Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Out With the Old January 16, 2012

I write a regular blog called The Plan B Life for PsychologyToday.com. Although the theme of the blog dealing with life when Plan A doesn’t work out, I’ve always got my own Plan A Life – the one that included children – in my mind when I write.

This week’s post was Out With the Old, about the importance of rituals in marking the end of Plan A and preparing to embark on Plan B. I know I’ve talked about this topic before on this blog, but for me, it was the key to starting along the path to coming to terms with a life without children.

If you’re struggling to get forward motion right now, a little symbolic ritual can go a long way. First, you need to acknowledge what it is you need to let go. It could be as big as the dream of motherhood, or it could be bitterness towards a family member or coworker who you feel flaunts her fertility, or it could be facing a fear and taking the next step forward.

Whatever your sticking point, acknowledge it first, then decide to let it go. Find a ritual or something symbolic that means something to you, and try it. It might be a prayer, or lighting a candle, or some kind of cleansing ceremony. Whatever you choose, you’ll be amazed at how freeing and how positive a simple ritual can be.

If you try this, (or if you’ve done something like this in the past) please report in on how it went.

 

Your Next 15,000 Days January 12, 2012

I was recently introduced to Klara, a blogger in Slovenia, and her new blog The Next 15,000 Days. Her title caught my attention immediately, and I had to know what it meant. Here’s what she writes about her choice of title:

“Just a few days before Christmas we will celebrate 3,000 days since our wedding day. Our first 3,000 days were mainly sad. Of course, there were also lots of great things. The greatest was that I realized I married the love of my life; all the pain brought us even closer together. If we are lucky, another 15,000 days are waiting for us. So, we decided to start living a new, happy life. We lost, already, enough days being sad. We just don’t want to lose another day.”

I love this attitude. It’s the same notion Mr. Fab and I had when we decided to start figuring out how to be a family of two. We drew a line in the sand and said, “This is where we start living our lives again. But it’s not always easy to do.

You can’t just decide to not be sad anymore. Sadness and grief are much more complicated and sneaky than that. They tend to hide in unexpected places and leap out on you when you think you’re safe. Family gatherings, pregnancy announcements, and closets where you kept baby clothes you planned to use are all places to be on the look out for a grief ambush.

But you can decide, as Klara says, to “start living a new happy life.” It takes work, and it might not always go as planned, but deciding is half the battle.

So, how do you plan to live your next 15,000 days?

 

A Fresh Start January 29, 2011

Tomorrow I am relocating to the opposite end of the state and I’m suffering from a bit of mover’s melancholy. This week I went to my local farmer’s market and bought my favorite things for the last time, I ran with the friends I will never see again, and I stood in my garden looking at the flowers that will surely die without me.

Ok, so that’s a bit dramatic and in actual fact, our move is only temporary and really just a change of base camps. We’ve been living in two places for almost a year now, based in the south and traveling to the north for work, and all we’re doing is moving my office and the cat, and reversing the travel direction. But still, I already miss my home.

Despite this, I think the move will be good for us. It’s going to be another fresh start.  We’ve had several fresh starts in the past few years – particularly at the various milestones of our infertility journey – and this is another one of those. Getting the book out into the world was another milestone, a kind of release of the story, a letting go, and it seems to warrant some symbolic marking of the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. The move will accomplish that.

I’m a big fan of fresh starts. I think sometimes we get bogged down with our norm and keep trying to solve the same old issues over and over, when sometimes we just need to get off the tracks and do something else for a while. Even a small change in the daily routine can mix things up a bit and give us a new perspective.

So, despite my sadness at leaving the familiar behind, I’m very much looking forward to my fresh start.