Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Healing Bit-by-Bit September 18, 2010

I’m ovulating. The fact that my body continues to go through this useless motion is of little consequence, other than the fact that my hormones go wild and I click into nesting mode, cleaning and tidying everything in sight. For someone as disorganized as me, it’s useful to have this happen once a month, and especially so this month.

I am preparing for the Royal Visit, otherwise known as my mother’s annual trip to stay with us for about five weeks. As I work from a home office and we live in a small two-bedroom house, this means I have to convert my office into a guest room, while still leaving a small corner in which I can continue to work.

It’s a nightmare, self-inflicted, but no less horrendous. Yesterday I threw out six bags of papers, today I boxed up everything that I can live without for the next month-and-a-half, and the rest is in a pile in the middle of the floor, awaiting my decision regarding its fate. I’m thinking that if I don’t look at it, it will just go away, but I know that come Wednesday morning, I’ll be stuffing it into a closet, where it will remain, probably forever.

During yesterday’s purge I came across some things: all my notes and test results from my assorted fertility-related doctors, information from two different adoption agencies, and a baby naming book, half filled in.

The whole lot went in the trash.

Not that tossing it didn’t leave a dent in my heart. It did. But it was a small dent and will heal quickly. And this is how it works. This is how we move on, one small step, one event, one reminder, one discarded memento at a time. It’s slow and it’s painful, but bit-by-bit, it works.

 

Poll: Inviting Friends with Kids September 17, 2010

You’re hosting a dinner for a group of friends at your home. Some of the guests are also childfree/childless, but some have little ones. How do you deal with the friends who have kids?

 

Technology: The Demise of the Human Race? September 16, 2010

Filed under: Current Affairs,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

As we’re on the subject of men this week, I thought I’d share this story as food for thought:

A friend recently commented on the young men in her office (she’s in her 50’s; she’s talking about the 20- and 30-something set.) “When I was young,” she said, “all guys talked about was sex, how, when, and with whom they were going to get lucky. Sometimes they talked about their cars, too, but their main focus was girls. These days, all the guys in my office ever talk about is technology—their phones, the hottest gadget and new fangled whatever. It’s bizarre.”

Granted, I’m sure that today’s sexual harassment laws have curbed a lot of that young male enthusiasm in the workplace, but it did get me thinking. Will technology be the demise of the human race? Are today’s young men really more interested in their phones than the opposite sex? What do you think?

 

Whiny Wednesday: Open Letter to Spammers September 15, 2010

Filed under: Fun Stuff,Infertility and Loss,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

Dear Spammers,

While I appreciate your need to drive business to your websites via mine, I strongly suggest you take a closer look at your keywords, or whatever nifty little high tech devices you use to identify prospective targets. Just because you often find words like INFERTILITY, BABY, and PREGNANCY among these blog posts and associated comments, you may also note that the name of this site is “Life WITHOUT Baby.” This ought to imply that neither I, nor any of my beloved readers, are interested in your egg donor agency, your express adoption plan, your foolproof tips for getting pregnant, or any of your other sordid little get-rich-quick schemes. Please bugger off and bother someone else.

With warmest regards,

Lisa

P.S. Google ads, this applies to you, too.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, Ladies. If you have anything to gripe about, now’s the time.

 

Men Dealing With Childlessness September 14, 2010

This month’s Oprah magazine has a feature about surviving miscarriage—from the man’s point-of view. It’s so rare that we ever hear what it’s like for men to deal with infertility, loss, or “missing the baby boat.” I think it’s easier for us women to find communities and to talk to one another openly and honestly about our feelings. Not so for men.

While I’m merrily discussing my infertility with you and pretty much anyone who’ll listen, I know that my husband is dealing with it by not dealing with it. In time, if properly ignored, it will somehow go away. I’ve been hashing out my emotions in writing, sorting through my story and looking for meaning, but my husband doesn’t want to read anything I write. He says he doesn’t want to have to relive it all again.

We all deal with things differently and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, but I wonder if the men involved in our stories are getting what they need to heal. Where does your spouse/partner go for help? Does he go anywhere? Would he benefit from having somewhere safe to go to talk, or is that not how he deals with problems?

Our men may be from Mars, rather than our own planet of Venus, but we’re all hurtling around the same crazy solar system.

 

Guest Blog: Advice September 12, 2010

This morning, a close friend sent me Kyran Pittman’s blog posting “Advice for a Teenage Daughter I Will Never Have.” It got me thinking.

I used to fantasize about how I’d raise my children to be good humans. Along with my DNA, I’d share with them my passion for reading and love of team sports. I’d encourage them to invest a portion of each check from their summer life-guarding and part-time retail jobs, so that after college they’d already have a nest egg that would allow them to pursue careers in the arts, backpack through Asia, get into the housing market, or at least not starve while toiling away as a junior executive’s junior assistant.

I’m a font of wisdom earned from 44 years of life experience. Now, it seems, because I’m not a mother, no one is interested in hearing from me. Do you feel that way? If you had children, what advice would you give them? And since you don’t, what advice are you now taking to heart for yourself?



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 eHow.com.

 

Silent Sorority: A (Barren) Woman Get Busy, Angry, Lost and Found September 11, 2010

I just finished reading Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos’ book, Silent Sorority: A (Barren) Woman Get Busy, Angry, Lost and Found. I give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up! With class, dignity, and humor (oh, yes, and an appropriate amount of bile), Pamela not only tells her own story of infertility, but is able to step back and provide an intelligent social commentary on our mommy-centric culture and what it’s like to be childless-not-by-choice when everyone around you is baby-mad.

