Katy shares her experience of growing up in a Mormon community, where having children was expected and considered a crucial aspect of life. She discusses her infertility journey & the emotional process it took on her.In the podcast, Katy emphasizes that not having children does not make her life any less fulfilling, and that individuals have the ability to create a life that aligns with their unique circumstances and desires. The discussion also delves into the financial, mental, & emotional considerations and benefits of being childfree, including the ability to save and invest more for personal goals and experiences. Join Katy & Dr. Jay as they dig more into this often overlooked topic.
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Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.
00;00;00;16 - Bri
Hi. You're listening to the Childfree Wealth podcast we’re your hosts, Bri and Dr. J. Certified Financial Planner. Here we discuss life and finances as it relates to being childfree. This podcast is for educational entertainment purposes only. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.
00;00;24;17 - Dr. Jay
So I am back with Katy from the Childless Collective, and the reason why I asked Katy to join me is for those that have been following she's working me on a lot of topics and one of the things I had her give me some feedback on was a new book I'm working on and the details, that book coming later, but I'm working through a concept and I wanted her help.
And then I asked her for feedback and I said, You know what? Nope. Don't give me the feedback in offline. Let's do the podcast, let's have some fun and work this through. So for those that are wondering if I take chances, this is a chance. I have no clue what she's going to say, so I.
00;00;59;20 - Katy
Have no clue what you're going to ask. So...
00;01;03;16 - Dr. Jay
All right. Here's where I'm going. The way I look at it from a financial standpoint is the first thing you should do is plan for what life you want to live. Then figure out your finances. Then figure out your taxes. And that's a little backwards because people go, “Well, can I retire?” And I'm like, “Well, do you want to?” You know, “How much money do you need to retire?”
I'm like, “Well, do you want to?” You know, we get stuck in this circle. And part of it is because of this standard life planner life script. You'll see me use those terms interchangeably. But the Standard Life Planner, Life script says you go to school, you get married, you have kids, you buy a house, you retire, you pass on your money, you die.
Now there's some details in between, but that's the standard cultural norm life script, life plan, and we don't even realize that is so pervasive. And when I was doing research for my first book, I had a whole bunch of people say to me, I didn't realize it was even a choice not to have kids like that. There was even like a possibility or likelihood.
So we have this standard life plan that says we got to do these things. And what I found from a financial standpoint is when you are childfree or permanently childless, you kind of have to throw away that plan and make your own. But it's different. This is one of those few areas where it's different if you’re childfree or childless.
And Katy had kind of given me a clue about this over the time that I've... She's my she's my Yoda on childless things, I guess. She teaches me everything I know. And she talked about this grieving process of being childless and what I've come to the understanding of, and this is what I want Katy to weigh in on.
It is for childfree people that they've chosen a different life plan. They may not even realize it. That's a separate discussion. But for childless people, it's almost like you can't move forward until you've grieved the life you thought you're going to live. Does that make any sense?
00;02;48;27 - Katy
Yep. I think it's I think it's grieving and I also think it's just envisioning something new for yourself. So I can tell you, I can give you an example from my own experience. So I think I have the Standard Life Script, plus additional cultural norms that came from me growing up Mormon. And so I think there there's like the Standard Life Script, but then depending on your culture that you're like your specific culture that may even have some tweaks to it or different expectations.
So, and I see this lot within the childless community too, of people's cultural expectations. There may also be like extra nuances or like, you know, differences with that. For my life, I grew up Mormon. I did have… my dad wasn't Mormon. My mom was. But she was kind of unconventional so I, I had examples of people not following the script within the Mormon life script.
But for me, what I heard growing up was when you get past high school, men go on Mormon missions for two years, women trying to get married basically as soon as possible. Once men get back from their missions at 21, then the next thing they're told to do is like get married as quick as you can so you get married super young.
For men, it's you know, build your career have kids while you're doing that for women a lot of the time it's be a stay at home mom or maybe do something on the side that's flexible so that you are around for your kids most of the time. And then your kids, you know, your primary role in life is to raise your kids.
