Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Baby Ads August 1, 2012

This post was originally published on December 7, 2011

During my TTC years I bought a couple of magazine subscriptions, one for Conceive and the other (rather optimistically) for American Baby. I can’t prove this, but I’m pretty sure that one of them sold my name to a marketing company, because not long after that, I started getting baby related mailings. I received samples of formula and diapers, and ads for baby photographers and maternity wear. It was awful, but it didn’t stop there.

The marketing company seems to have got the impression that a baby arrived in our house at some point and so sent age-appropriate marketing as the years ticked on. It’s been five or six years now and the mailing have definitely slowed down. This year I only got a few catalogs for educational toys and mommy clothes, and brochures for a pre-school and a Disney cruise. But come the holidays, it all fires up again.

As if my mailbox isn’t already crammed with sufficient junk, I’m now getting fliers for family photos cards, and photographers who seem to think that the ideal gift is a portrait of my little brood. Little do they know that it consists of me, Mr. Fab, and a cat, and only two of the three would be willing to wear silly Santa hats.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, there are only 18 shopping days left ‘til Christmas, and I’ve already got my Bah Humbug on already.


15 Responses to “Whiny Wednesday: Baby Ads”

  1. Lane Says:

    My whine today is about all the Facebook postings about family vacations. Thought I was over feeling the heart wrenching pangs about this stuff, but I’m not. No matter where my hubby and I go or how we spend our vacations, kidcentric family getaways still get to me. All the campfire stories, waterpark adventures and sandcastle contests recounted over and over again are really getting to me this year!!!

  2. Kate B Says:

    My whine is about whines. I’m seeing all these people on facebook whining that CNN or GMA or the local news or Huffington Post or you name the news outlet spoiled the Olympics for them because they gave the results before the event was shown on NBC. Hello! It’s news. You know the events have happened, so avoid news outlets if you want to be surprised.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    My whine – I had lunch yesterday with three ladies from my church, all of whom have children. I knew this going in to it but was expecting only two of the ladies to be there, not the third. The first two ladies are much more aware of our infertility issues and have been very sensitive. When I have had lunch with them (not very often, but a few times), they are great to hang out with. The third lady, while aware of our childlessness, was not so sensitive.

    The main topic of the conversation – their children. Even when the topic changed, it would pretty quickly get back around to their kids. I am an introvert anyway but when there is a topic of conversation of I just can’t relate to, I am definitely not talkative, as was the case this time. The third lady is out-going and very talkative, but she tried to include me in the conversation, which didn’t work very well. She is usually very nice and I know that her lack of sensitivity was not meant to be mean at all. But when she made comments to me like, “I bet you don’t have problems keeping your house clean because you don’t have kids,” or “Are you keeping notes on our conversation for when you possibly have kids?” it was all I could do to sit there until the lunch was over. I could tell the other ladies were aware of my uncomfortableness and tried to steer the conversation away, but the damage had been done.

    When I got into my car, I told myself, “And that is why you don’t hang out with the ladies in the church.” I had been feeling guilty for not reaching out more and this was a great reminder of why I haven’t. We belong to a small church and every adult female that I am aware of has at least one child. I have been feeling the need to look outside the church for friends and this was just a confirmation of that.

    I am tired of being put in this position – of having to respond to comments like these, of having to explain our childlessness over and over, of having to try to relate to the moms in my life, of having the stigma of not having a “family” (although my husband and I are just as much a family as anyone else). I am so ready to move on.

    • Mali Says:

      I wish that we – those of us without kids – could feel brave enough to turn and ask them if having kids caused their brains to forget all other possible topics of conversation! I mean, is that any ruder than the kind of things said to you?

  4. ootastic Says:

    Here in the UK, I found the baby mail preference service ( after my miscarriages.

  5. Maria Says:

    I bought a gift once for a friend from Pottery Barn for Kids and then was horrified to notice how much junk mail I was getting for baby related items. I actually called Pottery Barn and asked them to remove me from their mailing list. The customer service rep was a woman and asked why I wanted to be removed, I got choked up and said I had no need for baby items. I almost cried and she said, i understand, i’m so sorry, i’m removing you right now. A very compassionate response and I never got another mailing again. Wish my family could have been so understanding.

    My whine for today is that my 44 year old pregnant friend sent me a baby bump photo. This photo was sent after I told her about my infertility, and after a good friend of mine called her and told her I was hurting and to be careful what she sends me. Some people can’t see beyond their own joy and happiness. I don’t know if we will still be friends after the baby gets here.

  6. Wolfers Says:

    I get you, Maria— I am not sure if our friendship is still there after I explained to a close friend back in February that I can’t handle (TRULY can’t) friends/family pregnancy updates/photos/posts/whatyouhave, and she announced her pregnancy (after lying to me for months/years that she didn’t want to be pregnant) just a month- and was angry at me for not “being there” for her during her pregnancy. I kinda dread when she’d have her baby (anytime now to late August)- hard to explain….

