Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Your Wish is My Command…Well Almost October 18, 2012

Thank you for all the great feedback about the website makeover last week. I must admit to chuckling a bit as I envisioned a small but dedicated staff of writers, researchers, and editors all busily implement these ideas. As it’s just little old me and my somewhat limited grasp of technology, I pledge to do what I can.

Just to clear up a couple of concerns right away:

  • The blog itself isn’t going to change much, with daily posts, guest bloggers, and of course, the much-beloved Whiny Wednesday. J
  • This blog will never, ever, ever morph into a TTC, pregnancy, OMG-aren’t-my-babies-amazing blog. That ship has most definitely sailed for me and even if some unforeseen monumental miracle occurred, the last thing I’d do is bring it here to gloat about it! In fact, at this juncture, I’m not entirely sure how much gloating I’d be doing. Let’s just say, no worries on that front.
  • One of my biggest desires for a while has been to bring the LWB private site and the blog together under one URL. Not going to attempt this myself, but hope to find someone who can make that happen.

As for all you great suggestions, they have been duly noted and are on the list for consideration.

Thanks again for your kind words and input. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the “Life Without Baby” story.

 

The Great “Life Without Baby” Makeover October 12, 2012

Those of you who anxiously await the arrival of the Life Without Baby post every day (I know you’re out there) probably noticed that there was no post yesterday. Normally Thursday would be Guest Blogger day, but this week I had no guest posts to offer and no time, or frankly, inspiration to write a post myself. I didn’t want to just cobble something together for the sake of having a post, either. I’d much rather write one well thought-out, useful post a week than five hastily thrown-together tidbits.

Which brings me the crux of today’s post: The Great Life Without Baby Makeover and more to the point, my question to you: What do you want from this site?

The LWB site is now two-and-a-half years old, which in blog years is pushing 90, and the old girl is ready for a makeover. I have a designer working on the beautification process and I am taking a lot of walks and thinking about what I want the site to be.

My overall vision hasn’t changed much since I started. I want a safe place to be able to come and talk about the issues of coming-to-terms with not having children, and I want a community of women offering one another support. But as the blog has grown, my vision has expanded and now I’d love the site to become more than just a blog.

I envision a resource for information, support, and community, kind of like a village with a well-stocked library, a community room with groups and events, and a cozy coffee shop where people can meet to talk. I don’t know yet how that all works on one little website, and that’s why I have a pro helping me to figure it out.

But now I’d like to ask you: What does your village need? If you were (or are) struggling with coming-to-terms with not having children, or looking for other childfree women who understand how you feel, and you wandered onto a site that was exactly what you’d been looking for, what would you find there?

Do you want articles, books, classes, support groups, resources, lists, pictures, interviews? What would you like to see?

As I work through this process, I can guarantee I’ll be coming back with more questions, and starting to get specific about what the site really needs, but for now, pretend it’s your birthday and you get to ask for anything you want. Aside from a million dollars and a month in Provence, what would you like from this site?

 

You Are Not Alone July 12, 2012

   We read to know we are not alone.

~ C.S. Lewis

Most of us live in countries where we enjoy freedom of speech and if we choose to talk about infertility, or childlessness, we can. The problem is that for many us, these are still taboo subjects and not suitable for cocktail party conversation. I know that many of you haven’t spoken about your situation beyond your very closest family members and most trusted friends. It’s scary when you don’t know how people will respond.

When I first began this blog, I was uncomfortable talking openly about infertility and living without children. I was afraid of being attacked or being controversial, and honestly, of getting my delicate feelings hurt.

But, in writing about this subject, I’ve discovered that, even when I thought I was the only person who felt a certain way, I seldom was. I also learned that there is nothing more comforting than hearing (or reading) the words, “Me too,” from someone who truly understands how you feel.

Every Thursday, some wonderful guest bloggers have shared their points of view, written about their experiences, and given us the chance to say, “Me too!” Now I invite you to put your thoughts into words. What are the issues you face? What’s helped you on your journey? What’s been good? What’s been unbearable? What have you learned about yourself on the way?

