by Katherine Williams
The first time I really intentionally though about my status as a woman without children of my own was when a female journalist wrote about me in the Canberra times, referencing my portrait of Barry and his newborn daughter Alkirra. This journalist wrote that I was “33 and childless”. My childlessness mattered because my photo and the project to which it belonged, was about teenage pregnancy and family. It was the first time I had been described based on my childlessness and I felt offended, although I didn’t know whether this was a justified reaction. But as my family and friends read this article and independently had very similar reactions, I became more confident that the label of childless did not belong to me. Later, when I thanked another female journalist from the Newcastle Herald for leaving out the word childless in her writeup about me, she replied that she “would never do that to a fellow woman”.
As Laura Carroll, author of The Baby Matrix said, "Childlessness is for someone who wants a child but doesn’t have one. It’s a lack.” Well, whether or not I was lacking something, was not for this journalist to determine. For now, I am child-free by choice.