Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Life and Friendship After “The Thing” February 18, 2011

Please take a moment and contribute your opinion to this poll.

Last Saturday, I met Pamela (Silent Sorority) for the first time. We had lunch and talked. In fact we talked for so long and so easily that I forgot to collect my husband from the airport. No long-term harm done, thankfully.

Pamela and I talked about many things, but we didn’t talk about “the thing” – our infertility – even though that was the common tie that brought us together in the first place.

What we talked about mostly was the future. What’s next? Once you’ve come to terms with a life without children (no short or easy journey, I might add) where do you go next? Once you’ve found your tribe of women who aren’t going to bring their offsring into every conversation, and aren’t going to spring a surprise pregnancy on your friendship, what do you talk about, when you don’t want to keep talking about “the thing?”

Pamela and I batted around some new ideas. She talked about her view of our meeting in a post today, and also put together a poll. Please take a moment and add your two cents.

When you don’t want to talk about “the thing” anymore, what do you want to talk about?

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17 Responses to “Life and Friendship After “The Thing””

  1. Laura Nye Says:

    I wish I could say what’s next, but I’m still very focused on dealing with “the thing”. I’m at the point where I want to find my tribe, but I’m not sure how. I want to start a local support group for CNBCers. Anyway, I do think there needs to be more media focused on our demographic – magazines and websites. Even though I’m still struggling with coming to terms (10 months after my diagnosis of super-duper high FSH levels), I plan on completing the poll.

  2. CJ Says:

    I think I most want to talk about the future and the possibilities. My life has been in limbo for so long that I now really want to focus on good things to come. I want to talk about what trips I might want to take, which restaurant I’m dying to get a reservation for, where I might volunteer, etc. It may sound self-centered and shallow, but I feel like I’ve earned the right to raise my head and look ahead again.

    That said, I definitely have days when “the thing” eats me whole. I believe it’s true that grief is a process, and in my case, I think it’s probably going to be a long one.

    I’m also still seeking my tribe, and I do wish there were as many “non-mom” groups out there as there are mom groups.

    • lmanterfield Says:

      I really understand the limbo thing. I feel exactly the same way and am now really starting to look at what I want and re-examine some of the things I used to love before I got buried under “the thing.”

  3. Iris D Says:

    What happens when you are still struggling with “the thing”? When you are not pursuing treatments and when you haven’t contacted an adoption agency, but when you feel you are still thinking you should do something because you are still afraid of the possibility of looking back and thinking you should have tried more? At 42, with a husband who is 56 and has told me that at his age he wants to really enjoy his life and that he does not want to go through the rollercoaster ride that both options seem to offer, I still feel I am on the fence. There is, I think, such a need out there for a site/strong voice that says, “Hey you families of two, or you single and childless. You are not alone, you are important members of society. There are many ways to nurture and to live joyful, productive lives, even without kids or grandkids. Look at all these great role models and look at all the ways you can live and grow old feeling fulfilled and content. No fear.”

    • Lily Says:

      I definitely agree with your comment, Iris, of wanting and needing to feel like we are still important and valued members of society. Why hasn’t anyone realized we are all out there and craving content appealing to us? Although maybe it’s coming soon per Lisa and Pamela’s post…

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Hi Iris,
      From my own expereince there’s always something else you can do, always something else you could have tried, and every person has their own point where they say “enough.” Only you can know when you’ve reached that point. If and when you do, I hope you’ll find a community of women here who are trying to figure out the “what next.” There IS life after infertility and it can be a wonderful life, but it’s a process and it’s not easy some days. I’m sending good thoughts your way.

  4. Marcie Says:

    I want to talk about all the stuff I talked about before knowing I had “a thing.” I want to talk about movies/tv, traveling, what we’re doing this weekend, etc. I want to act and be seen as a “normal” person again, NOT the person with “the thing” that others can’t relate too. I used to feel bad (for myself) when people would turn away once I replied “No, I do’t have any children.” Now, I feel bad for them. How must it feel to not have anything to talk about besides your children?

    For those seeking others to relate to or to start a group, a friend told me about http://www.meetup.com. I’ve not used it, but she says it is a great place to join a group with same interests or to start your own group in your area. Good luck.

    • Laura Nye Says:

      Marcie, thank you for sharing the meetup suggestion. I checked the site today and there doesn’t seem to be anything in Austin, TX so I plan to start something. I keep stopping myself thinking “maybe I need to check the Resolve website first” but then I never do.

  5. Mali Says:

    What do I want to talk about other than “The Thing”?

    That’s easy – everything else. Which is what I do on my everyday blog A Separate Life. “The Thing” still rears its ugly head though even 8 years on, which is why I keep my other blog, as I very nervously wrote about recently on my everyday blog.

  6. Rach Says:

    i can’t answer that question. why? well i can’t decide “what” to talk about other than “the thing” until i find people to talk with who don’t want to talk about children, specifically their children.

    i need to find friends who are in a similar situation, but that’s alot easier said than done.

    ~x~

  7. Illanare Says:

    I don’t have an IRL childless tribe either, and I do wish I did. I guess we’d talk about everything other than children?

  8. Laura Nye Says:

    My first reaction to this post was “Wait! I’m not ready to focus on something other than the ‘thing’! Especially not on this website!” But after some thought and reading Pamela’s blog post about her meeting with Lisa, I can say I would definitely be a regular visitor to a website for people like us who aren’t necessarily still in the grieving process. Believe me, I’m still in the grieving process but there are plenty of other things going on in my life. It would be wonderful if there were a website that talked about stuff through the filter of “the thing”. Articles on volunteering experiences, how to throw a dinner party, movies and books that deal with “the thing” maybe, etc.

  9. loribeth Says:

    There’s lots to talk about besides children (although I’m sure if I met up with a CNBC sister, we’d talk about “The Thing,” at least at first). Work, travel, movies, books, home renovations, family (husbands, parents, nieces & nephews — just not our own kids).

  10. Lily Says:

    My comment here is that you’re on some level always dealing with the “thing”. What I look for now is really conversations where I can talk about what is happening now but if I need to reference the “thing” that’s okay, too. Too often people think the “thing” is over because I’m not pursing treatment or adoption, but it’s not. It never is and I need space to deal with openly but that doesn’t always mean it’s gut wrenching or the worst day ever, but just an everyday part of my life and I’m free to acknowledge it.

  11. Pamela Says:

    Thanks, Lisa, for sharing the poll. Great discussion here. Appreciate all the insights and comments. Have received 50 responses to the poll so far (from Australia, Canada, France, the US and the UK) and and expect many more in the days to come. Happy to report, too, lots of interest in contributing. Clearly this is a talented and generous community…

  12. […] also love this post where she talked about meeting Pamela (a fellow child-free friend) who wrote Silent Sorority and […]

  13. lmanterfield Says:

    Yes, great comments and insight, everyone. No “the thing” never does go away and I plan to keep using this website to talk about it. It’s helped me so much to be able to talk about it here.


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