Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Gifts February 14, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s a made-up holiday fueled by jewelers, florists, candy makers, and advertisers who make us feel we need to overspend, and then make us feel like losers if what we receive doesn’t live up to our expectations. Rubbish! If someone loves me, I see it in his eyes, I feel it in his touch, I experience it in how he treats me every day.

However. Years and years ago, when I was very immature (i.e., I thought I had everything figured out and wasn’t shy about sharing my opinions), I announced my boycott of the holiday to the sweet man I was dating. The look on his face…he was crushed. I came to discover he had made plans for a lovely yet simple evening and had selected a couple of very thoughtful gifts. I felt like such a turd! Because when I thought about it, I knew how much I loved giving gifts to the people I loved, how much I enjoyed surprising them, delighting them, and making them feel special. Shame on me for taking that away from him.

Since then, I’ve learned to graciously accept the gifts I receive, whatever their origin, motivation, or price tag. My dad still sends me a card on this day, and I keep them among my treasures. I consider myself a rich woman indeed when I receive a sheet of construction paper decorated with abstract images in crayon (“That’s you and Jake on the playground,” my sister explains. Of course!). I might get a call from a far-flung friend and spend 10 precious minutes catching up with her. Looking at the bigger picture, every day I give thanks for the gifts of good health, a job that I love, and a roof over my head.

Today is a tough day for many people. It’s so easy to fall into self-pity, to catalogue what we lack instead of counting our blessings. So today I invite you to join me in acknowledging and accepting our gifts, whatever form they may take. Then, think about what you can give of yourself to make this day lovelier for someone else.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Tonight she’ll be surprising the love of her life with his favorite treat, a home-baked cherry pie.


Who Are You? July 7, 2011

It’s interesting to look back on my journey and see all the people I’ve been over the past seven or so years.

I’ve been a woman who expected to be a mother and wanted a baby with the man I loved; then I became a crazed mama-wannabe, desperately trying to solve the mystery of my infertility and looking for a way to get what I wanted.

I’ve been through a phase of realizing that children weren’t going to be a part of my future, but not being able to quite let go of that dream. After that, I entered a phase of acceptance, where I knew I had to get through this and move on, but I didn’t know how.

There was a period of wondering what I was going to do and who I was going to be if I wasn’t going to be a mom, and finally, I came to the phase I’m in now. I am a childfree woman, accepting and even embracing this new life, not apologizing for my infertility or my choices, and moving on to enjoy a life I couldn’t have had if I’d had children to care for.

I never imagined I would get to this place, mainly because I never expected I’d need to, but here I am, and do you know what? It’s not bad here. In fact, I think this childfree life is growing on me.

I know that some of you are at or near this place, but others are still struggling to come to terms with not having the children you always dreamed of. So, I’m curious to know: Who are you?

Are you a newbie, trying to reconcile the idea that you won’t have children and maybe not even sure you’ll ever come to terms? Maybe news of a new treatment, or a friend’s new baby triggers all the old desires and keeps that “what if?” hope alive.

Are you coming-to terms? Have you accepted the idea of being childfree, but just need to figure out how to be okay with that decision? Are you making progress some days, and taking several steps back others? Are you still struggling with other people’s babies and finding your place in your family and community?

Are you moving on? Have you reconciled your loss, accepted your lot in life, and are ready to start a new chapter of your life? Maybe you don’t know what that is yet, but you know (at least most days) that you’re going to be okay not having children?

Please take a second to tell me who you are in the poll below. Let me know in the comments if you think these categories are accurate or if you fit into an entirely different category all together. My goal in doing this is to make sure I post information that covers all the categories, so that this blog is useful, whoever you are.