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Episode 19: Don’t Let Your Privilege Cloud Your Empathy with Isabel Firecracker

Episode 19 cover art featuring podcast guest Isabel Firecracker

Meet Isabel, a firebrand and bold Latina voice promoting the modern childfree lifestyle. This episode was recorded on the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned, and though Isabel is from Colombia, she explains how the reverberations of this landmark decision affect childfree people around the world, and especially in Latin America.

We didn’t hide our frustrations during this conversation, and we also didn’t shy away from delving into heavy topics like white supremacy, forced sterilization, and the dangers of pronatalism. But we also have hope for the impact that our own voices can have for other Latinas, and invite you to join this fight with us.

More about Isabel:
Isabel loves to create virtual and IRL activities that connect more childfree women from around the World. Whether co-hosting the Childfree Girls podcast or organizing trips with The Uprising Spark, Isabel is the childfree friend you always wanted but never knew you needed.

Isabel is a co-founder of Nunca Madre: a Spanish-speaking community for childfree people in Latin America and Spain focused on raising awareness about choice and helping those undecided about having kids.

A world traveler, avid kite surfer, and childfree intersectional feminist, Isabel offers safe spaces where other childfree women evolve and grow into the best versions of themselves.

DM me on Instagram if you have questions about this week’s episode. And if you would like to apply to be on the podcast, fill out this form.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.*

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[00:00] Paulette: Buen día y welcome to The Maker Muse Podcast, the place where childfree Spanglish speaking mujeres fuertes are inspired to find their confidence, su confianza, through creativity. I’m Paulette Erato, The Maker Muse.

[00:18] On today’s episode, I’m speaking with Isabel Firecracker, who is a podcaster herself. I said the wrong name of her podcast at the beginning, but don’t worry we get it right later on. Her podcast is the Honest Uproar and her company is called Uprising Spark. She’s also the co-host of Childfree Girls, which is an international video podcast she hosts with two other women. Buckle up because we’re hitting on some heavy topics, including abortion rights. The day we recorded, this was the very same day that Roe versus Wade was overturned here in the US.

[00:52] Isabel is not from the US. She’s Colombian. Although on this day, she happened to be in Portugal. This fact is important, not only because she’s able to give us the international Latin American experience of a childfree person, but she also gives us a firsthand account of how decisions within the US government and society impact other countries.

[01:12] What you’re about to be privy to is a raw and honest reaction to events as they unfolded. There was a lot of sighing. These were the sighs of frustration and exhaustion. But we won’t give up hope, so you’re going to hear us laugh a lot too. Not just at the sheer absurdity of what we were experiencing, of what we are experiencing, but also in that “you know exactly what I mean” kind of way that people in community with one another understand.

[01:41] So I hope you enjoy this interview.

[01:43] Today, I’m with Isabel Firecracker, who is herself a podcast host. She has the podcast Uprising Spark, which is specifically about being childfree. So today’s conversation is going to be very interesting. Isabel, thank you for being here today and thank you for all of the work that you do on behalf of not just childfree Latinas, but childfree people in general.

[02:07] Isabel: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[02:10] Paulette: So let’s just dive into it. What is it that makes Isabel spark?

[02:15] Isabel: Wow. Uh, that’s an interesting question, I think is the first one first time anyone has ever asked me that, uh, well, I’m sure people who have already like, like have seen my media, my social media and the activism that I do.

[02:29] I’m very passionate about the childfree lifestyle and the reason I’m passionate about the childfree lifestyle is because I think it’s very important to raise awareness, especially for younger generations. So they can understand that having children is not an obligation. And also, you know, for people who are childfree also to reinforce the fact that, you know, being child is completely normal.

[02:49] There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re okay. Your life is gonna turn out fine. Don’t you worry about all those bingos, you know. I think it was a little bit when I, uh, first started in this space, I think that was lacking a little bit, you know, like this, the childfree spaces that I I saw, and this was a few years back, now it’s a completely different scene.

[03:08] But the childfree spaces that I saw at the time were all very like us versus them. Right. Childfree versus parents. And that’s, to me, it’s never been the goal. It will never be the goal. So I think it’s more about, let’s reinforce our decision. Let’s not reinforce in the sense that you were not gonna be able to change your mind.

[03:28] That happens too, but it’s more like let’s empower ourselves. Let’s let’s just be in a position which nothing anyone can say or do will make us feel bad for being ourselves basically.

[03:40] Paulette: How have you seen the evolution since you’ve started in this space to where we are today? And for our listeners at home, this will of course be playing later in the future for them. But we are recording this on the day of the dreadful SCOTUS decision to basically overturn Roe versus Wade. So it’s a charged atmosphere that we are sitting in at this moment, Isabel and I. But we’re powering through. We will not be yeah deterred from our mission. That being said, do you think it’s better now?

[04:14] Isabel: In terms of like social climate? I, there are things that are better. There are things that are not. Um, or in terms just in general, you know, we’re childfree people sort of being a lot more understood and being a lot more, I would say represented now. Of course. When I first started in this space a few years ago, I first started as a consumer of the content.

[04:38] I wasn’t creating anything. And I remember thinking this isn’t very positive. Like I, I just thought it was very toxic. Uh, Facebook groups for childfree people were very toxic. Like I just mentioned it was a lot of us versus them and it wasn’t like, oh, you know, we’re happy. We’re gonna be fine. It’s gonna be okay.

[04:59] And I had so many questions and E everything anyone wanted to talk about was how parents were like the worst thing in the world. And children were the worst thing in the world. That was not what I wanted to discuss. That’s not, you know, something that I, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that because that’s not the life I chose.

