Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

An Exciting Week October 17, 2011

I’m feeling very festive today, so much so that I put on lipstick to write this. (To understand how big a deal this is, I’ll say two words regarding my normal writing attire: Pajama Jeans.)

Firstly, Redbook magazine is launching a big infertility awareness campaign today. More about that as soon as it goes live.

The other big news this week is that I am really excited to be introducing some new guest bloggers. As I mentioned before, one of the greatest things to come out of writing this blog is that it’s really helped to speed my own healing process. The downside is that it’s become hard to keep writing about some of the issues and opening up old wounds again. On the other hand, I’ve got to know all of you and I don’t want to walk away from this great community we have here. So the solution I’ve landed on is to bring in some fresh voices.

Kathleen has been doing her regular “It Got Me Thinking…” column for a while now and I’m so grateful to her for her contribution. She’s not going anywhere either (although a name change will be coming soon. More about that later.) but in the coming weeks you’ll be hearing from Dorothy and Iris, and I’d love it if you’d add your voice to the conversation.

No matter where you are in your journey, you have something to say that could help other people on their paths. If you’d like to write a guest post, I’ve put up some guidelines.  Check them out and consider submitting your two cents. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

 

Light a Candle and Remember October 14, 2011

Tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Although I haven’t suffered through this experience myself, my heart goes out to all of you who have. I’ll be lighting a candle for you and your loved ones – wherever they are – today.

 

The Game of Life October 13, 2011

Courtesy Hasbro Games

My brother and his wife are very open with their children and talk to them about all kinds of things my mother would never have brought up in conversation with me. And somewhere along the line I know they’ve answered questions from their children about me and my lack of offspring. One of my nephews (let’s call him “Frank,” because he is – always) even asked me flat out why I don’t have children. So I told him.

I’m actually glad for this openness; it’s allowed me to practice answering direct questions honestly in a situation where they’re asked in pure innocence. When someone asks out of nosiness, I already know I can say, “I tried, but I couldn’t.”

On my recent trip home I conned my nieces and nephews into playing Game of Life with me. As I loaded pink and blue pegs into my car, “Frank” said, “It’s funny that you have so many children in the game when you don’t have any in real life.”

And then the cool, calm, well-practiced me snapped, “Well, you don’t have a yacht in real life either!”

Yes, sometimes I have this whole thing under control, and sometimes all the embarrassment and insecurities come rushing back at me and I bite off some poor innocent bystander’s head.

Frank, if you’re reading this post when you’re not supposed to, I’m sorry I snapped at you. And I know you’ll be mad that I called you “Frank” in this story, so I’m sorry for that too. And you’re right. It is funny that I always end up with a ton of kids in the game. It’s funny that I end up at the Millionaire’s Mansion sometimes too. If one of those doesn’t come true in real life, maybe the other one will. If it does, I promise to take you out on my yacht. Love, Auntie Lisa –x-

 

Whiny Wednesday: It Could Happen to You October 12, 2011

Dear Excited Future Mothers/Grandmothers/Aunties/Friends,

There’s no need to tiptoe around me anymore. If you want to tell me the amazing story of how you/your daughter/sister/friend was told she’d never have children, then miraculously became pregnant, it’s okay. I know these things happen, and I’m happy for you and your loved one. Just please, please, please don’t end your story with, “So, you see…it could happen to you.”

Yes, I know it could happen, but realistically, it’s probably not going to, and hanging onto this possibility will keep me from moving on with my life. And I am moving on. So please just let me move on.

Thanks.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s put a hitch in your git-along today?

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Cell Phones October 11, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

I love my cell phone. I don’t know how I ever got along without one. It allows me to text flirtatious messages to my honey (while he’s sitting in Very Important Meetings), it provides a sense of extra security should I ever need roadside service, it gives the illusion of professionalism when clients catch me “at work” at the bakery down the street.

However.

I miss the old finger-dialed, actually ringing, heavy-weighted unit with spiral cord–connected receiver for one reason: When circumstances warranted, I could smash the receiver down with a satisfying slam. Remember those days? An un-helpful customer service representative gives you attitude, and BAM! A persistent telemarketer calls in the middle of dinner and asks for the male head of household, and BANG! Your father/mother-in-law/sister/so-called friend hurts your feelings for the last time and you’re done, so SLAM!

Tapping end on the screen of my high-tech model just doesn’t send the same message.

(Sigh)…I miss the good ol’ days.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She now understands why her parents vacationed in spots with no phone or TV service.

