Civilla Morgan is today’s featured Podcaster, and the host of the Childless Not By Choice Podcast. This show was recorded LIVE on November 20th on Spreaker.
“I knew I was about to put myself out there and a lot of my business and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m an introvert by nature. But I felt really passionate and I still do about this whole subject of being childless not by choice in a world where even in 2017, it still matters to the absolute stranger if you have children or not. It’s just amazing to me that people still don’t say very nice things to each other. I’ve had things said to me. I just want us to push past all of that nonsense and get to where we need to be because if we were born, we’re here for a reason even if we did not get to live the life that we imagined. I imagined I would be married with children living in a house with a white picket fence and two car garage. That was what I always thought and so when that didn’t happen, I had to choose and I use the word choose and choice a lot on my platform. Well, then, we have to choose what kind of life we want to live. It’s up to us, it’s not up to anybody else.”
She talks about the idea of the show, 21st Century Hannah, attitudes toward others who are childless, finding guests, and encouragement. Read most of the interview below.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: All right Civilla, so tell me, “childless not by choice”, this podcast, when did you come up with this idea?
CIVILLA MORGAN: Well I think the idea had been in my head for a long time but I didn't officially create the platform until about three years ago, this month. So, November is my three-year anniversary of the platform. I started podcasting about six months after that, so, the podcast is about two years and four months old right now.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Can you tell me a little bit more about the “21st Century Hannah”? Can you explain that a little bit?
CIVILLA MORGAN: Well I started out calling the platform “21st Century Hannah” and I named it that because Hannah, for those of you who know the Bible Hannah, was a woman in the Bible who was barren at a time when being a barren woman was not a good thing. Because women in those days and to some extent even now in some cultures, women were created to create a child and if they can't even do that, then they were of no use to anyone. And she eventually, after doing a lot of praying and pleading with God, God finally answered her question and gave her Samuel; one of the great prophets of the Bible and five other children. So she ended up having many children, but I decided to take her name-Hannah-and put it with the fact that we are in the 21st Century and even in the 21st Century, there are women who are childless, not by choice. And so I started out calling the platform that I still use that on many parts of my platform. But my Podcast Producer suggested a good year and a half ago or so that I should call the podcast “Childless not by choice” because that's what it's about. And not everybody knows who Hannah is, so it wouldn't speak to them when they're in the podcast library: in iTunes or [inaudible] [02:22] wherever, looking for something that resonated with their pain. So, I changed the podcast name to “Childless not by choice”.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: I am unfamiliar with the “Hannah story” and as I'm listening to you, I’m just curious Civilla, do you find that attitude still exist in society where, if you if you don't procreate, you're useless?
CIVILLA MORGAN: In many in many parts of the world the answer is still yes and even here in the western world, women do get questioned. When men talk, the first question they ask each other is: “what do you do for a living?” Well, when women talk, the first thing that comes up is: “do you have kids?” And then you go on from there, and so if you don't have kids and a woman says: “no, I don't have kids.” A lot of times the response was: “Oh really? why not?” People just ask the craziest questions. If a woman says “no”, especially if she is a woman of a certain age and she says “no, I do not have kids,” the correct thing to do is just leave it there and say “Oh, okay,” and maybe change the subject, talk about something else. But many times, people will push men and women “oh, well why don't you have kids?” Or, “what's wrong with you? Or, “what happened?” Or, if you are a younger woman: “oh, it'll happen,” not knowing the back story of the woman. So that's what happens in the West and certain other cultures. Most recently I spoke with a woman from Kenya, if a woman doesn't have children or can't have children, she can be put aside or beaten by her husband. Her husband's family makes him put her aside even if the issue was with him and so that is still happening today, right now, this minute it's still happening.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: I heard some of that interview with the lady from Kenya and I heard another episode where it was more like a monologue. Do you often do interviews and how do you find your guests?
CIVILLA MORGAN: I do interviews and monologues it's about maybe 60% monologue, 40% interview and I'm good with that I like “monologuing”, if that's a word. But I do like to bring guests and because I want the listeners to hear other points of view and, as I said about the interview with Kenya as you listen to that, there really is an issue. “Being childless not by choice” is still an issue in 2017. So, I do a little bit of both and in 2017, I just finished interviewing and concentrating on proper nutrition and exercise no matter where in the world you are. So, I really did a big concentration on that even interviewing a bodybuilder and nutritionist recently. What was the other question What was the second part of the question?