[05:15] Right. And also I have a lot of people in my life who are parents who I adore. A lot of children that are in my life that I adore. They’re not mine. I don’t want my own, but doesn’t mean I hate children. So that’s the, you know, there’s, there’s also that, that myth of… Because at the time, I also see a lot of vitriol from parents towards childfree people.

[05:36] And it was like, you’re all you all hate children. You are all going to die alone and unhappy. And you know, this things like you’re C childfree wants to fuck you. I’m sorry. Can we curse in your podcast?

[05:50] Paulette: We can absolutely curse on the podcast. Yes. Yes. We are very passionate Latinas here on the podcast. So please do not hold back.

[06:01] Isabel: Listen, I wanna say first I curse more in Spanish than I do when I English. I already curse a in English.

[06:06] Paulette: Fantastic, it’s a Spanglish podcast.

[06:11] Isabel: So, um, yeah, so it’s like, nobody’s gonna wanna have sex with you. That’s why you’re, that’s why you’re childfree, because nobody wants to have sex with you. You’re childfree because you know, things like that. Or, or, or the opposite or, or you’re childfree so because you wanna fuck everyone around you. You don’t not have children because… those preconceived ideas and, and, and I saw a childfree community that was very much fighting that with the same sword. Right.

[06:39] So it’s like, we’re getting hit at, we’re gonna hit back. We’re gonna hit harder. And I was confused. I was lost. Uh, I had just made the decision for me. It was like a light bulb decision. It was like Eureka kind of moment when I made the decision, because I honestly did not know that embracing the childfree lifestyle was a choice.

[06:58] Paulette: Right.

[06:58] Isabel: I didn’t know. I was in my early thirties and being Latina, we were expected to get married in your, by your mid- twenties you already need to have a boyfriend that is gonna propose and then get married. And then you need to have to start to start having children. I think times are changing little bit now, but in your thirties, either late twenties or early thirties is like the right time to have children.

[07:20] I was in my early thirties. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend and I was going, now what? Like I have to go back, date, meet more men. Machistas oh, okay. You have like machista man, like I’m Colombian. So there’s a lot of machismo still in my country. And then I have to do the whole thing. And then how long is it gonna take for us to start having kids?

[07:41] I Ugh, having kids. You know, the whole idea wasn’t appealing to me. And I thought I had to go through it. And it was my therapist who pointed out, because I’m, I’m saying all of this going, oh, I can’t believe it. Talking about the breakup and it wasn’t, I wasn’t too sad about breaking up. I was more what’s gonna happen with now.

[08:00] I’m 33 and I don’t have, I just broke up with the guy that I thought I was gonna marry him, have kids with. And she said, Isabel, you do know you don’t have to have children, right? That was the first time I ever heard anyone, anyone say to me, give yourself permission to think through it and make the decision that’s best for you.

[08:17] Wow. That was mind blown.

[08:21] Paulette: That must have been exciting.

[08:24] Isabel: It was, and this came from a therapist who is a mother herself. But she got me and she said, she said to me, you know, I don’t think you wanna be a mom. You should think about it though. And I was like, I don’t wanna be a mom. Like, for me, the decision was instant.

[08:41] Like I know that we all have different stories. There are some Latinas, like in general people, but because our culture is, is still hanging on to those old traditions and you have to have a ch –a husband and you have to have at least two kids and you have to preserve the family name and whatnot. That we all know so well.

[09:02] This to me was like, oh my God, it was, yes I don’t wanna be a mom. Like I knew right then and there, I didn’t wanna be a mother. But my soul searching sort of quote-unquote soul searching period came afterwards because I was trying to adapt as a Latino in the world that expects you to give grandchildren to your parents.

[09:23] I’m the eldest one. Add that to the equation being the eldest Latina, a woman and my parents are not grandparents yet. And so you have sort of that burden. It’s a burden for me. It’s a burden, you know, having to please your parents, having to please your family. Just because there are certain things that you are expected to do, and it’s not even for you.

[09:48] We carry so much from our ancestors and from all this history. Latin American history, that is so rich and we carry a lot from our families. And, you know, I, I read something the other day, which made me think a lot about the role of the Latina woman. Especially of the eldest daughter in a, in a, in a Latino family and the responsibilities and what is expected of us. You know, we’re sort of like paving the way in a way for the, for the smaller ones, for the ones that if we are not, you know, an only child. And if you decide to go against everything that you’ve been taught and everything your parents have believed in on your grandparents, it’s like a slap on the face to your ancestors in a way.

[10:32] That’s how it felt for me.

[10:34] Paulette: Isabel makes an interesting point there about the eldest daughter. I lamented the same point when I told you my story in episode 15. Luz Media, which is helmed by another childfree Latina, Lucy Flores, recently published an article on kin keeping by Natalia Guzman. It discusses the additional emotional labor that Latino women and their daughters are expected to undertake lest the family traditions disappear. Lest the actual family unity disappear. It’s a hell of a load. I’ll leave a link to both that episode and the article in the show notes.

[11:10] But wait, there’s more. I actually came across a TikTok recently where one man was asking why the daughters always felt like they had to be all up in everyone’s business and managing the family. And another man came by and explained to him why. Because the eldest daughters are just thrust into this role almost from birth. And I mean, it’s pretty brilliant and it perfectly illustrated what Isabel and I were talking about here. So I’ll leave you a link to that too.

[11:37] Isabel: But I’ve always been the rebellious one.

