Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Preparedness May 14, 2012

I live in earthquake country. People ask me sometimes if I’m afraid to live here. I’m not. I’m prepared. I have a kit in my house with supplies in case the San Andreas Fault does a major shift and sends my neighborhood tumbling into the Pacific Ocean. I’m not afraid of earthquakes, but I am prepared.

Still, whenever we do have a little shaker, I always feel it before my husband. I’m up, I’m ready, I’m waiting to see. Is this it? Is this the Big One? I’m not afraid, but when the ground starts shaking, I’m on high alert.

I felt a bit like this yesterday. I wasn’t afraid of M-Day. I knew I’d come far enough that it wasn’t going to be the emotional time-bomb it was in past years. And I was ready with my M-Day preparedness kit. We avoided restaurants, social gatherings, Facebook, etc. We went to the movies, took care of some household tasks, went for a walk, and played some dominoes. But all day I was on high alert. There was a cloud of tension that surrounded me all day. I was sad and I wasn’t afraid. I was just ready, in case something happened.

As it turns out, the day passed without event. I survived. And if you’re reading this, it means you did, too. I hope you came out relatively unscathed.

Did you practice self-preservation? Were you prepared? And most of all, were you good to yourself? I hope so. It will be another year before it comes around again, and I’m willing to bet that next year will be a little better, a little easier, a little less difficult for each of us. That’s kind of the way this works, in increments, until it’s no longer a bad day, just an odd day.


19 Responses to “Preparedness”

  1. Kate B Says:

    I did pretty well. Anything that required contact with others where I might be wished a Happy Mothers Day was done on Saturday. I had a plan for the day and stuck to it. At one point I even wondered to myself why I had bothered with the cupcakes, I wasn’t going to need them. Then I went for a walk and saw all the parties going on and got very sad. Then I encountered a woman who lives in the neighborhood – I know her daughters better than I know her and I don’t think she has an idea that we are childless, let alone that it is not by choice. So, she said something to me that made me just want to get home, have a good cry then dive into those cupcakes. So, I did. I may regret that when I get on the scale tomorrow, but last night, it was just what I needed.

  2. Maria Says:

    I did really well too. I went to hot yoga and my class has a lot of men in it. There was no talk about mother’s day at all. After that, I stayed home all day and avoided all restaurants, even the bagel store, and church. I spent the day working in my garden, then I sat in the sun, read a book, played with my sweet pet rabbit in the yard, and grilled with my husband. My husand and I also had a really good talk about mother’s day. He asked how I was doing, was I upset and I told him no, I really was ok. He said that it’s hard on him too, that he feels the same way on father’s day.It kind of took me by suprrise because he has always made me feel like he didn’t care if we ever had kids, and I told him that. He said that he heard a talk show host on the radio say you never become a man until you are a father and it made him question whether hewas a real man. I told him that is the stupid things people say when they can have children because they assume, when you don’t have them, that you don’t want them or the responsibility that goes with it. I told him people like that don’t understand how it feels to have your life on hold indefinately trying and trying to conceive or adopt when it still may never happen, and that sometimes you need to just stop and get on with your life. We talked for a while andit made me realize he wasn’t sharing his feelings with me because I’m the cause of our infertility and he didn’t want me to feel worse about it. I told him to please talk to me when he feels this way because I’m in good place and can handle it. Anyway, something good came out of mother’s day yesterday because it helped start this conversation with my husband.

    • rantywoman Says:

      The teacher in my yoga class asked all the mothers or “to-be” mothers to applaud themselves. Then he asked the people who participated in a workshop there (I did not) to applaud themselves. Then he asked the men to applaud themselves. I guess he didn’t realize that he left out a few people…

  3. Jenny Says:

    I thought I was better prepared and thought I would handle it much better than I actually did. My husband and I had a lovely dinner on Saturday night at a restaurant with a martini bar that has a decidedly “grown-up” atmosphere – no kids to be seen. We had such a nice time that we decided to make it an annual tradition. Then Sunday hit. I really tried to stay away from all the hoopla but a trip to the store with everyone buying cake, balloons, and flowers sort of knocked me off my feet. We’d planned a trip out to our new property to mow (which I enjoy doing) and have a picnic but logistically things just didn’t come together very well. We left two hours late and feeling stressed so our afternoon wasn’t what we imagined. We recovered later that evening with a glass of wine. I have managed the transition from ttc to childfree somewhat well, and Mother’s Day was always something I was able to navigate. I realized yesterday though that in past years, I was ok with it because I felt my turn was coming and it was just a matter of time. I think yesterday I had a bit of a reality check that I wasn’t expecting and I felt the loss pretty heavily.

    • Maria Says:

      I know how you feel. I’m now 6 years after we stopped trying to conceive. The first couple years were still hard. This year was the first time I felt really ok. You will get there.

  4. Angela Says:

    I went shopping. Think about it. While all the moms were being tended to by their families, fewer women were out shopping. It was a day when they were not suppose to do grocery shopping or running errands. I found it peaceful. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a little “retail therapy.” I plan to make it my annual retreat.

    • Maria Says:

      Good for you. I always buy myself a treat when I’m feeling low but I was afraid to go out because I thought I might run into a lot of special mother’s day events. I did go to Home Depot to buy grass seed and ran into a bunch of children having melt downs and tantrums. As I walked out of hearing range I thought, very nice to return to my quiet lovely summer day. Those people will be dealing with that noise for the rest of their lives….

  5. Nadine Says:

    I did well also, so much better than I had expected. We went hiking in the morning and worked in the garden after that. Not wanting to repeat last year disaster, we choose to decline my SIL invitation to her annual mother’s day brunch. I choose to take some time for me and to do things I was confortable doing and I am so happy I did.

