Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Transplants June 20, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

If my sister needed a new kidney, I’d be the first one in line to give her one of mine. I also have a pink donor dot on my driver’s license that will allow surgeons to remove and share any viable organs with strangers when my time has come. So when I first saw this article about a 25-year-old woman possibly getting her mother’s uterus so that she could have her own children, my heart cheered for the miracles of modern science.

And then I read more closely, and these little words made my heart stop: “…Sara is so desperate….” Oh, dear God, here we go again.

Described as “completely unproven,” this tricky and experimental procedure involves surgeries and drug therapies for both the recipient and the donor, in this case, Sara’s mother. If the transplant is successful and Sara is able to bear a child, she will later have to endure another surgery to have the uterus removed. These women apparently are willing to go through all of this, even knowing that in a previous attempt, the mother-to-be’s body rejected the transplanted uterus when she was four months pregnant. I find the multitude of tragedies in that scenario horrifying.

I want to believe that miracles are possible. I want to know that there is hope for Sara and for my friends who would make wonderful parents if this is indeed the “cure” they need. But I can’t help but worry that this is just another example of greedy, egotistical doctors preying on the desperation of others.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She loves children, but won’t be having any of her own.


Would you choose to be a single mother? June 3, 2011

An article titled “Baby Without Marriage” caught my attention on BlogHer recently. [You can read it here, but be warned that it’s posted in the Pregnancy section of the site.] The author was asked by a friend, “If you don’t get married by a particular age, would you consider having children without a husband?”

The author had this to say:

“I have to admit, the thought has crossed my mind, but I’d never sat down and really thought about it. I’d never really imagined my life without kids. I guess I’d never really imagined it without a husband either, but I’d given children more of a consideration. But man, what would I do? Adoption, IVF, a good night with a good friend or ex, what? And at what age is my “out-of-wedlock” age? I’ll be 35 this year.”

She goes on to explain that she’s not ready for kids yet, but she’s aware that if she keeps putting it off, it’s eventually going to be too late.

I could really relate to her quandary, as I found myself in that same situation in my very early 30s. With no sign of a potential daddy in sight (Mr. Fab and I hadn’t figured out we were destined to be more than friends back then), I started to have the conversation with myself about whether I was prepared to be a single mom. As it turned out, Mr. Fab and I did find one another before I hit my “out-of-wedlock” age, only to discover, of course, that I was already past my expiration date. But I wonder; if things had been different, would I have made a go of it alone?

I’m older now, and supposedly wiser (or at least more tired), but trying to think as my younger self would have, I wonder if I would have had the courage to parent alone. I like to think that the sensible part of me would have realized that with no family within 6,000 miles, it would have been close to impossible, but as I watched my window of fertility close, I would have made the last-minute leap?

I know that some of you have weighed this decision and that some of you are still considering it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Advice for “30 and Childless” February 17, 2011

I came across this question on Yahoo Answers recently: “How rare is it to be childless at 30 years old?”

In my world, it’s not rare at all. Thinking back to when I was 30, very few of my friends had children. When I was 30, I wasn’t ready to have children, never mind the fact that I hadn’t found anyone responsible enough to have them with! So, my answer to this woman is, “Don’t worry about. Just live your life!”

And yet…

When I was 30 I had no idea that my fertility was already in decline, and I hadn’t yet seen the freefall that happens on the fertility rate chart when a woman hits 35. Given my own experience with trying to conceive in my 30’s, it makes me want to offer this woman some of my hard-earned wisdom.

But what would I tell her? Don’t wait too long? If you think you might want children someday, consider freezing your eggs now? Think about your long-term goals and priorities? Find a man and hurry up?

Blach! Of course not! When I was 30 I would have rolled my eyes at this advice, too – probably did, in fact. And who am I to tell this woman that life isn’t as straight-forward as it’s cracked up to be? Who am I to tell her she needs to hurry up and take on the responsibility of being a parent?

I was happy being childless when I was 30. I was unhappy being childless from 34 to 40, and now I’m looking at 41, I’m still childless, but you know what? I’m happy again. It’s called life and you can plan it until you’re blue in the face, but sometimes it just happens how it happens, and you find your way. So I won’t offer her any advice (especially as she didn’t ask for it) and I’ll just trust she’ll find her own way.

How about you? What would you tell this woman?


Go Forth and Multiply…Like Rabbits February 5, 2011

A happy (if slightly belated) Chinese New Year to you! In this year of the rabbit, we should look forward to a placid, unhurried year, where we can expect to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.

Unless you happen to be childfree in Singapore.

According to CNN, Singapore’s prime minister is urging citizens to follow the example of the rabbit and reproduce.

“In his annual Chinese New Year message Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that Singapore’s fertility rate fell to an all-time low of 1.16 percent in 2010 and urged couples to have more babies.”

As if the childless and childfree don’t have enough pressure from family, friends, and society to get onboard and reproduce, now the government is adding their two cents. As if getting out there and “having more babies” is just so simple.

I understand the socio-economic reasons behind this push, but the reality just isn’t so straightforward.

So much for the carefree and unhurried year ahead.


Menopause and Childlessness June 11, 2010

If you haven’t visited the Forum lately (or ever) you’ve missed some great discussions amongst members. I’m learning so much from other people’s experiences and I’m also really touched to see strangers rally behind one another and be so supportive.

Sometimes topics of conversation come up and I have absolutely nothing to contribute. For example, Carollynn posted this comment on the “How have you come to terms with being childless” discussion:

Replying to another entry, I wrote something about my response revealing my age, which made me reflect on the fact that I’m in menopause… Yet eager to tune in to a web site about choosing to be childless. Does it seem to anyone else that there’s a disconnect here? That maybe I’m not so okay about it if a year after “the change” I’m still looking at this? Has anyone else reached this milestone who’s writing? Maybe in fact it is the transition that has me thinking about it and being involved.

This is a fascinating line of thinking and I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who’s in or has been in that position, to know if this transition into menopause changed the way you felt about being childless.


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?


Just When You Think…. April 24, 2010

Filed under: Childfree by Choice — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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At Trader Joe’s this morning, the cashier asked me if my eggs had been checked. I blinked at him for a full three seconds before I realized what he meant.

Sometimes you think you have this whole childless thing under control–and sometimes you realize you just don’t.


Birth Control Comparison April 22, 2010

Filed under: Health,Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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It’s been at least 10 years since I had or needed to have a discussion with my doctor about birth control. Prior to that, I’d more or less stuck with the same method for almost 15 years, so it was something of an education when I found this chart from Women’s Health comparing all the current methods of birth control available. From the descriptions, I interpreted that the Pill is considered temporary birth control for women who plan to get pregnant within 5 years. I don’t recall ever having that discussion with my doctor, but that’s all water under the bridge now.

If you’re reconsidering your current birth control method, this chart might be useful.