Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Good advice about dealing with pregnancy announcements? September 30, 2011

In the advice column of the Detroit Free Press, a woman unable to have children asked about how to deal with the endless pregnancies in her workplace. It sounds as if she’s found her own way to deal with it by putting on a happy face in public and keeping her true emotions private. I’m tending to agree that it’s about the only way to manage this situation with any grace.

I’m not so sure about the advice she’s been given though. Maybe getting involved with helping children might be a good way for this woman to have children in her life, but I don’t think it’s going to help her with the grief she is clearly still coming to terms with regarding her own loss. I might have advised this woman to seek some professional help, because she’s clearly not healing well on her own.

And while I think that the advice is coming largely from a place of compassion, I can’t help but read between the lines and wonder if she’s really told, “After 11 years, isn’t it time you got over it?”

What advice would you have given?

 

Age and Attitudes September 29, 2011

On a flight recently, I sat next to an elderly woman who was on her way to visit her granddaughter. Before long the conversation veered towards children and she asked me if I had any.

For a second, I got that sinking feeling. Here was a woman with children and grandchildren, who wasn’t going to understand why I didn’t. But I told her anyway, and even headed her off at the pass by explaining why before she asked.

But the thing is, she got it. She understood that the battle with infertility can be endless. She understood that sometimes you have to walk away. And she also understood that parenthood isn’t and shouldn’t be for everyone.

This is a trend I’ve been noticing lately. I’ve found that older people are often more likely than younger people to understand that motherhood isn’t a certainty for everyone.

Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with experience, or maybe it’s that perspective older people sometimes get about what’s really important in life. Whatever it is, I’m always glad to find that safe haven when it comes along.

 

Whiny Wednesday and the Kim Pagano Show September 28, 2011

This morning I will be in the studios of KKZZ in Ventura, CA, talking live to Kim Pagano about life after infertility. The show airs from 8-9 a.m., so tune in if you’re in the area, or you can stream the show from the website, too. I’ll post a link here later, as well.

In the meantime, it is still Whiny Wednesday, so feel free to grumble and gripe to your heart’s content.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Wit September 27, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

This morning, still brooding over yesterday’s failings and anticipating today’s regrets, I felt the need for something stronger than my book of affirmations to get me going. So, as I lingered in bed, I reached under my nightstand and pulled out The Portable Dorothy Parker.

It’s been several years since I’ve shared the company of the legendary wit who gave us “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” and “Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses”…and I’ve missed her. As I skimmed some of her poems, I started to smile. Soon I was giggling. I laughed out loud when I landed on the quip that reminded me, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

So often I wake up steeled to take life so very seriously. I have roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. I have bills to pay, decisions to make, dogs to feed, and schedules to plan. Sometimes the way I cheat and deprive myself in the daily quest to respond to all the “shoulds” gets so overwhelmingly depressing that I end up doing next to nothing and feeling like a worthless slug.

Ms. Parker had a few thoughts about this in her poem “Observation:”

If I don’t drive around the park,

I’m pretty sure to make my mark.

If I’m in bed each night by ten,

I may get back my looks again.

If I sustain from fun and such,

I’ll probably amount to much;

But I shall stay the way I am,

Because I do not give a damn.

That was just the inspiration I needed. I threw off the bed covers and marched purposely toward a refreshingly hot shower, vowing to ditch some of the day’s shoulds and go in search of more giggles. I hope to end the day with a better awareness of the absurdities of life, with a new perspective that will help me reorder the priorities on my to do list. It’s likely I won’t get everything done that needs to be done, but just for today, I choose to not give a damn.

Like Ms. Parker, Kathleen Guthrie is a childfree freelance writer. 

 

Laughter: the Best Medicine September 26, 2011

When was the last time you laughed? I mean really laughed. I’m talking deep, belly rumbling, side aching, snorting, laughter. Odds are, it’s been a while.

Last weekend I laughed longer and harder than I’ve laughed in a long, long time, and it felt SO GOOD!

