Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Ticking Clock November 30, 2010

I always expected to have children. I never had a burning desire that had to be kept under control by my logical self; I just had an expectation that one day I’d have kids.

Then I hit 30.

All of a sudden, the desire kicked in and I started shaping my life in preparation for having a family of my own. Once I met my husband (I was around 32) that desire burst into flames, and when I first realized I wasn’t going to get pregnant on-demand, the fire started raging out of control.

Now the fire is out again. I still love children, still go starry eyed at babies, but that desire to reproduce has been snuffed out. I don’t miss it, but it does make me wonder how much of the ticking clock is hormonal and how much is mental. How did I go from being nonchalant about having children to being insane with desire to genuinely stamping out that desire? Did my hormones just run their course or was it the act of convincing myself to give it up that brought the change? I’m leaning towards the latter, but it was the former that started it in the first place.

How about you? Did your clock ever start ticking or has it been ticking for years and won’t shut up? Is the desire to reproduce purely hormonal or do we control the desire. I’m interested to know how it felt for you and how you feel now.


Time to Lose My “Baby” Fat November 29, 2010

This morning I got up at 5:20 and left the house in the dark and the cold to go to a Beach Bootcamp. I spent an hour running in the sand, pulling a weighted sled, doing push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and squat thrusts. My heart thudded, my chest burned, and my legs screamed. But it felt great.

Once upon a time I was in good shape. I ran marathons, did triathlons, climbed mountains, and rode my bike. Then I decided I wanted to be a mother and the whole thing fell apart. As I tried to get pregnant, taking care of my body meant not pushing it too hard, not asking it to do anything dangerous, and not putting it under any stress. Over the course of five years I accumulated baby fat without accumulating a baby.

It’s been almost two years now since I got off the crazy train and started learning to accept my childfree life, but I feel as if I’ve lost so much ground, physically. I look at some of my friends who are older than me and see that physical fitness has very little to do with age. I am now out of excuses.

So I’m back. I’m going to whip myself into shape and lose that baby fat!

Are you taking care of yourself? If not, get a jump-start on your New Year’s Resolutions and join me. Oh, and please check in on me once in a while, would you, in case I forget all this fighting talk.


It Got Me Thinking…About Gratitude November 26, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,Guest Bloggers,It Got Me Thinking... — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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My friend’s sister is going through a horrible divorce and is fighting a fierce battle for custody of her children. She’s in a deep, dark, seemingly unending chaos. And yet…in the past month, she has won three major awards for her poetry.

Isn’t this just like life? You work your butt off in one area only to be faced with failure, pain, frustration, betrayal, or humiliation, then you get some random gift from the gods in another.

In this season of giving thanks, this got me thinking…. I’ve held epic self-pity parties. I can bitch and moan about how unfair life has been to me, and I have loads of evidence to back up my complaints. And yet…I bet there’s something in my life that’s going right.

Sometimes, it’s a little surprise: My roses are blooming! Sometimes, it comes out of my darkest moments of jealousy and desire: At least I’ll never have to struggle to lose pregnancy weight. Ha! When I’m feeling beyond down and my future is looking bleak, I can be thankful for something as basic as I can breathe on my own.

Today, here’s the top three on my gratitude list. What are yours?

  1. I am sharing my life with a wonderful man.
  2. There’s chocolate in the pantry.
  3. I’m part of an extraordinary circle of friends.

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


Thanksgiving Safe Zone November 25, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,Fun Stuff,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 5:00 am
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Your cousin announces that baby number 8 is on the way. Your Great Aunt Tillie asks when you are going to have kids. Your mother gives you a pointed look when she mentions how lucky her friend Gladys is to have so many grandchildren.

Wanna get away?

In lieu of yesterday’s Whiny Wednesday, I’m offering the Thanksgiving Safe Zone today. If it all gets too much, just come on over and let it all out here.

Someone will be around to hear you, I promise.


Happy Thanksgiving November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is a funny holiday in our house. As I didn’t grow up here, the holiday doesn’t hold any special meaning to me (even though I love the traditional turkey dinner), plus my family members are on the other side of the world and don’t celebrate it anyway. My husband’s family is close by, but his kids always go to their mother’s house and his sister and dad aren’t really the kind to sit around the big family table and celebrate together.

Usually Jose and I head out of town, but this year we didn’t quite pull our plans together in time, so we’re just going to stay home. I’m perfectly ok with these plans as we could use a few quiet days to ourselves, but somewhere inside me is an ember of an idea about how the holiday should be.

In my dream I have a long oak table laden with good food that I’ve spent the past few days creating. Around the table are all my favorite adults, talking, having intelligent conversations, and periodically glancing my way to rave about the food. When I think about a big family holiday, I think about my friends. They are the family I’ve chosen and I am thankful to have them in my life.

So I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, including our far-flung readers who might be reading this and wondering what the ruckus is all about. I also know that the holidays can be trying for we childless and childfree peeps, so I’m moving Whiny Wednesday to tomorrow, just in case it all gets out of control.

Be well and Happy Thanksgiving to you.


Childfree Flights November 23, 2010

Filed under: Children,Current Affairs — Life Without Baby @ 6:23 am
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You’ve been there. You’re tired, jet-lagged, just want to go home, but two rows over a baby with the healthiest lungs imaginable is testing them at full force. Or the three-year-old behind you is pounding the back of your chair with his light-up sneakers. Or (my own personal nightmare) the kid in the seat next to has turned green and is reaching for the air sick bag.

At some point we’ve all been on a flight disturbed by kids, but now a movement is beginning to persuade airlines to provide childfree flights or at least family only sections. I must say, I can’t quite decide where I stand on this.

