Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Win Carrie Friedman’s Pregnant Pause Today! May 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:52 am

The winner will be drawn at the end of today. To qualify for the drawing, just leave a comment on Carrie’s post.

I loved this book and it’s a must-read whether you’ve ever considered having children or not. It should also be required reading for all parents!

 

How Old is Too Old To Give Birth? May 21, 2010

Kelly Preston and John Travolta are expecting. She is 47 and the media is already talking about her “miracle baby.” While Ms. Preston is nowhere near to being the oldest woman to give birth (that honor goes to a 70-year-old Indian woman who gave birth to twins in 2008) it does raise the question: How old is too old?

Last year a Spanish woman who lied about her age to obtain IVF treatments died at aged 69. She left behind two-year-old twins who are now orphans.

These stories are extreme, of course, but how old is too old to have a baby? Just because the technology is available, should we use it? What do you think?

 

Does This Make Me Look Pregnant? May 20, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes,Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 9:34 am
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I went shopping for clothes yesterday. It doesn’t happen very often, but I was in the mood and in need of some warmer weather things. These days, my primary concern when shopping for clothes is: does this make me look pregnant?

I once made the mistake of wearing this fabulous African print mu-mu. Jose and I went out wine-tasting one hot summer night and I slipped into it for comfort. A woman (albeit a very drunk one) took one look at me sipping on my fruity red and said, “Should you be drinking?” I was confused at first, until she helped me out by looking down at my belly (which, granted could have used a few hundred crunches) and saying, “You know, in your condition.” That was a truly awful moment in so many ways, and even though the woman was TOTALLY out of line (even if I was pregnant, it’s no business of hers if I chose to have a glass of wine) since then I’ve been very careful about what I wear.

There’s been a trend lately in those little baby doll tops that poof out from just below the bra line. What were those designers thinking? Who can actually wear those without looking pregnant? Not me, that’s for sure. So I picked out from pants, flat fronted, of course and a couple of tops with no gathers, frills, or bunches that could cause them to be mistaken for maternity wear. Because even though I have no problem answering, “No, I’m just fat!” if someone is tactless enough to ask, I don’t even want to crack open the door on that conversation.

 

Pregnant Pause Giveaway May 19, 2010

Filed under: Guest Bloggers,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes,Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:09 am

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Carrie Friedman’s brilliant book, PREGNANT PAUSE. Just check out Carrie’s Guest Blogger post here and leave a comment. We’ll draw a lucky winner on Saturday.

The book is also available on Amazon.

 

Guilty of Prejudice Against the Childless May 18, 2010

A friend recently announced her engagement. At 44 she is getting married at last. I know this woman’s story intimately. She is someone who dreamed of motherhood, but never met the right man. She seriously considered having a baby alone using a sperm donor, but realized that it wouldn’t be the responsible thing to do in her situation. So she started making peace with her childlessness. Then she met a wonderful man—and realized that what she really wanted was a loving adult relationship and time with him, and that children were no longer her priority. And he didn’t want children anyway.

When she announced her engagement to me, she speculated as to how long it would be before some tactless bozo raised the subject of kids. To my absolute horror, I realized that during our entire conversation I was wondering if the engagement had changed their attitude about having children. The tactless bozo was very nearly me!!!

So, despite my thoroughly modern, feminist attitude to living child-free, deep inside of me lurks a traditionalist, who at some subconscious level still believes that first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Yikes!

Our natural instinct is to reproduce and continue the survival of the species, so it’s no wonder that so many people can’t get their heads around someone’s decision to not reproduce. Maybe we need to cut those people some slack after all.

Or maybe not. Because, while man cannot fight his natural instinct, evolved man can learn when to voice his opinions and when to keep his (or her) big mouth shut.

 

Issues for Childless Men May 17, 2010

My husband’s cousin recently commented that she would never become a grandmother because her only surviving son was gay. Her comment then prompted my husband to ask me if this website included gay men in its audience. The whole interchange inspired several threads of discussion regarding potential grandparents, modern families, and whether this site was a place that childless men would come, or if the female readers would be as open if men were lingering around. All this is material for future posts, but the thought that bubbled to the surface this time was: What about childless men? Which of the same issues do men and women face and are there other issues that are unique to men?

