Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Wonderful Women Without Children April 30, 2012

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Saturday for the first ever Life Without Baby Live broadcast. I had a great time sharing the interviews I did with Pamela, Kathleen, and Melissa. Thank you to those wonderful ladies for being so gracious with their time and honesty, and thank you to the new friends who joined us.

We ran a concurrent chat function so viewers were able to get in on the discussion and add their own stories and insights. Despite the fact that were scattered to several (if not all) corners of the world, it really felt as if we were a group of women who’d sat down together to chat about life – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you weren’t able to join us (and I know it was the middle of the night for some of you and the middle of a beautiful sunny Saturday for others) you can catch the action at this link.

You’ll see the recorded show just under the main screen. Click on that and away you go. The recording will be living there for a while so you can watch it at your leisure and as many times as you’d like.

This was a great experience from my end and I hope to be able to do more interviews and discussions in the future. I’d love to get your feedback on ways to improve so I can do it even better next time.

 

Join Me LIVE Today! April 28, 2012

Good morning (for some of you at least)!

I hope you’ll be able to join me today as I chat via video with some fabulous childfree women. Expect inspiration, insight, and even some laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing these ladies and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing what they have to say, too.

Here’s the link to the Live Stream channel where the event will be hosted.

It all starts today at 12pm Pacific time. If you’re not sure what time that is where you are, here’s a time zone converter. Use America/Los Angeles to convert.

Once we go live, you’ll be able to chat to one another using the chat function to the right of the video. I will try to hop in on the discussions when I can.

If you can’t make it to the live broadcast, don’t worry. I’ll be recording the whole thing and you should be able to watch it on the same channel beginning later today.

So pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or wine, and join me. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Freedom April 27, 2012

A few years ago I decided to make the leap from the corporate world to a career as a freelance writer. It was definitely a leap of faith and I’d be lying if I told you the transition wasn’t rocky. But leap I did and I haven’t looked back more than a few hundred times since. (I say this with my tongue firmly in my cheek, as there have definitely been days I’ve considered chucking in this crazy dream and going back to the safety and dependability of corporate life.)

When I made the decision to follow my heart, there was also an idea in the back of my mind that working from home would fit so much better with my other plans of raising children. I even bought a book called Writer Mama in preparation for my dual role. It turned out be a great resource for a writer, as long as I skipped over the “mama” bits of information.

Fast forward a couple of years and not only do I realize how naïve I was to think I could easily mix babies and books, but it turns out I also spend much of my time writing about not having children. Who knew? But the thing is, my life is pretty good regardless. In fact, most days it’s better than pretty good.

In the past, I’ve written somewhat flippantly about the benefits of not having kids, but the reality is that I have the freedom to be more creative, to experiment in my writing, and try new things, while still having time to do the not-so-creative work that actually pays the bills. And I really value that freedom.

I didn’t get the life I wanted and planned for myself, but I may well be getting the life I needed and I think, when all is said and done, it’s going to turn out be a pretty good life after all.

 

National Infertility Awareness Week News April 26, 2012

The Huffington Post is running a series on infertility for National Infertility Awareness Week and I’m very pleased to be included among their guest bloggers. You can find my post on the topic of compassion here. (Regular readers may recognize the topic from a post I wrote here a couple of weeks ago.) If you’re comfortable, please feel free to share the post.

In other news, we are gearing up for Saturday’s Life Without Baby Live! event. I’ve really enjoyed conducting the interviews and I think you’ll enjoy hearing from these wonderful, dynamic – and childfree – women about their experiences.

The fun starts here at noon (Pacific time) Saturday April 28. (You can find your time zone here using America/Los Angeles.) If you can’t make it live, fear not, the event with be recorded and available here shortly afterwards.

Thanks for your support and I look forward to chatting with you on Saturday.

 

How to be Happily Childfree in 10,000 Easy Steps

There are two questions I get asked frequently: How did you come to terms with not having children, and how long did it take?

The answer is something akin to “how long is a piece of string and how many knots can you tie in it?”

Believe me when I tell you that if I could write down ten easy steps to making peace with being childfree-not-by-choice, I’d do it, but the answer isn’t that simple. Yes, there were many things that happened along the way that helped me make some peace, but it took closer to 10,000 steps than ten.

Writing down my story was hugely cathartic, venting about the injustices on this blog helped, too. Realizing I wasn’t alone in this and that people like you were out there wanting to talk through the minefield has helped immeasurably. Drawing a line in the sand and saying, “This is where that chapter of my life ends and this is where I start healing” also helped. And frankly, telling myself a big fat lie that I was better off not being a mother actually helped me to realize that in many ways I was. Setting new goals, appreciating the benefits of not having kids, and allowing myself to feel bitter and badly treated when I needed to. All these things helped.

I don’t think there’s a formula for working your way through this, and it’s definitely a journey of making forward process and dealing with inevitable setbacks.

As for how long the process takes? How long is that piece of string? It’s been three years for me and I consider myself largely at peace with my situation. I have closed the door on the idea that I will have children someday and most days I’m good with it. Everyday it gets a little better and a little easier. Some days there will be reminders of what I’ve lost and sometimes a flicker of a thought of “what if…”

The truth is, in many ways, I expect this piece of string to go on forever. The experience of infertility has changed me. It is one of the most significant and life-changing events of my life, and I don’t think the repercussions of that will ever stop reverberating. It doesn’t mean I won’t find harmony and even happiness in this new life – I already have – but I don’t expect this journey of coming-to-terms to ever fully end.

 

Whiny Wednesday April 25, 2012

Hooray, hooray, it’s Whiny Wednesday today!

This week I was in a conversation with my friend “K” and a young woman who said of their mutual friend “D”, “She’s never going to get pregnant if she keeps stressing out like this.”

K and I exchanged a knowing glance (she knows all my story) and I think she probably held her breath for a moment, waiting to see if I would actually lose it on the spot and give this woman a full on lecture about infertility.

I didn’t. It wasn’t the time and place for a teachable moment. Instead I said, “Well, that’s easier said than done. Trust me; I know.”

Still, I can’t stop thinking about D and hoping she has someone to talk to who understands the hell she’s undoubtedly in right now. I know that K understands, but it’s clear that not all D’s friends do.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. I’ve set a bit of a melancholy tone here, but don’t let that stop you from venting what’s on your mind today.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Those Moments April 24, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It happened so quickly. I was crossing a street and noticed ahead of me a woman and two small boys, about two- and three-years-old. As they rounded the corner, the wind caught the stack of coloring book pages the older child was holding, pulling them from his hand and scattering them across the sidewalk. As they scrambled to stomp on them and pick them up, I sprinted across the street to help.

I handed my small collection to the woman, then said to the young artist, “What beautiful artwork. Did you make these?” He looked up at me and beamed. And I looked into the eyes of the son I could’ve had and thought, I still want one.

And there goes years of therapy!

I think this has to be one of the hardest things about this journey. Even though we may have been told we can’t have children, or know we can’t have children, or have come to terms with our choice to not have children, there’s still that what if factor. The miracle cure, the quicky adoption, the rogue egg. It’s still possible, right? It’s not too late! If I still want this, I can make it happen! All those crazy-train thoughts waiting to bubble up to the surface at a moment’s notice.

Fortunately, my brain took over and, by the time I’d walked the rest of the way home, I had catalogued all my (very sensible) reasons for being childfree and overruled my flip-floppy emotions. I was back to being at peace with my choice. At least my brain is good with it. I just need to work a little more on getting my heart on board.

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