Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

“BARREN: life on infertile soil” Opens Tonight September 30, 2010

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Fun Stuff,Infertility and Loss — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Don’t forget! Monica Wiesblotts’ new exhibit “Barren: Life on Infertile Soil” opens tonight at Gallery 255 in Ventura, California.

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”.

If you’re in Southern California between now and October 23rd, check out Monica’s show.


Whiny Wednesday: Tired of Media Exclusion September 29, 2010

My TIME magazine just arrived. On the cover is the silhouette of a naked pregnant woman. I put the magazine face down on the table and I refuse to read it. The sight of a pregnant woman does not make me envious or pine for motherhood; I’m just tired of having motherhood pushed at me endlessly.

Last month’s Runner’s World met the same fate with its double features on pregnant runners and the best baby joggers on the market. My longtime subscription to this magazine is in jeopardy as they continue to aim more and more articles at parents, leaving non-parents flipping the pages looking for something relatable.

There are magazines galore for parents and mothers-to-be. Is it too much to ask for my news and hobbies to be safe havens?

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s rubbing you the wrong way today?


My Spare Room September 28, 2010

My mum arrived last week for her annual 6-week-long visit. This means I spent the prior two weeks tearing my house apart and reassembling it to accommodate a guest. We have two bedrooms in our house, the second room being my fulltime office. It usually contains my desk, computer, files, papers, office supplies—basically everything I need to do my job on a daily basis. But right now it contains a bed and a couple of suitcases, with my desk and computer squeezed into one corner.

While clearing out the room, I started thinking about a book I recently read—Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (an excellent book that I can recommend highly.) One of the characters in the book has a series of spare rooms in her large house, at least one of which is set up to receive the children she expects or is expected to have (the mystery is revealed later in the book, but I’m not about to blow it now.) I realized that I had never envisioned my spare room as a nursery. I think that in my mind, we would make do in our little place and once children came along, we’d figure out how to move to a larger house, maybe in a different town. But a part of me can’t help wondering what had really been going on in my subconscious mind that I never planned for a place for a child to live, despite planning, or at least thinking about, all kinds of details involved in being a mother.

What about you? Did you ever make solid plans that included actions, rather than simply daydreams?


It Got Me Thinking…About Keepsakes September 27, 2010

Robin started a lively discussion on our site about “What do you do with hand-me-downs?” And it got me thinking…about the boxes of stuff in my basement.

My mom lost all of her scrapbooks, yearbooks, and even her wedding album in a flood three years before I was born. On any given milestone event, Mom would get misty-eyed and wish she could share her precious mementos with me and my siblings. And so, I became a diligent chronicler of all things scrap: programs, cards, certificates, studio portraits, snapshots. Someday, I knew, I’d want to share all of these with my daughter.

Well, I’m not going to have a daughter. And now all those carefully assembled keepsakes mock and taunt me. Should I throw them out? Burn them? Wait until they’ve rotted in mildew and let someone else haul them away when I’m dead?

What will you do with your treasures, your family heirlooms, your precious hand-me-downs?

I hope you’ll join our discussion.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in AAA’s Westways, GRIT, Real Simple, and 805 Living magazines. Read “How to Be the World’s Best Aunt Ever” on “It Got Me Thinking…” will be Kathleen’s regular guest column.


Should childless women be entitled to maternity leave? September 25, 2010

This is a debate that is fueling some heated discussions, as I’m sure you can imagine. Should we be allowed to take maternity leave if we don’t have children?

My first response is “no, of course not.” I’m of the viewpoint that maternity leave falls in with other benefits such as unemployment and social security; it’s there if you need it, but it’s a service, not an entitlement.

That having been said, maybe it’s time to rename maternity leave. In recent years many companies have stopped separating sick days and vacation days, instead giving employees Personal Time Off to be used as needed—to go to the beach, visit the dentist, or lay in bed with the flu.

