We’ve Moved! January 7, 2013
Out With the Old December 28, 2012
Yes, the Great Life Without Baby Makeover is almost complete. For the past couple of months, some talented ladies (I’ll introduce them later) have been working their magic behind the scenes to get the new site ready. I’m beyond excited about the big reveal.
So, what does this mean to you?
1 – All will be quiet here on the blog next week. You’ll still be able to access all the posts, although you may not be able to add comments.
2 – On January 7th, look out for the first post of the New Year.
3 – We’ll be at a new address: LifeWithoutBaby.com, (although you’ll be redirected there if you use the old lifewithoutbaby.wordpress.com URL.) You’ll still find all the prior posts (almost three-years worth!) plus lots of new goodies. I’ll be offering a grand tour on opening day.
So, for now, I wish you a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you at LifeWithoutBaby.com next year!
In Consideration of Him December 27, 2012
I once was blind, but now I see, to paraphrase an old hymn. That pretty much sums up my perception of Hubs feelings about our inability to have a child of our own together.
I’m probably not the first woman to make the mistake of thinking her husband’s lack of visible and expressed emotion meant they were “doing just fine.” Nor will I be the last.
Men react to loss differently than women. Men have the need to be strong. They don’t like to reflect. Instead, they act. I remember after our second pregnancy loss, my parents flew into town to help us through it. During the first few days, Hubs and Pop were just a whirlwind of household projects. It grated on my nerves. We were supposed to be grieving, and yet there they were painting and replacing fixtures. By day three I lost it on Hubs. How dare he take our time of grief and use it as an excuse to take time off to do chores around the house? What kind of unfeeling jerk was he? Why wasn’t he as distraught and depressed as I was?
Earlier this year as I started on the path to accepting that “mommyhood” was not in the cards for me we fought again over my need to put some space between me and a pregnant relative. I begged to be excused from family events. In the face of his insistence, I lashed out at him in pain and anger. “You don’t understand,” I hissed. “You’ve got children of your own. You’ll never know what this feels like.”
I continued to see that way for some time. But the fact is that he was and is hurting too. We just hurt in different ways. It hurts him to see me grieving the loss of a dream. It hurts him that he can’t do anything to change our circumstance or make our pain go away. I know he’d do anything to change things if he could. He even tried by helping me look into the only thing that our resources could afford – foster care – and we were both pained to discover that it was not the right option of us either.
I’m now starting to see how badly he wanted us to have children together. Over time, chinks in his armor are beginning to show. Sitting in church when the pastor makes reference to his soon to be born daughter, I can both hear and feel him groan inwardly. At the mall while viewing Christmas trees decorated with pictures and wishes of foster children, I see him choke up just slightly. When tiny footsteps announce that the children have returned from children’s worship, we exchange sad smiles with each other. And when the inevitable cute baby or “we’re pregnant” commercial graces our television set, I see out of the corner of my eye him slowly extend a middle finger towards the screen if only to make me laugh.
Now that I’ve opened my eyes to these small and different expressions of his sadness and grief, I feel less alone in this journey. I also feel terrible that I had not seen this in him earlier. Being at odds with your spouse during this struggle makes the pain deeper for both of you. I share this in hopes that someone who has experienced the pain of this perceived gap might also see the ways in which their partner also hurts. After all, you are in this together.
Quasi-Momma (aka: Susan) is living a childless, but not childfree, life as a stepmom. Her blog, Quasi-Momma, is a collection of her reflections on pregnancy loss, childlessness not by choice, and not-so-blended family life, sprinkled with a little gratitude and lot of heart.
Whiny Wednesday December 26, 2012
I was thinking that maybe we wouldn’t need Whiny Wednesday, what with it being the happy holiday season and all that. But I’m a realist at heart, so here it is.
Happy Whiny Wednesday to you!
It Got Me Thinking…About The Meaning of Christmas December 25, 2012
For unto us a Child is born. (Isaiah 9:6)
As I heard these words in my umpteenth pre-Christmas service, my first thought was Pfft! Right. I mean, isn’t it bad enough that I have had to endure yet another holiday season being painfully aware of the lack of children in my life? And then at every turn I am reminded that we mark this holiday in celebration of a miraculous birth. Come on! This almost trumps Mother’s Day as the worst day of the year for those of us who are childfree-not-by-choice.
