was something that was just not. I mean, it depends what sort of dating you’re doing. If you’re looking for a significant long term partnership, and probably it’s really smart to just say, right from the beginning, that that’s something that you’re not looking for, and you know about yourself, and it’s not going to happen. When I met Ames, my spouse, they were also in a long term relationship with another partner. We were both non-monogamous. And so it didn’t even occur to me, like I literally when I met them, they were living in New York, and I was living in London, and I was traveling to New York every three months just for work. And I was spending so much money in like, really nice hotels. I can’t bear to stay anywhere that’s not nice. I can’t do it, I’m just too old for it.

Zoë: Same.

Kate: So I was going over there earning a lot of money, but spending at least half of it on hotel bills. And I thought, god, this is ridiculous. I’m in a non-monogamous relationship. I have other partners. Why do I not just find somebody in New York, that is wonderful, that I can have a great weekend working and staying with them? And then I stayed in nice hotels. That was my intention. I was going on, I think it was Tinder or maybe it was, yeah, OkCupid. And then I met Ames. And so it was just literally going to be a sort of hookup situation – but you know, maybe we’d like each other. And unfortunately, though fortunately, I mean, I was married at the time in a non-monogamous relationship. My husband had another partner who he was in love with. So this was all sort of very permitted, but we completely fell in love. And I completely fell in love. And so it was like, “Oh, shit, now you’re in Brooklyn, and I’m in London”, but so we never had that conversation until it was a bit like, “Okay, I think I might be moving to New York. Yeah, by the way, definitely don’t want to have children”. And fortunately, they were in agreement. So lots of work.

Zoë: Oh, thank god. Yeah. I mean, that must have been relief.

Kate: Yeah. I mean, I think at that stage I, I don’t know what I’d have done. I would have been bad but I definitely wouldn’t have had children. I mean, I knew, at that point. I don’t know, maybe – this is the thing, isn’t it? You never know if somebody really feels really, really in love with somebody, but it – I certainly wouldn’t have had my – it wouldn’t have been my body that gone through the having-child situation.

Zoë: Right, yeah, that’s the thing, I think. I was talking about this with James, my husband, and you know, he was saying so, “Like, would you? Would you ever, say if your sister needed, a, you know, a surrogate? Would you ever do something-” And I was like, “Well, that’s the worst bit. I’m having the baby.” And it’s almost if, if James had said to me, he desperately wanted children, I was trying to think, you know, could I have switched my, my thinking around? And, you know, but – and I probably if I could have, because I love him so much. I could have done it, but I always would have been –

Kate: Ah, you’d have hated him forever.

Zoë: That’s it. Seriously, that’s exactly it. Like, I would have hated every part of what that baby did to me and I would have held on to every negative thing about that, that experience, and blamed him for it. I knew that. So I knew that then you cannot have a child that way. And that’s what, when I have friends who tell me like, you know, one partner wanted it and one partner wasn’t so sure. Or they didn’t want it. And like, and they still had the baby. And I’m thinking, how can we have a child when you’re basically having the biggest compromise of your life? And it’s never going to work, it’s never going to be a positive for one of you, massively. Yeah. And I think that’s it. That’s why just saying it, as soon as you meet someone, or, you know, being honest with people, obviously helps a situation. But yeah, that compromises, it’s too big a compromise for, for myself, and yeah, for you as well I’m sure.

Kate: I think it’s just like, we’re just so encouraged to compromise with everything as women, and particularly in heterosexual relationships, which I was in for many years. Just the expectation is that, and also, there’s this really toxic narrative running that like, love over everything, and that if you love someone enough, you will sacrifice a lot. I mean, obviously, I’ve gone this particular lens, because of my academic studies, but this also comes from Christianity, you know, that love equals sacrifice and sacrifice of everything. And, of course, very conveniently, in the Christian story, the sacrifice always comes from the oppressed parties – you’ll never find the people in power sacrificing themselves. But ultimately, this is, the case though in heteronormative patriarchy is precisely this, that, you know, we’re just taught as women that it’s our job. And if you really love your partner enough, you will sacrifice your body, your life, your fucking whole existence – it is so pernicious as well. It’s really like, subtle, you don’t notice it? And then you, even that that’s a question is so wild, isn’t it? That we would even ask ourselves, like, could we do it? And I’ve asked that, and I got to the point of knowing I didn’t want children, but hoping that I would get the approval and the love that I wasn’t getting in my second marriage by having a child and really, truly just by the grace of god, that I didn’t achieve that because my goodness. I mean, like yeah, just terrible.

Zoë: No, yeah. I mean, I’m very grateful that I met someone who was on the same page as me, because it is a horrible thing to meet someone who you fall madly, deeply in love with. And they are just on a, you know, are going in a different direction. But I do think, if this is something that someone desperately wants in their life, I just don’t believe you can compromise on this. I mean, maybe there are couples out there who can, I don’t know, switch their thinking and actually, okay, they never wanted this, but maybe it works out great. But I think that’s the men.

