Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Happily Ever After February 28, 2011

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Children,Family and Friends — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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By Kathleen Guthrie

My two oldest nieces, ages 8 and 10, recently appeared in a local theater production of Into the Woods. I saw it on Broadway 20 years ago, loved it, but had forgotten that the central story is about the Baker and his Wife and their search for items to break a curse…their curse of not being able to conceive a child. Yeah. A musical about infertility. Good times.

 

As we waited for the show to start, the gentleman sitting next to me asked which cast members I had come to see. I pointed to the girls’ names in the program, and he pointed to the name of his niece. But it wasn’t until after curtain calls, when he congratulated me on having such talented daughters, that I realized he thought I was the proud momma, not the proud aunt.

 

And this got me thinking…. Growing up, my siblings and I took turns performing on stage and in sporting events, then sitting in the audience or the bleachers to cheer for each other. My parents attended almost every event, so naturally I assumed I would one day be the mom handing out programs, running the box office, or yelling my lungs out as my kid kicked the winning goal. I was sure I would have much to be proud of. It never occurred to me that I would be denied the pleasure of hearing someone say, “She must get it from you.”

 

“I wish…,” the characters sing in the play, and I know it would be so easy to dwell on my curse. Instead, I choose to create my own version of happily ever after.

 

 

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.

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Expressing Motherhood – Part III February 26, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going to see my friend in a show called Expressing Motherhood. I wrote a post about my trepidation and facing my demons head-on, and a follow-up about my surprise reaction to the show.

Mali left this comment:  

“What a difference it would have made if the performance had […] included the story of one infertile woman. We would all have felt included then, and positive towards the performance.”

Great suggestion, I thought, so I contacted the producers, and to cut a long story short, when the show reopens in April with a new cast, yours truly will be out there flying the non-mom flag.

Ok, so I’m pretty excited about this, but I bought fresh scallops from the fishmonger today and it’s almost dinner time, so I’ll keep it brief. Just know that this won’t be the last you’ll hear about this. I’m really pleased that the producers were open to this idea and I’m nervous but excited about having a captive audience of moms to hear my story. My hope is to be able to open a few eyes and maybe get people thinking a little about their own friends and family who don’t have children. It’s going to be interesting.

So, here are the basic deets, for any of you who happen to be in the Los Angeles area and think you might be up to seeing the show:

Expressing Motherhood

Mother’s Day Show (Yup, that’s right!)

April 27, 28, 29 & 30

May 4, 5, 6 & 7

Elephant Space

6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles

Tickets are $20 from www.Brownpapertickets.com, and if you buy on March 1 and use the code “Five” you can save $5.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

The Sliding Scale of Coming-to-Terms February 25, 2011

J and I just purchased a used trombone. In the very early stages of our relationship we discovered all sorts of odd things we had in common, one of which is that we both played the trombone as teenagers. Anyway, we’ve been talking about learning to play again, and we finally found a used instrument in good condition.

 

The main difference between a trombone and other brass instruments is that you make the notes by moving a slide up and down, rather hitting a key. It makes it a lot more difficult to hit just the right note. It’s also what makes the trombone so much fun to play, because you can slide easily from note to note, up and down and back again.

 

The reason I’m telling you all this is that today I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole coming-to-terms process. I’ve been thinking about it in terms of school grades, with the freshman class having just made the decision to live childfree or to stop fertility treatments, and having no idea how to start getting used to the idea. They eventually graduate to acceptance and begin to find a way to get happy, and ultimately go on to live a full and happy life without children.

 

But it’s really not that simple. You never really do hit all the notes precisely and in order. It’s much more like playing a trombone, where you slide from one state to the next and sometimes back again. One day, you’re content and determined to make the most of your situation, then something happens to trigger all those old emotions and you find yourself sliding back down. Then you get to talk someone who understands you and you feel like you can really figure this out…until your friend announces a pregnancy and back down you go again.

 

So, I’m wondering, where are you on the sliding scale of coming-to-terms? Where are you right now and have you been better or been worse? Do you feel that, even though you have setbacks, you’re slowly moving towards a place of peace, or can you see no way to ever come-to-terms with your lot in life? Or have you already been up and down the scale and have finally found a place of contentment? I’d like to know.

 

Toddlers in Restaurants February 24, 2011

Filed under: Children,Current Affairs — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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This article was posted on the BBC website, but I know it’s a discussion that is happening all over the place. Should parents take toddlers and babies into restaurants?

 

My feeling on this is, generally, no. And this is an opinion I formed while I was still planning on having little ones of my own.

 

Kids get hungry, cranky, and whiny. They scream at inappropriate times and they don’t like to sit still. They’re children, after all, not small adults. Taking them into a restaurant (and by restaurant, I mean somewhere that doesn’t specifically cater to kids and families) isn’t appropriate, unless you can be absolutely certain your little one knows how to behave (and I think that’s too much to ask of a three-year old) or you’re willing to interrupt your own dinner to take your child outside until he or she blows through the tantrum. I’ve seen many parents bring children to resturants and deal with them appropriately. And I’ve seen plenty who haven’t. For example, letting your antsy toddler loose to run around the tables is not only rude, it’s dangerous. Having waited tables for a living at one time, I know that it’s hard enough to keep hot food and sloshy drinks upright, without having to keep an eye open for errant toddlers.

 

I understand that parents want a social life, need to get out, deserve a night out even, but that’s what babysitters are for. And if you’re not comfortable hiring someone to take care of your child, then really, you need to stay home.