[11:39] So, and I think my mom thought it was a phase you know. She was like, oh yeah, this Isabel’s coming in with her crazy ideas, you know? Whatever, let’s not listen to her. So I, I was lost. I was very lost. And at the time I was dating someone, no, I started dating someone after I made the decision. So I was sort of like in that, trying to find my footing and, and also being very straightforward about my choice to this person.

[12:05] And one of my aunts came to visit. So she’s Colombian as well, of course, but she immigrated in the US when she was very young, she was like 18. She got married, very young. She had a daughter, very young. She got divorced, very young. Like she got divorced before her daughter was born and she got pregnant the night of her wedding.

[12:26] And she’s still holding onto a lot of the, what she knew from her upbringing in Colombia, even though she’s been living in the States. But she lives in Florida, which is more or less the same thing as like, you know, Miami capital city of Latin America. Same thing. Same thing, we’ll know that. So, um, one day I remember she, she said to me always, we have a boyfriend now, when are you gonna start having kids?

[12:47] And I was like, oh, I don’t want kids, like, you know, I don’t wanna have a kid. And she was like, what do you mean? And I was like, I don’t, we’re actually doing everything in our power so we don’t have kids. And she said to me, well, I, I hope your birth control fails.

[13:02] Paulette: The audacity as

[13:06] Isabel: Yeah.

[13:06] Paulette: Egregious as that is to a person on this side of the argument, that is such a natural response from someone on that side of the argument, especially in our culture.

[13:16] Isabel: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, Latin cultures are so close to Catholicism, mainly very religious, but mainly Catholicism or Christianism. Like abortion. That’s not even something you think

[13:29] Paulette: That’s not a word you say out loud.

[13:31] Isabel: You’re God fearing woman. Oh my God. No, no, no, no. That’s not something you even mention.

[13:37] Oh my God. You know, when they’re working themselves, like God, you want, like, because many people have a very strong relationship with, um, their pastors or even like church fathers. And what are they gonna say? You know, shameful to even think about it. And I remember when she said that to me, that she hopes birth control fail.

[14:00] I said, well, I’ll abort. And she was, she was shell shocked. She was like, oh my, and at this time in Colombia, abortion was only legal in three instances. So that change and this, okay, so this is something, you know, to tie into what’s happening today. Like Paulette mentioned is June 24th and we just, I just heard today, you know, the, the decision of Roe V Wade, uh, being overturn.

[14:25] In my country, which is supposed to be a third world country, three months ago, the Supreme Court in my country, I think it was over three months ago, I can’t remember the exact date, but they made abortion legal and free until week 24.

[14:39] Paulette: Wow.

[14:39] Isabel: It doesn’t matter what your reasons are. Yeah. It doesn’t matter.

[14:43] They’re like you have the right over your body, you know, people with a uterus go ahead, have an abortion, have a safe abortion. And that sparked a very strong debate in my country, especially people who are extremely religious against people who are a little bit more progressive in that sense. And now, before we started recording, I was telling you what’s happening in the US is gonna have repercussions across the world.

[15:06] And the reason is, and especially in Latin America, because we’re very influenced by the US and the reason being many people see the us and they think, oh, it’s the land of opportunities. It’s the land of the free, uh, it’s people, you know, the US, it’s such an advanced country in so many ways they are developed.

[15:28] They have like the best systems. Uh, so you can be whoever you want and do whatever you want with your life. And some, and as you know, in some Latino countries, there’s a lot of restrictions. A lot of restrictions around so many things, not only abortion, but uh, gay marriage, or just in general, you know, being part of the LGBTQ plus community, there are restrictions on, you know, there are countries in which is even worse.

[15:55] And, and seeing that it’s a bit like, oh, okay. So if America’s doing this, there must be a reason behind it. There must be a reason why they are controlling the body of people with the uterus at this extent, because, because they know better.

[16:11] Paulette: Yeah.

[16:11] Isabel: Right. Because they know better, we should, um, follow their lead.

[16:16] Paulette: That is terrifying. That is terrifying to hear.

[16:21] Isabel: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

[16:23] Paulette: I wanna make sure that those of you listening, go follow Uprising Spark on Instagram, on Twitter. I want you to follow Isabel and I wanna follow you to follow everyone that Isabel also follows, cuz you also have two podcasts, right? You have Childfree Girls, which is a multi it’s an international conversation with three women in three different countries.

[16:45] But especially for those of us who have not had the opportunity to be sterilized or have access to contraception. These are the people who are strongly invested in making sure that everybody has access to these things. So there are resources and, and things of that nature that you should familiarize yourself with.

[17:05] And Isabel has been at the forefront of making that information available. So get yourself educated. What you just said gave me chills about how the repercussions could be that, oh, well, if the US is doing it, it must be right. And that is terrifying. That is absolutely terrifying.

[17:23] Because as a cis-het woman in a married partnership, both of us being sterile, in a state where we are very progressive, I personally don’t have anything to worry about. And yet I am so scared for all of the women in my life. All of the women that are coming after them, that don’t have these privileges, I’ve got nieces…

[17:43] Isabel: Yep.

[17:43] Paulette: That are growing up now in this environment. And they may want to make different choices.

[17:48] But if those decisions are forced on them, especially at a younger age… I don’t wanna think about it, but now I have to, I have to. Because I care about these people.

[17:59] Isabel: Yeah.

[18:00] Paulette: And I really want to drive home the point that these are people right now, you are listening to people having a conversation who do not want children. And we care about what is happening to other people’s children. So…

[18:13] Isabel: Yes.

[18:14] Paulette: The idea this, you mentioned it was a myth, but it’s a tightly held myth, especially in the media that we hate children, could not be further from the truth. And here I am on my soapbox. So I’m gonna let you go back to talking but I think, I think especially today, we’re just all so very, like we have feelings, we have all the feelings we are sitting in our feelings.

[18:39] Isabel: I’m yeah, I’m, I’m worried for my friend’s children and I’m worried for my younger cousins and I’m worried, especially, you know, talking specifically about my, my younger cousins. They’re all American. They were born in the States and they’re all Latinas. And, you know, it’s interesting because I was having a, I was having an, an exchange today with, uh, somebody who follows me on social media.

[19:04] And she was saying Latinas and black women have been oppressed for a very long time. And that oppression also includes the lack of access to healthcare. Including, of course, abortion, safe abortion. So it like right now, we’re seeing with what happened today that affecting white women also, but black women and Latino women, we have been feeling that for a long time.

[19:32] Oh my God. That got me thinking, cuz I was like, I’m not American. I don’t live in the States. I understand. I try to educate myself regarding things that happen in general around the world, but especially because I’m an intersectional feminist, I try to educate myself on the oppression of women who are not, who are not privileged. Women of color, Latinas, black women, indigenous women.

[19:59] And especially regarding, uh, things that have to do specifically with forced sterilization and voluntary sterilization, which are like the two polar opposite things of, of the same thing basically. It’s being taken away the choice,

[20:13] Paulette: Right.

[20:13] Isabel: Either or. Either because you want to be sterilized and you cannot, they don’t take you seriously or because you don’t want to, and they sterilize you without asking for your permission basically. Which I think it’s, that’s insane that to me.

[20:29] It just makes me really angry. And so I fear for my cousins and fear for the young Latinas in the, in the, in the young black women in the US who will not be able to choose either or. Who will not be able to choose when they wanna become a mother, if they wanna become a mother or a parent in general, when they wanna become a parent, how under which conditions. They’re either gonna be forced to birth or in some communities, they will never even have the chance to do it.

[20:58] To me, that makes absolutely no sense. Where are the laws that regulate penis? Honestly!

[21:06] Paulette: Where are they?

[21:08] Isabel: Nobody’s talking about it.

[21:09] Paulette: People are trying to talk about but nobody is being taken seriously because it’s such a, it, it’s such a wild idea that we would regulate penises and people with penises. That’s so crazy! But yet why isn’t the opposite argument also not treated with the same kind of, hi that could never happen. But it’s happening. It’s happening. So if the tables were turned, nobody wants to take that scenario seriously.

[21:37] Isabel: Yeah, nobody. And, and the thing is, this is something I read a long time ago and I’m sure maybe you have read it too, is a person with a uterus can only have one pregnancy in a, in a span like of nine months or 40 something weeks.

[21:51] Whereas a person with a penis can impregnate like so many people with a uterus during the same time period. Why are we regulating the people that have the organ that only has the capacity to contain one like a fetus for, you know, the period of 42 weeks and not the organ that can impregnate many others.

[22:14] And in the end, how many fetusus are there gonna be, or, you know, unwanted children or wanted children? Like that to me makes absolutely no sense. And not no one in any country. I mean, I think, haven’t read or heard anyone say, oh yeah, we’re talking about regulating penises by, you know, via vasectomies or even like what they call male birth control. Which is only now being developed after how many years have we had to take the fucking pill?

[22:45] Paulette: Ay. Yeah.

[22:47] Isabel: Ay, ay indeed, like, I love that. Ay ,

[22:50] Paulette: I mean, it’s just, it’s exhausting. It’s ex I mean, as women we’ve been dealing with this our entire lives. Like we have been dealing with all of the reproductive fun that our bodies throw at us and not everybody is educated enough to even know what the fuck is going on in there.

[23:05] That piece of the puzzle is also being taken away, especially here in the US. They keep stripping sex education down to just don’t do it. Okay, fine, but also teach people how their bodies work and, you know, let’s take

[23:18] Isabel: Exactly

[23:18] Paulette: take carnal emotion out of it. Just teach people what their organs do. I mean, at the basic level anyway.

[23:28] Isabel: Yeah. But listen, this is the crazy thing now you’re talking about educating people. Crazy thing that’s happening in the States right now, as well in parallel, just to sort of like the top the whole shit storm that’s going on, is let’s give teachers guns and also limit what they can teach our children.

[23:47] Paulette: Yeah.

[23:48] Isabel: So, like I said, none of that makes sense.

[23:50] Paulette: It only makes sense if you look at it through the lens of control and creating little robots. Mindless robots, who will not question authority and only believe the men in power, the white men in power.

[24:07] Isabel: White old men.

[24:08] Paulette: Yeah. The old white men do not wanna give up their power and they, they found a loophole to keep aggradizing that power. And it sucks. And you mentioned that now this is affecting white women. Yeah. We always center it around, is the white woman going to feel affected by it? It’s never quite as big of an issue until it affects the white woman.

[24:28] In the, um, the recession that happened in the, in like 2008, 2009. So someone posted an article that a friend of theirs had written about how, you know, her husband had lost his job and their five bedroom house was no longer something they could afford.

[24:43] And she was having to make the choice between paying this SUV bill or that 17 different phone lines or, you know, whatever. But the thing that really got me was she mentioned that she had to shamefully search for Groupons to get her kids’ teeth cleaned to make the dentist appointment. Because, you know, they just couldn’t afford to have the kids stay on their six month schedule.

[25:06] And so she was looking for Groupons for discounted dentistry. And the response of other women in that thread was, she’s so brave. She’s so brave to say these things. And I’m like us poor people have been doing this our whole fucking lives. You people think this is brave because a white woman said it? And that was one of the first instances I really saw the disconnect.

[25:32] Isabel: Oh my God.

[25:33] Paulette: And I have never forgiven the people who were in… I had to unfriend all of them. I’m like, you’re you, you don’t get it. And you never. And I’m still, that was 2008. Yeah, it is 2022, 12 years later, I’m still so angry about it. And today is just bringing it all back. It’s just bringing it all back and I just,

[25:53] Isabel: Yeah.

[25:53] Paulette: I’m fucking angry. I’m fucking angry.

[25:56] Isabel: Yeah. Yeah. It’s insane. It’s been said a lot in Colombia in the past few years because… I don’t know if you know this, but we just, we just elected our first left wing president. Well, he’s not really leftist. I would say he’s more like a progressive president. Uh, Colombia is probably, I would say next to Mexico in Latin America, one of the most conservative countries in general.

[26:21] Just in like in politics and socially, like I know Mexico is, is more or less the same. And we had never had that progressive government. Like we had like you know, liberal quote unquote party governments, but they were never liberal. It was, it was more about liberating the economy, I guess. It was never helping the country advance by giving the people who needed the most opportunities.

[26:46] Whereas this new government, I mean, this new president is gonna take possession in August. We’re gonna see what happens. Half of the country’s scared shitless half of the country are like, yes, change. And one of the things that was being debated was the decision that I mentioned, you know, about our own Supreme Court saying, you know, depenalizing abortion, and whatnot.

[27:07] There were a couple of candidates where like, as soon as I become president, I’m gonna change that. You can’t do that. It’s not it’s like in the US, president can’t tell the Supreme Court what to do. And this president that is coming out, it was, as soon as that decision was made, he was like, oh, I can’t believe it. Uh, this is preposterous. And what would the Virgin say?

[27:27] Because you know, we’re, we’re so freaking Catholic when it serves as a purpose. But, it’s, it’s, I’m sorry, this is funny to me. Maybe it’s not funny for other people and if you’re very Catholic, I’m very sorry. I apologize. I’m not, I wasn’t raised very religious thankfully. But I find it absolutely astounding how people who go to church and like are praying to the Virgensita every day, and like, you know, asking Baby Jesus for a better life or whatever, are also not living by what supposedly religion says that you need to be like. You know, care about your neighbor and you know, not steal and not kill and not do bad shit. I find it, I find it astounding. And at the same time, I find it very funny.

[28:09] So like I said, I apologize, but this happens a lot in my country. So these people who are very self-righteous, very Catholic, very upper echelon. You know, people who are like rich and privileged and I’m privileged as well. I have to admit that. I have had a great education. My parents always provided everything I needed.

[28:28] And and more. I was born in, in a country that, you know, it’s still in developing. And I was part of a privileged crowd. I recognize that, but it’s like people who are privileged in my country and maybe this happens also in many Latin American countries and it definitely happens in the States. They don’t wanna lose their privilege.

[28:47] They don’t wanna give the government any tools or permission or vote for people who are gonna make things better for those who are not privileged, because they think that’s losing their own. Like I’m gonna lose my privilege because they get privileges. So I’m gonna lose mine.

[29:01] Paulette: It’s like pie, like you’re gonna run out of pie.

[29:05] Isabel: Exactly. And so for the past, more or less four years in my country, there’s been like a lot of demonstrations and national strikes people coming out into the streets. Saying we’re fucking, we’ve had it. We’ve fucking had it with you and your stupid government, doing everything to make the richer richer and the poorer poorer.

[29:26] And we don’t have the opportunities to get ahead in life in general, you know? And these are mostly people who are of, you know, they’re black Colombia, they’re of African descent, and indigenous people. So it’s you know, the same, it’s more or less the same sort of dynamic in a way. And there’s this thing that came out after one of these very big strikes, somebody put it online and just kind of like, like everyone in Colombia started saying, don’t let your privilege cloud your empathy.

[29:54] Don’t let it. You’re not gonna lose your privilege by giving people who haven’t had your privilege, the tools and the means and the help that they need to actually live better lives. And uh we’re not talking, live better lives doesn’t mean buy a mansion and a fucking Maserati. We don’t need that. We’re talking about basic things like food, like a proper home, like education.

[30:18] I don’t understand why human beings are so fucking selfish and we get called selfish because we don’t wanna have kids. .

[30:27] Paulette: Yes. My favorite bingo. My favorite bingo.

[30:31] Isabel: Oh, it’s insane. It’s insane. Yeah. It’s like a global trend and well, hopefully things are gonna change in my country. If you’re Colombian and you’re listening to this, and if you didn’t vote for the guy who won, I hope you have faith at least that something’s gonna change. For the good, because there’s a lot of people who are really scared, really, really scared.

[30:53] Paulette: I think it’s natural to be scared of the unknown.

[30:56] Isabel: Yeah. No, absolutely. No, but especially because the right wing, like the people from the right wing party, the smear campaign, they did.

[31:05] Paulette: The devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t, right? That’s, that’s what plays in a lot of people’s heads. And I’m sure, especially in a highly religious country like that, not that ours isn’t apparently.

[31:18] Changing gears, we’re gonna talk about the reason why Isabel was in Portugal during our conversation, and why being childfree is such an important part of that trip. Plus her podcast!

[31:29] So Isabel right now, you’re on a trip.

[31:31] Isabel: I am

[31:31] Paulette: You do these childfree girl trips.

[31:34] Isabel: Yeah. I’m in Lisbon. Uh, it’s the last night of our trip. So yeah, basically, um, I started the Uprising Spark at the same time I started the podcast. My own podcast is the Honest Uproar, which is already finished. I did 99 episodes. I have to record the a hundredth episode, which is the goodbye episode.

[31:56] I haven’t, I haven’t brought myself.

[31:57] Paulette: I didn’t realize you were ending. And did I call it something else earlier? I’m sorry.

[32:03] Isabel: Or maybe I think you did call it the Uprising Spark, but you know, the, the, the podcast is the Honest Uproar. You know, it was interesting for me when I started the podcast was a way to showcase the lives of childfree women. But it was also, it was also like therapy for me, in a way like in, you know, in that soul searching phase of mine, thinking, oh my God, am I really gonna regret this?

[32:26] Regret making the decision of not having children? And then meeting all these women who have made the decision who lived such fulfilling lives and they’re so happy and they have all these stories to tell. So I wanted to tell childfree stories and that’s what I did through my podcast for three seasons, if I’m not mistaken.

[32:41] And now I haven’t brought myself to, to record the a hundredth episode because it’s like, it’s like really like saying goodbye to that.

[32:50] Paulette: Yeah.

[32:52] Isabel: but you know, having a podcast is work. Uh, so I, I wanted to just stay with Childfree Girls, which is already

[32:59] Paulette: Got its legs. Oh, so that’s interesting. So you’re ending, um, Honest Uproar, you’re gonna focus just on Childfree Girls, but the trip that you’re on is independent of that.

[33:11] Isabel: Yeah so the trip is part of the, so the Uprising Spark, basically… I used to call myself a childfree coach and I still kind of do, but I don’t like the word coach. There’s something about the word that I’m not, it doesn’t really resonate with me. So I’m the childfree friend you didn’t think you needed.

[33:27] That’s who I am basically

[33:28] Paulette: Everyone needs one. By the way, childfree friends are the best.

[33:32] Isabel: Childfree friends are the best. So, um, one of the things that I do is I, I work with women who are either in the process of making the decision of embracing the childfree lifestyle, or women who are already childfree who are having a little bit of trouble coping with the guilt, the anger, the shame.

[33:49] There’s so many feelings that come attached to our choice. And I, I, I work with them to help them get to the other side. And if they’re making the decision, uh, they’re like on the, on the fence, I work with these women to give them, to give them the tools so they can find their answer because nobody can make a decision for you except yourself, nobody else.

[34:08] And so I’ve been doing that for a while and then I was like, I would love to start because traveling’s also one of my biggest passions. Like you asked me what sparked my life and travel is definitely the fuel. I work only to travel. That’s my thing. Like spent all my childfree money on travel and

[34:26] Paulette: Fueling that myth that all childfree people are rich.

[34:30] Isabel: Yes. But I mean

[34:31] Paulette: Some are, and it’s okay.

[34:34] Isabel: Yeah, it’s totally okay. I mean, we’re not all childfree people are rich for sure. But we, in general, I would say do have more disposable income because we don’t have to spend it on children. You know, whatever that income is, I would say not all of us, but many of us. And, um, traveling has always been one of my passions, always.

[34:53] And so I decided to mix in the travel with connecting childfree women, because I also realized very quickly that childfree women in general, don’t have a lot of childfree friends. And so we need more childfree friends. And because I’m that friend you never thought you needed, I try to connect people so that they also become friends with other childfree people.

[35:12] And so we did the first trip was back in February and we went to Punta Cana in Dominican Republic. We went there for four days. It was amazing. We were in an all inclusive resort. Adults only, no children running around, no one was like screaming at the pool. And…

[35:30] Paulette: That is the way to do it.

[35:35] Isabel: We had a lot of fun. And this was the second, this the second trip. This was Lisbon. We’ve been here for six days already exploring Lisbon and its, like its surrounding areas. And it’s also been a lot of fun. Like I had been here before and I love Lisbon and I thought I would love to go back and share this with our childfree women.

[35:53] I decided I wanted to do the trips with childfree women only. And somebody, somebody once asked me on my social media, like why only women? And I was like, why not? But then there’s a trip that I’m organizing for October, which is gonna be for childfree women, men, and non-binary childfree folk. That it’s gonna happen in San Francisco

[36:12] Paulette: Hey, I live in Los Angeles. When in October?

[36:17] Isabel: It’s gonna be the long weekend of Columbus Day.

[36:19] Paulette: Excuse me. We call it Indigenous People’s Day now. We we’ve, we’ve made small, small steps forward as we keep taking giant steps back.

[36:31] Isabel: Right. Okay. So in, in Colombia, we call it The Day of All Races instead of Columbus Day, he didn’t discover shit. We were already here.

[36:41] Paulette: The weekend, that long weekend in October, you’re, you’re organizing something in San Francisco for everyone who is childfree

[36:47] Isabel: For yeah, for women, men and non-binary childfree folk. Yes. Uh, for everyone who’s childfree and it’s, it’s gonna be, we’re gonna have like a dinner party and we’re gonna go, we’re gonna do a full day activity.

[37:00] It’s only gonna be like Saturday afternoon, night and then Sunday. So people have the time to get to San Francisco first and then they can leave back, go back home on Monday at any time. So this is a very short one. But I really wanna be able, because I think part of the, of being the childfree friend that you never thought you would need, it’s also to connect people.

[37:21] Because I feel that in creating community with people who are like-minded, not only the childfree thing, but also in the, we don’t hate parents thing, we don’t hate kids thing. The, we want a better world for generations that are coming. We are here. We wanna fight for the reproductive rights and freedom of everyone. Not only ours. People who are like minded in that sense, I wanna connect them.

[37:46] I want everyone to, I want the community to strengthen itself. I want it to become we’re we’re already a big community, but I think we’re so

[37:53] Paulette: We’re underground.

[37:55] Isabel: Yes.

[37:56] Paulette: We’re not visible.

[37:58] Isabel: It feels like we’re all over the place. Right? So I think if we actually, um, because I don’t wanna call being childfree a movement, it’s not really a movement.

[38:06] I think it’s just like a community of people who have decided consciously not to have children. For whatever reason, any reason it’s valid. And I feel that if we can strengthen that, we could also make bigger changes towards us being accepted or more accepted, or our choice being more accepted. There being more childfree representation in the media, in the government and, and talking about ways that we can dismantle pronatalism which is part of patriarchy as well.

[38:37] Paulette: Ah, yeah, pronatalism. I touched on this in episode 15, but here’s just a very simple definition. It’s the policy or practice of encouraging the bearing of children, especially government support of a higher birth rate. So in that episode, I talked about how population depends on three factors, births, deaths, and immigration policies, and pronatalism wants to focus on increasing the number of births to increase the population of a given society or country.

[39:06] The recently held Childfree Convention had a whole panel dedicated to pronatalism with people much smarter than me talking about this topic. So I’ll leave a link in the show notes to that specific panel and you can dive into it at your leisure.

[39:18] And finally, of course, legacy, I ask all of my guests what that means to them and Isabel talks about her grandmother. su abuelita, who was so influential that Isabel is styling her own legacy after that of her grandmother.

[39:34] So let’s talk about the big bingo. Which is, uh, you’re not having kids. So what’s how are you gonna leave a legacy?

[39:40] Isabel: Ay yai yai.

[39:42] Paulette: What does that mean to you? Does it mean anything to you?

[39:46] Isabel: Well, you know, that’s the thing, whenever I think about legacy, first of all, I don’t think every human who wants to leave a legacy or even has to leave a legacy.

[39:56] I think some human beings just come, live, do their thing, they’re happy, then they die. And that’s, that’s it basically. They don’t have to leave a big step, like a big footprint in human history. I dunno if I’m making any sense, but

[40:11] Paulette: No, you are absolutely.

[40:13] Isabel: Honestly, I, I feel for me, life is more about the now. It’s more about what I can do now that I’m alive.

[40:22] It’s more about what resources do I have and how can I harness the energy and the channels to be part of the change now while I’m alive. When I die, I’ll die, I don’t, what am I gonna leave behind? Like, what am I taking, what are you taking with you when you die? You know my grandmother, she was a very, she was a very wise woman. She died shy of her 90th birthday 3 years ago. I still miss her every day.

[40:51] She’s she, she wasn’t, I, I don’t think she was supposed to be born in the 1920s. Honestly. I, I think she was more of this age. She wasn’t religious. She believed in aliens, metaphysics, and she read about crystals and energies and she believes incarnation like my abuelita she was not like the nor like typical Latina abuelita was like, you know, the rosary all day long.

[41:19] And but she did feed us a lot. That was the way she showed her love. Like any other Latina abuelita, uh,

[41:26] Paulette: They do show their love through food.

[41:28] Isabel: Food, dude. That’s the, that’s the thing

[41:32] Paulette: I feel like that’s our, that’s a big love language in, among us Latinos.

[41:37] Isabel: But that’s the thing, but, you know, I was talking to one of the girls that came to the trip with me about this. And I was telling her that that strong relationship that Latinos have with food, it comes from our abuelitas honestly, because that’s, that’s what we knew, you know, especially in that generation of Latinas and Latinos who were born back in the early 20th century and even late 19th century.

[42:02] Talking about feelings that was not done. You didn’t talk about feelings at all. They, they hid everything. It was like, every problem was swept under the rug. Nobody talked about it and you know, don’t even get me started about the shame, and so the way for them to communicate their love was through food. And so my abuelita was a very wise woman and she, when I told her, I remember when I told my mom about, you know, me wanting to embrace childfree lifestyle….

[42:29] So I knew my mom was gonna have a fit because she’s very traditional, set in value. She really wants to be a grandmother, but when I told my abuelita, she was like, oh, good for you, mija This world is going to shit. Like literally said that to me.

[42:43] Paulette: Oh man, I wish I’d met her. She sounds like she would’ve been a wonderful woman to hang out with.

[42:48] Isabel: She was awesome. And so she was like, you’re right. This world’s going shit. Like don’t have kids. You’ll be fine. But she always said to me, you know, live life right now, the way you wanna live it. Cause when you go, you’re not taking anything with you. You’re not taking anyone with you. Your, your soul is gonna go to a different plane. Cause like I said, she believed in all that. It’s not heaven. It’s just like a different plane in the metaverse or some shit.

[43:12] Paulette: Hey, that made her happy.

[43:13] Isabel: Oh no, no, listen, I don’t judge her. I just didn’t, I just don’t understand the reasoning behind it. Because I, she tried to explain it to several times, but we would end up talking about aliens, I’m not kidding you. And I would clearly lose her.