    For me, my whine is being a mental health therapist. Literally, I don’t want to be a therapist anymore. It seems babies are everywhere lately… “I think I’m pregnant- I know I have some symptoms like breasts sensitivity, nausea in morning, missing my period…” or “I don’t know how they do it, but my baby is driving me nuts! crying all night”- and all those are from clients, Just had *another* client telling me today “I’m pregnant! I can’t wait to tell you what is going with me through my pregnancy!” bouncing on her seat, smiling at me.
    so I’m admitting I feel a lot of conflict here- I’m there for them, but who is there for me? So busy with struggling with ethics on transfering them to other therapists (on whether the transfer would *harm* the clients or not).

    • Maria Says:

      Thanks Wolfers. I have known this friend for 19 years and I came to the conclusion a while ago that she is a total narcissist so her behavior doesn’t totally shock me. She really can’t see beyond herself. I tried to talk to her in the past and she didn’t get it – I’m not trying again. My friend told me she couldn’t have been more direct with her about what I was going through and she was shocked she sent me that picture. I’m not going to her shower and I know she will pressure me to go but I will have a prepaid vacation somewhere that’s for sure. She may be relocating out of state and I really hope that happens so I don’t have to make constant excuses why I can’t see her. For now, when I get the e-mails or texts, I just quickly delete them and try not to think about it.

      As for your conflict as a therapist, I really feel for you. I’m a lawyer and if I was doing family law when I was diagnosed with infertility, I would change my practice to something else. There is a need for therapists in many areas – grief counseling, substance abuse – you would know more than me. Perhaps you should focus your practice to an an area where you are unlikely to be dealing with people who are pregnant or have family issues.

  7. Heather Says:

    My whine today is that my employer (a state agency) is raising my individual health care insurance premium by over $50.00 a month and I was told (to my face) that the reason the individual insurance premium went up is so the “Family” plans are more affordable for employees with children. WHAT A SLAP IN THE FACE!!! So basically I have to help pay for my coworkers children (that they chose to have) and there is still no insurance/financial help for me to conceive or adopt a baby of my own. 😦

  8. loribeth Says:

    I am actually having a pretty good day today. : ) One of my coworkers has not one but two cousins who competed in the Olympics today — one won a silver medal : ) and the other advanced through her heats & semi-finals & will be swimming for a medal tomorrow. We were all watching & cheering for them on our office TV set today (& got to see another Canadian swimmer win a bronze medal, just before she swam). So much fun!

    If I have one whine, it’s all the focus on the moms in the Olympic ad campaigns & TV coverage. I mean, I know you’re proud of your kids, & rightly so, but…!

    Salon had an article that said it better than I can:

  9. Elena Says:

    Yesterday (wednesday) was national holiday here in Switzerland and I was so stupid as to not plan anything with friends. I have a lot going on at the moment and thought it would be nice to take it as just an additional, nice and lazy summer sunday . Total fail.
    My neighbours had said they would have a barbecue in the garden. Now, the neighbour who is always starting these kind of things is mentally ill, but actually doing fine at the moment – apart from being a rather strange character. There is a young woman who spends a lot of time with him, she seems to have some sort of problem too but is nice enough. Other neighbours often joining in is the musician from opposite me who is kind of special but “normal” so far and my direct next-door neighbour who is in the same profession as me, about my age and single also and a really nice person.. They are a strange bunch sometimes but we had some really fun parties in the past so I thought it would be nice. Also the next-door neighbour said she’d bring some friends. But it turned out they went elsewhere and nobody but the mentally ill guy, the strange young woman and me were there in the end (+ 1 friend of strange young woman). When the mentally ill neighbour had his elderly parents come round and i noticed at 4 in the afternoon that both him and his elderly stepdad were working hard on getting drunk, I’d had enough and fled.
    To the riverside, where of course it was crowded with either young people playing bad music too loudly or hordes of young families with children having a barbecue.
    That’s when i started to feel really sorry for myself. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • Elena Says:

      Commenting myself because there is no edit possible: All I want to do is spend my time with nice, happy, healthy people who help me to live a nice, healthy, happy life. Unfortunately those friends stay at home with the kids. I seem to be left with all the broken, strange, single characters. I feel bad about feeling bad about them, but I can’t help it.

      • Maria Says:

        I hear what you are saying. My husband and I have spent the last couple years looking for friends without kids. We found a couple that never had kids but they turned out to have a serious drinking and drug problem. It was hard to extricate ourselves from the relationship because we found out after we were in deep in the friendship. Another couple we recently met are nice but weird — the two of them talk non-stop and dominate the conversation. My husband and I can’t get a word in edgewise and we usually leave with a headache. However, we keep calling them to make plans because they don’t have kids. We just got new neighbors who seem normal — we are going to approach them with caution because they live next door and if it doesn’t work out, it will be hard to live next to them.

      • Elena Says:

        Thank you Maria! Good to know I’m not the only one this happens to. Recently I’ve been feeling a lot that I need a different set of people around me but at the same time a little voice in me saying “you’re a failure yourself you don’t deserve anyone else…”. Not good.

  10. Maria Says:

    Elena – you are not a failure! It’s really hard making new friends when you get older. That’s all it is. That and we can’t help the fact that most of the people in the world are weirdos except us! Keep trying and maintain your sense of humor. That’s all we can do.

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