And then once they're out of the house and then it's like you serve your church, you then it's all about grandkids. And then great grandkids. Everything is focused and centered on kids and even growing up when, you know, I know people within the Mormon Church who didn't have kids, the response was like, “Well, this is a trial that God is putting them through in this life and they'll become a mom or a dad in their next life.”
And so even the afterlife is focused on kids because Mormons believe that like, you can become your own God of a planet and then have and you populate that planet with your kids. So there is no power, there is no life path of any sort person without kids in the Mormon Church. And so for me, growing up, my plan was to be a stay at home mom.
So when I graduated high school, I didn't even think about going to college because I was like, “Oh…” I mean, I did go to cosmetology school, but my in my head I was like, I'm going to have kids and I want to be a stay at home mom. And that is my life plan. And that was like the plan that was given to me.
I never even questioned it. And then when I got married, you know, I wasn't always on the same page with my husband about like, “Well, do we want kids? Not want kids? When do we want them? When don't we want them?” So we had about eight years where we didn't try at all. Then we started trying and I did do college in between that.
But even with college it was like, “Well, I'm just doing this for, for because I'm bored right now. I'm doing this until I can have kids and get back on track.” And so then when I went through infertility and found out I couldn't have kids, it was an identity shift for me. It wasn't just about having kids or not.
It impacted so many aspects of my life and what I envision for my future plans that I had made. It's like I've been holding space in my life for this future plan, even to the extent of like I stayed in a job because it had maternity benefits. So any time I wanted to look for a new job, it was like, “Well, I can't leave because I'll get like six months off paid if I stay on this job.”
And so like holding on to that job for the maternity benefits that I obviously never used. But it's, it's a weird thing to describe because it's around disenfranchized grief and ambiguous loss where it's not like I had a kid and I and I lost that kid. I never had it so why is it a big deal? Well it’s a big deal because I spent my whole life in my mind thinking about my future and envisioning what that would be and holding space for this in my future and in my life, and had already kind of worked core parts of my identity around this future identity that I was planning to hold. Then you find out you're not having kids and it's like, Oh my gosh, something like everything just blew up and you kind of have to start from scratch.
00;07;43;19 - Dr. Jay
Well, and I think I pick up people because they come to me for life and financial planning and they come with a lot of that baggage. I mean, let's be real. That's the cultural baggage. And one of the questions I usually ask is, “Whose voices in your head?” And people don't always have a realization of who's been pushing that in.
It's rarely them. You know, it's and what happens then is I go, “Hey, if you still, you know, have that hope that you might have a kid or you're still not sure if you going to be childfree, come back to me when you are when you have decided and you have grieved and have walked through the process because I'm going to have you envision a completely different life.”
But if you're still holding on to kind of where you been and what you expected, yeah, I think it's nearly impossible for you to be happy because you're stuck between like two life plans, your life plan and this one, that or life script that you are like forced into it and you know, my wife and I, whether it's by choice or not, whatever, we don't have kids.
And people go, well, you could always adopt. You could always like, there's this list of all these other options they all involve kids. One of my favorite examples, I had a staff member stop me in the hall and say, “You and your wife are both really smart people. You need to have kids.” I'm like, who do you think you are telling me this?
But that's just kind of like smart people need to have kids.
00;09;07;04 - Katy
Everyone needs to have kids. Yeah.
00;09;09;25 - Dr. Jay
Yeah, we won't even get into the racial ones you know, of, “You know, you and your wife are white, so you need to have kids.” I've actually heard that one, too.
00;09;18;13 - Katy
I have too which is disgusting. Yeah, yeah.
00;09;19;27 - Dr. Jay
I mean, all these cultural things and all of that’s the standard life plan. And the hard part is and I work for both childfree and childless folks and my reflection on this and I want you to help me understand, Katy, is I've had some people and you know, I'll be honest, a lot of my intro meetings with people end up in tears because they have this moment when they realize, oh, we're talking about a completely different life now.
And I may not be ready for that. Kind of like, how do you know when you're ready? And you called it at times when you want to offline, you want to talk about grieving and kind of how do you know when you're ready to you know, you talk about everything that was your first half of your life was all training in one direction, right?
How do you know when you're ready to, like, shift and go, okay, I'm going to do something completely different?
