More awareness and support regarding childlessness is required within the workplace, according to a Manchester-based campaigner - and she has made it her mission to provide coaching to support those that are affected and to educate employers
Helen Gallagher, 45, is the founder of Happy and Childless, coaching support for ‘childless not by choice’ men and women through her coaching. She draws from her own childless experience to communicate to businesses that this needs to be prioritised within the workplace.
"If action isn’t taken, that lack of support can adversely impact performance", warns Helen.
Her mantra is that people who are ‘childless not by choice’ should be given access to the necessary support within their places of work and should not be discriminated against when it comes to decisions such as part-time hours or flexible working, or be triggered by scan pictures, pregnancy announcements and baby showers.
Helen said: “It is an extremely isolating place to be when your own grief of being childless is minimised and not recognised within your place of employment.
“What is also incredibly difficult is to be entrenched within a pronatalist environment and suffering in silence.”
Approximately one in five people in the UK do not have children and 90 per cent of these people are childless, not by choice.
Helen added: “Being childless by circumstance equates to 80 per cent of this number, yet these people are often excluded from any support or recognition.
“Childless people often face discriminatory practices, sometimes unintentional by the employer and colleagues alike. Therefore, it is imperative that organisations recognise childlessness as an important diversity, equity and inclusion issue.
“Most of the time it is these childless people, who are expected to work late, work weekends and during Christmas holidays. Whilst I happily supported other parents who had parenting responsibilities, being childless does not mean we do not have families to support.”
Helen now aims to get Government support and is currently in communication with a number of MPs across various constituencies. She has now also been named as an Ambassador for World Childless Week, which runs from September 11-17.
World Childless Week aims to raise awareness of the childless not by choice community and enable every childless person to share their story with confidence.
Stephanie Joy Phillips from World Childless Week, said: "When childlessness is no longer a taboo subject and our grief is no longer disenfranchised, I will sit back with happiness in my heart.”
Happy and Childless is a specialist coaching service specifically for childless not by choice men and women and is speaking with companies to talk openly about this issue and make the necessary support available for its employees.
Helen set up the Happy and Childless connections app earlier this year to help establish a community of like-minded men and women, and support them in moving forward from the despair of being childless not by choice.
This app is free, with an associated podcast and coaching service, and is an additional support to those wanting to seek connection and feel seen, heard and understood.
Any businesses or individuals wanting support on childlessness can email: email@example.com.