Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Well-Intentioned People April 3, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods


I cocked my head in the universal gesture for Huh?

“I see you’re here for your first prenatal visit!”

“Um…no. Pretty sure I’m not.”

“Yes, it says so in the computer.”

“Pretty sure your computer is wrong.”

I’ve joked for years that my life is like a sit-com, and this vignette was a prime example. What started out as a routine annual physical (weight, blood pressure, checking my heart and lungs) had turned into a farce because someone at a call center had checked a wrong box and the receptionist felt compelled to announce it to the waiting room.

I easily could have turned this into a melodrama. I could have dashed into the ladies room, dissolved into a puddle of self-pity, and called my sister to wail about the unfairness of life, the cruelties of the universe. But there was no need to over-react. The receptionist wasn’t trying to hurt me; she was misinformed (not her fault) and she thought I had something to celebrate. Her intentions were kind, she was reaching out to me, and I’m sure she was gearing up to share her experience of her first prenatal visit when she was pregnant with the first of her three grown kids.

Under other circumstances, it could have been a lovely moment. Or it could have been an awful moment. I chose to make it an absurdly funny moment. Once we cleared up the reason for my appointment, I stepped outside and called a close girlfriend who is also childfree. “You are not going to believe this…my life is a freakshow!” I told her what happened, and together we howled with laughter. Then we talked about how far we both have come on our journeys from disappointed mama-wanna-bes to mostly-contented childfree women.

We’ve all heard our share of insensitive comments, and we know well-intentioned but ill-timed comments can be even more hurtful. I’d like to suggest that we humans generally have the best intentions to be kind to one another, and it’s my intention to try to see this good in others as often as possible.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She believes laughter truly is the best medicine.


Bitter Is So Last Year November 14, 2011

I’m done with bitter. I’ve tried it on, worn it for a while, and you know what? It doesn’t suit me. It makes me look old. And unfriendly. It makes me look like someone I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with, or seated next to on a long-haul flight. So, I’m done with it.

Maybe you know what I mean. Maybe you’ve been dragging your bitter around with you for a while, too. I don’t blame you. It’s completely understandable. I felt as if the universe had done me wrong. It wasn’t fair that I couldn’t have children. I didn’t deserve it. My list of woes could go on. But the thing is, I realized, that griping about the injustice of it all wasn’t going to change anything. And it wasn’t even making me feel better!

I first noticed this a while ago when I sat down to write a blog post. I can’t remember what the topic was, but I’d seen it or experienced it, and thought, “This is great material for a post.” But when I sat down to write it, I just didn’t want to. I was tired of hearing myself complain.

Pretty soon, I realized that I’m really not bitter anymore. And the final nail out of the coffin, if you will, was when I heard the Duggar news last week. I just rolled my eyes. No bitterness at all. In fact, I realized that there isn’t one single thing about her life that I would want. Not one.

I’m not saying I’m just going to put on a happy face from here on out. Can’t promise I won’t have a snide comment to make once in a while, but I’m not going to allow bitterness to give me wrinkles, and as I won’t have children to give me gray hair either, I figure I may as well go for the whole hot package.

And speaking of not being bitter, check out this article: Infertile and proud.


It’s All About Attitude October 3, 2011

Thanks to Iris for forwarding this article about living happily without children.

I love this author’s attitude to the hand she’s been dealt. At first read, she seems almost flippant about her inability to have children, but she’s packed a whole life story into one article, and reading between the lines, it’s clear to see the pain she felt, the struggles she and her partner went through in coming-to-terms with being childfree, and the attitudes she still has to endure from others. But her whole outlook was encapsulated in this paragraph:

“We didn’t get to have something. We had 2 choices as a result of that – let it control, dictate and sadden the rest of our lives or find something else to do instead. Either way, we still wouldn’t get to have kids. So which is the best choice?”

Are you still struggling to come to terms with your own situation and feeling that childlessness is “controlling, dictating, and saddening” your life? If so, can you see what your “find something else to do instead” could be? And could you do it?

I don’t this author is trivializing the blow she was dealt – far from it – but I love that she’s found a way to turn her situation to her advantage. What do you think?


Whiny Wednesday: Feeling Old April 6, 2011

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Last year my milestone birthday (40, if you must know) passed without an ounce of angst. In fact I was glad to be 40. I felt that I had come of age at last, come into my own, reached my zenith. Now, as my milestone-birthday-plus-one approaches, I just feel old.


My feet hurt, my back hurts, my tooth broke, and my hair went thin. My GP says my blood sugar is high and my OB tells me I’m heading into menopause, oh, about 10 years ahead of schedule.

Yesterday was the topper, though.  I went to the health food store to buy vitamins and found myself checking out the cute guy behind the counter. He was clearly younger than me, but still within range had I been in the market for such a thing. Or so I thought. In a conversation about IDs, he mentioned that his mom still gets carded. “And she’s 45!”

I paid for my old lady vitamins and left.

Yes, I know that age is a state of mind, and that I will snap out of this, but today is Whiny Wednesday, so I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Whine on, sisters. What’s on your mind today?


What are you grateful for today? August 27, 2010

Filed under: Fun Stuff,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Happy Friday. It is a happy Friday isn’t it?

We often get caught up in the things that go wrong and add to our list (sometimes long, granted) of what’s not good in the world, in our lives, and in our heads. So, today, I’m choosing to focus on what’s good in my life right now. Here’s an abridged list of  10 things for which I am grateful today:

  1. I live at the beach, where it’s deliciously cool
  2. My husband is coming home tonight
  3. I am my cat’s favorite human and we both know it
  4. My health is good
  5. I have wonderful, smart, and funny friends
  6. My mother is healthy enough to travel 6000 miles to visit me
  7. I’ve grown amazing winter squash in my garden this summer!
  8. Fresh strawberries
  9. Perfectly worn slippers
  10. Clean sheets

What’s on your list today?