Kate: Who don’t have to do shit, do they? Getting married is the same thing – they expect nothing to really change.

Zoë: That’s it. I mean, the guy is the one who gets to have the best bits, right? I mean, it’s like the playtime, and, you know, the kids say, “I love you, daddy”. And then daddy goes to work, and he goes and has fun, and goes out with his friends and then, it’s mummy who’s stuck at home, looking after the kids and their body is, let’s face it, completely altered by this process. And yeah, I think that’s the only way that it could work is if it’s the guy who never wanted kids and when, you know, they have them he sees “Okay, this is kind of fun. You know, I don’t get none of the shit basically.” Yeah, um, but the other way around? I just don’t ever think that it’s possible for a woman to, yeah, change their thinking on it if they go through with it. But yes, is there anything else, Kate, you wanted to talk about? We’ve covered some amazing topics there. I mean, I could talk to you for the whole evening I think! Is there anything else that you wanted to discuss?

Kate: Um, not necessarily, no. I suppose, you know, the thing that I think is really important is just that it’s really important that women know, whatever stage they are at in their lives, even if they’re super young, and they know that they don’t want to have children, they have a feeling that perhaps they don’t want to have children – listen to, like, fucking listen to it, because I’m so glad eventually that I did. And if I hadn’t had, then my life would be so radically different to how it is now. My life is amazing. I have an incredible life. And I think that’s the other sort of great irony about this whole sort of attitude towards women that choose not to have children. It’s this idea that somehow we’re sort of sad, lonely, or will become sad, lonely, ladies that have no one to look after us. And it’s like, “Well, fuck, no, that’s not happening. I’m gonna be richer than you motherfuckers”. Because I haven’t spent half a million pounds on, like, bullshit. Like, my wardrobe is amazing, my house is amazing, I have a really great car, my career is significantly better than it could ever have been, if I’d have had a child, and my friendships are strong, you know, my relationship with my partner is amazing. And I see this as a direct result of not having a child – it’s not in spite of not having a child, it is because I did not have children, that my life is as rich as it is. And I also think this is sort of worth mentioning, that the narrative around not having children as selfish is such a real thing, like this idea that somehow you need – in order to contribute to the community, you need to just be consistently like producing. That’s connected to capitalism’s obsession with production. And you know, like you have to earn your keep, your existence has to be valuable because you contribute to some produce. Well, that’s messed up, but also, it’s just really untrue. If I think of all the women in my life that have contributed the most to me, and to their community, they are actually, almost without exception, women that don’t have children, because they have the space in their lives to build things, whether those are businesses or communities or relationships, ideas, you know, like write books, or whatever it is that one decides to do. And they haven’t had their lifeforce drained out of them by individual, you know, family units that just suck the brilliance out of women’s, you know, lives. So I don’t know, I’m just a real advocate for women realising that they are more valuable than just producing children. And I think it’s really sad that we still have to say that, but it is such a pernicious belief, you know, that you’re not valuable if you’re not producing, and especially if you’re not producing children. There’s this belief that you have to produce something else. You just live – just fucking getting up every day, getting dressed, eating food, and existing is enough, that is enough. And if you manage to do something that brings somebody else joy, then that’s even better. But like, god, you don’t need to earn your keep on this planet, you know?

Zoë: I – okay, I’m nodding furiously. Just “yeah, yeah, yeah – 100%” I mean, that’s a really lovely place to end our wonderful chat. I really could talk to you for the whole night. And I would love – do you have any, is there any place that people can find you online? To find out, you know, about more of your work?

Kate: Yeah, absolutely. So my primary platform is Instagram at the moment. And my Instagram is katetomasphd, and it’s without “h” – everybody tries to search for somebody else and are disappointed. I am katetomasphd. And yes, so I teach the spiritual life upgrade, which is the program that whenever I talk about, everyone’s like, “Everyone needs this”, which is a year long sort of pretty intense mentorship in spiritual practices, but within a community of women, which is just the strongest sense of solidarity. I only work with women and non-binary people, but primarily women. And yeah, that’s life-changing, life-altering in the best possible way. So it’s 12 months of sort of super intense support really to get you reconnected to your sense of purpose and direction and, and then teach you some very, very real magical practices in the meantime. And then I also offer psychic readings. So I’ve been a psychic for 20 years and yeah, very successful, I guess fortunately with that. So I offer, I have four sessions a month that are available to book, and all of that can be found on also my website, which is drkatetomas.com.

Zoë: Oh my god, sign me up.

Kate: Yeah, you would be perfect.

Zoë: I mean, everyone go and search Kate out because you are doing such amazing work. And it’s really been an amazing experience to talk with you, and thank you for your honesty – I really appreciate it.

We are Childfree is hosted by me, Zoë Noble, and produced by James Glazebrook. If you liked this episode, please leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts, as this really helps other people find us. Head to wearechildfree.com to read more stories from incredible childfree women, and find out how to share your story with me. Speak soon lovelies :)

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