00;10;10;27 - Katy
Yeah, I think this is what's so hard and I look at it as kind of a point of acceptance of, yeah, I'm not going to have kids. And I think that looks different for everybody because for me, I think I had a little bit easier because I had a hysterectomy. So that's a the biological piece of like I'm not having my period every month hoping that maybe like even though I've been through, you know, four years of infertility and IVF didn't work and all these things.
And my doctor said, you've got a less than 1% chance of being pregnant naturally. Well, every month when I have that period, even if I'm kind of resolved, like, yeah, I've done all this stuff and it didn't work and I'm not going to try any more fertility treatments. But if I'm having a cycle every month and it's technically possible you could be holding on to that until menopause every single month of that.
Like maybe, maybe this is our month, right? Because we hear all those miracle baby stories and it's like, this could be my time. And and I've heard that happen. I've heard those stories. I know that does happen sometimes. I think for a lot of people it can be kind of ambiguous, same thing with people who are single. They're if they're single and still of childbearing age, age for women, men that is whenever you just keep going forever.
But I guess men can get to a place where it's like it'd be hard to have a kid and take care of them, but anyway, if you're single, you may still be holding onto the hope of I still might meet for one. I still might become a parent. It's really hard to have that finality now. I have talked to people in the childless community, who have been through infertility, who have said I started going on birth control at some point, which now I think for some people may sound totally like what? You’re like all you want is a kid… like all you're saying you want kids. So why would you be going on birth control? Well, you might get to a place where you say, I can't.
I think someone described it one time. There's a childfree after infertility Reddit group. It's called IFChildfree. And it's fantastic. It's specifically for people who went through infertility and now identify as childfree but somebody said in their one time I'm going on birth control because I I'd rather have a 0% chance of getting pregnant than a less than 1% chance.
And it was this idea that it was a way to give finality to something that could just torture you and keep going on and on and keep you from being able to come to a place of acceptance and say, yeah, I can't do I can't hold onto this dream anymore because I'm sacrificing too much. It's taking too much from me.
I want to close this door and start making a plan for something else and that is a hard place to get to anything. It's different for everyone, and there are a lot of ways it can get dragged out for years and years and years. And it's because there's always that hope in the background of something might work out for me.
I might meet that person and and have a kid. I might, you know, have the miracle baby. And what's hard is that that does happen sometimes. So you can't say was not going to happen for you because sometimes it does. So yeah. When do you get to that place where you're like, I'm accepting that I'm going to be permanently childless?
00;13;40;11 - Dr. Jay
Well, and you know, we have a whole separate episode on the terms childfree and childless. We'll use them both here in different ways. But what'll happen is the life planning is different because the childfree folks have made that choice. Hey, you know, there's a zero chance and if, you know, if there was a pregnancy that, you know, there's probably a different reaction to it, let's call it that then then the childless population. Okay, cool. So they've chosen a different life path.
Childless folks more not by choice. I'm not saying always not by choice, but just more. But then the challenge is our society keeps dragging us back to this Standard Life Plan. So let me talk about the financial terms because you know, we're on the Childfree Wealth Podcast, so let's at least talk some finance.
A great example is is buying a house buying a house is a choice for somebody who is childfree or jobless. It is not a required. But I have people all the time. Can we go? Well, you know, I got to have a house, too, so that I can… Says who? Says this Standard Life Plan. I think we don't even we don't even question it.
Buying a house has to do with, like, stability, school systems and all that more than financial. If you want access to real estate as an investment, there's better ways to get real estate investment because the house you abide invested is different than the house you would buy to live in. And people go but I have to have a house.
Well, that the same one that says I have to have a kid and I have to be married. Well, 32.1% of childless folks are never married, which from a technical term is solo agers. I like using the term soloists is that, you know, they have no kids, no spouse. They live in a completely different life plan, buying a house may not make sense for them.
You know, and I think the hard part is and I'm just using the house as one example, but with all these things that say we have to do on the Standard Life Plan. Another example, of this is retirement. Retirement part of the Standard Life Plan. When I talk to childfree and childless folks, they go I’d rather find a job I enjoy and just keep doing it.
