Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Baby Envy? Not Me September 7, 2012

An acquaintance is expecting her first baby any day and she has had enough of being pregnant. “I’m ready to get this baby out of me,” she said.

The old me would have pursed my lips and tried to resist telling her she ought to be lucky she’s pregnant and that I’d give anything to change to places with her for just one day. In fact I would gladly change places with her if I could. I’d gladly put up with the swollen ankles, the lack of sleep, the total and utter discomfort of lugging and extra 20, 30, 40 pounds around in 90-degree weather. I’d love to know what it feels like to be in her shoes.

But that’s the old me. The new me doesn’t want or need to give her a lecture.

A little over a year ago we sat at dinner, both peering over the crest of 40 and looking at a life without children. I know what she’s been through to get to this point and I know she isn’t really complaining about her good fortune. I also know that, now, I wouldn’t change places with her for anything in the world.

We’re both heading into a new chapter in our lives. Hers is going to involve a lot of sleepless nights, probably at least two decades worth. And mine? I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll get serious about finally finishing that novel I’ve been noodling with for years. Or maybe it’s time to move away from the city and the good school districts, and find a little place in the country.

All I know for sure is that my life is open to possibility now, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Greener Grass March 6, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It was early in the morning on a national holiday. I was walking to our gym when I passed one of our neighbors as she loaded kids and gear into a minivan.

“Off to the gym?” she asked, grunting as she hoisted a toddler into his car seat.

“Yup.”

“I would give anything to trade places with you.”

For a split second I paused, then replied with the only response that seemed appropriate. “I’m sorry.”

As I continued down the street, it dawned on me that for the first time in years I wasn’t feeling (a) judgmental (she was, after all, dissing her kids) or (b) wistful. So often in the past I would have thought how I would have traded anything to have precious kids of my own, but now, not so much. I was pretty happy with the prospect of spending my holiday taking care of myself, maybe even reading a book or taking a nap instead of having to read a book to someone else hoping he would settle down for a nap.  I didn’t feel sorry for or envious of my neighbor, and I didn’t want to trade my grass for her grass. The grass was perfectly green on my side of the street.

Me thinks the healing process has begun.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with being childfree.

 

 
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