Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

That One Weird Childfree Holiday Card in the Stack December 20, 2012

 By Maybe Lady Liz

They’re starting to roll in. The waves of holiday cards featuring happy families festooned in matching red turtlenecks ‘round the tree or Canadian tuxedos on the beach. There will be some derivation of a toddler with his arms slung around Dad’s neck. Or Mom watching the kids play on a blanket. Or an Ann Geddes-esque shot of a newborn falling asleep on a reindeer’s back, adorned with nothing more than a tiny Santa hat. If you’re lucky, and your friends and family are deft enough with Snapfish, you’ll get ALL THREE in an artistically staggered arrangement.

And if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop yourself from comparing them to the cards you’ve sent out over the past few years. Maybe you’ve squeezed your cats into little elf outfits and reindeer antlers (and lost an arm in the process). Maybe you’ve posed with your spouse in front of some magnificent European landmark in a subconscious attempt to remind everyone how awesome it is that you have the freedom and cash to travel. Or maybe you’re like me and my husband, who always try to outdo ourselves every year in the clever department. Last year, we put photos of ourselves at age 6, side-by-side, each ripping into hilariously dated gifts, and titled it “Keep Christmas old-school.”

And in years past, when our friends would send just a ho-hum photo with a generic greeting, we were pretty proud of the fact that our card stood out from the pack and had a little personality. We used to tack it up on the half-wall in our kitchen with all the others and pat ourselves on the back. But as the years have gone by, our card has started to stand out for a very different reason. Instead of noticing the unique panache of our card, I’ve started to see what’s missing: a baby, of course. Kids on Santa’s lap, all that jazz.

I try not to let it happen, but I can’t help but look at my cards in a different light – through the eyes of those who are sending out the baby cards. All our attempts at being so clever probably seem silly, frivolous, immature, shallow, self-centered (words that sound familiar to anyone who actually chooses to be Childfree). They must seem like a stage that was supposed to be passed by now, but isn’t. No doubt they somehow seem…less than they’re supposed to be, to them.

I know, I know – it’s probably all in my head and these aren’t very Christmas-y thoughts. But fear not. I’ll keep the funny Childfree holiday cards rolling. Somebody’s gotta Keep Christmas Weird.

Merry%20Christmas%20from%20The%20Ferences

Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.

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Around the Blogosphere November 30, 2012

I’ve been hanging around out in the blogosphere lately and decided to bring to you a few things I found this week.

Challenged with writing about a life-changing moment, IVF Male shared a poignant post about infertility’s long series of life-changing moments in “Staring Down the Infertility Train.”

Mali celebrated the two-year anniversary of her wonderful blog at No Kidding in NZ.

On The Road Less Travelled, Loribeth writes about a different kind of anniversary­—what would have been her daughter’s 14th birthday—and the milestones she won’t get to celebrate.

And Pamela, at Silent Sorority, stuck her tongue firmly in her cheek and provided the facts to back up a theory many of us have probably considered, that perhaps we’re just too evolved to reproduce.

And from me, I’m just wishing you a Happy Friday and a great weekend.

 

And They All Lived Happily Ever After…With Kids, Of Course November 29, 2012

 By Maybe Lady Liz

Last night, I finally saw the 1987 Coen brothers’ cult classic, Raising Arizona. For those of you who, like me, have been living under a rock for the past twenty-five years and haven’t seen it, the first hour and forty-two minutes are pretty solidly hilarious, and I highly recommend them. But (spoiler alert!), as someone who may not ever have kids, it’s the final two minutes of the movie that really ruined things for me.

Career criminal H.I. “Hi” McDonnough (played by Nicholas Cage) decides to walk the straight and narrow when he falls for a local policewoman, Edwina “Ed”. They marry quickly and Ed’s biological clock moves into full swing. After months of trying for a child, Ed is devastated when her doctor tells her she’s infertile. Knowing they’d never be able to adopt with Hi’s checkered past, they cook up a scheme to kidnap one of a furniture magnate’s newborn quintuplets. Hilarity ensues, of course, as the two of them navigate the challenges of a new baby and explaining just how they were able to adopt so quickly. Eventually, Hi’s past comes back to bite him as the baby is “re-kidnapped” by two of his recently-escaped cell mates. In their desperate chase to get the little guy back, Ed realizes that their original kidnapping was a horrible thing to do to a mother, and they return the baby to his parents.

