Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Our Theme Song July 17, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

This morning, feeling myself slip a bit deeper into sadness and uncertainty, I looked to my sure-fire pick-me-up: getting lost in a great film. Under the Tuscan Sun reminds me to look beyond my dreams, to acknowledge that something greater is in store for me. Happy Texas just makes me laugh till my face hurts.

But today this isn’t the right cure for me, so I started thinking about how other people lift their moods. Some spend time in a garden or park, reach out to a friend who routinely sports rose-colored glasses, open a dog-eared book of prayers and affirmations, or listen to music. And that’s how I stumbled upon “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. I’d forgotten how beautiful and healing the lyrics are, and as I revisited them, I was struck by how our aptly it expresses what we provide for each other in our LWB community. Take a look:

When you’re weary

Feeling small

When tears are in your eyes

I will dry them all

 

I’m on your side

When times get rough

And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

 

When you’re down and out

When you’re on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

 

I’ll take your part

When darkness comes

And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

 

Sail on Silver Girl

Sail on by

Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way

 

See how they shine

If you need a friend

I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will ease your mind 

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will ease your mind

Some days we are in need comfort; other days it’s our turn to give. Today I invite you to think about what lifts you up when you’re “feeling small,” or who is “sailing right behind” to give you encouragement and support, and share it in a comment. Perhaps just by sharing it, you’ll be reminded of what you need to hear or do today to cure your blues. Perhaps you’ll provide a new healing option for an LWB sister. And the next time “times get rough,” we can return to the list we’ve compiled and find comfort here.

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

 

Your Next 15,000 Days January 12, 2012

I was recently introduced to Klara, a blogger in Slovenia, and her new blog The Next 15,000 Days. Her title caught my attention immediately, and I had to know what it meant. Here’s what she writes about her choice of title:

“Just a few days before Christmas we will celebrate 3,000 days since our wedding day. Our first 3,000 days were mainly sad. Of course, there were also lots of great things. The greatest was that I realized I married the love of my life; all the pain brought us even closer together. If we are lucky, another 15,000 days are waiting for us. So, we decided to start living a new, happy life. We lost, already, enough days being sad. We just don’t want to lose another day.”

I love this attitude. It’s the same notion Mr. Fab and I had when we decided to start figuring out how to be a family of two. We drew a line in the sand and said, “This is where we start living our lives again. But it’s not always easy to do.

You can’t just decide to not be sad anymore. Sadness and grief are much more complicated and sneaky than that. They tend to hide in unexpected places and leap out on you when you think you’re safe. Family gatherings, pregnancy announcements, and closets where you kept baby clothes you planned to use are all places to be on the look out for a grief ambush.

But you can decide, as Klara says, to “start living a new happy life.” It takes work, and it might not always go as planned, but deciding is half the battle.

So, how do you plan to live your next 15,000 days?

 

Happy New Year January 2, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. So how was it?

I had a very quiet Christmas with Mr. Fab and my mum. We went for a walk, cooked dinner, opened gifts, and played some games. Oh, and ate entirely too much chocolate.

Mr. Fab has read one too many Dickens novels and has been requesting a Christmas goose for the past decade, so this year I did it, and it was delicious.

I spent Christmas Eve preparing side dishes, sauces, and dessert. It was a beautiful sunny day, my mum was out in the garden reading, Mr. Fab was running last-minute errands, and I had a couple of hours alone with my thoughts (and my goose) in the kitchen.

I was thinking about how much I enjoy my quiet Christmas, even though it’s vastly different from the noisy family celebration I had once envisioned for us. But I have to admit that I enjoy the freedom of the holidays without children.

But I was also struck with a bout of melancholy for the things I’ll never get to do. It’s a shame I’ll never get to enjoy smuggling a new bicycle into the house after dark, wrapping gifts in the wee hours after the recipients have gone to bed, and carrying on the myth of Santa when the kids are old enough to doubt, but not quite prepared to risk being wrong.

It was a short bout of melancholy that passed as I sprawled in front of my fireplace, stuffed with roast goose and good wine, and tried to decide whether to read for a while, or just give myself over to the goose and take a nap.

Everything in life is a compromise, and even as you lose something, you gain something else in its place. For me, the gain is freedom and flexibility, and the bliss of a quiet, lazy Christmas afternoon.

 

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener September 23, 2011

Pamela at Silent Sorority posted a wonderful story yesterday about the response she received from her recent Open Salon article about being a non-mom, Dispatch from Hell: It’s not all bad.

 

I found it encouraging that so many readers embraced her decision regarding adoption, and I was especially wowed by her own mother’s open-mindedness, when she wrote: “I’ve never understood why people automatically think that because a couple doesn’t have a child of their own, they will, of course, adopt. It’s like expecting a man or woman who never married to become a priest or a nun.” Well said, Mom!

I also laughed out loud (as did my husband, who has grown children) at a comment from the father of a “stay-at-home 23 year-old” who wrote: “No doubt it is a great pleasure watching your child grow, […] but if the second ten years came first, there would be no second children.”

As if to prove this point, I opened up my newspaper this morning and found myself both laughing and despairing at this article about three 19 year-old “boys,” who have just managed to wreck their lives through sheer stupidity. I’m sure their parents are very proud.

Yes, being a non-mom can be painful, sad, frustrating, or all of the above, but even so, the grass isn’t always greener on the parenting side of the fence.

 

Last night I had the strangest dream… September 15, 2011

Last night I dreamed I went to a fertility doctor for “once last try.” I’m not really sure what kind of procedure I opted for, but I knew it wasn’t going to work. The doctor was convinced otherwise. Based on listening to my abdomen in the middle of the medical building lobby, he told me–and a woman I knew, who happened to be walking by–that I was pregnant. I knew I was not, and a nurse did tests shortly after to confirm it. Another friend, who has recently become a first-time mother, asked if I was going to try again next month. I told her I was not, because “just one more try” never stops.

And then I woke up feeling horrible.

It wasn’t the content of the dream that bothered me, because I know it was just my sub-conscious cleaning out the junk, but the emotions that I felt during the dream and after I woke up, were all too familiar: hope, with that underlying dull feeling of, not exactly of despair, but despondency. That inner knowledge that things just aren’t going to work out in my favor.

Most of the time I don’t dwell on my experience of dealing with infertility, but all that experience and the related emotions are permanently lodged in my subconscious, and every now and then it seems they’re going to bubble to the surface. Lucky me.

 

A Fresh Start January 29, 2011

Tomorrow I am relocating to the opposite end of the state and I’m suffering from a bit of mover’s melancholy. This week I went to my local farmer’s market and bought my favorite things for the last time, I ran with the friends I will never see again, and I stood in my garden looking at the flowers that will surely die without me.

Ok, so that’s a bit dramatic and in actual fact, our move is only temporary and really just a change of base camps. We’ve been living in two places for almost a year now, based in the south and traveling to the north for work, and all we’re doing is moving my office and the cat, and reversing the travel direction. But still, I already miss my home.

Despite this, I think the move will be good for us. It’s going to be another fresh start.  We’ve had several fresh starts in the past few years – particularly at the various milestones of our infertility journey – and this is another one of those. Getting the book out into the world was another milestone, a kind of release of the story, a letting go, and it seems to warrant some symbolic marking of the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. The move will accomplish that.

I’m a big fan of fresh starts. I think sometimes we get bogged down with our norm and keep trying to solve the same old issues over and over, when sometimes we just need to get off the tracks and do something else for a while. Even a small change in the daily routine can mix things up a bit and give us a new perspective.

So, despite my sadness at leaving the familiar behind, I’m very much looking forward to my fresh start.

 

 
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