Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

How are you doing? September 22, 2011

Recently I spoke to my very good friend (let’s call her Sally) who is childfree because of a serious illness that left her unexpectedly infertile. Sally has a wonderful partner and a fulfilling career and is coming to terms with the fact that children are now out of the question for her.

I enjoyed being able to have a conversation about being childfree with someone who is a dear friend and also a kindred spirit. She understood what I’d been through and understood the importance of finding someone trustworthy to talk to.

We talked about her illness and she said something that really struck a chord with me. “No one ever asks me how I’m doing.”

Sometimes I think that people assume because a disease has been “cured” that there are no lasting repercussions or emotional scars. Or maybe that because someone doesn’t talk about personal aspects of their life (or, in the case of my friend, isn’t the type to complain) that they must be “doing okay” or that they’re “over it.” But often that isn’t the case.

I hope I’ve been the kind of friend that has checked in often with Sally and given her the opportunity to talk if she’s needed to. I certainly know that next time I speak to her, I’ll make a point a point of asking, not just how she’s doing generally, but how she’s doing specifically, with the after-effects of her illness.

And I’m also going to check in with you here. How are you doing, not just today, but in the bigger picture of your life as it stands? Let me know what’s going on with you, and maybe make a point of checking in with a friend who’s been through a traumatic experience in the past, and who might not be doing as well as he/she appears.

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4 Responses to “How are you doing?”

  1. Dorothy Says:

    Thanks to the grace of God and the Life Without Baby community, I am emerging from the darkness of childlessness and stepping into the light of a new self-awareness. I no longer kick myself on Mother’s Day, and I have learned to mutter, “Oh, that old chestnut,” when yet another woman announces she’s a grandmother. So there is progress, but I still have a long way to go.

    Lisa, thank you for asking this today. I hope your question prompts us all to stop and be grateful for you and the LWB community, yet challenges us to evaluate where we currently stand and if there is more work to do.

    (For those of us who pray, let’s lift up this community and ask the Lord to continue healing and blessing us.)

  2. Tara Says:

    I too feel as though life is moving on, and I am adjusting to the fact that kids will not be a part of our lives. I realize that the things we can do and accomplish are endless as there is nothing to tie us down, no college funds to save for, braces to pay for, clothes, school trips etc. And 99% of the time I feel happy about this.

    But sometimes I wonder if I am just surpressing real feelings? Pushing them so far down and one day they will pop up and bite me in the you know what!

    Only time will tell, and in the mean time we move on and try and enjoy life the best we know how.

  3. themissruby Says:

    amen!

    your friend sally is right, very few ask how we, the childless, are doing. people just assume that we come to grips with the fact that we aren’t going to be parent, build a bridge and just get over it – oh how i wish it was that easy!!

    what i wouldn’t give some days – especially on the days where it feels like i’ve been hit by a tsunami of pregnancy announcements – for a friend, someone, ANYONE to just stop, put a hand on my arm and say “hey, how are you doing?” or even just a quick email or text but people don’t.

    i find a lot of people do actually think that infertility and the reality of never being able to have children is just something that people should get over rather quickly – that we should instantly focus our attention on how great our lives are going to be without children, you know those endless holidays, that convertible car, all that free time we have – we should be embracing it rather than being sad about that desire you longed to be fulfilled that now never will. the last holiday we had was over 3 years ago, we need a new car but it definitely WON’T be a convertible and all that free time? yup i have TOO much of it and no one to spend it with because ALL my friends are off having babies and caring for them!

    great post!

    x

  4. beenybaby Says:

    i can really relate to sally. i was just thinking today how no one has asked me in ages how i’m doing. i tried to conceive for 10 years and i have nothing to show for it. i think people think that because my husband and i are not in the adoption process (his choice – NOT mine) then i’m just happy with everything. i just feel like i got left off the guest list at a party yet still showed up. awkward. i hate to say that i feel like i’m missing out, but that’s just what it is. i’m missing out. on feeling the baby grow within me, on letting my husband know i’m pregnant and seeing his smile, childbirth and all it’s ups and downs, and then going through the process of raising a child. at times, i hear about my friends trying to get their kids into the “right” schools or onto the “best” soccer team, and i shudder to think that i might have wound up there, but i would take it. sometimes i just want to cry while i’m with my friends. a table of 11 and 10 of them moms….


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