[43:28] She was funny. But you know, she, she, she was one who actually decided to, and this is very rare for Latinos and Latinas especially from that generation, to give their children their inheritance in life. Because I think they’re gonna get stolen. They’re gonna get thrown in the, in the road, you know, in the middle of the road. Because I dunno if this is the same for you, but for my grandmother’s generation in Colombia, for women like that, being sent to an old people’s home was the worst thing in the world. Latino families, we take care of the young and the old.

[44:01] So the young takes a village for the young. You have the the tias, the primas, the abuelitas. Yeah. You have everyone. And for the old is the same, like their children, everyone takes care of the old. So throwing someone in like an old people’s place was like abandoning them. And, and so she letting go of that for her was also a way to say, I have no use for this.

[44:23] I have more use for this where I’m going. She did leave a big print on people’s hearts in my family. And I hope that I leave that kind of print of so much love so much understanding with the younger generations in my family. And maybe people who are not part of my blood family, but just younger people who outlive me, just knowing that I was fighting for our rights and that I was trying to make this world a better place.

[44:54] But honestly the legacy thing, I’m not gonna be here.

[44:58] Paulette: You want your impact now, right?

[45:00] Isabel: Yeah.

[45:01] Paulette: That’s a great way to turn that entire idea on its head and be like, well, what about now?

[45:06] Yeah, absolutely.

[45:08] Well, props to your grandma, a tu abuelita.

[45:11] Isabel: Abuelita wherever you are. Oh, I miss her so much, I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately.

[45:16] Paulette: Yeah?

[45:16] Isabel: She was awesome. You know, it’s interesting. The stories that you hear from the people in our abuelita’s generation. They all had it rough in one way or another and going a little bit further. For example, I know my grandmother’s mother, so my great-grandmother, she was forced to marry a man she didn’t love because her mother, her own mother was grateful to this man because he brought her some medication she needed or something like that.

[45:46] I can’t remember exactly how the story goes, but she married with somebody being like being out of gratitude, like here, like an object. Like here’s my daughter. Thank you. Which was so common at the time. And you couldn’t tell your parents.

[46:00] She was like an object, right? Like, thank you. Here’s my daughter. Like, this is the way I’m repaying you for your help. And my great-grandmother couldn’t say anything. She couldn’t protest because otherwise she would’ve been left in the streets. Like imagine running away, wasn’t even a thing at the time.

[46:17] And I feel that, that of course you see all these situations in the past generations of Latino people of shit like that. And I’m sure everyone has their own story, very, a lot of violence and a lot of disregard for the humanity of a Latina woman. And we’ve been taking steps towards changing that our generation of Latinas we’re a lot more outspoken.

[46:39] We’re a lot more, we don’t have to do what our families are telling us to do. We don’t have to feel guilty for not doing what our families are telling us to do, what they want us to do, but there’s still a lot of shame around that. I don’t feel guilty, but I feel ashamed. And so there’s still a lot of things that Latina women have to heal I feel.

[47:02] Including myself. Things that come with the baggage of being part of these cultures that are so rich and so beautiful. And so amazing, but at the same time they were born out of violence. That was literally it, they were born out of violence. Our past is filled with violence.

[47:20] Paulette: Yes. I mean, we’re all products of colonization, right?

[47:24] Isabel: Yeah, exactly.

[47:24] Paulette: And that, that, that didn’t start our story by any means, but it was a humongous negative. It left a scar on the psyche of our people. Right. Epigenetics is, is real. These scars are being passed down. This trauma is being passed down through generations. And you see it acting out in how we treat people today. The same patterns play out, right?

[47:48] These patterns that have been repeating through our lineage. And so my mom does work around that. It’s everyone’s responsibility to heal their own trauma. You’re not to blame for the trauma that you carry, but you are responsible to heal it. And I would like to see us be able to eradicate some of that for our community.

[48:07] Because there is still, as much as we feel like this is the correct choice for us, there is a lot of guilt and shame bundled up into that. And if we could decouple that, that would heal us here. And we’re not gonna pass that on, but it heals us here. And like you were saying, you don’t need a legacy.

[48:23] You need a here. Your impact is here today.

[48:27] Absolutely.

[48:28] Well, Isabel, thank you so much for your time today. This was a beautiful conversation. I really enjoyed hearing the juxtaposition of what’s happening in Colombia and the rest of Latin America versus the US and how those two things are intertwined.

[48:42] And you’ve given us a lot of information and I’m really proud of the work that you do, with just trying to be the childfree friend, trying to bring representation. And thank you for being a spark, the light that people can turn to because times are rough right now, especially today. So I’m going to ask you a favor.

[49:04] Would you please end the show for us today?

[49:08] Isabel: Sure. Before I do, I really wanna thank you Paulette for having me your show. This was an enlightening conversation and I’m so happy that you’re putting content out for our people, Latino people, we need this too.

[49:26] Paulette: Thank you.

[49:27] Isabel: So with that, that’s a burrito.

[49:30] Paulette: Wanna talk about this week’s episode, feel free to DM me on Instagram. My info is always in the show notes. And if you’re looking to be a guest in the future for The Maker Muse Podcast, check out the guest form on my website at the maker muse.co. Yes, the maker muse dot co. It’s also linked in the show notes.

[49:48] And hey muchisimas gracias for listening to another episode of The Maker Muse Podcast. Are you subscribed? If not now would be a great time to do that. New episodes come out every Tuesday. I’m on Apple, on Spotify, wherever you listen. And then can I ask you a favor? Could you please tell all of your friends and family about it?

[50:07] ¿Sus amigues, su familia? Because if you love it, they probably will too. And I’d really appreciate it. If you could rate and review it wherever you’re listening right now. ¡Hasta la proxima!

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