Lost Dog: A Love Story
I am reading ‘Lost Dog’ by Kate Spicer. Spicer has written a lot about being a middle-aged non-parent: she once insisted in the Daily Mail that the majority of non-mothers felt their childlessness was ‘a source of sadness and regret’, and that the few who didn’t were delusional ‘motherhood deniers’. I never warmed to her in the past for this reason; she had nothing positive or reflective to say about living without children. I don’t like this ‘I feel this way, therefore everybody else does‘ brand of thinking: it lacks imagination. In her press pieces, Spicer says she was always ambivalent about babies but went on to ‘crave’ motherhood. I was ambivalent too, but never developed any sort of visceral desire for children, nor do I sense a ‘hole’ in my life – we are all different.
I once read a very sage comment under a Spicer-type of article, which said:
not having a child can be a kind of convenient ‘hook’ to hang your feelings of emptiness on
I do think that some women, too depressed to navigate around childlessness (especially when surrounded by parents), fall into seeing it as a black hole that all their current woes emanate from, when what they probably need is help to develop a new attitude towards it.
On to Spicer’s recent book, Lost Dog. I don’t really like how her publishers, Penguin, introduce the memoir on their website:
46-years-old and childless, she realises her life has been wasted
It mentions the copious drug-taking and mindless partying with fashion-industry monsters later, but childless is initially used to define the author (then again, that is how she has defined herself to the Daily Mail et al). The book is about how she fills the ‘meaningful hole’ in her life with a dog. As Spicer said in 2019:
Getting a dog meant I no longer craved being a mother
I understand and extol the satisfying, heartbreaking bond that comes with pet dogs: the mongrel of my childhood was the legendary love of my life. Non-dog owners probably won’t get it though. I’m half-way through and so far no great insights to report apart from: get a dog, but prepare for profound grief if you lose it or it leaves this earth. I’ll report back if Spicer has anything inspiring to say about approaching 50 as a non-mother.
How To Fail Podcast
Elizabeth Day talks to Marian Keyes about her ‘failure’ to have children at https://howtofail.podbean.com/e/how-to-fail-marian-keyes/
Marian Keyes describes infertility as ‘death by a thousand cuts’. We are ashamed that our bodies don’t do what they were meant to do – “people seem to be able to do it so easily!” she remarks about conceiving a baby.
There’s a lot of side-eye at professional women who don’t have children
… people put a narrative on childfree women that is very judgmental
Keyes declares that there isn’t enough tenderness or compassion for women who haven’t been able to have children for whatever reason – you don’t need to spend long in our society to infer this; it’s nice to actually hear someone say it.