You'll work for that nonprofit I've always wanted to work for or give back or run a coffee shop or a cupcake place or whatever. And retirement is like, that's not really a goal. And like another one in the life plan is that you have to give your money to the next generation. Most childfree and childless folks are more die with zero.
I'm going to give it away while I'm living or I'm going to spend it. And that's so like exclusive of everything. But we end up with, like, this, torn between what we're supposed to do. I, I would say you're do the right thing or, you know, the good boy, good girl things or whatever… what we're expected to do.
And we're living a different life and if we get technical on terminology. And I hate this, but when you deviate from a plan, you are now a deviant. People go, well, that's a bad thing. No, you're living your own damn life and it's okay to live your own best life. But we get this pull back and forth between what we were like trained to do. Your example is perfect and others.
I had somebody you made me think of it, but it's also Mormon and she's childfree, but she's like, “Hey, I kind of wish I had a reason to be childless. Like, there was a reason I couldn't have a kid because it'd be easier to accept.” And I was like, “Wow, that's a meaningful statement because the life plan and the cultural expectations are so strong.”
I mean, does that make sense, Katy?
00;17;02;04 - Katy
Yeah, it makes sense because just thinking about the example that you just gave a part of me a little bit because I'm like, oh, that feels very dismissive of the real pain that like childless people go through. But then thinking about the context of her life and knowing what that looks like within Mormonism, there's no place for her within Mormonism like she's getting she's getting pushed into a corner all the time, I guarantee it.
And I think that that is the case for anyone who like you say, kind of deviates from the standard life plan. The world is not set up for you. You're going to feel like an outsider. You're going to feel like you're going to be getting constant messages of you're outside the norm. It is the same reason why a lot of the the women who I am talking with, a lot of our friendships end up dissolving with with their friends who are moms because we are in groups of women and we don't know what to talk about because the conversation is like 99% about kids and what's going on with their kids and kids, kids, kids, kids, kids.
You'll feel like an outsider immediately because you can't contribute to that conversation. You're just sitting there quietly wondering how to change the subject and just going, “I'm feeling more and more excluded as a conversation goes on,” and I think that just happens. Whatever the default is, those messages get so ingrained in us, and if you're outside of that, you've got to build up some resilience and be okay with being an outsider.
00;18;40;19 - Dr. Jay
Well, and I'm kind of laughing because I hear you. If you really want to stop a conversation when someone says, what do you do? I say a Childfree Wealth specialist, and they go, “You're talking about childfree and finances? Yeah, I'm going to walk to the other side of the room because I'm not getting either of those conversations.” I mean, actually.
00;18;58;06 - Katy
When people ask me what I do and I say, “Oh, I build support and community for people who wanted kids and couldn’t have them.” I don't get any follow up questions. It is a conversation ender. I have people literally turned to the person next to us and start a different conversation. I'm like, that's cool.
00;19;18;27 - Dr. Jay
I went to a convention a couple of weeks ago and it was I'll be frank I hadn't been out much since the COVID time. I hadn’t traveled and this was my first convention in person. And you do on all the networking in the intro, and these are all financial people and I'm like, Yeah, I work with childfree folks and you could see their faces go… [face drops]
I'm like, “Yeah, it's 25% of us.” And they're like, “No, why? Well, I’ve got to talk about my kid's soccer game.” I'm like, okay, you know, people, you would hope the financial people realize, hey, these are people you can make money off of. But no, they’re not even willing to have the conversation for that.
00;20;00;10 - Katy
00;20;02;22 - Dr. Jay
So all right. Let me kind of think this was a Katy, you've been out as childless and in the childless and you're out in the community. You're publicly saying you are for how long?
00;20;16;11 - Katy
Oh, let's see. I think I think I started my blog. Okay… I bought my blog name and like did something like five years ago when I was recovering from hysterectomy in 2017. I think it took me about a year to get things going. And so I think I started my Instagram account maybe like four years ago about.
00;20;39;28 - Dr. Jay
Okay, so for four years you have publicly said, “Hey, I'm not following the Standard Life plan.” Let's just go with that. Do you still feel the pull back to it, maybe on the retirement or the house or any of those sides?