As I read her story, I found myself slapping my forehead, thinking, “I did that too,” and I realized what I wish I’d known long ago, that I was not alone on my own journey. As Pamela says, infertile women “were everywhere, but nowhere.”

What makes Pamela’s book stand out from other infertility stories I’ve read is that (aside from her not “giving up on treatments and suddenly having a miracle pregnancy”) she talks about the “what now?” how she gained acceptance and found a place for herself in the world.

This is one of those books that I wish I could give to people I know to read. It’s a book that says, “This is what I went through, this is why I was behaving that way back then, but you know what? I’m okay now.”

If you haven’t read this book, put it on your list. It’s an eye-opener. And while Pamela might not yet have all the answers to our questions, she’s starting the conversation about living childless/childfree, and giving us a voice.

You can find Silent Sorority in print at:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble.com

Or as an e-book from:

Amazon’s Kindle Store

Barnes and Noble

Borders (via Kobo)

Smashwords

 

Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old? September 10, 2010

“Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”

This is one of those arguments that’s easy to shut down if anyone suggests it as a reason for having children. One peek in your local nursing home, or frankly, on the streets of any major city, will give you all the evidence you need that having children is no guarantee that you’ll be taken care of in your old age. But with all possibility removed, do you have plans for your later years?

I think about this from time-to-time, but I don’t yet have a good solution. My husband is 15 years my senior and so in theory I should outlive him. My family—brothers, nieces and nephews—is on another continent. I have good friends, including a circle of women who are also childless, and some of us have talked about taking care of one another as we age. But I wonder what will actually happen to me

A recent obituary stated that so-and-so (I can’t now remember who it was) had passed away at 93 years old, surrounded by close friends. My husband, being cynical, pointed out that she was wealthy and famous, and therefore drew plenty of close friends hoping for their share of her inheritance. Trying to out-cynic him, I pointed out that that’s usually what happens but with distant relatives coming out of the woodwork for their share of the financial pie. But the point is, that that is how I want to go, surrounded by people who choose to be with me.

So, plan A for my future is to be nice, take care of my friends, and hope that they will take care of me. Plan B is to become rich and famous and buy my friends. Either way, I hope to not grow old alone.

Have you given any thought to what will become of you in your old age? Or do you have a plan all laid out?  I’d be interested to hear.

 

The Jealous Child: Me September 9, 2010

The problem with emotions is that they never behave themselves. Just as you get one set all sorted out and under control, another set bubbles up and catches you off guard. And so it was this past weekend when that evil emotion jealousy crept up on me when I least expected it.

My hubby and I were at a local fair, and of course, had to find a present for our granddaughter (yes, although I don’t have children, I do have a granddaughter by marriage.) Let it be said that I love my granddaughter to bits, but being a childless grandmother is not without its challenges. I’ve got to the point where I can shop for baby clothes, baby furniture, diapers, and toys, and keep it all pretty much together, but this weekend I didn’t. While deciding on a dress for her, I snapped at my husband; I grumbled; I yelled, and basically pouted like a two-year-old. And then my husband called me on it.

“You’re not jealous of her are you?”

“Of course not!” I said, and then shuffled off to have a little talk with myself.

Oh, sisters, I must tell you that it’s pretty horrible having to admit to yourself that you’re jealous of an 18-month-old. My logical, adult mind is talking through it and saying all the right things, but some little voice deep inside me is throwing a tantrum. Maybe it’s because I’m the baby of my family (by 11 years) with two older brothers, and I’m used to being indulged, maybe even a little spoiled. That’s okay; I turned out all right in spite of it. Maybe I don’t like having to share my husband. Or maybe somewhere I’m still bitter that I don’t have a baby of my own and that it’s my child who should be the one being spoiled.

I’ve been mulling my reaction for a couple of days now and it finally dawned on me. There’s a natural progression in life: child becomes parent, becomes grandparent, and sometimes becomes child again. I’ve never made it out of Stage I. I’ve never experienced that moment of knowing that I am now wholly responsible for another human life. I am still, at some level, the child.

I love that I am still somewhat childlike, that I’m willing to take on an adventure, try something new, not worry too much what others think of me, but am I still childish? Well, that just won’t do; I’m a grandmother, for Pete’s sake!

I think this is going to require a little more soul-searching. Any thoughts?

 

“Dealing with Infertility” Free E-Class September 8, 2010

Lily, over at The Infertile Mind, is really clued into the emotional aspects of being childless-not-by-choice. She hosts a free e-class about dealing with these emotions and recently invited me to drop in to see what she’s up to.

Even though the class is aimed at dealing with infertility, the exercises she teaches can be used by anyone who is childless-not-by-choice. We all go through many of the same emotions. Participants work through a series of exercises at their own pace, but within a small community of likeminded women. You can choose to participate in discussions or just quietly work through in your own time. The exercises are all based on Lily’s own experience of dealing with infertility and moving on with her life without children.

One of my favorite exercises was about dealing with jealousy (see tomorrow’s post for more on this particular topic!) by listing all the things you envy about a person, and then listing all the things you don’t envy about them. What an eye opener that was! And it made me laugh—at myself—which is always a good thing.

Lily will be hosting another free class running October 4th through November 1st.

You can sign up here: http://www.infertilityeclass.com/Register.html

or get more information here: http://www.infertilityeclass.com/FAQs.html.

The class is private and password-protected, so you can safely let it all hang out, so to speak.