Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Doctor-Patient Confidentiality November 30, 2011

I’ve had  a bad back for a couple of weeks now, so I went to a new doctor for the first time. Here’s the conversation we had (roughly) and keep in mind I went in for a bad back:

Dr: Do you have kids?

Me: No.

Dr: Are you married?

Me: (in my head) What the hell does this have to do with anything?)

Me: (out loud) Yes.

Dr: (moments later) Have you had kids?

Me: No.

Dr: Any pregnancies?

Me: No.

I considered explaining my situation, but the guy’s a chiropractor for God’s sake and he has my file right there, so I let it go. A few minutes later I’m standing with my pants around my ankles getting a back x-ray.

X-ray Tech: Are you pregnant?

Me: No.

X-ray Tech: Is there any chance you could be pregnant?

Me: No.

X-ray Tech: When was your last period?

Me: (gives her the date)

Short pause while she does the math.

X-ray Tech: Ok, I’m going to hang a plate in front of you to protect your ovaries.

Me: (in my mind) Don’t waste your time; they’re already fried.)

Me: (out loud) OK.

So, maybe I was a surly patient. I chalk it up to my bad back. But sometimes I don’t feel like explaining why I don’t have children, not even to my doctor.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. I’m cranky about doctors; what’s under your skin this week?


It Got Me Thinking…About Loser Parents November 29, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

This week as I was leaving the parking lot of the grocery store, I watched as a toddler wandered one direction across a lane of traffic and his mother, pushing a stroller with a baby, walked in the other direction…into oncoming traffic…because she was texting.

By some miracle, no babies, mommies, or motorists got hurt. I, on the other hand, was boiling with indignation. Why why why do I have to pay for a license to work as a writer (on my oh-so-dangerous laptop), while this idiot is given the responsibility of two precious lives with no vetting whatsoever just because she can reproduce? Why does this LOSER get to be a mother, and I get jack?!? Life is so unfair!

I want to scream: Pay attention, you dumbass! Don’t you know how blessed you are?


I know if I had children, I wouldn’t be a perfect parent all the time. But I know I would be better.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Most of the time she’s at peace with her decision to be childfree.


The Art (and Benefits) of Lying November 28, 2011

Dorothy sent me this article recently (thanks Dorothy) from a woman asking “Dear Coquette” for advice on what to say when people ask if she has children. Dear Coquette’s answer? Lie.


I had to laugh out loud when I read this, because it has never occurred to me before to lie about not having children. It’s brilliant!


Now, granted, if you’re talking to someone you’re likely to see again or who might otherwise find out the truth, then it gets tricky, but if you’re at a cocktail party or some social situation where you’re basically making small talk with strangers, then why not make something up? I mean really, you could actually have some fun with this,


I envision clipping photos of kids from magazines and putting them in one of those fold-out wallets, then when someone asks if I have kids, I’ll whip out the pictures and say, “Why, yes! I have five. This is Mai, Uri, Owen, Bea, Senise.” (Say it fast; extra points if you get it.) Then I can start in on what a horrible time I’m having because the baby has a very delicate digestive system. I really think this could work.


What do you think? Could you lie to a stranger? More to the point, would you?


Oh, and I must just say that while I think this suggestion is inspired, I happen not to agree with her suggestion that saying, “I can’t have children” will shut the person up. In my experience, it’s more likely to open a whole conversation about adoption. I think it’s much more fun just to lie.


Happy Thanksgiving November 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

Wishing you all good health and much happiness.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Whiny Wednesday November 23, 2011

Good morning and a happy Whiny Wednesday to you.

Are you gearing up to hit the roads or airport today? Good luck. Do you have to face one last dash to the grocery store for the vital ingredient you forget? Take a book to read in line. Are you facing a day of chopping, mixing, and prepping ready for the feeding of the 5,000 tomorrow? Don’t forget to get your self some downtime, too. And if you happen to be spending Thanksgiving alone, come on over and hang out here for a while, if you’d like.

I’m heading north tomorrow, meeting my oldest friend from England in San Francisco and spending a week with her. As she has no concept of Thanksgiving, I am off the hook for turkey and pumpkin pie. Instead, I plan to enjoy some time with someone who’s known me for longer than almost anyone else I know. Can’t wait.

In the meantime, feel free to get out your whines here today and have a very happy Thanks giving tomorrow.



Lucky Me November 22, 2011

In her wonderful post last week, Dorothy talked about the idea of getting a double dose of something else good to make up for the child-shaped holes in our lives. I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea, especially as we tick towards Thanksgiving.


I don’t really consider myself unlucky. Sure my plans for having children didn’t work out, but I have so many other things going for me. And as a general rule, I feel that luck is usually on my side.


So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are the top 10 things I am thankful for today:


10. My health, which is having its off-days lately, but in the big scheme of things is good.

9. I need to lose a few a pounds instead of having to worry about where my next meal is coming from.

8. I get to work that I love (most days.)

7. Clean flannel sheets. They’re one of life’s greatest indulgences.

6. I live 3 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and on a good day I can almost smell Hawaii from my back yard.

5. My friends, near and far, who make me laugh, or think, or who just listen

4. My family. Mad as hatters, all of ’em, but they’re pretty special.

3. My cat, who was good enough to pick me for an owner, and who loves me in her own strange kitty way.

2. My mum, who is about as good as a mother any daughter could ask for and is coming to spend Christmas with us.

1. My husband, who isn’t perfect, but is pretty flipping marvelous despite his flaws.


Feel free to join in and add your own list.


It Got Me Thinking…About Connections November 21, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Marlo ThomasThat Girl, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and “Free To Be…You and Me”—is on my mind today. I just finished her most recent book, Growing Up Laughing. If you need a pick-me-up, I highly recommend you run out for a copy. It’s her memoirs of growing up with her famously funny father, comedian Danny Thomas, and his legendary pals, which include George Burns, Milton Berle, Don Rickles, Bob Hope, and Red Buttons. She also interviewed present-day stars, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Tina Fey, and Jon Stewart, to get their thoughts on how they ended up funny. I laughed out loud at the many anecdotes and jokes, and I have a new appreciation for the hard work it takes to be a successful comedian.

But what struck the deepest chord within me was a brief story about when Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms., asked Thomas to speak to a group of welfare mothers. Thomas was unmarried at the time, and childfree (she later became a stepmother to husband Phil Donahue’s four sons), and wondered what in the world she could talk about. “Trust me,” Gloria said. “They’ll love you—and you’ll love them. You’re all women.”

And I thought: “That’s IT!” That’s the one message I want to get out to the world through our site and through how I live my life. We’re not mothers and non-mothers, we’re not breeders and infertiles, we’re not with child or childfree. We’re all women.

Thomas bonded by sharing family stories. We can all relate to the antics of the eccentric grandmother, the regrets of aunts who shelved their dreams for the so-called security of marriage, the sisters and friends whose talents were “dismissed because they were women.” With her stories, childfree Thomas had the audience of mothers laughing and crying along with her. “Gloria had opened my eyes and my heart to the connections that we women have with each other.”

It’s so easy for me to obsess over other women’s haves versus my have-nots—or to gloat over the freedoms I enjoy that they have sacrificed for family life. Enough. Let’s focus on our common ground and celebrate and support each other, as women, regardless of the paths we follow.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She celebrates Marlo Thomas for breaking down barriers to gender equality.