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Childless

Childless: A Story of Freedom and Longing

Sian Prior

I always wanted to have children. The earth might be in trouble—overpopulated, descending into ecological crisis—but I was always sure my kids would help make the world a better place. I would be a green-feminist supermum, having it all. Nothing turned out the way I expected.

Like many women, Sian Prior arrived at the point where she was ready to start having babies—and found they were not hers to have. Three miscarriages with a supportive partner; a new partner who already had all the children he wanted; step-children; step-grandchildren; the decision to parent solo, followed by many rounds of fertility treatments.

After all this Sian found herself, at fifty, childless and coming to terms. Weighing up the freedoms against the losses. Dealing with the unacknowledged legacy of her own lost father. Observing parenthood itself—how we succeed at it and how we fail—from a perspective outside the trenches.

Compelling, moving, beautifully written and unexpectedly uplifting, Childless is her story.

INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS

ABC Radio National: Conversations     
Book Pod   
Booktopia blog    
Conversation    
Guardian   
Guardian:  When you’re childless not by choice, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of profound loss    
Mamamia     
Readings    
Saturday Paper    
Sydney Morning Herald      
Sydney Morning Herald: Good Weekend     
Sydney Morning Herald: Good Weekend podcast     

Sian Prior
About the Author

Sian Prior is a Melbourne-based writer, broadcaster, musician and creative-writing teacher. She has been an ABC radio host and a regular columnist for the Age/Sydney Morning Herald. Her first book, Shy: a memoir was published in 2014.

Read Moreright
Extent:
272pp
Format:
Paperback
Text publication date:
29 March 2022
ISBN:
9781922458568
AU Price:
$34.99
NZ Price:
$40.00
Australian
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Praise for Sian Prior
andChildless

‘An acutely observed, beautifully written and moving account of the pain – and consolations – of childlessness. Childless is shot through with life, joy and the willingness to face the present with a powerful and unflinching gaze. A wonderful book.’

‘Honest, gentle, full of grief, joy, and wisdom. I adored this book.’

‘The fluidity of [Sian Prior’s] prose matches her description of grief as treading water…This book is the product of her time afloat and shows her full immersion in the one life, by chance or choice, that is hers.’

Childless is a welcome interruption to the ideology of motherhood (frequently presumed to be the natural state of the female subject), and an incredibly candid account of the way that the female body can torture and foil the person who inhabits it… There is a sadness here, of course, but also many moments of joy and humour, and a story of living with purpose and intention…I hope so many people read this book—people with and without children, by choice or by fate—to understand an experience that is infrequently given space to exist in public, but which is by no means unique.’

‘Rich with evocative detail…Memoirs like Prior’s remind us that human experience is far more complex, that there are so many gradations, so much light and shadow.’

‘In Childless, [Sian Prior] brings a fresh and at times caustically honest approach to a subject that often remains unspoken: a woman of a certain age not having children. Prior’s writing is precise and stripped of sentimentality and her pinpoint powers of perception bring to light the assumptions that surround her status in the world, often at great cost.’

‘Unsentimental yet deeply intimate…ultimately a book about loss, hope and building a life that looks quite different to the one you’d always envisaged.’

‘A generously intimate and insightful book. Prior is porous and vulnerable with her story as she describes the rollercoaster of relationships, miscarriages, IVF cycles, love, lust, loss and loneliness that comes with trying to conceive over many years…alive with questions and a subterranean depth…This is the work of a beautifully observant writer who leans into life’s hardest moments.’

Other editions ofChildless
  • Childless
    ebook
    ISBN: 9781922459862
    29 March 2022
    Buy ebook
Other Titles bySian Prior