Are Kids for Me?, is a new counselling service designed specifically for people who are unsure if they want to have children
New counselling service Are Kids For Me? to launch with high profile panel discussion
The first resource of its kind in Ireland, Are Kids for Me? is a new counselling service designed specifically for people who are unsure if they want to have children. The counselling service and website are based on research and experience of working with issues around parenthood such as social pressures, tradition and assumptions, being childless due to life circumstances or by choice, and the stigma that can come accompany that choice.
Founder of Are Kids For Me? Margaret O’ Connor is an IACP accredited counsellor with over 5 years’ experience and is based in Limerick. She completed a Masters Degree in Gender, Culture and Society in the University of Limerick where she undertook research on how women in Ireland make decisions regarding having children or not. Ms O’ Connor who is passionate about her research and work in this area, said, “It is important for people to realise that we do have a choice about whether we become parents or not and that it shouldn’t be an automatic assumption that everyone wants to or should become a parent.” She continued, “We constantly see traditional family forms portrayed in advertising and the media. Many people feel it is acceptable to ask deeply personal questions about fertility and family decisions to people they may not know that well. This might sound outdated but we only have to observe the endless commentary on Jennifer Aniston and her ‘poor childless life’ life to see how real it is.”
The official launch of Are Kids for Me? counselling service and website will take place on Saturday, October 13th at 6 pm in the new restaurant Bia, at the Limerick Milk Market. The launch will include a panel discussion on the many aspects of parenthood and comprise of a range of high profile speakers who will speak from the perspective of being a parent, being childfree, being childless not by choice and trying to decide about becoming a parent or not. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session and light refreshments.
Some of the panellists include multi-award-winning actor, voice-over artist and playwright from Limerick, Joanne Ryan. Joanne wrote and performs in her solo multimedia show, ‘Eggistentialism’ which is currently touring in Malaysia and Australia. This is based on her personal journey of trying to decide if she wants to become a parent or not. Joanne recognises that we are the first generation to have this choice regarding reproduction. She feels that “we haven’t caught up socially to where we are demographically. It’s estimated now that one-fifth of young Irish women will never become mothers, and that’s an increasingly legitimate choice, but there are no positive role models represented in the media.”Psychology lecturer and BA social care programme leader for Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) Dr Lisa O’ Rourke Scott. Lisa’s PhD research examined how Irish women in families of three generations talked about single motherhood. Lisa commented, “The demands of ideal motherhood have become increasingly unrealistic over time. Mothers are expected to be constantly available to their children, meeting all of their emotional needs, whilst at the same time being ‘economically productive’ members of society”. Bronagh Fleming, LIT staff member, digital content manager, photographer and interior stylist. Bronagh is child free by choice and is welcoming glorious middle age as maybe people will stop asking when she and her partner are having children. Amanda Tobin. Amanda is 48, works as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry and has recently returned to live in Ireland following 24 years living in Belgium. Childless-not-by-choice, Amanda is an advocate for breaking down social taboos, stigma and myths about what it means to be childless in a family centric world. She works closely with the organisation Gateway women, (founder Jody Day) which is a support, resource and friendship network for those who find themselves childless-not-by-choice, due to fertility issues or other circumstances e.g. not meeting the right partner at the right time. She has recently become a licensed facilitator to run Gateway women reignite retreats, weekend workshops where those at any stage of processing the grief of childlessness are offered a safe, creative and healing space with others who understand exactly what they are going through. The event will be chaired by Dr Deirdre Flynn. Deirdre is an Assistant Professor of Irish Studies at University College Dublin and her work includes examining the connection between motherhood and identity in Irish literature.
For more information on Are Kids for Me go here.
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