Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

How Old is Too Old To Give Birth? May 21, 2010

Kelly Preston and John Travolta are expecting. She is 47 and the media is already talking about her “miracle baby.” While Ms. Preston is nowhere near to being the oldest woman to give birth (that honor goes to a 70-year-old Indian woman who gave birth to twins in 2008) it does raise the question: How old is too old?

Last year a Spanish woman who lied about her age to obtain IVF treatments died at aged 69. She left behind two-year-old twins who are now orphans.

These stories are extreme, of course, but how old is too old to have a baby? Just because the technology is available, should we use it? What do you think?

 

When Choice is Not an Option May 4, 2010

Last night I performed at a spoken word show here in Santa Monica. I got up in front of about 100 total strangers and told the story of how my husband, Jose, and I came to make the decision to give up on having children, and be a happy family of two. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was a very intimate story and I think I told it frankly, maybe even matter-of-factly, but I aired our dirty laundry all the same.

My husband was in the  audience and, as he’d never heard or read the story before, I was a little worried about his reaction, but he was 100% supportive. After the show, a number of people came up to me and thanked me for sharing my story. A couple of women told me how they had related to the story because of their own experiences. It was very touching and encouraging to know that I had reached people.

But more than one person came up to me during the post-show reception and asked the inevitable question, some version of: “So are you guys still thinking of adopting?” I want you to know that I was the model of composure. I answered calmly and politely, that no, we weren’t, and that we were lucky to have the kind of relationship that many people never have, and that was enough for us.

But I guess some people just can’t take, “No,” for an answer. People want a Hollywood ending to their stories,  and for many, the idea of choosing not to have children is, dare I say it, inconceivable.

 

Top 10 Best Things About Child-free Holidays April 9, 2010

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10. Making up fun new traditions all of your own

9. Enjoying uninterrupted adult conversation over dinner

8. Being able to wriggle out of family obligations without Grandma pouring on the guilt about never seeing her grandkids

7. Being able to serve sugary foods without risk of your guests having sugar-induced tantrums

6. Not having to battle your conscience about loving versus spoiling when shopping for gifts

5. Not feeling obligated to call every toy store within a 50 mile radius to find the last available hot item du jour

4. Not having to wipe a layer of dust off said item du jour two weeks after the event

3. Not having your favorite holidays become all about the kids

2. Choosing not to celebrate at all

1. Having the option of spending the holidays with someone else’s kids, feeding them sugar, spoiling them rotten, riling them into Tasmanian Devils, and then going home to your nice peaceful house.

 

Holiday Traditions April 4, 2010

With Easter and Passover upon us, it’s a time of year for gathering with family and keeping up traditions. Maybe your traditions include a huge family dinner, a sunrise service, or a mad hunt for chocolate-filled plastic eggs. But when you don’t have children, many traditions are either impossible to maintain, or simply aren’t the same. Not that there’s anything wrong with decorating eggs for your own pleasure, or mounting a one-person egg hunt, but having your photo taken on the Easter bunny’s lap could present all manner of problems.

My family didn’t attend church and so our Easter day was almost always spent hiking in the nearby countryside. That’s a tradition I’m more than happy to keep up. If I had children, I would decorate hard-boiled eggs and make bunnies out of pom-poms. An Easter egg hunt would be a tradition I’d adopt for my children, too. But I don’t have children and so I won’t be doing those things.

Many holiday traditions revolve around activities for children, so those of us without children have to start our own traditions. Today I’ll cook lamb with fresh spring vegetables, such as fava beans, English peas, and baby potatoes. I’ll uphold my family tradition of getting outdoors by taking a walk or a bike ride with my husband. I might even go to the sunrise service at the beach.

Which child-oriented holiday traditions have you abandoned and which new traditions have you created in their place?

 

Top Ten kid-friendly activities to do even if you don’t have kids April 2, 2010

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Here’s my Top 10 list of kid-friendly activities I still love to do even though I don’t have kids. What’s yours?

10. Play miniature golf and insist on playing by the rules

9. Go out for ice cream

8. Ride the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland

7. Play whack-a-mole

6. Build a sand castle and defend it against the sea

5. Watch Bugs Bunny cartoons

4. Do spins on a swing

3. Draw on the paper tablecloths in restaurants

2. Celebrate my birthday with cake and presents

1. Go to the midnight showing of a Harry Potter movie