Odds are if something is important to you, it will be important to someone who reads it, too.

You can send your submissions through this form, or email me directly at editor [at] lifewithoutbaby [dot] com.

If you need some inspiration, check out some of the recent guest posts.

 

Lovin’ Bloglovin’ July 6, 2012

I’ve just been introduced to Bloglovin’ and I’m converted. I realize this is probably ancient technology for some of you, but I’m just catching up…or catching on.

For those of you who might also be a bit technologically challenged, Bloglovin’ is basically a blog reader, but with a prettier format than most of the other feeds and readers out there. It looks like a blog, and feeds in posts from all your favorite blogs, so you can see new posts in one place. Here’s the official explanation, which is probably a bit clearer than mine.

So, in honor of my new love for Bloglovin’, I decided to do a roundup of what’s been happening around the blogospohere this week.

Mali had some good suggestions for dodging the onslaught of baby and ultrasound photos on Facebook in this post on No Kidding NZ.

On Living Life As a Family of Two, Kellie also practiced some Facebook self-preservation with the arrival of a co-workers new baby.

Klara at The Next 15,000 Days bemoaned the trend in older celebrity mothers who give the impression “there’s plenty of time” to have a baby.

In Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind on Baptism by Fire, Wolfers asked the difficult question, “How do you know when you’re ready to be around babies again?”

And over on Maybe Baby, Maybe Not, Maybe Lady Liz weighs the pros and cons of childfree communities.

If you have a blog that LWB readers might enjoy, please add a link in the comments so I can include it on my blogroll AND on my new Bloglovin’ list.

 

Happy Two-Year Blogiversary March 19, 2012

On Friday I celebrated my two-year blogiversary here at Life Without Baby. I kid you not. It’s been two whole years since I first posted a mission statement and set about talking about the unexpected situation of being without children.

So much has happened in these past two years, not least of which is that I’ve largely, although not totally, made peace with the hand I’ve been dealt. Not that it doesn’t give me an occasional wallop and not that I don’t get mad at the universe once in a while for screwing me out of motherhood, but on a day-to-day basis, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

For a long time I found myself blogging into the ether, rambling on and wondering if there was anyone at all out there like me. My good friend Kathleen would come to visit the blog and post a comment, so that I knew at least one person was out there. In the first month the blog had 84 visits and I was so pleased! Since then (and this number blows my mind) there have been almost 150,000 visits from 95 countries!! Ladies, we are officially an international community and I want to thank you all for that. You and your support have a lot to do with me being to write that I am largely at peace with not having children. Knowing I’m not alone and that there are other women who have made their way through this minefield has been such a huge help to me, and hope that knowledge will help those of you still struggling.

So, now for the really exciting news! I am extremely pleased to have been nominated for a Kreativ blog award. I want to send a big shout-out to Peaches, who was so kind to make the nomination. Please check out her very fun blog, Peaches – a sad comedy.

So, the rules of the award are that I have to share 7 interesting things about myself and share 7 of my favorite blogs. So here goes:

  1. I was born and raised in the north of England (Sheffield, once famous for making steel, now famous for being the hometown of Def Leppard and The Full Monty) but have lived in California since 1993.
  2. I have two engineering degrees (hey, wake up, this is supposed to be interesting) and now I’m a writer (and much happier for it.)
  3. I can recite the alphabet backwards.
  4. I’m trying to learn to play the bagpipes and relearn the trombone, neither of which is impressing my neighbors.
  5. I’ve run three marathons but can barely run to the end of the block these days.
  6. I once worked as a stand-in and foot-double for a famous actress.
  7. My two favorite movies are Some Like It Hot and Young Frankenstein.

