Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

A New Life, Without Children October 1, 2012

If you could wave magic wand or be given the secret elixir that would give you a baby tomorrow, would you do it?

For many of you, I know the answer would be a resounding yes. And it would have been for me, too, once. When I was in the thick of trying to have to a baby, and for a long time after we stopped trying and starting trying to come to terms with the idea of not having children, magically having a baby was the thing I usually wished for whenever I blew out birthday candles, broke a wishbone, or had some other imaginary chance to get exactly what I wanted.

But here I am now, a few years removed from that time and my desires have changed. It’s been a long, bumpy journey of acceptance, of coming-to-terms, and of finally making peace. And now I find myself making plans for a future that children won’t easily fit into.

There are some who’ll say that I can’t have really wanted children that much in the first place if I feel this way. These are the same kinds of people who implied that my widowed mother couldn’t have cared as much for her late-husband as they did for theirs because she went on to find love again. What those people don’t seem to grasp is that part of healing, part of moving on, is taking the life you have and shaping it into the best it can be. If that means falling in love and marrying again, that takes nothing away from the first, lost love. And if it means building a full and happy life that doesn’t include children, that in no way diminishes the original desire and the subsequent loss.

Recovering from loss isn’t about dragging the weight of what’s missing around with you forever. It’s about finding a place in your heart for what was lost and building a new life new around it.

For me, the fact that my plans no longer have room for children of my own signifies that I’m making excellent progress down that road of recovery.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Water Baby August 29, 2012

This post was originally published on January 25, 2012.

My water cooler has sprung a leak. I put a black plastic bowl underneath to catch the drips.

The next morning the water had formed a perfect sonogram-like fetus-shaped pool.

I hate that something so stupid can still cause such a sharp reaction in me, and that I’m still thinking about that peanut shape days later.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s making you want to kick something today?

P.S. The following day, the “water baby” had changed into a heart. Interpret that as you will.

 

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.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Water Baby January 25, 2012

My water cooler has sprung a leak. I put a black plastic bowl underneath to catch the drips.

The next morning the water had formed a perfect sonogram-like fetus-shaped pool.

I hate that something so stupid can still cause such a sharp reaction in me, and that I’m still thinking about that peanut shape days later.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s making you want to kick something today?

P.S. The following day, the “water baby” had changed into a heart. Interpret that as you will.

 

Walk a Mile in my Shoes January 9, 2012

I never thought I’d be sitting here defending the Duggars, but here I am.

I realize this is old news, but I keep thinking about the photo that circulated of their miscarried baby. When I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes. That’s my standard response to any news I hear about them. But then I though about it more, and you know what? I get it.

People who’ve never dealt with infertility, loss of a child, or even loss of a dream of motherhood, don’t understand that you never know how you’re going to react to a situation until you’re standing there.

You think you’d never use extreme fertility treatments…until someone tells you it’s the only option left to you. You think you’re a level headed person, who would never become obsessed with motherhood…until you’ve tried month after month after month and no one can tell you why you can’t get pregnant. And you think you’d never take a photo of a miscarried or stillborn baby…until it happens to your child.

There are people who think I’m crazy for the way I became obsessed about having a baby. There are people who say, “why don’t you just adopt?” to anyone who can’t have children of their own. And there are people who are appalled and condemn a woman who treats a miscarried child as if that child had lived.

To those people I say, “Walk a mile in those shoes.” Because you don’t know how you’ll react until it happens to you.

 

Staying Strong December 19, 2011

Recently, my resolve has been tested. A new baby in the family, the use of my baby’s name, and a firm reminder that my family is, and will remain, very different from the fantasy family I’d created in my head. But, here’s what I’ve learned about myself in the past couple of weeks:

I am one tough, resilient lady. Life can throw all kinds of crap at me and I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. Yes, the suit of armor that I’ve built for myself has its weak spots. Yes, there are holes in my life that I feel keenly from time to time, and my infertility is always going to be a tender scar. But, I am strong and I will survive. I may not have the life I’d planned, but my life is good and rich in ways I’d never imagined.

It’s these thoughts that I will stay focused on as we head into the holidays and onwards into a brand new year.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Baby Ads 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.

 

Childproofing your home…for other people’s kids October 24, 2011

When I saw this article about how to childproof your home for a visiting friend’s child, I had an instant and visceral reaction.

On the one hand, I would never want anything untoward to happen to a child in my home (or anyone else’s home for that matter) and I consider myself an accommodating host, but on the other hand I thought, “Childproof my home? Is she flippin’ kidding me?”

The article offers suggestions to plug electrical outlets and invest in some toys and books, as well as other inexpensive items, such as a highchair, play yard (aka fence), and baby tub. I tried to imagine buying these things to accommodate a visitor, and frankly, I couldn’t. Again, not because I wouldn’t want a houseguest to feel welcome, but because I couldn’t imagine having these items in my home – for someone else’s baby.

I had an experience a couple of years ago where Mr. Fab had guests with a baby stay for a few days when I was out of town. I returned to my home to find plastic plugs in all my outlets, baby wash and baby shampoo in my bathroom cabinet, and a portable highchair in my closet. There were baby wipes under my kitchen sink and a baby cutlery in with my knives and forks.

I remember feeling, not exactly violated, but certainly intruded upon. It was a strong and surprising reaction, and when I remember it, I try to figure out why I had responded that way. It was more than just having baby items in my home, because they’ve since been removed one way or another. I’m not even sure it was about feeling disrespected that my obviously childfree home was changed to suit someone else.  I’ve even wondered if was just plain jealousy.

I wish I could put my finger on it, because I felt that same reaction again when I saw this article, and I still don’t fully understand why. Any suggestions?

 

Last night I had the strangest dream… September 15, 2011

Last night I dreamed I went to a fertility doctor for “once last try.” I’m not really sure what kind of procedure I opted for, but I knew it wasn’t going to work. The doctor was convinced otherwise. Based on listening to my abdomen in the middle of the medical building lobby, he told me–and a woman I knew, who happened to be walking by–that I was pregnant. I knew I was not, and a nurse did tests shortly after to confirm it. Another friend, who has recently become a first-time mother, asked if I was going to try again next month. I told her I was not, because “just one more try” never stops.

And then I woke up feeling horrible.

It wasn’t the content of the dream that bothered me, because I know it was just my sub-conscious cleaning out the junk, but the emotions that I felt during the dream and after I woke up, were all too familiar: hope, with that underlying dull feeling of, not exactly of despair, but despondency. That inner knowledge that things just aren’t going to work out in my favor.

Most of the time I don’t dwell on my experience of dealing with infertility, but all that experience and the related emotions are permanently lodged in my subconscious, and every now and then it seems they’re going to bubble to the surface. Lucky me.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Spoiled parents July 27, 2011

Filed under: Children,Current Affairs,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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If, like me, you woke up on this beautiful Whiny Wednesday morning with nothing much to whine about, this little story ought to fire up a few complaints. (And thanks to Kathleen for sending this to me!)

[Warning: Before you click through, note that this story includes baby pictures]

A couple in Tennessee took out a home equity loan to get the $24,000 needed to undergo IVF–not for their one chance at parenthood, but to pre-select the sex of their fourth child. Oh yes. Already having two boys and a girl, these people thought their daughter would “miss out” if she didn’t have a sister to play with, so they took out a loan and flew to Los Angeles to find a doctor who offered gender selection.

What the fruitcake?!

I guess some people really don’t understand how precious life can be or how fortunate they are just have healthy children, or children at all. I hope that whatever void these people saw in their lives, it’s been filled now. Somehow, though, I think there’s more to this story than just wanting to even up the numbers.