00;20;57;17 - Katy
I mean, yeah, I have owned two houses and I may buy a third house, but I think I've been thoughtful about the reasons why I want one. I don't think about having kids anymore at all. I actually am really happy with my life right now and we won't get into this debate cause we already did an episode on it, but I would say if it didn't cause confusion, as much confusion as it does, I would probably identify as childfree at this point. Like childfree after infertility is probably the label I’d use for myself because if somebody said I can wave a magic wand right now, would it put your baby in your arms immediately. Like with the snap of a finger, I would say no. It's not what I want anymore because I built something else and a baby would not fit into my life anymore. And but I think that what makes it hard this is what I didn't anticipate when I came to the acceptance of, okay, I'm not going to be a mom. What does that mean for me? I've got to work through all this grief.
I've got to figure out my identity, I've got to figure out all these pieces for my future. I expected that was going to be super painful and a lot of personal grief. What I didn't expect was a second layer of having to manage everyone else's reactions and opinions to that all the freaking time. Like, I'll give you an example.
Two weeks ago I went and got an allergy test done at an allergist clinic and the nurse was being so nervous about needles, like, just so nervous and I said, don’t be nervous. I have a lot of tattoos and I've been through IVF. I am not scared of needles. Just go for it. You don't need to be so careful.
And she said, “Oh, your IVF, did it work?” And I said, “No, it didn’t.” And she said, “Oh, you got to just keep hoping like it'll happen for you.” And I said, “Well, no, actually I'm not trying anymore.” And she got visibly uncomfortable. And to be a considerate person, I probably should have just left it there because I could tell it made her uncomfortable.
But sometimes… I was just in a mood. And so I said… So she said, “Well, I bet there is another purpose for you. God has another purpose for you,” and because I was in a mood said, actually, “I'm an atheist, so I don't believe that God has a plan for me.” And she said, “Oh, well then like the universe or whatever, like whatever you believe in.”
And I said, “Well, you know, I'm kind of an existentialist. I think I make my own meaning in life. I don't think that the universe is has a plan for me that I'm following.” And she looked like she had never heard of anything related to this in her life, like she basically said, I have never heard anyone say that or explain it in that way, like, what an interesting thought that you make your own meaning.
And I was like, Wow, this is like she's never heard of, like, this idea that not everything happens for a reason. And it does bother me because sometimes people say, “Oh, look, you're helping so many people now you're doing this work, helping the childless community. It happened for a reason that you couldn't have kids.”
No, it didn't. I chose to take an experience that I had in life, and I chose to build something to help people, because that's where I wanted to find some meaning and where I wanted to invest my energy. But I'm just bringing that up and as in as an example, because here this like trip to the allergy clinic turned into this whole conversation about life and purpose and meaning and, you know, all this stuff that like, I don't want to I don't want to be asked about whether I have kids or not at a doctor's office by my dentist, at the grocery store or whatever.
It's weird, but well ingrained that like you, you have to figure out how to navigate that every single day, people's reactions to people's opinions about it. You're going to hear them all. You're going to get asked about it all the freaking time. And it's a second layer of like, you have to go with your own grief and what it means for your life.
And then every single day you're going to have people putting their own opinions and thoughts on you that you're also going to have to navigate. I was not expecting that second layer.
00;25;26;28 - Dr. Jay
Well, and that's my whole point, is that the stand life plan is so pervasive that we don't even realize, like just stupid conversation comes up in the financial world. Almost all. I mean, as close as we get to all financial plan assumes you can have kids. So I had a reporter reach out the other day and we're talking about do you kind of agree or disagree with Dave Ramsey and Dave Ramsey's popular. Let's be real on that. Big time.
We're not going to get into politics and religion. That's a separate discussion with Dave Ramsey. But I said, well, we said, look, getting out of debt, I'm good with that. Like his first three baby steps, get out of debt. You get a debt. That's good for pretty much everybody. That chicken soup for the soul. Yeah, but then we get to four or five and six.
We're talking about saving for a house, saving for retirement and save for college. Well, those are all options and they don't fit everybody and they don't fit the 25% of the U.S. that are childfree or permenantely childless. So what's happening though… But that's the start of life plan in action in like I mean, let's be real. He's made millions of dollars, you know, selling that, it’s popular and all that.
