When I met Isabel (online, of course, where else?) We spoke for over 20 minutes in english about the stigma around women who choose not to have kids. It took as a while to realise that we both speak Spanish as our mother tongue. Sometimes is nice to agree in different languages and that we did!
We talked about her business, the Uprising Spark, the social pressure that women still have regarding their choices, the comments people make in this time and age, the representation in the media... and by the end of it I was so excited to have her on board, speaking about all this in the blog!
In your own words, what is The Uprising Spark and who is the woman behind it?
The Uprising Spark is a safe space I created especially for women who have consciously decided that they don’t want to be mothers (or childfree women, as they are known in our community).
When I first “came out” as childfree I remember feeling alone, I remember thinking that there was something wrong with me, and not really knowing how to navigate a world that kept telling me over and over again, in many different ways, that if I had a functioning uterus I had an obligation to use it and procreate. I immediately started looking for other people like me and very quickly realized that most of the childfree spaces online were missing something important: a real sense of community. It felt like it was more about “us vs. them”, meaning childfree people vs. parents, instead of “let’s elevate and celebrate all of us for making and embracing this choice”.
I also noticed that many childfree women were feeling the same way I had felt right after I realised I was childfree. Women in general feel a lot of pressure to reproduce, and when you voice your choice to not become a parent the pressure is usually stronger. Childfree women are on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol, hurtful comments, and other people’s incapacity to make an effort to understand that our choice is personal and doesn’t affect them in the slightest.
At the time, there were a lot of resources and support coaches for mothers and for the many types of challenges they faced as parents (as there should be!), and there was very little of the same type of support for childfree women. As a trained life coach, and having gone through the process of overcoming my own insecurities and feelings of shame attached to my choice, I decided to create The Uprising Spark to help childfree women who struggle with feelings of anger, insecurity, shame, and guilt that surround their choice to not have children. It’s not only about overcoming these feelings, it’s also about giving them the tools, the support and the confidence they deserve to live a happy and fulfilled life on their own terms.
I also created The Uprising Spark as a way to strengthen our community in a positive and meaningful way, as opposed to just have another space used to tear parents and children apart. That’s just not my jam.
For the past two years I have helped many childfree women who have signed up for my coaching products, and also by creating thoughtful and valuable free resources that anyone can access at any time.
I have also had a positive impact on women’s lives through storytelling! This has been achieved with The Honest Uproar podcast, where I feature interviews of women from around the World who come to share their stories and talk about their choice to be childfree
There is a lot of me in The Uprising Spark: its personality is exactly who I am. I pour my heart and soul into it every single day of my life. I am someone who definitely wants to have a positive impact on other women’s lives. Other than that, I am a world traveler, an avid kitesurfer, I’m addicted to chocolate and I love dogs.
You have different projects on your hands all related with Childfree women. Why is this an important topic?
The childfree topic is an important one because, in my opinion, it doesn’t get talked about as much as it should be!
It’s very surprising to me still that, at this day and age, you hear women say things like “I didn’t know I had a choice!” The funny thing about this is that I didn’t know I had a choice either until someone pointed that out to me in my early 30s!
Some time ago someone asked me (with intense disbelief, might I add), “what do you mean you didn’t know it was a choice?” It sounds ridiculous to say that women don’t know that reproducing is not mandatory, right? Yet it’s the reality of the world we live in.
Women are conditioned since our early childhood to see ourselves as a ‘mommy’ when we grow up, to believe that having babies is the step right after getting married, which is the step right after being with our significant other for some time, which is the step right after we finish studying or something similar. See a pattern here? Step after step of building the life that everyone is supposed to live.
I want ALL women, men and non-binary people, but particularly young women, to know that having children is not mandatory. Being vocal about the childfree choice and advocating for childfree women to be treated with respect and dignity, is part of the process to make this happen.
What is the biggest impact of what you do?
A long time ago I told someone that if I helped at least one woman, just one, it would make this whole endeavor worth it. I am very fortunate to say that I have had a positive impact on several women, and in particular childfree women, because what I have created has helped them know that they are not alone, that there is nothing wrong with them, and that it is perfectly OK to choose not to become a mother.
I receive many messages and emails from women thanking me for my content and my services, telling me that it gives them courage to live the best life they can and that it helps them trust their own journey. This, to me, is by far the biggest impact of what I do.
What is the big goal?
The big goal is to bring awareness to the fact that becoming a parent is a choice, not an obligation. We strive for everyone to learn that there are sexual and reproductive freedoms and rights, but not a lot of people talk about reproductive responsibilities. Bringing a human being into this World shouldn’t be taken lightly, and I think many people are completely unaware of this.
What is Feminism for you?
Feminism, to me, is gender equality: equal opportunities, equal pay, equal rights, equal everything. It’s about not having to endure sexist comments and attitudes that many people seem to be okay with. It’s about being able to feel safe in any environment. It’s about women’s well-being in every single aspect of our lives, without having to fight tooth and nail for any of it because it’s this unachievable thing reserved only for men. It’s about having the freedom to choose what we do with our lives and our bodies.
I believe that Feminism should always be intersectional, no exceptions. A white woman from a rich country does not have the same needs regarding equality than a BIPOC woman from a developing country, for example. This is one of my most important personal convictions.
Feminism, in my opinion, should be a collective principle. It shouldn’t have to be only women striving for a more equal world, I believe all genders should get involved into this endeavor to make it happen.
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
The “everyday sexism” that drives me crazy is that many people view women who own a uterus only as baby factories. They don’t attach any other value to this person other than their ability to reproduce and parent.
In most nuclear families, women are the ones who take on the larger part of the responsibility in regards to raising the children and keeping the household in order, and this is one of the reasons why society reduces our role to exactly that: reproduce, parent, clean and cook. And it is so infuriating that, in many societies, that’s the measure by which women are valued!
A woman can be a mother (or not!), and still be valuable to society, worthy of everything that is good in this World, admired by their other achievements and by their experiences outside of parenting. Some people don’t understand this and it bothers me to no end.
Do you remember when you started identifying as a Feminist and why?
I don’t really remember when I first started identifying as a Feminist. What I do remember is that it was at the same time I understood what Intersectional Feminism is.
Ever since I was very young, I have had thoughts and ideas that align with the general concept of feminism. When I was in my teens, I noticed that whenever anyone talked about feminists, they referred to them with demeaning, shaming, and disrespectful terms, and used words like “feminazi”, so I didn’t want to be associated with any of that because I didn’t want to feel rejected.
I also remember thinking that many of the things that feminists were striving for were aligned with my thoughts and with how I felt about the world, but I didn’t identify as one of them because of the reason I just mentioned.
I started reading about Feminism when I was in my twenties and found that there are many different theories and ideas within the movement, as opposed to being one big monolith with a single, defined thesis.
When I read about Intersectional Feminism, something inside of me lit up. I instantly knew that this was what I was holding in my heart and my mind all along, and that, going forward, I wanted to make it part of who I was and of every single thing I created.
Who is your biggest feminist role model?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
What is your favourite Feminist quote?
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own” – Audre Lorde
What is your proud feminist victory?
Getting approval for a voluntary sterilization surgery without having birthed a child! It’s one of the hardest things that childfree women have to face because many health professionals do not agree with giving us autonomy over our bodies, specifically in what pertains to our reproductive organs.What is your feminist recommendation?
- Book: The Baby Trap, by Ellen Peck
- TV show: Big Little Lies
- Film: Hidden Figures (2016)
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.