You’ve even tried some of the stuff you thought you’d never do.

Now, astonishingly people are suggesting you ‘do it on your own’ as if it were an ambitious DIY project that you just need to pluck up the nerve for.

We know you’re only trying to help, we know you mean well.

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The fact of having never been married or in the kind of long-term partnership in which the opportunity to try for a baby arose, seems to be a their stories because they don’t feel ‘entitled’ to their pain, grief and despair compared to those women who’ve suffered miscarriages, failed to conceive or who have experienced unsuccessful IVF.

There is sometimes a sense of deep unworthiness, of being right at the bottom of some invisible pecking order of childless women and not quite ‘full members’ of the childless club, and so therefore not quite due Whereas just a generation ago, being an unmarried mother was to be the social outcast, now it’s the single, childless woman over 40 who carries the weight of shame.

It’s called ‘social infertility’ and it’s affecting a huge number of women in their 30s and 40s in the UK.

1 in 5 women in the UK born in the 1960s has turned 45 without having had a child – some by choice but many by circumstance, this is double what it was a generation ago.

Friends and family tell their single friends to just ‘get out there’ and suggest ever more and more bizarre (and undignified) suggestions of how to meet a partner (things that they would never dream of doing) without realising that they’ve tried it all.

For me, once I accepted that I was never going to be a mother, I lost interest in dating for a few years.I know some of these ‘spinsters’ personally and have met many others through Gateway Women, and a wonderfully kind, funny, attractive and diverse bunch they are.But having been made the scapegoat for some of the unexpected consequences of the huge social changes of the last 45 years, many of them seem to bear their situation as a mark of Think about it, if you were a single man in your forties looking to ‘settle down’, would you choose to date women your own age who may already be unable to conceive naturally (or at all) or would you set your ‘age criteria’ box on your dating selection to meet women several years younger than that?She's the author of 2016’s 'Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children' (Bluebird/Pan Macmillan).Gateway Women hosts online communities, workshops, retreats, courses, social events and private sessions for childless-not-by-choice women.If you are someone who wants or wanted to be a mother and it isn’t or didn’t work out (for whatever reason) please come and join us in the our private, global, Gateway Women Online Community. Neither a bitter spinster nor a dried up old hag, Jody puts her heart, mind, and soul into lovingly and mischievously subverting the stereotype of the ‘childless woman’. Jody Day is a British author, trainee integrative psychotherapist and the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women.