Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

When a Little Bit of Education Goes a Long Way August 17, 2010

A couple of years ago Jose and I went to The Museum of Tolerance here in L.A. My parents grew up in England during the Second World War, so I’m interested in that period of history, and I wanted to learn more about the Holocaust.  MOT is a beautifully designed museum, both the external building, and it’s interior content. But we ended up leaving after only half an hour. Here’s why:

The museum only offers guided tours. You have to travel in a group and stop for the prescribed amount of time at each exhibit and be given all the information either by audio, or by watching a video, or reading. There’s no lingering over especially interesting bits and no jumping forward over areas that don’t grab your attention. For me (and this is a highly rated museum, so this is just my opinion) I felt that I was being force-fed my Holocaust education. The Museum of Tolerance wasn’t very tolerant of my ignorance.

Now, I’m an adult who took a free day from work and chose to visit this museum for my own edification. I have a college education, so I know how to learn under my own power. I wanted to be trusted to take the information and form my own thoughts. I wasn’t given that chance, and so I left, sadly, with my education.

I think that the majority of people out there in the world don’t understand the decision to be childfree and don’t understand how it feels to be childless-not-by-choice. I would say that most of us didn’t understand it either before we had that experience. I believe that we have an obligation to educate, to explain, to show people the other side of the story, but we can’t force-feed that education. The people in the restaurant last week got my back up with their closed minded opinions, but stomping over there and giving them a piece of my mind would have accomplished what? Nothing. Those people didn’t want to be educated, especially not by a complete stranger.

What I can do is work with the people who do mean something to me. When a well meaning (genuinely well-meaning, because there are some actual mean people out there) says something upsetting I have the choice to take the opportunity and explain my side of the story and why I’m upset, or let it go. Getting my hair all on fire and yelling about how insensitive they are isn’t going to help.

We need to talk, educate, explain, show, but only when the audience is willing and only for as long as they’re willing to listen. Bit-by-bit, we can tell our side of the story, and bit-by-bit, we can change the way other people view us.

 

Tolerance August 16, 2010

After last week’s post about the overheard conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot about tolerance and about trying to understand one another. I think that, as a group, we childless women often feel (and often are) misunderstood. We feel that people don’t think before they say things that hurt our feelings, that people with children make assumptions about the type of people we are, that employers assume that, because we don’t have kids, we are the go-to people for extra work. We’re always ready to stand up for one another whenever there’s an injustice done to one of our sisters. I love that about us.

And yet, even among ourselves, we have different frames of reference. There are those of us who are physically unable to have children; those of us who are emotionally unwilling, because of our circumstances; there are those of us who don’t have the opportunity to be parents; those of us who are childless by choice; and those of us who never had the desire for children. And even within those groups, each of us has a different story to tell about how ended up here on this site, looking for other women like us. Each of us looks at our situation through our own personal filters—just like those people out there who look through their own filters and see us differently than we see ourselves, who look at a childless person and see something they cannot understand.

So, I’m writing on a theme this week. It’s a bit of an experiment, so if the wheels fall off by Wednesday, just come back next week and everything should be back to normal. But for this week, I’m writing about tolerance. Stay tuned.

 

Daring to Be Ourselves August 14, 2010

This upcoming book grabbed my attention just by its title alone. Daring to Be Ourselves! Here’s what the Amazon write-up has to say:

“This impressive collection brings together words of wisdom from many of today’s most renowned and influential women, including Maya Angelou, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Cameron Diaz, Melissa Etheridge, Alice Walker, Eve Ensler, Isabel Allende, Elizabeth Lesser, Jane Goodall, and many others. Together, their voices speak to women of all ages and walks of life, addressing issues like equality, overcoming adversity, finding balance, and being more connected to the earth. Experience the power of their words as they share their passions and struggles, life philosophies, and hopes and dreams for the future. Let them inspire you in your own life to find your voice, speak your truth, and make a difference in the world.”

Oh yes, so now I really want to read it.

But, don’t you think that “Daring to Be Ourselves” could be our tagline? We aren’t being the women that society expects us to be. Some of us can’t have children, some of us won’t have them, but we are still amazing women, still doing great things in our own corners of the world, still being our wonderful selves.

So today, I dare you to be yourself.