  6. Leanne K Says:

    i made sure to stay away from facebook, and really just stayed home all day. while i wasn’t exposed to all the hoopla, the radio commercials were driving me nuts! so i had to turn off the radio as well. i feel like i did okay, but i really wish my husband would say something, show a kind gesture, or just realize that it’s difficult. he’s such a hard nut to crack and really doesn’t want to talk about “sad” stuff. on another note, i decided to buy a big hanging flower basket for a new friend. she is in her late 50’s and i don’t know tons about her except that she told me last week that she hates m-day. she never married, does not have children or nieces/nephews and her mother passed away a couple of years ago. i wrote a note including the blurb Lisa wrote last week about happy nurturers day and left it on her front porch along with the hanging flower basket. i received a thank you today saying that it was the most thoughtful and sweet gift she had ever received and that m-day is hard for her for reasons she can’t even bear to talk about. of course reading her note is what brought me to tears. i think doing something for someone else made things more bearable.

  7. Angela Says:

    We had most of my family over to celebrate my mother, grandma, SIL and aunts so there were 15 people over, including my nephew and two neices, who I love to death. It was really fun and they all know my story so no one said anything dumb 🙂 Then Hubs and I had a lovely evening relaxing after they all left with the noisy kids! Yay for that! And I thought this might amuse y’all – one of my husband’s sisters was at lunch with us, she’s 17 and just got a retail job, and a few people wished HER a happy M-day!!! So that just confirms it, some people just say the DUMBEST things no matter what!!

  8. Kellie Says:

    I too did much better then I thought I was going too….this being my first Mothers Day knowing that I will never be a mother. I planned well in advance of what I was NOT going to do on this day. I really missed being with my own Mom this year, but I talked to her 2 times. We planned on having lunch with my MIL on Saturday which was very nice. I avoided the Sister in laws on Sunday as they don’t always say the nicest things. We bypassed church for the day and just planned on having a nice Sunday away.

    My DH took me on a wonderful motorcycle ride all day Sunday…we met an old friend of his, who doesn’t have children either and is dating a woman my age who hasn’t had kids either. I am quite excited about meeting another couple who are just like we are!! We did hit a deli out in the middle of no where for lunch, and the only other people in there was a pregnant couple and one of her friends….I sat down for lunch and the five minutes I was there was non stop….”what to expect when your expecting” talk… It didn’t bother me as much as I had thought it would….but to play it safe, we moved outside to another table.

    We came home and I touched base with some other women from this wonderful site, just to make sure they were holding up okay. Seems like we all made it through.

    I will definitely learn to be prepared every year for Mother’s Day and hope that with each year, it will become easier and easier. Father’s Day is coming and I plan on making this day very special for Steve…just like he did for me.

  9. Jules Says:

    I did have plans, preparing for HMD- but something better popped up, giving me a wonderful excuse not to deal with MD at all… down with cold/ear infection/sinus infection, so I spent all the day in bed, sleeping, running out of tissues, sipping tea and chicken noodle soup, and reading two romance novels.

    So can’t complain, thro I’d whine about wanting to die miserably from the aches and the waterfall of the nose.

    I don’t plan to go through THAT again next year.

  10. Ceej Says:

    I made it through not bad. However there were a few moments where it was touch and go. One moment occurred on the phone with my Mother-In-Law. I wished her HMD and she said “OH thanks! HMD to you too”……..”Uh, I mean, um….uhhhhh what did you do with your mom?”. I know it was probably just a slip like when someone wishes you a happy birthday and instinctively you want to say “Thanks, you too!” but still. Knowing what we’ve been through, time to be a bit more thoughtful and sensitive. The 2nd moment occurred at work today when my boss came in an said “SO! Did everyone have a great mother’s day?!” Then she looked at me, paused, and said “Well, a good day?” (she also knows what we’ve been through)…talk about making it seem OBVIOUS that I’m the only one in the room without kids. ugh.

  11. Katie Says:

    It is never easy… As I listened to my family bicker back and forth about 20 times about where to have breakfast (seriously…and even the morning of I got another damn call), I wondered…why didn’t I schedule my vacation a week earlier? Mental note for next year! 🙂

  12. CiCi Says:

    I faced it head on…and came out just fine 🙂 I’m tired of locking myself up every year. It’s not fair! I demand a 5 foot 5 day where I can wish all 5 foot whatever’s a day they can’t enjoy.

  13. Mali Says:

    I survived. But noticed that M’s Day lasted forever, because when it was over here, it was still in full swing in the US (and therefore online)!

    Oh, and by the way, I live in an earthquake zone (right between the Pacific and Australian Plates), in a house on stilts on the side of a hill, and I AM afraid of earthquakes!! Especially after seeing the results of the Christchurch earthquakes. It seems so much more possible, more real, now.

  14. loribeth Says:

    I was at a wedding on Saturday… was wary for any mentions of the next day, but thankfully, none were made. We got home late, slept in, & then went to the movies (“Dark Shadows,” which was a hoot). Then for ice cream and then home. I did go on Facebook, but the posts didn’t bother me. (Much.) Some years are better or worse than others, it seems. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ll take a good one when it comes. ; )

  15. DLadyEarlyGrey Says:

    I just spent the day before preparing by getting everyone’s gifts, and have a good giggle at all of the frantic people running about Target trying to get things done. I really enjoy holidays.

    I’ve never felt the need to hide or prepare myself for any emotional turmoil, it’s never bothered me.

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