Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Night Watcher December 12, 2011

This weekend I went to see Charlayne Woodard in her one-woman show The Night Watcher. The play is a made up of a series of short stories about the relationships she shares with the many children in her life, and it was fascinating.

Charlayne “missed the small window of opportunity” she had to have children of her own and chose not to adopt. She makes no bones about the fact that she and her husband (and dog) can spend Sunday mornings in bed reading the newspaper and drinking Bloody Mary’s because they don’t have children, but also that she is able to play an important role as auntie and godmother to a lot of other people’s children.

It was  so refreshing to see this point of view in a public forum and I laughed out loud at some of her scathing observations, and blinked back tears at others. Charlayne touched on many of the subjects we’ve brought up on Whiny Wednesdays – how when you don’t have children, someone is always trying to “fix” that; how she’s judged as being something less than a woman; and how her opinion is so quickly dismissed, even by a mother who is all but absent from her own daughter’s life. I related to her experiences and appreciated her frankness.

I’ll admit, though, that the show was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster to watch. I found myself flip-flopping along with Charlayne between lamenting the joys I was missing by not having children, and appreciating the life I have. And of course, it brought the subject of our own journey back up to the surface again, and got me and Mr. Fab talking about it, which isn’t always pleasant, but is nonetheless beneficial.

The Night Watcher closes here in L.A. this coming weekend, but if you get a chance, get out to see it. Don’t forget your chuckle muscles and your Kleenex, though.

 

Chero of the Week: Charlayne Woodard November 18, 2011

You might recognize Charlayne Woodard from TV shows like Law and Order, ER, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but more recently she’s been making a name for herself on Broadway.

Charlayne isn’t a parent, but she’s a godmother, auntie, and mentor to dozens of other people’s children. She’s had a stranger on a subway train tell her she’s not a real woman because she doesn’t have children, and she’s had a friend try to convince her to make a split second decision about adopting a baby. But she’s stood firm, and now she’s written a one-woman play about her experiences as a non-mom.

The Seattle Times called The Night Watcher “thoughtful and engrossing, entertaining and poignant” and says that Woodard “vividly illustrates a critical source of love for young people living in a culture that exalts the idea of biological parenthood but doesn’t always follow through.”

I’m so pleased to see someone finally addressing the subject of the important role that people who aren’t parents can play in the lives of children. And lucky for me, Charlayne is bringing her show to Los Angeles this month, so I’m going.

I’ll report in when I’ve been, but for now let’s hear a “Brava!” for Charlayne Woodard for having the courage to speak up about being childfree.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 367 other followers