Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

That He Would Do This for Her August 2, 2012

This post was originally published on March 23rd, 2012. Sue Fagalde Lick’s book Childless by Marriage has just been published and is available on Amazon and on Sue’s website. Congratulations, Sue!

By Sue Fagalde Lick

When my friend John started going out with Lizzy, a teacher at least 20 years younger than he was, I kept my qualms to myself. Who was I to judge? Had I not married a much older man myself?

A couple years later, I ran into John and Lizzy at the Toledo, Oregon summer festival. Weary from strolling up and down Main Street, I saw them in the crowd sitting on orange folding chairs by the stage outside Bank of the West and decided to join them in the shade of a big alder tree.

I didn’t notice Lizzy’s belly until they stood to move their chairs into the sun. Was it really rounded under her denim overalls or was I imagining it? No, she was definitely pregnant.

Battling hot flashes and glad to be out of the sun, I remained alone in the shade, gazing up at the yellow and green leaves. With each gentle breeze, waves of sadness washed over me. John had finished raising his family. He had retired. He enjoyed his life of writing, music and bicycle trips. I was certain he did not want to start raising children again, but I could see the whole picture: Lizzy was young, she wanted a family, he loved her, and he could not deny her that part of life.

Of course it could have been an accident, a birth-control failure, but they were both too smart for that. This was pregnancy on purpose. That he would do this for her . . . It echoed in my head like a mantra: that he would do this for her. A corresponding chant answered: that my husband would not.

But I got it wrong. When I asked John about it later, he said he was the one who wanted another child. Lizzy didn’t mind doing without, but he wanted a chance to do a better job than he had before.

Why wasn’t my husband like that?

I had been through this so many times. It was not Fred’s fault. I had married him despite his declaration that he did not want to have children with me, that the three he had with his first wife were all he ever wanted. I had decided it was better to have him without children than to marry someone else I loved less or, more likely, to remain alone. Besides, had I not always placed my career above everything, thinking that someday I would get around to kids, but not today, tomorrow, next week . . .?

Suddenly the toe-tapping music grew tiresome. I needed to do the laundry, start dinner, make some phone calls. I kept glancing at John and Lizzy, unable to stop staring at Lizzy’s belly.

I had thought I was past this, beyond this agonizing over not having children. As I gathered my things, waved goodbye to my friends, and started the long walk to my car, I asked myself “Will it never end?”

Sue Fagalde Lick has been married twice to men who did not give her babies. She blogs on the subject atwww.childlessbymarriage.blogspot.com.

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Join Me LIVE Today! April 28, 2012

Good morning (for some of you at least)!

I hope you’ll be able to join me today as I chat via video with some fabulous childfree women. Expect inspiration, insight, and even some laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing these ladies and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing what they have to say, too.

Here’s the link to the Live Stream channel where the event will be hosted.

It all starts today at 12pm Pacific time. If you’re not sure what time that is where you are, here’s a time zone converter. Use America/Los Angeles to convert.

Once we go live, you’ll be able to chat to one another using the chat function to the right of the video. I will try to hop in on the discussions when I can.

If you can’t make it to the live broadcast, don’t worry. I’ll be recording the whole thing and you should be able to watch it on the same channel beginning later today.

So pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or wine, and join me. I’m looking forward to it.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Those Moments April 24, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It happened so quickly. I was crossing a street and noticed ahead of me a woman and two small boys, about two- and three-years-old. As they rounded the corner, the wind caught the stack of coloring book pages the older child was holding, pulling them from his hand and scattering them across the sidewalk. As they scrambled to stomp on them and pick them up, I sprinted across the street to help.

I handed my small collection to the woman, then said to the young artist, “What beautiful artwork. Did you make these?” He looked up at me and beamed. And I looked into the eyes of the son I could’ve had and thought, I still want one.

And there goes years of therapy!

I think this has to be one of the hardest things about this journey. Even though we may have been told we can’t have children, or know we can’t have children, or have come to terms with our choice to not have children, there’s still that what if factor. The miracle cure, the quicky adoption, the rogue egg. It’s still possible, right? It’s not too late! If I still want this, I can make it happen! All those crazy-train thoughts waiting to bubble up to the surface at a moment’s notice.

Fortunately, my brain took over and, by the time I’d walked the rest of the way home, I had catalogued all my (very sensible) reasons for being childfree and overruled my flip-floppy emotions. I was back to being at peace with my choice. At least my brain is good with it. I just need to work a little more on getting my heart on board.

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

 

Don’t Ignore…the Life Without Baby Option April 23, 2012

If you’re someone who imagined, or even expected, that motherhood would be part of your life, the option of a life without children isn’t one you’d be in any hurry to consider. But for many women, that can become the only reasonable option.

I never thought that I would be childfree, childless, a non-mom, or however you’d choose to describe me. Children were always going to be a given for me, “No matter what it takes.” But in reality, I wasn’t willing or able to do whatever it takes, and eventually the option that started to make the most sense to me, even though I didn’t like it, was a life without children.

Medical technology has made great strides over the past decade or two (I was just reading an article this morning about the latest procedure that enables women to freeze ovarian tissue.) Adoption has lost much of its stigma and is considered by many to be the obvious next step for someone who can’t have children of their own. In many ways, there’s a perception that infertility is never an insurmountable obstacle to a family, and that there is always a next step available.

