Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Finding a Community August 25, 2010

When I was younger I didn’t really get the whole “girlfriend” thing. My friends were always a mixed bag of male and female and I never felt I had much to contribute to the “girls’ night out” chatter.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the value of having a trusted group of female friends to help me through life’s challenges. It’s so good to have people to talk to who know that I’m not perfect and like me anyway, even when I do stupid things. It’s reassuring to know that, when you’re dealing with life’s issues, there’s always someone else who’s been through something similar, and can share war stories and solutions.

When I was dealing with infertility, I didn’t have that community. Although my friends were supportive and kind, none of them had been through anything like it. I looked for an online community, but couldn’t find one where I felt comfortable. I really did feel that I went through that whole chapter of my life almost alone.

I started this site to talk about life after infertility and to be heard, but the pleasant surprise for me is that I’ve finally found a wonderful community of women who want to talk, listen, help, and support one another. And we’re not just talking about infertility and being childless; we’re talking about books, gardening, travel, pets, family, you name it.

Have you found other helpful websites and online communities out there? Please share your finds with us.

 

Friends Who Said the Right Thing August 2, 2010

“Just ride your husband like the stallion he is, then flip over like a dead bug.”

“Oh, get IVF. Just do it.”

“My friends just adopted from Guatemala; I’ll have them call you.”

There never seems to be a shortage of people with “helpful,” and usually unsolicited, advice that can send us reeling off with our backs up and our feelings hurt. The above quotes are taken directly from my own experience as I was dealing with infertility. All were from people who cared and wanted to help, and every single one hurt. But what about people who say the right thing?

For every person that said something hurtful, the were two more who said something kind (or sometimes just said nothing at all.) One friend who stands out is the woman who quietly confided that she and her husband had experienced similar issues and come to a decision. “We decided that we were already a family,” she told me. “We were just a family of two.” Her words really made me think about what it was I was questing for and eventually I came to the same conclusion that I was also happy with the family I already had—my husband and my cat.

Who are the people who said exactly the right thing at the right time to you?

 

Where do you turn for support? June 26, 2010

Filed under: Polls,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 5:17 pm
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We all need someone to talk to now and then. Who do you most often turn to when you need support?

 

Are you okay? June 25, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 10:09 am
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I’m a little worried about you.

In Tuesday’s post I admitted that I had lost my sense of humor and was looking to find it again. I asked for your best jokes and even offered a fabulous prize! But only one person posted a joke; granted, it made me giggle, but now I’m worried.

Are you okay?

Seriously now, are you okay? Because sometimes we tell everyone that we are okay, and sometimes we even tell ourselves the same thing. Sometimes we mean it, but sometimes it’s a flat out lie. It’s seldom that anyone actually asks us if we are okay (and I don’t mean just the standard “Hi. How are you?”), but when they do it gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves, “Are we really okay?” My good friend asks me this frequently and I’m just as grateful to tell her truthfully that I am as when I need tell her about why I’m not.

So, I’m asking you now, “Are you okay? Are you happy/comfortable/at peace with not having children?”

If your answer to yourself is “no” then ask yourself what you need. Do you need to talk someone or throw something or make a change in your life? Do you need to go to bed and feel sorry for yourself for a day (this is allowed if you promise to get up and do one of the other things as well.)

If your answer is “yes, I’m okay,” what helped you get to that place?

And if you haven’t completely lost your sense of humor in this process, please share a good joke. After all, there really is nothing like a good belly laugh to turn things around.

 

Not a Childless Couple June 10, 2010

This week I decided it would be a good idea to join a local social network for childfree people. I’m not really sure why I thought it would be a good idea, as I already struggle to find time to spend with the friends I have, but childlessness is at the forefront of my thoughts right now, and so finding others like me just seemed like a good idea, even if only for research purposes.

I found a nationwide group with a chapter that meets regularly in my area, and set about finding out more. The FAQ’s explained that anyone who had never parented was welcome to join. Childless individuals (me) whose spouses had children (my husband) could join, but the spouse could not. He or she could, however, come along as a guest.

I didn’t have chance to assess how I felt about this line of exclusion, because another one of those awful revelations swept up and clobbered me in the head.

My husband and I are not a childless couple.

I realize this should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. My husband has adult children from his first marriage and because I’ve never known them as children, I don’t think of them as children, and I’ve certainly never parented them.

This realization left me feeling very alone. My husband is my teammate; he’s the person I turn to first when I need help. We’re a good team and we’ve weathered all kinds of things together. Being childless is one of them. Except that now it isn’t!

I know that this changes nothing in my relationship with my husband. He is no less supportive and it doesn’t take away from his own struggles, but it struck me that our losses are different. I lost something I’ve never had; it was the loss of the chance of an experience. He lost something he’s already known, but something he wanted for me. It’s a subtle difference, but enough to knock me off kilter for a couple of days.

Are there other childless stepparents out there? Does your spouse feel differently about your childlessness?

 

Seeing the World Through Childless Glasses June 8, 2010

I saw this Cathy cartoon in this morning’s LA Times and at first it made me laugh with the intended joke, as well as the gentle dig at support groups. But then I whipped out my childless glasses and took another look. As Cathy would say, “Ack!”

I’m looking at the expression on Cathy’s face and wondering what’s going on in her mind. If you follow Cathy at all, you’ll know that she too is childless, although it’s never really mentioned, and it’s not clear (at least to me) if this is a choice or a circumstance for her. Either way, she discovers that she has even less in common with her newfound friend, and that she’s more alone than she thought she was.

Yes, it’s a cartoon, yes, I know I’m reading far too much into it, but childlessness is a filter I bring along with me in life now and, whether I like it or not, it tints everything I see.