 

Poll: How Do You Get Your Kid Fix? August 13, 2010

Filed under: Children,Polls — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

Some of us don’t need a kid fix (after my vacation, I’m going to be good for a while, let me tell you), but sometimes we need to spend time with young people. Do you? If so, how do you get your kid fix.

 

Defending Our Honor August 12, 2010

Last night I almost came to blows in defense of our collective honor. It was our last meal out on vacation and we were making it a good one–crisp tablecloths, fresh seafood, flowing wine–you get the picture. The restaurant had all but cleared out as I was sampling the delectable flavors of some homemade lavender ice cream, when I caught a snippet of conversation from the other remaining table.

“He’s very selfish,” said the man, “He doesn’t have children…”

As you can imagine, that caught my attention, so I craned my neck to hear more. Unfortunately I was too far away, but I did catch this:

“Yes, she hasn’t created the next generation. She has three step-children, of course, but that doesn’t count…”

Sisters, I was this close to marching over there and setting this bunch of old coots straight. How dare they assume this man didn’t have children because of his selfishness? How dare they suggest that this woman had an obligation to procreate to carry on some family line. How dare they suggest that raising someone else’s children isn’t a worthy role?

In the end, I decided these people were a lost cause, and that it wasn’t worth ruining my lovely dinner for the sake of their education. There are some people who just aren’t going to get it, no matter what. But I think that our generation is starting to understand and to value people for more than their ability to pop out heirs.

That having been said, when I walked past their table on the way out, you’d better believe I gave them my very best evil eye.

 

Whiny Wednesday August 11, 2010

Filed under: Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

Here’s this week’s whine in sentences of three words:

Ah, poor me. Slept late again. Another beautiful day. What’s for dinner? More delicious fish? Must nap again. Vacation ends tomorrow.

Sorry to rub it in, Ladies. Feel free to whine in my direction.

 

Spring Cleaning My Past August 9, 2010

I know it’s a bit late in the year, but I’m spring cleaning.

Over the years I’ve been added to mailing lists and e-mail subscriptions based on my plans to be a mother. Even though I’ve moved on to a new chapter in my life, every now and then a reminder from my past pops up to haunt me.

It’s been a while since I’ve received free samples of diapers and formula in the mail, but I still get plenty of postcards for children’s portrait photographers, baby fairs, and parenting classes.

I’ll be unsubscribing myself from the e-mail lists of Babies R Us, Adoptive Families, and my former acupuncturist. It’s not that these reminders send me into any kind of emotional turmoil; I just don’t have a use for their products and they’re cluttering up my Inbox. So it’s time to say “Goodbye.”

Have you done a spring cleaning on your past? Or are you still not ready?

 

16 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a CNBC August 6, 2010

I’ve been cruising around the Internet looking for interesting sites to share on this blog. There are plenty of good ones out there, but I’m finding myself drawn to blogs that have humor, with just a tinge of bitterness thrown in.

La Belette Rouge has just such a blog and I found myself laughing at this post: 16 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a CNBC (childless not by choice.) Granted my laugh was the type you blow down your nose with your lips pursed, rather than an all-out belly laugh, but sometimes a laugh is a laugh is a laugh.

 

Confessions of A Childless Daughter August 5, 2010

I have a confession to make.

My mother doesn’t know about this site.

She’s just now finding her way around the Internet, so it’s probably only a matter of time before she finds me. I’ve even sent her and e-mail with the link in my signature, but either she hasn’t twigged on, or she’s too polite to mention it.

When I was back home in England this past May, I promised my friend that I would tell my mum about my blog, but even when she asked what I was working on, I chickened out. It’s like being 14 again and trying to pluck up the guts to tell her I’ve been invited to a party with a boy.

But I’m not 14; I’m 40, so why can’t I tell my own mother about something I’m really proud of—this website?

Do any of you suffer from being unable to talk about yourself, your work, or your childlessness, even to people you trust?

 

Whiny Wednesday: People Who Shouldn’t Have Children August 4, 2010

Filed under: Current Affairs,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 10:57 am
Tags: ,

You never really know how you’ll react in a given situation, but I am pretty confident that I would never get into a brawl at a kindergarten graduation, as these two did.

Way to go to set an example to your kids, ladies!