For reasons I still can’t completely articulate, this has been the hardest holiday season for me yet. After a boisterous Thanksgiving with a houseful of young nieces and nephews, I slipped into a depressed funk as I anticipated a painfully quiet December. I forced myself to listen to Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (so cheery, I wanted to smack someone), I baked cookies and gave them away, I chose to hang lights and make the house festive for me, even though it seemed pointless and pathetic. Several times I considered giving in to the darkness, donating all my keepsake ornaments to Goodwill, and spending today in bed with a jug of mulled spiced wine.
Instead, in a moment of pure inspiration, I chose to get quiet and listen. I lit a candle and prayed for light. I cried out my hurts and losses to a god who has heard it all many times before and still comforts without judgment. Having released some of my grief, I took a deep breath and invited Cynical Me to take a well-earned holiday. Then I invited Holy Me to give me a new perspective. And here’s what she said:
It’s not about a miracle baby, Love. That’s just the symbol. It’s really about the miracle rebirth of hope and faith.
Oh, my. That’s exactly the gift I needed this Christmas, I just didn’t know how to ask for it. With tears streaming down my face, I asked for forgiveness for my lack of trust. I felt humbled by the abundance of good gifts I do have in my life, and I expressed my gratitude to God who has great things planned for me and delivers in ways I could never have imagined.
If I could give you one gift this holiday season—whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Al-Hirjra, or a tradition of your own making—it would be what I have received myself: a renewed sense of hope, a heart full of love, and peace within.
May you experience unexpected blessings today, dear sisters.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.
Infertile in Heels December 21, 2012
La Belette Rouge doesn’t write often about infertility anymore (she’s busy moving on with her life without children), but when she does, she nails it.
Last week, she batted around the idea of a companion show to Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels.” Her idea of “Infertile in Heels” made me laugh out loud.
Although, I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for the glamorous side of infertility (mainly because there really is no glamorous side, that I can see) there’s certainly room for some media time that doesn’t revolve around pregnancy and parenting.
I wish that infertility and childlessness had a place in mainstream conversation. I wish that information and guidance was more readily available, so that those of us who find ourselves traveling that road would know exactly where to turn for help, whether that be knowing and understanding all the options open to us, or getting help putting the chic into our childfree lives.
Tracey is one of the panelists who’ll be speaking with me at the Fertility Planit Show next month, and I’m looking forward to finally meeting her in person. I’m expecting a lively conversation.
That One Weird Childfree Holiday Card in the Stack December 20, 2012
They’re starting to roll in. The waves of holiday cards featuring happy families festooned in matching red turtlenecks ‘round the tree or Canadian tuxedos on the beach. There will be some derivation of a toddler with his arms slung around Dad’s neck. Or Mom watching the kids play on a blanket. Or an Ann Geddes-esque shot of a newborn falling asleep on a reindeer’s back, adorned with nothing more than a tiny Santa hat. If you’re lucky, and your friends and family are deft enough with Snapfish, you’ll get ALL THREE in an artistically staggered arrangement.
And if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop yourself from comparing them to the cards you’ve sent out over the past few years. Maybe you’ve squeezed your cats into little elf outfits and reindeer antlers (and lost an arm in the process). Maybe you’ve posed with your spouse in front of some magnificent European landmark in a subconscious attempt to remind everyone how awesome it is that you have the freedom and cash to travel. Or maybe you’re like me and my husband, who always try to outdo ourselves every year in the clever department. Last year, we put photos of ourselves at age 6, side-by-side, each ripping into hilariously dated gifts, and titled it “Keep Christmas old-school.”
And in years past, when our friends would send just a ho-hum photo with a generic greeting, we were pretty proud of the fact that our card stood out from the pack and had a little personality. We used to tack it up on the half-wall in our kitchen with all the others and pat ourselves on the back. But as the years have gone by, our card has started to stand out for a very different reason. Instead of noticing the unique panache of our card, I’ve started to see what’s missing: a baby, of course. Kids on Santa’s lap, all that jazz.
I try not to let it happen, but I can’t help but look at my cards in a different light – through the eyes of those who are sending out the baby cards. All our attempts at being so clever probably seem silly, frivolous, immature, shallow, self-centered (words that sound familiar to anyone who actually chooses to be Childfree). They must seem like a stage that was supposed to be passed by now, but isn’t. No doubt they somehow seem…less than they’re supposed to be, to them.
I know, I know – it’s probably all in my head and these aren’t very Christmas-y thoughts. But fear not. I’ll keep the funny Childfree holiday cards rolling. Somebody’s gotta Keep Christmas Weird.
Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.