And now for a few of my favorite bloggie people:

  1. Silent Sorority – Pamela’s blog is one of the first I found and she’s kind of who I want to be when I grow up.
  2. A Woman Without Children – Vicki is a wonderfully thoughtful blogger who writes about living a fertile life
  3. No Kidding in NZ – Mali always has something insightful to say
  4. Gateway Women – Jody is taking the UK by storm speaking up loud and clear for childfree women
  5. Maybe Baby, Maybe Not – I discovered Liz recently and I love her humor.
  6. Writing Time – Barbara’s blog is where I turn when I need creative writing inspiration.
  7. Creative (Un)block – Robi is my go-to gal for all things crafty

Thanks again for all your support over these past two years, and here’s to more great years ahead.

~ Lisa

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Puzzles January 24, 2012

 By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I took a week off over the recent holiday season, something I haven’t done in many years, and I planned all sorts of fun things for myself…of which I did, well, two. At the top of my list was to pull out the old card table and complete a jigsaw puzzle. It brought back memories of cozy holidays by the fireplace and lazy vacations in a remote cabin. I could hardly wait to get to the museum store and select a puzzle (I chose a painting depicting San Francisco landmarks), and I looked forward to indulging in some quiet while the picture was revealed before me.

What was I thinking?! That darn thing—1,000 pieces of a blurry friggin’ watercolor—was hard! It took me three-plus days to put the frame together and a couple of weeks post-holiday of a piece here, a piece there. There were times when I just wanted to sweep all the pieces into the box and move on with my life, but when the last piece slipped into place (Ta-da!), I did experience a gratifying sense of accomplishment.

Overall, I enjoyed my puzzling experience, and it was interesting to look back and realize I’d learned a life lesson in the process. You see, there were nights when I would stare at it and not see a single hook-up. Then, the next morning, I’d glance at it and instantly see where a huge chunk, when tilted slightly to the left, fit perfectly into a section that previously looked unrelated.

This got me thinking about how I can better face challenges in life. Instead of obsessing over it, stressing over it, banging my head against the wall, trying to cram pieces into sections that don’t fit, I need to walk away for a bit. If I take a step back and look at it from a new angle, if I allow myself a rest and return to it refreshed, I’ll be better able to see that all the pieces will come together perfectly—different than what I’d originally envisioned, but indeed perfectly.

It’s like the whole childfree thing. Years spent wanting, waiting, praying, trying to make my life fit the picture in my head. Then one day, a friend said, “Let’s start a blog,” and a whole new world opened up. I became part of a community of women who inspired, challenged, amazed, and comforted me. I found a place to share my stories and learn from others. And I look back at the pieces of my life and see how they’ve come together to reveal a beautiful new picture, one that might never have happened if I’d stayed frustrated, if I’d given up and thrown all the pieces back into the box.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

500 Posts…and Going Strong January 6, 2012

Thanks to the new and improved WordPress software, I received a heads up at the beginning of this week that today would mark my 500th post on this blog.

500! That’s a lot of words.

So, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who keep showing up, reading my words, and contributing to this conversation. Thank you for keeping me going on my own journey and for helping one another of yours. Thank you for having the guts to share your most intimate feelings in the comments. Whether you realize it or not, you’re making a difference to other people who come here for solace and to know they’re not alone.

So, as a new year begins, I have exciting plans brewing for the blog. I intend to add some new voices to the conversation, include some practical guidance and some expert opinions on how to go about this whole coming-to-terms business, and I’m hoping to provide some more inspiration in the form of childfree women who left indelible legacies for the world.

I hope you’ll continue to come along  with me for the next 500 posts. And thank you for all your support. -x-

 

Life Without Baby Takes a Holiday August 13, 2011

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Fun Stuff,Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Well, let’s face it, I’ve been whining for long enough about needing some time off, so I’m finally taking it.

I’m leaving next week for an extended visit to England to see my family. Mr. Fab is coming along too, and we plan to get some serious rest and recuperation.

Ordinarily, I would have taken my laptop and kept blogging while I was gone, or at least backlogged a month worth’s of posts before I left. In light of my need to regroup, I’ve decided instead to just take some time away. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a good idea.

