Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Merry Christmas To You December 24, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 10:15 am

Dear Friends,

Breaking all the rules of blogging, I have decided to shut down for the rest of the year and spend some much needed time with my husband.

I want to thank you for your companionship during this past year and I look forward to getting some more heated debates going in the New Year.

In the meantime the forums will be wide open and I hope you’ll keep the conversation going in my absence.

I wish you a beautiful and peaceful holiday season, and I look forward to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

So, for now, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, wherever you are and I’m sending this greeting from my little family to yours.

With very best wishes,



Whiny Wednesday December 22, 2010

Filed under: Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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It’s Whiny Wednesday and I’m wet! I know all you people on the East Coast are rolling your eyes and all of you in Europe who are up to your eyeballs in snow are calling me a wimp, but I don’t care. This is my blog and my whine, so I’m complaining that it won’t stop raining!

I realize that Southern California is probably the only place in the world that grinds to a complete standstill every time it rains, but we’re sunshine people; we just don’t like the rain and we’re not equipped for it. The paper in my printer is damp, the wind is whistling through the loose windows in my old house, and my backside has been cold for days!

According to the local paper, our average rainfall for December is 1.09 inches. So far this month we’ve had 5.62 inches and more to come. I know we need the water; I know we’re in a drought, but I need it to stop raining for long enough for me to venture into my (probably sodden) basement to rescue my Christmas decorations so I can decorate my poor naked tree.

Wah! Poor me!


Another Year Over (Almost) December 21, 2010

Filed under: Current Affairs,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 8:33 am
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I don’t know about you, but this is the time that I start closing up shop for the year, winding everything down, and getting ready for a fresh new year ahead. The New Year is my favorite holiday. I love the feeling of wiping the slate clean and starting all over again. It’s a time to look back at the year, take stock of the good and the bad, and make plans for improving the next year.

This year has been a wild ride, but a good one. Back in March I had an idea that I should blog about the issues that come with being childless or childfree in our society. I thought it might be a good idea to start an online community where women like me could come and air their feelings. I had no idea how this was going to change my life, but it has.

I can’t tell you how valuable it has been for me to know that there are people out there (that’s you) who completely understand how I feel and who don’t think I’m crazy because I feel that way. It’s been an amazing experience to know that every time I sit here at my computer rambling on about what’s on my mind, there are other women out there reading it, nodding their heads, and saying, “I know! Me too!” It’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone.

I don’t yet know what next year is going to bring—the release of my book (with any luck at all), some travel, some new adventures? But I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks assessing my life, and deciding where I want to go next. I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, as such, but I always set goals for the year and resolve to work towards them.

What about you? What are your wishes, hopes, goals, or resolutions for the next year? Or is your only goal currently to make it through the upcoming holidays relatively unscathed?


It Got Me Thinking…About Celebrity Bumps December 20, 2010

Oh. My. Gawd! Make it STOP! A December 6 headline reads: “Mariah Carey (and Her Baby Bump) Perform at Disney World.” (If you want to further torture yourself, read the full article here.

First of all, as a professional writer and editor, I must point out that a baby bump cannot “perform” at Disney World or anywhere else. Unless, okay, maybe if the mother-to-be is a belly dancer. But still, mostly impossible.

Secondly, why is this news?! Why should we care?! I think it’s enough that a supremely talented woman is sharing the gift of her amazing voice (although I still don’t think it’s newsworthy). And while I’m happy for any woman who finally gets pregnant after having difficulties, I think it’s jinx-inducing to make such a big hullabaloo in the early and precarious stages of her pregnancy. Most of all, I don’t want to hear about how the parade of expectant celebrities are using the latest fashions to conceal, accentuate, or accessorize their swollen bellies.

I’m possibly just feeling pissy, but I’m starting to think that reinstating the old-fashioned tradition of a woman going into “confinement” once she begins to show could bring a little balance back into our baby bump-obsessed world.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is learning how to embrace being childfree.


Tell Us Your Story December 18, 2010

In the New Year, I’d like to start a new regular feature. I don’t have a clever name for it yet (suggestions welcome), but I want to start sharing some of your stories and opinions.