What if maternity leave became just “personal leave” offered to every employee to be used for their own personal life goals—to do volunteer work, write a book, run for mayor, or care for a newborn baby? After all, for most women, having children is a choice, and those of us without children are often left to pick up the maternity leave slack. When do we get time off to pursue our dreams?


Infertility: On the Rise or Less Taboo? September 24, 2010

If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ll know that once you decide on the make and model (and sometimes even the color), you start to notice that same car everywhere you go. For me, it’s been the same with infertility. Since joining the ranks of the “ovarially challenged” I’ve noticed infertility everywhere—in the news, in the movies, in my social circle. And yet there was a time when couples without children were rare and the subject wasn’t discussed in polite company. So what’s changed?

Is infertility on the rise or are we just more open to talking about it?


Finding Her Place After Infertility September 23, 2010

Several months ago, one of our sisters, Wendy, was in crisis. She had been working as a child development specialist, but after her infertility diagnosis she realized she could no longer stand to work in that environment. She quit her job and then found herself, in her words, “trying to find out who the hell I am and what to do with my life.”

Well, she found out. A couple of weeks ago she got a call out-of-the-blue, and last week she left for Bangladesh to take a position with UNICEF as a pre-primary education consultant.

I’ve never met Wendy, but I’ve been following her journey on the forum, and I’m so inspired by her accomplishments. Here’s a woman who was knocked sideways by her unplanned childlessness, and yet she’s found her way.

She told me:

I have spent a lot of time thinking, and the only way I can make sense of my infertility is that maybe [it] means I can and should continue development work. Rather than focus only on the children who might be living with me under my roof, I can impact so many more children. Indirectly, yes, but many more. Working in international development, I can work to improve their schools, their home life, their health and sanitation, their nutrition, their families’ lives.

Congratulations, Wendy. Good luck in your new endeavor.


Whiny Wednesday September 22, 2010

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

It’s Whiny Wednesday! Finally! I’ve been waiting all week to have a good whine. I thought we’d play the three-word sentence game again this week. You know the rules. You can whine about anything at all, as long as you use sentences of three words.

Here’s my gripe for the week.

So flipping tired. Giant long list. Guest arrives tonight. Bed won’t fit. Must move bookcase. One more time. Fridge is empty. Add to list. Need a vacation. Not happening soon. Bed early tonight.

Gripe on, sisters!


Childless and Childfree Websites and Blogs September 21, 2010

Pamela over on the Silent Sorority blog is putting together a directory of sites relating to childless and childfree living. I’m going to be checking these out over the coming weeks and sharing some of the posts with you here.

If you have a favorite blog or website (other than this one, of course!) relating to living childless or childfree, please share it below, so we can all take a look.


Think Before You Reproduce September 20, 2010

Filed under: Children,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 11:06 am
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I found this article on recently. It’s one of those that really makes you scratch your head at first read, and I think the author gives some sound advice.

This woman wants children badly and is wondering if she should marry and reproduce with a man whose “jealousy and insecurity issues” as well his drug-use history are giving her cause for concern. Even as I was reading the article I was yelling, “No!!!!” at my computer. But when I read it again today, I see it slightly differently. The woman is 44, watching her window of fertility close, and looking at this man as her last hope for motherhood. I’m still yelling “No!” but I’m no longer adding, “Are you insane?”

I think it’s fairly safe to say that every one reading this blog has given a lot of thought to the reproduction decision. There are those of us who made firm decisions that we didn’t want children, and those of us who wanted children and either weren’t able or weren’t in a situation into which we wanted to bring children. Whatever our situation, we’ve given a lot of consideration to what being a parent entails, and probably a lot more than many people who bring children into the world.

Surprisingly enough I understand why this woman is even considering this option of bringing a child into what is, at best, a rocky relationship. That fertility window is like the old sash windows in my house: it stays open of its own accord for a good long time, but once it starts to close, it comes crashing down like a guillotine. I can understand why she’s grabbing at the nearest sperm-producing straw. But you can see the disaster written all over this scenario, can’t you? The only saving grace is that she too is questioning the wisdom of this move. Hurray for that, at least.