Women share their anger and fear

“I have this deep sadness and anger that I don’t have a second child in the midst of the climate crisis.”

Rosanna Selway Spencer from London said it felt “very cathartic” to share this thought with the group she had joined in Bristol.

She said it was encouraging to meet others where she could talk about it in a safe space.

The project, Motherhood in a Climate Crisis, was started by Sophia Cheng to help people share these difficult conversations.

People who participate talk about the experience, thinking about or wanting to quit motherhood due to climate issues.

Group sessions are tailored to what participants want to focus on, but in this workshop they created monologues, devised a collaborative play and worked alongside a therapist for support.

Ms Cheng said since her inception, she had “never seen an outpouring of emotions like this”.

“They shared this flood of grief, blood, miscarriages and abortions.

“There was also a lot of laughter. The kind of conversations I hadn’t had in a long time.”

“A letter to the second child I will never bear”

Thirty seven years old Rosanna Selway Spencer shared how he experienced a “difficult internal struggle” during the project.

“In the sessions I wrote a letter called ‘to the second child I will never bear’ and it was very cathartic.”

Mrs Spencer said she wanted to have a second child but her husband didn’t “but since I became aware of climate change I’ve changed my mind”.

“I had this deep feeling of despair and sadness around me. It’s very scary.

“I just don’t know if I would have had a child if I had known before?” she added

“It was everything I feared”

Ruby PughThe 31-year-old, from Bristol, said of her that thinking about not having children because of the climate crisis was “such a difficult subject to talk about when most of your friends are having children”.

“I don’t want to bring new children into the world as it is today.

“I wouldn’t feel good making that choice.

“I’m hoping to go the adoption route when I’m ready.

“Being able to talk about it in the lab felt like a burden and lifted me up.

“It’s something very personal for me. The first session I cried and I rarely cry.

“A woman in front of me said that she has children and she didn’t know how she was going to look them in the eye in the future and have this conversation with them.

“Hearing a mom say that was all I was scared of.

“Sharing these conversations changed my life, made me confident in my decisions. I don’t know how else I would have gotten to this point.”

“We must not sacrifice our bodies”

Daniela MilitarouThe 37-year-old from London said she felt embraced by the other women in the lab.

“I didn’t know it could be so liberating and so heart-warming. I felt less alone,” she said.

“It’s a topic I don’t discuss in my company. Many of them are mothers and they understand, but they can only go so far.

“My story came out of the lab like a flurry. Someone asked how many kids are okay, I just got some fire out of me.

“I don’t think women should sacrifice their bodies and their dreams for the climate crisis. It’s something we’ve been doing for centuries.

“One or two is fine, but having too many? Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

“Perhaps we should consider the consequences of our actions.

“I tried to talk to my mom, but she only understood to a certain extent.”

Workshop facilitator and director Elizabeth Mytton said many people took part in the project to find solace in their concerns about the climate crisis.

“Actually, hearing their stories and seeing them together, I felt empowered.

“We know very well that it ended up being a fairly homogenous group of white and mostly middle-class women.

“As a black woman I thought a lot of voices were missing from this, so we want to do more to make sure a wider group of people can take part.

“We see this as the first phase of the project.”

Organizers are raising money to start the next phase of the project which will continue to work with women across the UK to tell their stories.

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