In theory, that’s somewhat true, but in practice, it’s never as simple as that, and many us find that we reach the end of our emotional or financial paths long before we exhaust the list of family building options available to us. It’s hard to walk away from the dream of motherhood, but sometimes it just makes sense.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. There are many things that I would wish for my former self, if I were starting out on the road to parenthood again. I wish I’d had more information; I wish I’d had someone I could talk to, who could guide me through the process; I wish I’d had one great doctor who could have given me a step-by-step work-up, an accurate diagnosis, and a set of options sooner, before I’d exhausted the emotional stamina and financial means to use them.

But now, three years after deciding to end my quest for motherhood and starting to make peace with my life without children, I have this wish: I don’t want to promote childlessness as an option. I don’t want to say, “Hey, you! You don’t need to put yourself through all that hell any more. Come over here and be childfree!” I don’t wish “unresolved infertility”, as I’ve heard it called, on anyone. But when some of us reach that point, I wish there was more support available. I wish that infertility resources included information about choosing to walk away from motherhood, and how to come to terms with that decision.

The theme for NIAW this year is “Don’t ignore…” and my request is this: Don’t ignore those of us for whom the infertility journey does not end with a baby.

And now for some resources that are available: There are lots of us out here in the blogosphere, talking about this topic. Check out the blogroll on the right and please support their efforts to have our voices heard. If you have a blog on living without children, and it isn’t yet on the blogroll, include it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list. We have a strong community here on this site, so if you’re new here, cruise around and see what we’re talking about. You can also sign up for the password-protected site where you talk to other women in a private forum.

If you’d like to hear some live voices (and see some beautiful childfree faces) please join me here this Saturday, April 28th at 12:00pm PST as I talk to three wonderful women about their own journeys to come to terms with being childfree-not-by-choice. There’ll be the opportunity to chat live with other women online and make connections with some kindred spirits.

Finally, if you’re here supporting NIAW and want more information about infertility, please visit these links.

 Infertility 101

About National Infertility Awareness Week

 

That He Would Do This for Her March 23, 2012

By Sue Fagalde Lick

When my friend John started going out with Lizzy, a teacher at least 20 years younger than he was, I kept my qualms to myself. Who was I to judge? Had I not married a much older man myself?

A couple years later, I ran into John and Lizzy at the Toledo, Oregon summer festival. Weary from strolling up and down Main Street, I saw them in the crowd sitting on orange folding chairs by the stage outside Bank of the West and decided to join them in the shade of a big alder tree.

I didn’t notice Lizzy’s belly until they stood to move their chairs into the sun. Was it really rounded under her denim overalls or was I imagining it? No, she was definitely pregnant.

Battling hot flashes and glad to be out of the sun, I remained alone in the shade, gazing up at the yellow and green leaves. With each gentle breeze, waves of sadness washed over me. John had finished raising his family. He had retired. He enjoyed his life of writing, music and bicycle trips. I was certain he did not want to start raising children again, but I could see the whole picture: Lizzy was young, she wanted a family, he loved her, and he could not deny her that part of life.

Of course it could have been an accident, a birth-control failure, but they were both too smart for that. This was pregnancy on purpose. That he would do this for her . . . It echoed in my head like a mantra: that he would do this for her. A corresponding chant answered: that my husband would not.

But I got it wrong. When I asked John about it later, he said he was the one who wanted another child. Lizzy didn’t mind doing without, but he wanted a chance to do a better job than he had before.

Why wasn’t my husband like that?

I had been through this so many times. It was not Fred’s fault. I had married him despite his declaration that he did not want to have children with me, that the three he had with his first wife were all he ever wanted. I had decided it was better to have him without children than to marry someone else I loved less or, more likely, to remain alone. Besides, had I not always placed my career above everything, thinking that someday I would get around to kids, but not today, tomorrow, next week . . .?

Suddenly the toe-tapping music grew tiresome. I needed to do the laundry, start dinner, make some phone calls. I kept glancing at John and Lizzy, unable to stop staring at Lizzy’s belly.

I had thought I was past this, beyond this agonizing over not having children. As I gathered my things, waved goodbye to my friends, and started the long walk to my car, I asked myself “Will it never end?”

Sue Fagalde Lick has been married twice to men who did not give her babies. She blogs on the subject at www.childlessbymarriage.blogspot.com.

 

It’s All About Attitude October 3, 2011

Thanks to Iris for forwarding this article about living happily without children.

I love this author’s attitude to the hand she’s been dealt. At first read, she seems almost flippant about her inability to have children, but she’s packed a whole life story into one article, and reading between the lines, it’s clear to see the pain she felt, the struggles she and her partner went through in coming-to-terms with being childfree, and the attitudes she still has to endure from others. But her whole outlook was encapsulated in this paragraph:

“We didn’t get to have something. We had 2 choices as a result of that – let it control, dictate and sadden the rest of our lives or find something else to do instead. Either way, we still wouldn’t get to have kids. So which is the best choice?”

Are you still struggling to come to terms with your own situation and feeling that childlessness is “controlling, dictating, and saddening” your life? If so, can you see what your “find something else to do instead” could be? And could you do it?

I don’t this author is trivializing the blow she was dealt – far from it – but I love that she’s found a way to turn her situation to her advantage. What do you think?