But all of that gets put in and now people go, hey, my financial plan needs to reflect. Let's call the Dave Ramsey plan or whatever. There's a whole bunch of other ones. I'll just pick on Dave for a second, I was Dave Ramsey coach. I like what he does. You know, I've taught people on the getting out of debt part but...
But you don't realize the pressure. You have the conversation with your allergist pressure. I'm in Mississippi. You aren't about societal pressure to have kids and societal norms and gender norms and woo-wee I mean it's tough yeah so that so my thing is if you are childfree or permanent childless, you have to create your own life plan.
You're talking about kind of like the universe not having it. Whatever your spiritual beliefs on you. Whatever you have to get there. The answer is you need your own plan. If people go well, but whose do I follow?
00;27;22;15 - Katy
Yeah. Exactly. And and this is one of the things I see so often in the childless community as people, it is really hard for people to even envision what that might look like outside of what they're seeing with their friends and their family and the messages that they're getting from society. And I think it makes sense if you think about if I had had a kid, my life would now be taken up mostly by that kid or kids.
I am now responsible for making sure another human is fed and bathed and cleaned and comforted and, you know, and sleeping. Right. And getting nutrition and getting their vaccinations and like like the care of another human is huge. You are now that is that is taking up most of your time, your energy, your focus, your everything, finances. The way I look at it is if you don't have that picture, what you would have been spending in finances, time, energy, emotional… I don't know what the right word is, but you know what I mean. You now have all of that freedom. Where do you want to invest it? And that's a much harder question because no one's telling us what the alternative is, where to invest it, and so, you do have to figure it out by yourself.
And if we don't have role models, if we don't see other people, we don't even have examples in our lives of people who have alternative ways of making meaning in their life, of finding joy, of finding happiness, of where they're investing their time, what relationships are they investing in? Like if you don't have a kid all that time that you would have to invest in that relationship, you now could invest that in other relationships in your life that could go towards friends. It could go towards community. It could go to your parents, your siblings, your if you have a partner, you now get to choose where to invest it. And it's the same with all your resources. If you had kids, you probably know Jay like how much it costs to raise a kid every every year over the course of your life, who you now have, theoretically that money that you would have spent on having your kid, where do you want to invest that?
Where do you want to invest that free time? That's not going into putting kids to bed and getting them to school and getting them dressed and feeding them and all that. To me, it's like a it's like looking at resources and saying, okay, I would have spent this year, where do I now want to invest it?
00;30;12;22 - Dr. Jay
Yeah, in the way I say it is living a life of childfree wealth means you have the time, money and freedom to do what you enjoy. And I and I talk about it as a Marie Kondo in your life. Get rid of the stuff. You don't enjoy and focus on the things that you joy, that bring you joy.
And the challenge there, you know, what I do is I call it life and financial planning together because your life drives your finances. But the challenge you get to a point, what I call the childfree midlife crisis. You hit your personal, professional financial goals and then what happens in my plans as then you shift to your kids and your kids, you know, take on your goals and blah, blah, blah, blah.
But I get these people that are like, I don't know. And you know, we get to this psychology of an Maslow's hierarchy needs are going to self-actualization and higher levels of like, why am I here? Which is a good question and what are my next 40 years to look like? Which is a good question. And my favorite question is, what do you want to do when you grow up?
Which has nothing to do with age, it's just kind of like, what do you want your life to look like? If people like, I don't know, I went to school to be a nurse, but I don't want to be a nurse. I'm like, “Cool, so then go do something else.” And they're like, “I can't.” I'm like, “Yes, you can.”
Like, seriously, you know, like, and I have these conversation people like I wish I could do X and I'm like, coolest do it. They're like, “No, no, no. I didn't say I wanted to do it. I just wish I could.” And I'm like, Stop, go live the life you want. Just because you know this person I played at 18, someone said, you should go to school for this, and that's the job you're in.
Doesn't mean that's a job you should do for the rest of your life. You live your life, your life plan and not others. And and we'll have to do a whole separate topic where people will go by 40. You need to do this by 50 do this and you have this amount of money that's all start life plan.