We’ve all come from different places and had different experiences, and we’re all in different stages of coming-to-terms with or being happily childfree. I can only write about my own experience and my own point-of-view, and I’d love to include some other voices in the conversation.

So, I’m putting out a call for guest stories. If you’d like to tell your story or if you have an issue you want to air for discussion, send it to me through the About Lisa contact form here. Posts should be in the 300-500 word range and if your post is published, there’ll be a prize.


Sharing Holiday Traditions December 17, 2010

Today is Friday, December 17 and no matter how in denial you’ve been up until now, it’s time to face the fact that we are in full-blown holiday mode. I still have cards to write and mail, gifts to buy, and a naked, but beautiful tree that could use some decorations, and I am slowly acknowledging that Christmas is going to happen with or without me.

J and I have been married for almost seven years now and yet we haven’t really established any holiday traditions. When his mother was alive, we often hosted Christmas dinner at our house, but since she passed away two years ago his family has become fractured and they don’t spend the holidays together so much. My family is half way around the world, so we go there about every third year, and in between we kind of ping around like lost pinballs, with no set program for the holidays. If we had kids, I know it would be different.

Growing up, our family Christmas was the same every year. We’d usually go out Christmas Eve to a party at the local social club. There’d be dancing, my parents could have a drink, and it was a 10-15 minute walk home. We often walked home after midnight, so I would look for Father Christmas (Santa) in the sky. I’d hang out my pillowcase (not stocking) at the end of my bed and somehow Father Christmas would always manage to fill it without waking me up.

Being the youngest of three, I’d be the first up on Christmas morning, and usually get sent back to bed at least twice for getting up too early. My parents would bring up tea and cookies and we’d all pile into their bed to open the gifts. No matter what else we got, we always got pajamas, a sweater, and chocolate.

We’d often go out for a walk on Christmas morning while the turkey was cooking, especially if it was one of those crisp, sunny days, and sometimes we’d go over to my Grandma’s for a short visit, but we’d always get on the phone to all the relatives to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for our gifts.

It was usually just the five of us for Christmas dinner. I don’t remember having relatives join us. We’d have the traditional Christmas dinner – turkey, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc., followed by sherry trifle and/or Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. We’d pull Christmas crackers, tell the jokes, and wear the paper hats all through dinner. Then we’d do the dishes and be all done in time for the Queen’s speech at 3:00. After that, there’d be a family movie (this was pre-video, and when the UK still only had three TV channels), something big like The Wizard of Oz, or new, such as Superman.

In the evening we’d play a game – cards or whichever board game was hot that year – and snack on cheese and crackers and all the goodies we only ever got at Christmas. My parents would have a beer or two and make me a shandy (a mix of beer and 7Up) and we’d watch our favorite Christmas specials until it was bedtime. So, for me, Christmas was always a quiet family time spent at home.

Why am I droning on about this? Because if I had children, I would pass these traditions on to them. I’d want to create the kind of Christmas memories for them that I have from my childhood. As it’s just the two of us, we have the freedom to spend Christmas however we choose, but without traditions of our own, it doesn’t feel as special.

So, I’m looking for some new traditions to start that fit our life now. I’d love it if you’d share some of yours – old family ones, and new ones that you’ve adopted as an adult. How do you make the holidays special and family-orientated when your family is just one or two?


Empathy With a Killer December 16, 2010

Filed under: Childfree by Choice,Current Affairs,Infertility and Loss — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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I read this very disturbing story in yesterday’s LA Times. Former Food Network Chef, Juan-Carlos Cruz was recently sentenced to nine years in state prison after being convicted of paying a homeless man $1,000 to murder Cruz’s wife. The details in the newspaper of how Cruz suggested the man strangle his victim to avoid “a mess,” and how he provided doggie treats to keep his dogs from barking, are truly sickening. Regardless I read on, wondering what possible motivation there could be for this heinous crime.

A few more paragraphs in, I found his motivation: infertility.

According to the article:

Cruz told detectives when he was arrested that his wife had been “going through a midlife crisis” after unsuccessfully trying fertility treatments for more than a decade, according to the report. The couple spent more than $200,000 on fertility treatments and Cruz said he believed that killing his wife was “a ‘merciful’ way to end her suffering.”