Over the years, I think I’ve had relatively good luck with babies on flights, but when my luck has turned, it’s turned big. This summer we flew from LA to Vancouver on a flight that had connected with one from Fiji. There were lots of families on board and the whole three-hour trip was like a bad day at the Whacky Warehouse. The flight back was no better and we’ve vowed not to fly that airline again, at least not on that route.

But a childfree flight? The NY Times article prompted this letter to the editor, and while I don’t wholly agree with her argument (yes, all babies cry, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken to restaurants, the movies, or on long-haul flights) she makes some good points. Childfree flights feel elitist and while I like the idea in theory, I can’t actually see myself paying more for the privilege. And a family section on a plane? Remember the days when planes had smoking sections? Confining children to one section is like giving them carte blanche to run riot.

I think this debate is going to go on from some time. Where do you stand? Would you pay more for a childfree flight or do we all just need to get along?


Announcing the Official Release of My New Book November 22, 2010

I am very excited indeed to announce the official release of my new book I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood.

It’s currently available in e-book format from and, and next month it will also be available in the good old-fashioned printed version. You can be sure I’ll let you know when that happens.

If you’re an e-reader type or just can’t wait for the printed version, I’m offering the book at a special price for Life Without Baby readers. Download the book from Smashwords and use the code FB35D to get it half price – $4.95 instead of $9.95.

If you do read it, and love it, please tell everyone. If you read and don’t love it, please just tell me.

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow, but for today, it’s all about the book.


My Book November 20, 2010

This week I received the final cover design for my upcoming book, and next week the e-reader version of the book will be released.

It’s hard to describe all the emotions I’m riding through right now – excitement, pride, anxiety, second-guessing, and something else, some kind of melancholy.

I’m excited because this project has been a long time in the works. I’ve written it, added to it, edited it, and then last year I scrapped the entire manuscript (I mean every word of it) and started again with a blank page. (I’m getting a stomach ache just thinking about that!)  It had to be done and I’m glad I did it, but it was hard.

I’m proud because I stuck to it, I finished it, I didn’t let it collect dust in the bottom drawer of my desk, and I have fought to get it published and out into the world.

Which is where the anxiety comes in.

I’m anxious about putting such a personal story out there for everyone to see. Not so much the people who will hopefully benefit from reading it, but the lookie-loos, people who know me, or my husband, and want to get the gossip. I’m also anxious about the people in the book – my family and friends, my husband’s family – people who said or did the wrong thing without ever knowing it, and unwittingly gave me material. But everything in the story happened, and (as my friend Jeff says) it’s not mean if it’s true. But I still worry about what they’ll think.

I can’t quite figure out the melancholy. Maybe it comes from the feeling of something coming to an end (even though I know that many new things are just beginning), I’m not sure. An acquaintance asked me how I came to choose the topic and I explained that this is my story and that the topic chose me. And maybe that’s where the melancholy comes from. I’m very glad I wrote this book, but there’s still a part of me that wishes the topic had chosen someone else instead.


Irrational Thoughts and Kidnapping November 19, 2010

This week saw the final session of the creative writing class I teach. For the past 9 weeks I have taught ten 4th and 5th graders how to tell stories. Along with ten dedicated volunteer mentors, we have coaxed funny, scary, or deeply personal stories out of these children, turned them into short plays, and put them up on stage, performed by ten professional actors.  It’s such an incredible experience to see the students – especially the shy ones, or those who aren’t academically brilliant, or even those who are brilliant but can’t find a safe outlet – open up and pour out these wild and creative stories, and form bonds with the adults they have come to trust. Even though organizing 10-year-olds is sometimes like trying to wrangle cats, I love it and keep going back year after year.

This session one of the students lost her mother during the program. She skipped a class, but was back the following week, smiling, participating, and being her usual brave, strong self. At the end of the last class we play a game where everyone in the group has to share two likes and a wish. This little girl said she liked her dog and all the mentors, and she wished she could have her mom back.

I know that kidnapping is illegal and immoral, but for just that second I wanted to take that little girl home with me. While not all of us get to have children, I think that all children should have a good mother. This little girl had one, but lost her, and for a second I entertained the thought that maybe I could take her place.

It was a fleeting thought and a stupid one at that, and while I try to make sure my actions are legal and generally rational, no one ever said the same had to apply to my thoughts.


Harry Potter and the Spontaneous Adventures of the Childfree Couple – Part I November 18, 2010

Tonight, Jose and I are going to the midnight screening of the new Harry Potter movie. Why? Because it’s become tradition for us, because Harry was there with us when our relationship began, because we love the story, and because going to a midnight show is silly, exciting, fun, and (because it’s a work night) a little bit rebellious. But the main reason we’re going is because WE CAN!!

We have no kids who have to be up for school in the morning, who would want to come with us, who really shouldn’t come with us, who probably wouldn’t stay awake until 3 a.m. anyway, and who would probably be cranky for the entire rest of the weekend.

Granted, Jose and I might be all those things too, as 10 pm is our normal bedtime, but the great thing is, we are adults and we can choose to go or not.

One of the very best things about not have children is the freedom of spontaneity. We might take a train trip to New Mexico for Thanksgiving next week…or we might just stay home and pretend we’ve left town. We might throw a New Year’s Eve party this year…or we might just go somewhere fun, just the two of us. We might go the midnight showing of Harry Potter tonight…or….

Well there is no “or” on this occasion, but if an “or” comes our way, we have the freedom to choose it…or not. 

As the French would say, “Vive la liberté!”