Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

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.


11 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Those Moments”

  1. Kate B Says:

    For me, it’s usually seeing a baby on TV. I get that longing. Then I get real.

  2. Kellie Says:

    I feel like I am constantly struggling with the what-if factor. I woke up nauseous yesterday morning and my first thought as I rolled out of bed was “maybe I’m pregnant”; then I remembered, oh yeah – you CAN’T get pregnant. It left me feeling out of sorts all day long – long after the nausea went away.

  3. CiCi Says:

    That is the tough part on this journey…no matter how at peace you are with it, you’ll always remember that the peace came after the hurt. And the hurt part can creep up without notice, throwing you off even if only for 5 minutes.
    The reassuring part is knowing that the peace will return.

    All that aside…cute kids sure make it hard! Thank goodness for the bad ones!

  4. Quasi-Momma Says:

    For me it’s the “cuddle” factor. If I see a mom cuddling with her child, even it it’s on TV, I turn into cream cheese. There’s something about that show of affection that gets me.

  5. IrisD Says:

    Oddly, for me those moments are less about my encounters with kids, and more associated with being around pregnant women or parents talking about the wonders of parenthood.

  6. Maybe i can post! (I’ve been trying to comment for a while now & WordPress doesn’t like me!)

    Oh, yes. I still see children about 3, 4, 5 (and now 6), thinking, “Our Kaylee would be that age.”

    I still have a hard time on Facebook or in person seeing families. I frequently want to say to people “Do you know how lucky you are?” Or even when they are “lucky” and post at FB “If you love being a mom more than anything in the world . . . ” or “If you have a daughter you love more than life . . . repost this” I feel a snarky “Well, goody for you!”

    I thought this was my problem, and that i’ve allowed my brain to go that direction and i need to retrain it, but i recently found that i’m not alone in this. I thought, from our conversations, that my husband had accepted where we are at. But on Easter after the service where the pastor said, “Anything is possible . . . ” (meaning life in general) hubby said, “Maybe we will get pregnant.”

    He then apologized for the thought. I don’t want him to keep these things for me, i think it is better if we talk about them, but it was the first that i knew that it is still on his mind. At this point in my life it would be a true miracle, but not one, (regardless of the pastor’s positive thinking) i believe can happen.

  7. Katie Says:

    It is strange what can trigger those moments…and sometimes they disappear quickly…other times they stay for a days. This life we lead certainly isn’t always easy!

    I am a long time reader. I couldn’t comment until tonight (I finally installed Google Chrome!).

  8. Mali Says:

    I’m finding as my 40s start winding down that this is easier and easier. I’ve known for almost the entire decade I can’t get pregnant. Now I don’t WANT to get pregnant. I certainly know though that just when you think you’ve got your brain trained or programmed not to think these things, something is going to happen and bang! Here comes the ouch moment. And they hurt. So you don’t need to go beating yourself up for having one. They come, but they will come much less regularly.

    • Maria Says:

      I feel the same way. I’m now 46 and I noticed that the more years that add on after 40, the lesser I have these moments. I don’t think I’ve had one yet this year.Maybe it’s the change in hormones. I read that after 40, the hormone that gives you the urge to nurture and mother declines and then goes away. Which explains why a lot of husbands are making their own dinners and doing laundry in their 50s.

  9. Lee Cockrum Says:

    I am going to be 48 in a month, and I have no expectations that those moments will ever stop happening, I just try to manage through them. For me the bottom line is that due to a variety of factors, the dream of motherhood that I had from when I held my first doll baby will never happen. At least it is only a few more weeks until Mother’s Day will be past for another year. We’ll be traveling, so I know I will probably not be able to avoid some mention of it in a restaurant. When at home I usually do not go anyplace where someone might wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.

  10. S Says:

    A quick stop at Steak and Shake did it for me.

    As we were leaving I couldn’t help but notice a lovely little family. Cute mom, handsome dad and three darling children who were sporting those little cook hats that they give to kids. They truly looked perfect and I told the parents that they have a beautiful family. The mother beamed and thanked me. She was truely filled with light. I chatted with our friends while my husband paid and I watched this family out of the corner of my eye. Mom had a nice camera and the children were giggling as they posed for photos. Dad joked and all three little heads bobbled up and down with laughter. Joy simply radiated from their booth.

    I wanted to take their photo but I didn’t offer. A part of me was angry and jealous enough that I thought, “they don’t NEED a photo of this special moment.” It would have been a great photo I’m sure.

    I keep trying to remember that life as I know it is good. Health, financial stability, good family and friends. I should appreciate it all. Why does moments like this turn me into someone mean?

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