The article continues:

Cruz, who told detectives he had considered taking his own life, said that Mother’s Day was especially painful for his wife and that he could not bear seeing her. When investigators asked Cruz when he began looking for someone to kill his wife, he told them that he had been looking for several weeks and wanted the task completed by Mother’s Day.

And this is the point where I actually felt sorry for the guy who plotted to kill his wife.

We all know (especially those of us who are childless-not-by-choice—just how hard Mother’s Day can be. I could picture this poor woman, already at the end of her rope, facing another Mother’s Day without children of her own. And I could picture her husband, at a total loss as to how to help her get through this. I can see the expression on his face, because I’ve seen that same look on my husband’s face when facing another infertility land mine and being powerless to do anything about it. Maybe murder was the only proactive thing that Cruz could come up with to help his wife.

Granted (as far as I know) my husband never conspired to have me bumped off, and I’m not condoning Cruz’s decision, but I can empathize with his motivation, even if I can’t understand, or forgive, his actions.


Whiny Wednesday December 15, 2010

Filed under: Health,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 9:19 am
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I am SO glad it’s Wednesday today, because I am in need of a whine.

Last week I was a good human and voluntarily went to my doctor for a physical, fully expecting to be the specimen of perfect health. And largely I was, except that my blood sugar levels were high, not dangerously so, but higher than he liked to see.

“So,” he said, “You need to cut back on those carbs – bread, pasta, rice, desserts, alcohol. But don’t let this ruin your Christmas,” he added. “You can have a treat on Christmas Day.”

Don’t let it ruin your Christmas? Let’s see, I have Bailey’s in the cupboard – my favorite Christmas treat. I had been out that morning and bought everything I need to make little gingerbread muffins to give away (and maybe have one or two for myself.) I’d also planned and shopped for a week’s worth of healthy meals for this week and last night’s selection was – you guessed it – pasta.

So, last night I tossed out my chocolate advent calendar, ate my pasta, had a glass of Bailey’s and went to bed at 8:30 feeling sorry for myself. And today I’m whiny, because I know I Have to change my ways. I have to give up (or at least cut back) and my favorite things, and I just don’t want to. (But I will.)


A Book On Every Bed December 14, 2010

Filed under: Children,Family and Friends,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson, aka Ask Amy posted a great idea last week. Working alongside the Family Reading Partnership, she has launched a campaign called “A Book on Every Bed.” You can read about it here.

The idea is to give a book to a child this year, wrap it and place it on his or her bed, so that it’s the first gift they see on Christmas morning, before the thrill of the latest video game or gadget takes over.

I love this idea.  Amy talks about her first book, Green Eggs and Ham. Although I can’t remember my first book, I remember the book my older brother gave me for my eighth birthday: The Complete Adventures of Paddington – in hardback. I still love that book and I will never part with it. I don’t remember anything else I got for my birthday that year, but I remember my brother giving me that book.

Even though we don’t have children of our own, we can still have an influence on other people’s children. If you have a child in your life, consider giving them a book this year.  It might not make you the most popular person now, but years from now, when the toys and games have broken and been tossed away, your book will be still be appreciated.


My First Drive-Through Nativity December 13, 2010

Tootling around town this weekend, J and I saw a banner for a drive-through nativity. We couldn’t resist!

Is there anything more American than the drive-through concept? I drive through to get coffee, medicine, even dry-cleaning! I arrived in the U.S. too late to catch a drive-through movie, but I felt compelled to take advantage of the drive-through nativity.

It was lovely. There were ten or so scenes telling the story of Jesus, all the way from the Angel Gabriel to the rolling away of the stone. Each scene was narrated via a loaned in-car CD (or cassette in our old car) and featured live actors and an assortment of stuffed animals and baby dolls. There were wise men in tennis shoes and pint-sized shepherds with itchy headgear. So far, it was the most Christmas-y thing we’ve done yet this year.

What does this have to do with being childless? Absolutely nothing. But my life isn’t only about my lack of motherhood; it’s also about spending time with friends (at a fun dinner party), eating fabulous dinners out (best Italian food I know of), seeing bad movies (The Tourist. Skip it!), and celebrating the holidays with a drive-through nativity.  What else is your life about right now?