So, I will be gone until early September. I hope you’ll snoop around some older posts or head over to the main LWB site and get your own conversations going. Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll check in at some point to throw in my two cents.

But for now, be well, and I’ll look forward to returning reignited and ready to go in September.

 

Happy Bloggiversary! March 16, 2011

Filed under: Childfree by Choice,Childless Not By Choice,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of this blog and the Life Without Baby site. A year ago today I sat outside a café with a glass of wine and a dozen oysters and posted my mission statement for the site. It was:

“To fill the silent space that exists in the motherhood discussion.
To be a voice for women who are struggling with infertility or who do not have children, whether by choice or circumstance.
To shine a light on the business of baby-making and to turn a mirror onto the craziness of baby mania.
To be a champion for the right of women to choose not to become mothers.”

Hopefully I haven’t wavered too much from that goal.

Since then I’ve written 289 posts that have been seen 28,603 pairs of eyes! One of the top posts ever is also one of my favorites. I posted The Secret Society of Childless and Childfree Women on October 22, 2010 and almost 500 people have viewed it. I’m still working on that idea for the piece of jewelry, I promise.

Here are some other reader favorites:

Silent Sorority: A (Barren) Woman Get Busy, Angry, Lost and Found

The Ticking Clock

“Getting Over” Infertility

Advice for “30 and Childless”

The lowest ranked post ever was this one: Prisoner applies to become first man to father child behind bars. Only one person has ever viewed this post. If you have a second, please show it some love.

It would be hard to keep coming here every day and posting if I didn’t know that people were out there reading. And they are. You are!! In the first full month of operation, this blog had 469 visitors. If you were one of them, thank you. One year later almost 6,000 people are dropping in every month. If you are one of them, thank you!!

A blog without readers is just a secret diary, after all, so thank you for all your wonderful support. I’m sending you a slice of virtual bloggiversary cake. It’s calorie-free. Enjoy!

 

Whiny Wednesday – Thoughtless Comments March 9, 2011

It’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve been brewing a post for a couple of weeks about people who leave thoughtless comments on blogs.

I’ve come across several cases recently of commenters posting hateful or at least unthinking comments on blogs and websites. The worst was on an article about infertility that I reposted here. That article generated some of the most cruel and heartless comments I’ve ever read on the subject.

Then, last week a fellow blogger told me of her experience with an equally unpleasant throw away comment someone left on a blog she visits. It was one of those comments about the childless and childfree that we know in our hearts aren’t true, but that sting anyway. The words, bitter, pathetic and whiny are often associated with those stereotypes.

I know better than to read comments on news sites, because I always get riled up, and yet I do it anyway, and then find myself stomping around furious that someone could be so thoughtless and insensitive.

Finally last week, I had lunch with a friend who had published an article called My Husband, the Convicted Murderer on Salon.com. Her article spawned 122 comments, ranging from support and understanding to the inevitable hate mail variety. I asked her; “How do you deal with this?” and she gave me some helpful advice.

She said (and I’m paraphrasing here):

“Some people just come looking for a fight. They’re looking for controversy and they’re looking for someone to leave their darkest thoughts. The internet is the perfect, almost anonymous place to do that.”

She’s right. People come from all sorts of dark places, and often with their own personal agenda. Sometimes people post before they think, or they just don’t bother wasting energy thinking at all. There’s nothing we can do to help those people, and odds are, they don’t want to be helped or educated or enlightened. They just want to fight.

I feel very fortunate that most of the people who find this blog are coming with something positive to say. It has helped create the kind of community I’d envisioned when I first started this project. But when I venture out into the wider world and encounter the other kind of commenters out there, I’ll be sure to keep my friend’s advice in mind.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, so chime in to the discussion or feel free to have a whine of your own.

P.S. On the subject of other blogs, here’s an article tying in to our National Women’s History month series that I posted on Divine Caroline earlier this week.