Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Baby Envy? Not Me September 7, 2012

An acquaintance is expecting her first baby any day and she has had enough of being pregnant. “I’m ready to get this baby out of me,” she said.

The old me would have pursed my lips and tried to resist telling her she ought to be lucky she’s pregnant and that I’d give anything to change to places with her for just one day. In fact I would gladly change places with her if I could. I’d gladly put up with the swollen ankles, the lack of sleep, the total and utter discomfort of lugging and extra 20, 30, 40 pounds around in 90-degree weather. I’d love to know what it feels like to be in her shoes.

But that’s the old me. The new me doesn’t want or need to give her a lecture.

A little over a year ago we sat at dinner, both peering over the crest of 40 and looking at a life without children. I know what she’s been through to get to this point and I know she isn’t really complaining about her good fortune. I also know that, now, I wouldn’t change places with her for anything in the world.

We’re both heading into a new chapter in our lives. Hers is going to involve a lot of sleepless nights, probably at least two decades worth. And mine? I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll get serious about finally finishing that novel I’ve been noodling with for years. Or maybe it’s time to move away from the city and the good school districts, and find a little place in the country.

All I know for sure is that my life is open to possibility now, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.


9 Responses to “Baby Envy? Not Me”

  1. Kellie Says:

    I love this as I am exactly in the same place. My husbands best friend just started his family – he is 47 years old. His wife is 41. I can’t tell you the amount of tears I shed over the fact that she got lucky and I didn’t. I didn’t want to be around her during her pregnancy…..but now – 5 months later I have to say that I wouldn’t change places with them for anything. My husband and I have so many things to look forward to and have such a wonderful life together – as a family of two!!! So many possibilities!!!

  2. horizonderling Says:

    That’s a great feeling to have, isn’t? Jealousy: Bye! Opportunity: Hi!

    I still don’t manage to feel this way every day, but the balance has most definitely shifted for the better once I hit 40. Enjoy and good luck!

  3. Amel Says:

    I have just spoken to a coworker (a mother of three young kids) about the conversation I had with my manager. My manager asked me if I wanted to get more working hours (I work part-time) and I said no. Confused, he asked again, “Are you sure?” And I said yes without a doubt. I have my own reasons as to why I don’t want to get more working hours and when I told my coworker about that, she said that she wouldn’t have wanted to ask for more working hours, but she wanted to earn enough for the family as well as still getting some extra money for herself.

    I’m thankful that I have that choice – that I can decline doing more hours without getting ourselves into financial trouble.

  4. Maria Says:

    Your article is very uplifting today. I have felt like this and then this past week I got hit with serious baby envy. I thought i was over feeling that way and it snuck up on me like a car accident. Your words are helping me readjust back to a good place.

    • IrisD Says:

      Hi Maria, I think that perhaps many mothers have long felt that their job as mothers was an almost thankless enterprise, that the whole of society is overcompensating for this… so there is so much glorification of motherhood, in tabloids, in the general media, in politics, on facebook, etc., etc. We never hear enough of the positives of living childfree and I bet if that was as rampant as all the messages out there on the glories of parenthood, we would feel much less marginalized, stressed, anxious,etc.

  5. I’m struggling to get where you are now. I just hit 40 last week and we’ve got ONE shot at IVF. If it doesn’t happen, we’re done with the struggle….

    Thank you for posting this. It gives me a glimmer of hope that there’s life beyond IF.

    If you’d like to check out my infertility blog this is it:

  6. Gg Says:

    your blog is godsent to me today. i was in serious tears over my sister having a girl next week. i am not usually in love with children , but may be the lack of having a basic ‘commodity’ in life… i could not talk about this to my mom or sister of course.. and specially to my hubby as he is the infertile in the family!!.. but i feel much better now that i read your blog… thank you… from my bottomless swirling heart….

  7. Klara Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I read your post in my hotel room in Italy and I just loved it!
    It described exactly the way I felt there.
    If I had small kids, I could never ever go on any business trips.
    So – yes – cheers to oppurtunities!
    And cheers to life. Our life!

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