Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Great Expectations October 21, 2011

As young women (or men) we set our expectations and created a vision of how our lives would turn out.

My life was going to include college, a fantastically successful career traveling the world as an engineering consultant, and eventually a life with Mr. Right, in a large English country house with a circular driveway, and four children (including twins.) Sounds like a pretty good life, doesn’t it?

Well, I made it to college, then graduate school, and launched my engineering career, and that’s about as far as my expectations took me. I fell in love with Mr. Romance (who really wasn’t Mr. Right), fell out of love with engineering, and never even got a sniff of anything resembling my four children.


I found my true vocation and now do work that I love. I picked my way through the minefield of potential spouses until I found, not simply Mr. Right, but Mr. Fabulous. These two areas of my life didn’t meet my expectations; they exceeded them.

When I look back at my expectations I realize that I probably wouldn’t have been happy in that life. I’ll never know for sure, but because I made some mistakes and some poor choices, and because things didn’t go as planned, I’ve had opportunities I would never have had, and I have a life that is, overall, better than it might have been.

So often we set expectations for ourselves and when they don’t work out we lament our misfortune or beat ourselves up for not achieving what we set out to do. But I’m coming to believe that life isn’t supposed to go as planned. And sometimes out of those disappointments comes an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

This may all sound a little Pollyanna to those of you who are trying to make some sense of the hand you’ve been dealt, but I really do believe that each of us will someday be able to look back and say, “Wow, this great thing that I have now could never have happened if I’d had kids.” Yes, it’s Pollyanna, but for now, I’m hanging my hat on it.


6 Responses to “Great Expectations”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Love, love this post. Needed it badly this week 🙂

  2. Lucy Says:

    what a great post! I agree with Lynn… I needed it as well!

  3. I always hope this is true! I believe it probably 90% of the time, which is pretty darn good, I think.

  4. CiCi Says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!! This is so very spot on. And it’s relatable to all aspects in life, not just being childless. We have the opportunity to turn our misfortunes into something positive. For instance, I now have the time and energy to volunteer to help “at risk” teenage girls. I may not have had that opportunity if I was run down with my own children to worry about.

  5. Karen Says:

    I am a firm believer in “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” and MOST of the time it works for me…but, I am still at the point where I am still grieving the “could-have-beens” on occasion and wince.

  6. Elena Says:

    It’s very true…. but so easy to get sidetracked by a society which keeps telling you that if you just have a goal, plan, and work hard, you’re gonna get what you wanted.

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