Sam Walsh founder of The Non-Mum Network wearing Non-Mum T-shirt

Non-Mums, reveal yourselves! Let’s get seen…at last!

Well, Non-Mums, here it is!

You asked, I heard you, and have finally got around to creating our very own Non-Mum merch!

One of the main things I’ve heard throughout the 15 years I’ve considered myself to be a lifelong Non-Mum (that is, after I had the crushing news that I would never be a mother followed failed IVF) is that being a childless or childfree woman in society means you’re invisible.

I’ve experienced it on so many occasions: those awkward moments when someone (usually another woman, because men don’t tend to judge or be judged around parental status in the same way) eagerly enquires if you have children. She’s obviously expecting that you’ll answer in the affirmative and then you’ll continue the conversation by comparing notes on your offspring: genders, ages, names, schools…it’s so easy to connect with the other 82% of women who have kids when you instantly have this common ground.

But there’s nothing more excruciating than wanting to chat to and connect with other women, striking up a conversation…and then being asked the heart-stopping question you knew was coming but was dreading all the same. No matter how many times you psych yourself up it can still knock you for six, depending on how you’re feeling at the time, and the environment you’re in when it hits.

Having worked in a female-centric industry throughout my career (beauty retail) you can imagine how often I’ve been asked this question – by managers, colleagues, and the thousands of female customers shopping with their children in the many shops I’ve managed over the years. I cannot tell you how many uncomfortable silences I attempted to fill, to spare the feelings of the other party, at the expense of my own.

When you’re serving a customer it’s even more difficult, as you have to remain professional and maintain the polite rapport between you as you respond to her innocent (yet probing!) line of questioning without betraying your discomfort – and all this is playing out in public on a busy shop floor. Awkward! I can handle it well now, having had so many years of practise, but in the early days of my fertility journey it was all I could do not to burst into tears. I’d hold it together long enough to finalise the sale before nipping to the loo for a cry.

My motivation for creating The Non-Mum Network Facebook group and website was to connect the 1 in 5 women who will never become mothers (predicted to become one in 3 within 25yrs) with one another, and to remove the stigma, shame and loneliness that surrounds being a non-mum in a pronatalist world.

Now I am ready to take that desire for inclusivity one step further: with a clothing and accessories collection. My hope is that Non-Mums everywhere will wear a t-shirt, hoodie, or little pin badge, or carry a tote bag with a Non-Mum Network logo or slogan on the front and feel confident, empowered, and above all else, seen. The ultimate goal for me would be for other women to see the Non-Mum message and think before they speak, thus saving the Non-Mum in question from unnecessary discomfort.

I want to give Non-Mums back control of the conversation, so that the wearer can decide how much or how little they want to reveal that day. Are you wearing the t-shirt as a conversation starter…or stopper? You decide. Hopefully the message is getting out there now that it is rude to ask someone if they have children, especially a complete stranger, so if someone is wearing an item with The Non-Mum Network on it then they are sending you a strong message. If they want to elaborate, they will. It’s their call.

It’s time for Non-Mums everywhere to take back their power. And if by wearing an NMN item it enables other Non-Mums to recognise a kindred spirit and strike up a connection, then that would be pretty awesome too.

Let the Non-Mum Network merchandise do the talking, so you don’t have to 😉

Click here to go to The Non-Mum Network online shop

Sam Walsh wearing The Non-Mum Network merchandise
Excuse the post-gym pic - I'm just so excited to show you the samples which have arrived hot off the press!
NMN Socials: 

Facebook group: The Non-Mum Network

Facebook page: The Non-Mum Network