Yeah. When you throw that out, your goals are now whatever you want them to be. I had somebody I love this example they are going to go to a Michelin starred restaurant, a different one each year. And now these are all across the world. I'm like, that's an awesome goal.
00;32;11;07 - Katy
Yeah, that's great.
00;32;12;18 - Dr. Jay
I mean, I don't like the fancy food, but, you know, that's for them and that's an awesome goal. But society goes well, but what are you giving back in? You know, are you are you being productive? Who cares? Go fly to that Michelin starred restaurant and enjoy your life. I don't know. I mean, we just need to find a balance between the Standard Life Plan and our life plan.
And my answer is just throw out what you've got, which by the way, I understand is hard and write your own.
00;32;42;20 - Katy
Yeah. It is hard. So I actually heard, that I like, this reframe that I got from a friend of mine. So I don't know if you're familiar with this podcast, but Melissa and Eric are a couple that has a podcast called Live Childfree and they are a couple who went through infertility, then have kids they now identify as childfree. But one time I'm pretty sure, as Melissa said, it's almost like when parents go through a crisis, when they become empty nesters, because all of a sudden they're like, Oh my gosh, I have like all this time, extra time, and like, you know, I was again, like investing in this in my kids.
What am I supposed to do? And there's kind of this crisis moment of like, I don't know what I what I want to do outside of kids. Like, what am I going to do with the rest of my life? And it's obviously different because then, you know, I would say then the question is like grandkids and you just do hobbies and you spend time caring for grandkids and talking about your grandkids and all that.
But, you know, she said, sometimes I think that those of us who don't have kids hit that point. A lot earlier, and in some ways it's similar to what we have to grapple with. But we hit it a few decades earlier. That's kind of a good thing because then you got more time to readjust. So I think a lot of it is around identity and who we are in the world.
And it is hard if you don't have examples of that in your life of people without kids. And how are they making, you know, meaning in their lives? Where are they finding joy? Where do you find your own joy? How do you let yourself experience that without feeling guilty? Like I'll give you an example. I had an event, a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago.
That I did is a webinar and I was talking about how I just bought a bike and I haven't written a bike since I was a little kid. And it's bringing me so much joy and someone in the chat said, I really want a bike, but I can't ride one. And I wanted to get a trike because they make like the adult trikes with the back wheels.
And she felt like, “My family would kind of made fun of me for it.” And I thought, Oh, that's such a good example of like the things that we the ways we, we deny ourselves joy and pleasure because of society telling us, nope, a bike with two wheels is great. A bike with four wheels is goofy and embarrassing. Don't, don't get that one.
And then that shame comes in and it's like, Oh, I'm not going to do that. And I think that's part of it, is that shame of not following the life script. It's not just you have to come up with something else. You're going to get shamed and judged and have all these opinions coming at you in any ways that you deviate from that normal plan.
00;35;37;03 - Dr. Jay
Absolutely. And shameless plug. So that's actually why I wrote my first book, Portraits of Childfree Wealth. There's 26 stories in there of what it's like just for people to go, Hey, there are people living like us and it's okay.
00;35;48;12 - Katy
00;35;49;17 - Dr. Jay
And like, people like, huh? You know, we just need some examples. Katy, I know you help childless women and non-binary people kind of work through some of this. How can they find you so?
00;36;04;26 - Katy
ChildlessCollective.com is my website. I am on Instagram at Childless Collective and I've got the online community, but I also do an annual summit. This year. I'm actually going to be doing an online one in the fall and then an in-person one in the spring. So those are other ways I can connect people to connect, and those are open to everyone regardless of gender.
00;36;27;07 - Dr. Jay
Great, well, now we're going to see these great events. I actually met Katy at last year's event and it was awesome. I mean, you know, the questions of the community were great. So thanks a lot, Katy.
00;36;40;16 - Katy
Thank you, Jay.
00;36;41;27 - Bri
That's all for this week's episode of Childfree Wealth podcast. Be sure to follow Childfree Wealth on social media. Email us at [email protected] or visit our website www.childfreewealth.com.