Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Forgetting Our Dreams October 31, 2011

I love this post, Forty, Single, and Childless from Jody Day at Gateway Women. I applaud her for having the guts to look inside herself and really think about why she wanted children. How many of us really do that?

So much of what she wrote in her post resonated with me. She writes:

“What would things have been like for me if instead of neglecting my dreams, my passions, my friends, my work, my finances (and, quite often, my common sense) during that time I’d focused on creating a life without children, whilst still remaining open and excited about the possibility that one day I might become a mother? Why did I get stuck on this one outcome, mostly out of my control, rather than take a saner, broader view of things?”

Why indeed? I often think how much I changed over the five or so years I spent trying to conceive and the past three years since. I’m more introverted, less likely to be spontaneous, more likely to just stay home. I’m not as daring as I was, perhaps not quite so “devil-may-care” about my choices. But the former me is still in there and I’m working on dragging her back out again.

But what if I’d had a different attitude to motherhood and accepted is as something that might happen for me instead of something that had to happen, or else? I wonder, with the benefit of hindsight, if I could. It certainly would have made for a different story now.

We lament the loss of our dreams, especially when our dreams include motherhood, but I wonder how many other dreams we let fall by the wayside while we’re questing for that ideal life?

Jody ends her post with a quote:

“There’s nothing as attractive as someone who respects their dreams enough to follow them.  Children are indeed a blessing, but they are here to fulfill their dreams, not ours.”

How easy it is to forget that.


It Got Me Thinking…About Lies July 5, 2011

Guest post by Kathleen Guthrie

After years of living with cracked tiles, a door that popped open at awkward moments, faucets that never completely turned off, and circa-1970 nonslip floor stickers, we finally remodeled our decrepit shower. The gentleman who did the work did an excellent job. His sales rep, hmmm, not so much: “It will be easy! It will be clean! We can do it all in a day!” I’m still finding dust and debris in odd places, and “Joe” (I’m not using his real name, ’cuz that’s not cool) was here for an exhausting 10.5 hours the first day, then returned for another 2.5 hours the next morning.

About three hours into it, Joe said to me in exasperation, “I don’t know why they tell customers we can do it in a day. These things always take at least a day and a half or two.”

Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if the sales rep has just been honest? We could have planned ahead for two days of showering at the gym. Instead of having to cancel at the last minute, I could have scheduled meetings on different days. It certainly would have been easier on Joe, who had to bump other service calls and muck up other people’s busy lives.

And that got me thinking about other big lies I’ve heard in my life. A whopper came when I was a teenager and was experiencing debilitating menstrual cramps. My doctor, a very sweet man, said to me, “This is good. It will prepare you for childbirth so that labor pains will be a breeze.” I held onto his promise for the next 30 years while waiting to have my baby and experience the miracle of pain-free birthing. It’s not his fault that I didn’t get to have children. But I look back and wish someone had been straight with me, saying something like: “Don’t plan your dreams around the possibility of being a mom, because it might not happen. And these agonizing cramps? Yeah, they suck and life isn’t fair. Fill this prescription for pain killers and get over yourself.”

I know many of you have heard “I can make you pregnant!” “This procedure will work!” “It’s the miracle cure that will give you the baby you want!” But I wonder this: Would it have been any easier if someone had told us the truth upfront? Would we have listened and really heard it?

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


Your Amazing Childfree Life July 30, 2010

Recently, I had a revelation. I’m not going to have children. Big news, I know, but the real revelation came in the idea that, if I wasn’t going to be a mother, I must be destined for something even greater.

I have several friends who have big dreams. One has a natural ability for spotting new musical talent, another would love to quit her accounting job and become a landscape architect, and at least two others would love to go back to school and earn their degrees. But they all have children and their obligations prevent them from following their hearts. For some, their dreams are on hold for now, but for some, they’re on hold forever.

We don’t have those obligations. Yes, we have bills, partners, jobs, and assorted other things we have to do, but we don’t have other human beings relying on us for food and shelter. In a lot of ways, it’s very freeing.

Several of you have already made a leap in your life and gone back to school or changed careers, but let me ask you: If you could be or do anything you wanted, what would you do? And if you’re not going to have children, are those things now a real possibility?