 

Energy to Share October 10, 2011

This weekend I put up my Halloween decorations for the first time in maybe five years. My neighbor (who lives in the house behind us) was so excited that she came out to help.

My neighbor and I function on a similar spiritual wavelength and the reason for her excitement has less to do with skull lights and flashing corpses and more to do with her understanding of the significance of me pulling things out of storage and making an effort. She knows much of my story and she’s watched me pull back from the things that used to bring me joy­­–hosting dinner parties, nurturing my vegetable garden, and celebrating the holidays with others. Last year, Mr. Fab and I barely celebrated Christmas at all. My neighbor understands that decorating for Halloween is a sign I’m on the mend.

And I think she’s right. When you’re trying to heal, trying to sort out a mess and get back on track, it’s hard to put energy into anyone or anything but yourself. Getting into the holiday spirit requires a lot of energy to be poured out in other directions. I haven’t had that energy to spare for a long time, but this year, I think it’s back. And I’m glad. I’ve missed it.

For the first time in a long time, I’m really looking forward to the holidays. My friend from England will be here for Thanksgiving and my mum will be here for Christmas. I’m planning what to cook, and I’m getting a tree. But most of all I’m looking forward to sharing the holiday festivities with other people, and pouring positive energy out, instead of turning my energy in on myself.

 

What would you change? October 7, 2011

According to recent news, “Beauty queen-turned-international TV personality Maria Menounos has announced she’s freezing her eggs to make sure she can be a mom once she has achieved all her career goals.”

Menounos goes on to say: “We’re going to freeze our eggs so that we have no problems down the line.”

And I’m biting my tongue, because I want this to be true for her. When she’s ready to be a mom, I hope she gets her dream. And I’m sitting on my inner cynic, who’s yammering on about it not being so simple as that, and how life doesn’t always work out as planned. I don’t want to be that bitter old crone who has to rain on everyone else’s parade, just because my own parade had a monsoon.

So, I’m not going to do it (although I think I just did) but instead I ask you this: If you knew then what you know now, would you change anything?

I have my own answer, but I’m curious to hear yours.

 

Whiny Wednesday October 5, 2011

She doesn’t know it yet, but my cat, Felicity, has to go to the vet today to have three teeth out, which requires a general anesthetic. Meanwhile, I’m alternating between beating myself up for not being a better cat mother, and wringing my hands, worried to death in case anything happens to her. And all I can think is, imagine what a basket case I’d be if I had kids.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s on your mind?

 

It Got Me Thinking…About God October 4, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

The God I know is a tough broad. She can handle anything I dish out, and over the past two decades, She’s gotten an earful: I’m ready, where is my Mr. Right?! Is your divine plan really to keep me this lonely, miserable, and broke forever? Could you be a little more specific with your instructions about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?

I’ve made peace with most of my youthful longings. I now know the last loser I almost settled for was not worthy, and that my Mr. Right was worth the wait. I’ve accepted and embraced that this is a co-partnership, and if I’m feeling lonely, miserable, and broke, it’s my responsibility to make changes. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that the plans God had for me are beyond anything I had imagined for myself.

But there’s one bitch-session I can’t yet get past: How come that drug-abusing, child-neglecting “mother” got to have all those sweet babies and I got jack?!? How come You, the all-loving, omnipotent God of everything, has denied the prayers of so many wonderful women, has robbed them of the beauty and privileges of becoming amazing mothers?

Because, like many of you, I prayed my heart out for miracles. I begged. I negotiated. And I cursed. Maybe She has something bigger in mind for each of us, and children would have gotten in the way. I cling to that promise, trusting, hoping, believing. But there are still dark days when I just don’t get it.

Why, God? Why?

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

It’s All About Attitude October 3, 2011

Thanks to Iris for forwarding this article about living happily without children.

I love this author’s attitude to the hand she’s been dealt. At first read, she seems almost flippant about her inability to have children, but she’s packed a whole life story into one article, and reading between the lines, it’s clear to see the pain she felt, the struggles she and her partner went through in coming-to-terms with being childfree, and the attitudes she still has to endure from others. But her whole outlook was encapsulated in this paragraph:

“We didn’t get to have something. We had 2 choices as a result of that – let it control, dictate and sadden the rest of our lives or find something else to do instead. Either way, we still wouldn’t get to have kids. So which is the best choice?”

Are you still struggling to come to terms with your own situation and feeling that childlessness is “controlling, dictating, and saddening” your life? If so, can you see what your “find something else to do instead” could be? And could you do it?

I don’t this author is trivializing the blow she was dealt – far from it – but I love that she’s found a way to turn her situation to her advantage. What do you think?