Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Finding Childless Allies August 31, 2010

On a recent trip home to England, I reconnected with an old school friend I haven’t seen in 25 years. It was so much fun to reminisce. I remembered her cat, Othello, long gone, and the trip we took on a canal barge; she remembered that I made her run with me on Sunday mornings and that my bedroom was always a mess. It was also fun to catch up on our lives since then and to see what’s changed and what we have in common. For instance: she’s been married to her high school sweetheart for 19 years, has worked in the same job for 21, and lives about four houses away from where she grew up. I’m on my second (and final) husband, have had more careers than hot suppers, and live 6,000 away from where I grew up. But we have lots of things in common, too: we both love to travel, we’re both close to our mothers, and neither of us has children.

The latter topic did not come up in conversation.

Our mothers know one another and so I’ve heard that, “she’s had some problems” and I’m sure she’s heard some variation of that about me.  And yet, we didn’t talk about it. Here is a woman who actually gets what it’s like to not have children, a woman with whom I once shared all my secrets, and yet neither of us brought it up.

Maybe it was our heightened sensitivity to the subject that stopped us from asking personal questions, or maybe our newly rediscovered friendship was just not ready to risk stepping into potentially dangerous territory.

Have you had this experience of finding an ally and then being unable to talk about your shared issues?

 

Celebrity Babies August 30, 2010

I don’t make a point of following celebrity news, but it somehow manages to find me anyway. I must say that I’m pleased with the recent slew of celebrity sex tapes because they’re trumping the usual news about celebrity baby. Even so, you can’t make it through the grocery store line without somebody’s pregnant belly poking at you from the cover of a magazine.

Ever since Demi Moore posed naked and pregnant for Vanity Fair, celebrity pregnancy and motherhood have gone from taboo to acceptable, to the mess we have today, where pregnancy bumps and new babies are the latest celebrity accessories. Everybody’s doing it and there’s no escaping the news. The magazine racks at the grocery stores are covered with a who’s who of maternity. One magazine has a regular Bump Watch feature, and People magazine’s online version has an entire page dedicated to celebrity baby news. As if the gossip mags aren’t already doing their best to make us feel inadequate because our hair isn’t smooth, our waists aren’t tiny, and our clothes aren’t chic, now apparently we’re not perfect if we don’t have the most adorable baby in tow.

Well, I’m not buying it. Not until one of these celebrities comes clean about the difficulty she had conceiving with her size 0 body, or that motherhood isn’t just some pretty thing that comes with a designer nursery and a new set of cute clothes.

 

What are you grateful for today? August 27, 2010

Filed under: Fun Stuff,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Happy Friday. It is a happy Friday isn’t it?

We often get caught up in the things that go wrong and add to our list (sometimes long, granted) of what’s not good in the world, in our lives, and in our heads. So, today, I’m choosing to focus on what’s good in my life right now. Here’s an abridged list of  10 things for which I am grateful today:

  1. I live at the beach, where it’s deliciously cool
  2. My husband is coming home tonight
  3. I am my cat’s favorite human and we both know it
  4. My health is good
  5. I have wonderful, smart, and funny friends
  6. My mother is healthy enough to travel 6000 miles to visit me
  7. I’ve grown amazing winter squash in my garden this summer!
  8. Fresh strawberries
  9. Perfectly worn slippers
  10. Clean sheets

What’s on your list today?

 

Pamela Tsigdinos’ Great Interview About Moving Beyond Infertilty August 26, 2010

Life Without Baby member, Pamela Tsigdinos talks about overcoming infertility and making the decision to remain childless. It’s so great to hear her talking about the emotions, the stigma, and about “coming out of the closet” as an infertile woman. Wonderful. Also interesting to hear a discussion about choosing to get off the baby crazy train on a site dedicated to “IVF and third party family building.”

You can hear the podcast of her interview on the link below:

The Impact of RESOLVE with Executive Director, Barbara Collura, and Pamela Tsigdinos, Author of Silent Sorority, a Winner of Resolve’s Hope Award.

You can also check out Pamela’s website: Silent Sorority

 

Personal Images of Infertility by Monica Wiesblott

This image is part of the collection in Monica Wiesblotts’ new exhibit “Barren: Life on Infertile Soil.” Monica is a photographer whose work “examines the quiet reflections of a life without children, in a child-centric world and what it means to navigate daily in those constraints”. She says:

“The inspiration for the show was not only the discovery of my own infertility, but the silence surrounding it. The longstanding stigma of shame has made us a silent tribe of women.”

 

If you find yourself in Southern California this fall, make your way to Ventura to see Monica’s show.

BARREN: life on infertile soil

Personal Images of Infertility by Monica Wiesblott

 

September 30, 2010- October 23rd, 2010

Meet the artist: October 1st, 2010 5-8pm

Artist reception October 9th, 2010 4-6pm

 

Gallery 255

255 South Laurel Street

Ventura CA 93001

 I’m hoping to make it to the show and will report back when I do.

 

Finding a Community August 25, 2010

When I was younger I didn’t really get the whole “girlfriend” thing. My friends were always a mixed bag of male and female and I never felt I had much to contribute to the “girls’ night out” chatter.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the value of having a trusted group of female friends to help me through life’s challenges. It’s so good to have people to talk to who know that I’m not perfect and like me anyway, even when I do stupid things. It’s reassuring to know that, when you’re dealing with life’s issues, there’s always someone else who’s been through something similar, and can share war stories and solutions.

When I was dealing with infertility, I didn’t have that community. Although my friends were supportive and kind, none of them had been through anything like it. I looked for an online community, but couldn’t find one where I felt comfortable. I really did feel that I went through that whole chapter of my life almost alone.

I started this site to talk about life after infertility and to be heard, but the pleasant surprise for me is that I’ve finally found a wonderful community of women who want to talk, listen, help, and support one another. And we’re not just talking about infertility and being childless; we’re talking about books, gardening, travel, pets, family, you name it.

Have you found other helpful websites and online communities out there? Please share your finds with us.

 

Study Seeking Childless-Not-By-Choice Couples August 24, 2010

Katie Gentile is a psychologist and professor embarking on a new project that I’m very pleased to be able to share with you. She is currently interviewing couples who are childless-not-by-choice, with the aim of furthering the discussion about how women create meaningful lives in our mommy-centric culture. Katie’s interest comes straight from her own experiences with fertility medicine.

Katie is looking for volunters to interview. She’s looking to conduct two interviews of about an hour with each couple, and all the information will be kept confidential.

If you’d be willing to talk to Katie to help her with her study, please contact her via e-mail (kgentile AT jjay DOT cnuy DOT edu) or through her Life Without Baby page.