The first bout came as my husband was telling our friends a funny and embarrassing story about his 21st birthday. I’ll spare the details, but think boys, bar, beer, waitress – use your imagination and you’ll be close. I’d heard the story before, but forgot the punch line, and for some reason it hit me right on the funny bone this time. I laughed so hard I had to excuse myself from the room to avoid snorting my adult beverage down my nose.

The second time happened when I rode a rollercoaster – something I haven’t done in absolutely YEARS! I certainly didn’t do anything so wild and outrageous during my TTC years (just in case, you know) and the opportunity hasn’t presented itself since. So, last weekend I rode The Roller Coaster at the New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

Let me tell you, I laughed! I whooped down the first drop, howled through the corkscrew, screamed in delight around the spiral and laughed so hard my legs shook. And do you know what? I felt great!

Something loosened up when I laughed like that. Some lump of built up tension released in me, and the weight that’s been dragging me down for so long lifted. Maybe it’s only a temporary reprieve, but I’ll take it. Laughter really is an excellent medicine.

So, if you could use a laugh, here’s a good article about the health benefits of laughter, including some tips for adding laughter to your life. (I’m adding “ride a rollercoaster to the list.)

I know that when life doesn’t go as planned it’s hard to find any humor at all, and when you’re healing from loss and dealing with grief, nothing’s funny. I know. But finding something to smile about, even just a giggle, can do you a world of good, and when the time is right, a great big belly laugh can help put your whole life back into perspective.

So, my challenge to you this week: Find something to laugh about. If nothing’s funny, just force yourself to smile until it turns into a giggle, and then let the laughter follow. I promise you, you’ll feel so much better.

 

“LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It” September 24, 2011

Filed under: Children,Family and Friends — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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As you know, I am usually very hesitant about posting stories relating to families, children, and babies, and that’s not going to change any time soon, but adoptive parents, particularly those who adopt through the foster care system, have a special place in my heart. From my own experience, I know that this type of adoption is a calling and it takes a special kind of person to pull it off.

Amy Hill, playwright and star of Lost and Found: Life as I K(new) It, was 47 years old and single when she adopted a baby girl through the L.A. County DCFS. Now, she and her 11-year old daughter, Penelope have taken their story to the stage in this

two-woman show about the trials and tribulations of multiracial/transracial adoption and single motherhood.

We each have a unique story to tell about our journey towards or away from motherhood. While Amy’s story took a different course to any of our stories, it’s often in the differences that we find common ground.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, consider checking out Amy and Penelope’s show.

 

“LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It”

Japanese American National Museum,
 Los Angeles, CA

October 1 @ 7 pm

October 2 @ 2 pm & 7 pm

Amy Hill explores how her life has evolved since her daughter became a part of her family. She talks about adoption, single motherhood, multiracial/transracial identity mash-ups and her continuing struggles to figure it all out in a humorous and honest way. Far from her days of flying solo, she has moved into a not so solo world: her daughter may or may not make an appearance.

$15 Members, Students, Groups (10+), Seniors

$20 non-members

Want to see a teaser of the show? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTmcqaSkkcs 

 

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener September 23, 2011

Pamela at Silent Sorority posted a wonderful story yesterday about the response she received from her recent Open Salon article about being a non-mom, Dispatch from Hell: It’s not all bad.

 

I found it encouraging that so many readers embraced her decision regarding adoption, and I was especially wowed by her own mother’s open-mindedness, when she wrote: “I’ve never understood why people automatically think that because a couple doesn’t have a child of their own, they will, of course, adopt. It’s like expecting a man or woman who never married to become a priest or a nun.” Well said, Mom!

I also laughed out loud (as did my husband, who has grown children) at a comment from the father of a “stay-at-home 23 year-old” who wrote: “No doubt it is a great pleasure watching your child grow, […] but if the second ten years came first, there would be no second children.”

As if to prove this point, I opened up my newspaper this morning and found myself both laughing and despairing at this article about three 19 year-old “boys,” who have just managed to wreck their lives through sheer stupidity. I’m sure their parents are very proud.

Yes, being a non-mom can be painful, sad, frustrating, or all of the above, but even so, the grass isn’t always greener on the parenting side of the fence.