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Where do you find them?
CIVILLA MORGAN: Oh, that's right. I spend a lot of time on social media and I don’t know if you have heard the interview with the man who is childless not by choice but sometimes I look at people’s profiles or I meet them in the groups that we belong to and wherever somebody picks my interest I’ll ask them if they are up for an interview.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Besides being interesting, is there another criteria? Should they be childless?
CIVILLA MORGAN: Well, tricky question. But the answer is that most of the interviews that I do are with people who are childless not by choice or for instance, I interviewed a psychologist sometime back and I interviewed a therapist a while back and I interviewed a O.B. G.Y.N. doctor quite some time back. So, if I'm going to interview somebody, I want them to bring something of substance and something with their knowledge to the table. I may someday maybe even this year, interview a woman who is childless who is not necessarily a clinician, I’ve been thinking about that. But generally, I want to bring information and good information to the table to encourage women and the men that listen as well.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Okay, so information and encouragement, are there any other common themes throughout the podcast?
CIVILLA MORGAN: Well I consider myself an Encourager. I believe that's one of the gifts that I have is to encourage people and of course, when you tend to have a positive attitude or a positive outlook on life, people can try to take advantage of that or take it for granted. But, as we as we mature as human beings we learn how to properly use our gifts so that we don't let them overtake us or let other people overtake us, that's just a little side note. So, I am an Encourager. I know it's a gift that I have being an Encourager is a gift because wherever you go, you can encourage anyone no matter what the situation, you can give them a word of encouragement. So, you can’t make it up because people can see through that and so I created the platform really to encourage childless not by choice women, to make them realize that they are not the only one going through this because as childless not by choice women, we can tend to feel like we're the only one. Which, we know on one level makes no sense, because there are seven billion people on the planet. You can't be the only childless not by choice woman. But when you're going through something, you can tend to feel that way. So, I wanted to create a sense of community because I didn't see it when I was going through my time as a childless not by choice woman. I was surrounded by a great family and they love me but they didn't understand and I couldn't find platforms where people understood or commiserated without groaning and griping and complaining. So I decided to create such a platform and so I want to let the childless not by choice women, know that we are still relevant, we can still live a joyful and relevant and fulfilled life. Although we did not get to have the children we are not second class citizens.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: What about yourself Civilla, since you've been doing this, have you felt more encouraged yourself?
CIVILLA MORGAN: I have been asked that question several times and yes it is it is cathartic to talk to others and to encourage others because as an Encourager, people who are Encouragers, feel better about what's going on in their lives when they are busy encouraging others or helping others. It doesn't mean that we don't need a word of encouragement from time to time, because we do but, it's good to be able to encourage others, because it makes you give other people hope and its surprising how people just don't have a lot of hope. A lot of people don't have much hope and so you’re giving them a word of encouragement and hope. That's what it's all about, it’s just giving a level of hope to the situation. Does it mean that suddenly one day are going to wake up and you're going to be over it? No. It's a grieving process where we're grieving the loss of the ability to have a child, we're grieving the fact that we will not have children because I am niche past those people who are still trying to call it T.T.C. – “Trying to Conceive” or people that are or using I.B.F. or going through the I.V.F. cycles and treatments. I’m niched down to the woman who has tried all that and has come to the realization that it's not going to happen for her, because I am that woman so I understand that woman and so even through all of that, there is still hope.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Are you getting any feedback? Have you made some friends throughout with this journey?
CIVILLA MORGAN: I get feedback. There are women joining my Facebook group all the time. I had a private group which is still there but there's hardly anybody in it and then I have a close group and for the longest time, the close group was a about twelve people and there was no interaction going on and I kept telling myself: “I know it's a tough subject to broach. Women just don't want to just get up and talk about it like that. I have to build trust,” I realize that. And so three years later, the group is now 245 women and I'm really excited about it. They join all the time and almost every one of them says the same thing. They don't even realize they're saying: “wow, I'm so glad I found you guys. I thought I was the only one.” So I'm really happy that it's just finally taking a hold. I'm excited about, I’m really happy and excited about.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Does it bring you joy that maybe you are making a bit of a difference in someone's life?
