Two Melbourne-based women have started a podcast that explores the complexities of being child-free by choice and childless by circumstance.
The UnRipe Community podcast began after Jo Vraca and Penny Rabarts met via a Facebook group that Vraca created to connect with other like-minded women who were either child-free or childless.
“We both had a lot to say about our lives as childless (and child-free) women, and knew that there were more voices we wanted to hear. We had a deep sense that something was missing for this community,” Rabarts said.
The podcast, which launched in late August, explores the nuances and complexities of experiencing life as a child-free or childless woman.
Some of the topics have explored the backgrounds that child-free and childless women come from, what influences their decision to be child-free, what determines childlessness, how women without children are perceived in family settings, and identifying the moment when women realised they were undecided about having children and when they knew they were never going to have children.
Rabarts said both herself and Vraca experienced a lack of support and information when navigating being child-free and childless, and knew that more needed to be said on the matter.
“Whether a woman is childless or child-free, the experience can be the same in this pronatalist society we are brought up in,” she said.
“The curtain needs to be lifted so that there is no fear or shame in having this conversation. So many women never speak about their experiences with the confusion, loss, grief, abortions, guilt, miscarriage, IVF, and all the stories we have to tell. We want these women to have a voice and for others to listen.”
Rabarts said the podcast also seeks to answer questions like: Where are the specialist counsellors? Why aren’t GPs able to support and direct women facing this disenfranchised grief? What about younger women who are approaching the age they’re told that fertility plummets? Why are so many women opting out of having children? Where is the support to help women make this life changing decision?
When asked why it was important to create a community for women who child-free and childless, Rabarts puts it simply: “because there is no community”.
“It’s all about giving a voice for our tribe, to unite us with one common thread. We want to tell the world that we are not sad and lonely women without children,” she said.
The UnRipe Community podcast shares the stories of both hosts (Vraca and Rabarts), as well as the stories of other women, while insights from psychologists, alternative therapists, and other experts offer new perspectives and dispel myths about women who are child-free and childless.
Each episode also features statistics and research that relate to child-free and childless women, as well as a tongue-in-cheek segment called ‘Shit that comes up in my feed’ where Vraca and Rabarts share the posts that have triggered them, enraged them, and made them laugh.