My husband has grown children from his previous marriage, so I’m not able to ask him about being childless, although he’s more than able to talk about the frustrations of infertility and of having a wife who is unable to have the children she wants. So, for those of you with male partners, what issues do you think men face? Do they feel the same pressure from family? Do their friends (and complete strangers) ask the same tactless questions? Do men feel the same sense of loss that we women sometimes feel. And is it easier for a man to make the decision to be childless?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

 

Guest Blogger: Carrie Friedman May 16, 2010

Excerpt from PREGNANT PAUSE, by Carrie Friedman

 

During my first three years of marriage, everywhere I went, people’s eyes migrated to my unchanging waistline. And it was everyone. Not just friends and family, but the eye doctor, the dental assistant, the bagger at the grocery store. And all of them felt entitled to ask.

The strangest inquiry had to have been from my yoga teacher: I drove across town once a week to take this class because I loved the teacher, a hip young German woman with a thick accent who’d play Tina Turner music during the sun salutations. She was the kind of funky that made you wish you had a tattoo. Something small and tasteful but a little bit bad. Because she hadn’t fully grasped the language yet, she was often unintentionally poetic when speaking to all of us. My favorite was, “you are lifting the Springtime of your heart to the flowers in your skull.”

I was resting in savasana pose, on my back, when she knelt down near my ear and whispered: “Your ovaries are ripe, yes?”

I opened my eyes and looked up at her. “My who?” Surely she meant something else. Eggs? Omelettes? Oranges? Or maybe this was some sort of German lesbian come-on line?

She whispered again: “Your ovaries, they are bright and ready for the babies.”

I pulled my legs to my chest, as if this could somehow block her x-ray vision into my pelvis, and stared at her, confused. Who was this woman and why was she tracking my ovulation better than I was? How could she tell? Was I bloated? And did she have to interrupt my peaceful resting pose, the one chance I had per week to fully relax and reflect?

I didn’t stick around after class to clarify, and my ovaries and I never went back.

On our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, a mere month after Stephen and I tied the knot, my Great-Uncle Marvin focused on the area just below my waistline and said, “Oh Carrie! I see a little paunch! Is somebody expecting?” His eyes became googly and he sounded like he was talking to a puppy. He didn’t go so far as to poke my paunch, which was fortunate since I would have broken his fingers.

No, Marv,” I said. “I just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, just like you.” I stopped short of asking him when he was due.

Why do people feel entitled to ask? Did they see the wedding band and connect marriage with procreation? It was obnoxious: For all he knew, I couldn’t have kids. For all I knew I couldn’t have kids, as I had not yet tried. But imagine if I had submitted to all kinds of treatments, only to come up empty-wombed. Imagine how painful this line of interrogation would be. Stephen thinks some people ask because it helps them validate their own choices. But he doesn’t truly understand how infuriating it is, and that’s no doubt because nobody badgers men about procreativity with the same frequency.

Was there a more personal question than the equivalent to: “So! You and the hubby having lots of unprotected sex lately?” How would they feel if I looked at their wrinkles and grey hair and said: “You look older every time I see you. You planning for your funeral yet?” or “You’re menopausal, right? How’s the dryness?” Sure, maybe they were just making conversation, but when I thought of ice-breakers, birth control didn’t spring to mind.

Perhaps childfree couples should all carry a printed card in their wallets, with this list of possible responses to the dreaded “when are you having babies?” question:

  • I had two this morning. They were delicious.”
  • Actually, I can’t have kids. I’d managed to go a few hours without thinking about it, but thanks for reminding me.”
  • Well, we had one. You must not have read about it, but long story short, don’t hire an English nanny.”
  • We’re not. We’ve decided to clone.”

Hopefully that will shut them up.

 

Carrie Friedman lives and writes in Los Angeles. She has been published in several publications, including Newsweek, and in a couple of anthologies, including Cassette From My Ex. Her website is www.carriefriedmania.com.

 

Win a copy of Carrie’s brilliant book, PREGNANT PAUSE. Just leave a comment on this post and we’ll draw a random winner next Saturday. The book is also available on Amazon.

 

 
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