CIVILLA MORGAN: It does. I mean, I have my moments where feel like: “Oh, this is just not working,” and “What else can I do to draw them out and get them to talk?” Because there are there are a lot of them who just have joined but not saying much and some of them have told me that they were just waiting, they weren't ready yet. Again, it's a subject matter that just takes time and they want to see if I'm really the person I put myself out there to be on social media. Do I really care? And how long has the platform been around? And, will it continue to be around? Or, am I fly by night? So, I understand it's about building trust, so, it's okay.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Do you have a favorite moment of your show?
CIVILLA MORGAN: I love when I get “shout-outs”. I called them mail and I love the mail. Well, good mail not the bills and all that stuff but. I love letters. Call me “old school” but I love getting a nice letter in the mail. To me, when somebody gives me a “shout-outs”, if they direct message me on Facebook or Twitter or they e-mail me, I got an e-mail recently from a wonderful woman in Hawaii and actually, people want to see who I am. So, she direct message me and then she emailed me. She eventually recently joined the group and so people want to make sure that their hearts are safe. When you your child is not by choice, you've heard so many times from family, friends, and absolute strangers that “there's something wrong with you”, “are you jealous are envious or bitter or whatever because you didn't get the child?” And people just don't get it. So, when they finally find a place and they come in and say that “I'm so glad I found you guys.” I've been listening to the podcast, one woman told me that she downloaded every episode. A woman from Australia, when she first found me, told me that she downloaded every episode and she's been listening to them to and from work, so it's just really amazing.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: How did you learn about podcasting? Did you teach yourself or did you bring on some mentorship?
CIVILLA MORGAN: I have a podcast producer and he came on almost at the beginning when I was trying to figure out what to do. If I remember correctly, it's been a couple years. I started out at a local AM radio station, so the firsts few episodes, you will hear the callers for the radio station and you'll hear our radio station format. But that wasn't working for me, so I switched everything over to podcasting. My cousin helped me get set up on Libsyn and then after that, the first one or two after I transitioned, I did through Fiverr maybe. I met my podcast producer online, on the now defunct Blab. I don't know if you're familiar with that platform, but it was a video interface platform where people from all over the world joined into groups that resonated with them. And we met in there and I shortly after, asked them to be my Podcast producer and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. So, so thankful for him. He’s a mentor as well as my Podcast producer so love him to pieces.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: I do get a sense of gratitude from you because as I've listened to your thanking all sorts of people in your show. So is gratitude something that you practice regularly?
CIVILLA MORGAN: It actually is and sometimes it's not always easy but it's something that we need to keep in mind. In fact, right now in the childless not by choice group, November we're doing the thirty days of gratitude list. So, on November 30th, we're going to do a Facebook live within the group and the women by then will have 30 things that they're grateful for. So, we're spending November being grateful and as you know, I know you're Canadian but, here in America, we are celebrating our Thanksgiving on Thursday. So, it's appropriate, but yes, gratitude is appropriate year round because we just have so much really to be thankful for especially in the western world, when you look at people comparing two bottles of water and one bottle unfiltered it's just brown water people are drinking that stuff. Then you put a bottle, a clear bottle that they have filtered next to it and we just take it for granted. We want bottled water. We don't want to drink from the tap or the pipe. You know what I mean?
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Yeah.
CIVILLA MORGAN: So, I’m ever grateful for just the little things really.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: I was talking to my cousin the other day and my big complaint was how my coffee tasted and then I’m like: ‘Wow, what problems I have.”
CIVILLA MORGAN: Exactly.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: We’re so blessed to be where we are. We're so blessed and we need reminders because I don't know where our head is sometimes.
CIVILLA MORGAN: Yeah, I agree.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: When you started this podcast - childless not by choice - was it emotionally difficult to start?
CIVILLA MORGAN: It was because. I knew I was about to put myself out there and a lot of my business and I don't know if you've noticed but I'm an introvert by nature. But I felt really passionate and I still do about this whole subject of being childless not by choice in a world where even in 2017, it still matters to the absolute stranger if you have children or not. It’s just amazing to me that people still don't say very nice things to each other. I've had things said to me. I just want us to push past all of that nonsense and get to where we need to be because if we were born, we're here for a reason even if we did not get to live the life that we imagined. I imagined I would be married with children living in a house with a white picket fence and two car garage. That was what I always thought and so when that didn't happen, I had to choose and I use the word choose and choice a lot on my platform. Well, then, we have to choose what kind of life we want to live. It's up to us, it’s not up to anybody else.
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