 

Having children is a big, responsible job and it comes with lots of sacrifices, not least of which is having to give up on dinner-for-two in a romantic bistro. And if you were a parent who hired a sitter so you could enjoy a quiet night out, would you appreciate having to listen to the cries of someone else’s offspring?

 

It all comes down to basic respect and consideration – something parents should be teaching their children by example.

 

Not So Private Anymore February 23, 2011

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Family and Friends,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 8:35 am
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I am a very private person.

 

I laughed when I told this to Pamela last week, doubly so when she told me that she was too. But it’s true. I don’t tend to wear my heart on my sleeve or share the private aspects of my life, sometimes even with my closest friends. I like to keep things to myself.

 

However, last night I attended the official launch party for my book. It was so much fun to mill around the room, talking to people and signing copies of my book, that somehow, in the thrill of the celebration, I managed to overlook the fact that all these people will now know the most intimate details of my life, my body, and my relationships.

 

But there; it’s done; it’s out there for everyone and his dog to know!

 

They say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think that’s true. Infertility wasn’t something I ever wanted to deal with and in many ways I didn’t deal with it when it was happening to me. I didn’t confide much in friends or seek help elsewhere. I just kept it private. But the experience made me stronger and made me want to talk about it. It made me want to share the experience with other people so that they can better understand what it’s like. It’s not always comfortable, but I know it’s the the right thing to do.

 

I’m not such a private person anymore, and I’m okay with that.

 

 

 

It Got Me Thinking About…Minivans! February 22, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Aside from the obvious fears of pregnancy and childbirth – related pains and complications, what I dreaded most about becoming a mom someday was the transition from hot babe to minivan driver. Whenever friends waxed poetical about their automatic sliding doors, roomy seats, and safety features (really?), I wanted to gag. Not me. No way. Never, I thought.

Be careful what you wish for, right?

But now that I know there will be no children to haul around, I’m excited to rediscover a whole wonderful world of fun cars. And because I won’t be funding anyone’s college education (see “Money” post), it’s possible I could pull one out of my garage some day. Here are a few I’m ogling:

Sure the red-hot Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class screams midlife crisis, but who cares?! It’s gorgeous! “With a retractable hardtop that transforms it from coupe to open roadster in 22 seconds,” it allows me to imagine I could be the next Danica Patrick, hair flowing in the wind as I zoom around the track…or just out to dinner. I also love that the description includes “Seats 2 adults.” Yup, that’s us.

The 2011 Jeep Wrangler has a tagline that reads, “The Ultimate Experience for the Person who Wants Freedom to Explore.” And because there’s no one in the backseat being cranky, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want. That’s Freedom, baby!

Porsche now makes family-friendly vehicles, including the 4-door Cayenne hybrid. They’re stylish, I think, but my heart still belongs to the classic Boxster. Top down, a drive along the coast, Beyonce on the stereo. No room for packing a playpen, stroller, or quilted bag filled with “entertainment” and drippy snacks for the kids. P-a-r-a-d-i-s-e.

I’m sure the marketing execs at Harley-Davidson hired supermodel Marisa Miller to entice men of all shapes and sizes to buy a motorcycle, but I’m here to tell them that I’m also looking to pick up the bling, boots, pants, and leather jacket she’s wearing. (Are they washable? It doesn’t matter!)

Gullwing doors, plush leather seats, a stereo system that automatically ejects songs performed by The Wiggles…. So many fabulous possibilities. Vrooom!

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She currently gets around in a hip Scion xB.

 

IComLeavWe February 2011 February 21, 2011

I’ll say right up front here that, while I’ve been aware of the existence of Melissa Ford and her Stirrup Queens blog for a number of years, I’ve always stayed away.

One of the hardest parts of coming to terms with being childless is the constant lure of the miracle treatment. I know I’m over it, and I understand that some precise combination of yoga, asparagus, and ground yak horn is not going to fix my dodgy ovaries, but I can never help thinking what if? For this reason, I’ve steered clear of any fertility websites that are still in the TTC mode.

Regardless, I ventured over to Stirrup Queens recently and was pleasantly surprised to find that Mel now has a whole section of blogs devoted to living childfree after infertility, and that some of my favorite blogettes have their sites listed.

So, this week is IComLeaveWe, or International Comment Leaving Week, on Stirrup Queens. There’s a full explanation here:  [link] but basically, the idea is to support this community of bloggers by posting comments of five blogs every day for the week of February 21-28 (plus replying to one comment on your own blog, if you have one.)

So, in the spirit of community, I will be lurking around the blogosphere this week, catching up on what others are doing. Here is Mel’s list of blogs that are covering the “childfree after infertility” point of view. I plan to visit these and others on my own blogroll, and bring back my favorites to share.

  1. A Fresh Start
  2. Apron Strings for Emily
  3. BarrenChemist
  4. Barren, Broken, and Beginning Again
  5. (NOT) Coming to a Uterus Near You
  6. Coming2Terms
  7. Crashing, Burning, & Getting Back Up
  8. The Fertile Soul
  9. Forever Reaching
  10. La Belette Rouge
  11. Life Without Baby
  12. Making Toy Soldiers
  13. The Miss Ruby
  14. My So-Called Life
  15. my whole is greater than the sum of my parts
  16. My Words Fly Up, My Thoughts Remain Below
  17. No Kidding in NZ
  18. Plan B: Family of Two
  19. That Girl with Endo
  20. Upon Awakening…

If your blog isn’t listed, please add it here and I’ll put it on my tour.