But by this point, Ed and Hi’s marriage is pretty far deteriorated. Ed begins to think it was a bad match from the beginning and says she wants a divorce. But upon returning the baby, the furniture magnate (miraculously not angry at them) encourages her to sleep on it and not make any rash decisions. In Hi’s dream that night, which comprises the aforementioned final two minutes of the movie, he envisions a rosy future for him and Ed. Given the reality of their situation, you might think it would have been the two of them overcoming their differences and going on all kinds of exciting adventures or just enjoying each other’s company. But no. It was a rather cheesy montage that showcased nothing more than a parade of children and grandchildren running and out of their house, or sitting around a huge dining room table.

What’s the message here? That there’s really only one happy ending in life, and it must involve kids? I know I’m viewing the movie from a biased standpoint, and I’m reading far too much into it, but the implication seemed to be that despite all their marital problems, their lives might still turn out okay…as long as they’re somehow able to have children.

I should probably cut the Coen brothers some slack. After all, this was twenty-five years ago, when the term Childfree was still spelled with a lowercase “c” and people had a harder time imagining a rich, fulfilling life without kids. But, like so many other elements of pop culture, it was just a grating reminder that for most, a life without babies just doesn’t lend itself to that Hollywood storybook ending. I suppose those of us who wind up not having kids will just have to make sure we create our own happily ever afters.

Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.

 

Guest Post: Terry Gross March 26, 2011

Credit: Will Ryan

Guest Post written by Laura Nye

Recently I was excited to learn that my favorite radio show host, Terry Gross, is childfree.  She hosts the NPR interview show “Fresh Air”.  A couple of months ago, she interviewed Stephanie Coontz who wrote a book about Betty Friedan’s book “A Feminine Mystique”.  Toward the end of the interview Ms. Coontz says the Feminine Mystique has been replaced by the “Perfect Mother Mystique”.  Terry comments that many women who came of age during the first women’s movement rejected the idea of being a perfect homemaker and decided not to have children.

This made me wonder if Terry was one of us.

I looked her up on wikipedia and found that she is childfree by choice.   At the beginning of an interview with actor and author B.D. Wong, she says she and many of her friends have decided not to have children.  During an interview with John Waters, she asks if he worries about who will take care of him when he’s old because many people without children worry about this.  He advises to have young friends!

 

Thanks, Laura, for a great post! ~Lisa

 

Cameron Diaz: Happily Not Having It All July 14, 2010

Here’s a refreshing celebrity point-of view–the idea that “having it all” just isn’t practical and that “giving life is easier than giving love.” Granted, for some of us, the latter isn’t exactly true, but if only everyone gave this much thought to the parenthood decision.

Cameron Diaz: Happily Not Having It All – Expertise – SavvyAuntie.com.

 

Would you have kids? May 28, 2010

Filed under: Childfree by Choice,Polls,Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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At some point in our lives, given a certain set of circumstances, we have all decided not to have children. The question is: If you had your life over again and you had the opportunity to have children, would you?

Post your response and leave a comment too if you have something more to add.

 

Find your tribe with “Groups” May 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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I’ve been fascinated to meet the members of this site and hear everyone’s stories. Numerous times I’ve talked to someone and thought, “Oh, they should really talk to the person I met last week.” And now they can!

I’ve just added the “Groups” feature to the main site. You’ll find it on the left side of the homepage and also as a tab at the top. “Groups” allows members to create groups based on their situations, issues, or interests. To get things going, I’ve started a couple of groups. Please feel free to create your own, based on the people you’re most interested in meeting.

We’re all here with the same common interest—living child-free—but our childlessness doesn’t define us. I’ve chatted with gardeners, cooks, crafters, and entrepreneurs. I’ve met women who have dealt with infertility, or the loss of a child or spouse. I’ve met women who have never wanted children and those who are still trying to get to grips with this whole childless thing. Some of us have families that just don’t get it; some of us feel as if we’re surrounded by new babies and pregnant women. We all have something we want to talk about.

 

My goal has always been to create a community where we can meet and talk to like-minded women. I hope you’ll find your tribe out there.