Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Useful Advice April 20, 2010

My friend Elizabeth passed along a poem to me from Garrison Keillor’s website. It’s called Useful Advice, by Catherine Tufariello, and begins:

You’re 37? Don’t you think that maybe
It’s time you settled down and had a baby?

I laughed at the first line, but quickly stopped laughing as I kept reading. Instead, I began checking off all the lines that I’d heard, maybe even writing a few extra lines for her. I know nothing about this poet, but I am certain, from reading this, that she heard every single one of these lines on her journey. You can read Useful Advice here.

Also, please take a second to visit Elizabeth’s blog, A moon, worn as if it had been a shell. Elizabeth writes about her life with baby, as  the mother of three children, including her daughter, Sophie, who is severely disabled. Elizabeth is a tireless advocate for children with special needs and offers a frank and often surprising perspective on the challenges as well as the rewards of raising a child with disabilities.

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4 Responses to “Useful Advice”

  1. kathleen guthrie Says:

    “You really should have tried to have children sooner.” My doctor said this to me during an annual checkup when I was in my mid-30s. Had just started a new and promising relationship and told him I was still hopeful about having kids one day.

  2. lmanterfield Says:

    If only it were that simple. Does he condone reproducing with the first half-decent prospect that comes along? Is he suggesting that you were over-thinking your decision to not reproduce with someone you knew wasn’t the right long-term partner? I will add his line to the poem. It’s a good one.

  3. Jennifer Gill Says:

    Wow. This was amazing. One of those “wish I’d written it” poems. “Why are you crying,” indeed?

    I sometimes think that maybe the reason I didn’t just accidentally reproduce is my characteristic “thinking too much” (sorta like my other trait, “too sensitive?”). It wasn’t until I was about 34 that I realized that the perfect time to have a baby is when you’re too young and clueless. That way when you come around to “my God, what have I done?” the kid’s about 12 and can talk back and change its own underwear.

    Elizabeth’s blog is great. A lot to learn from. And the link through to the whole Ashley/PillowAngel (just a wrenching story!) topic was quite eye-opening.

  4. Lauren Says:

    Catherine is my cousin! I’m always pleased to see people like and can relate to her poetry.


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