Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Next Step May 18, 2012

For some time now, I’ve been bemoaning the lack of support available for those of us facing a life without children, whether we’ve reached the end of our infertility ropes or otherwise run out of options, money, or stamina to build a family. As far as most organizations are concerned, women are either planning to have children, trying to have children, or don’t like and don’t want children. There is a lot of misunderstanding and very little support for those of us who find ourselves in one of the many gray areas that surround those well-supported categories.

Several months ago, I came to a crossroads on my own journey of coming-to-terms with being childfree-not-by-choice. I knew I had to either stop talking about my infertility, put the whole episode behind me, and move on in a different direction, or I needed take the hand I’d been dealt and do something with it. For those of you who’ve been following along for a while, you’d be right in guessing that I opted for the latter.

I’ve spent the past few months compiling everything I’ve learned from my own journey and from talking to you about the issues you face and the solutions you’ve found to keep moving forward. I’m now developing a support program to help other women through the process of letting go of the dream of motherhood (sometimes the hardest part) and beginning the healing process.  The program will be aimed at women in the early stages of coming-to-terms and will include a combination of group workshops, exercises, and support phone calls over a period of four months.  I’m planning to beta test a pilot program with a small group beginning next month.

I’ll be putting out more detailed information about the program, including dates, costs, and what it will include, but for now, if you think you might be interested in a program like this, please leave your contact information here (it’s safe and confidential) and I’ll get more information to you shortly.

In addition, it would be really helpful to know what topics you’d like to see covered in this type of program, or if you’re further along on your journey, what you wish you’d known sooner.

I’m looking forward to being able to share more information soon and I hope that some of you will find this useful.

 

Meeting New People July 1, 2011

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my readers in person!! It was so much fun.

At first it was a little strange, because the only thing we knew we had in common was our infertility and we both knew that the topic would come up, which it did. I learned something new about my own diagnosis from her experience. It was something my own doctors had never told me and, while it doesn’t change my prognosis, it helped me to put another piece of the puzzle in place, and make sense of what happened to me.

We also talked about food, shopping, and Los Angeles, and discovered a mutual love of travel. I left our lunch feeling as if I’d found a new friend and I hope that she felt the same way.

Our childlessness does not define us and it is only a small part of who we are, but my own experience has been that my childfree status is what connects me to someone initially and affords me the opportunity to find out what else we have in common.

We have a dynamic community of women here from all over the world and all walks of life – and with a broad range of interests. I urge you to use the common denominator to find friends with other interests – and avoid have that awkward “do you have kids” question.

On the main site you’ll already find writers, readers, gardeners, pet lovers, and cooks. You’ll find groups in Canada, California, and Texas, too. But is you’re interested in scuba diving, crafting, decorating, or belly dancing; entomology, etymology, archaeology, or theology; philanthropy, mythology, philately, or newts, start a group! Make a connection. Find something else to talk about. You may even find a new friend.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Girls’ Night Out January 17, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Tonight, my fiancé’s coworkers are taking him out to a pub to watch a game. And I think, Cool! Girls’ Night Out! Except it’s a weeknight, and my friends here are all moms. Going out to watch a chick-flick or linger over wine at a cozy bistro takes a backseat to helping with homework, making sure everyone’s eaten their vegetables, supervising bath time, and coaxing every last little darling into bed. As it should be.

Even if they could talk husbands and partners into taking over the nightly duties, I’m not up for an evening spent discussing school fund-raisers, the nicest ballet teachers, soccer game schedules, or pregnancy issues. When all topics lead to mommydom, I have little to contribute. And when it’s not boring, it hurts. Tonight, I’m just not up to it.

But, dang, I’m lonely. I know part of the issue is I’m new to this city. I moved here two years ago, and I haven’t yet had the time to build my new tribe. In my old city, I could call up any number of childfree girlfriends and look forward to a night discussing politics, spirituality, the last great book we read, classic movies we all need to see, our bucket lists, the state of the economy, people we love, celebrity gossip, fashion, travel plans….

Maybe I’m more aware of this because of how much I’ve enjoyed being part of the conversation on LifeWithoutBaby. “Enjoyed” isn’t the right word. I feel like we speak the same language. Each member is a unique voice, but there seems to be a shared level of compassion and openness. You inspire, move, and challenge me. You impress me with your intelligence, insight, honesty, and wit. Several times a week, I meet up with you for a virtual Girls’ Night Out, and…it got me thinking: Can we meet up in person?

My city is San Francisco. I’m starting a group on the main site, and I hope you’ll join me. One day soon, we’ll a set date for our first get-together for a movie, a chat over coffee, or a glass of wine and a lively discussion about whatever comes to mind. If you live in the lower half of California, consider joining the “Southern California Members.” There’s also a group forming for “Austin,” or if your city is elsewhere, consider starting your own.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her most recent article celebrates the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird.