Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Leaving Behind the Old Life October 8, 2012

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;

we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

~ Anatole France

I saw this quote recently in a book about writing, but it struck a chord with me. It relates to so many things in life, including making peace with a life with out children.

One of the hardest stretches of my journey was the space between realizing that our options for building a family were running out, and the point where we made the decision to stop trying. I knew there were options still open, but they were beyond the scope of what Mr. Fab and I were willing to do. At some point we had to make a decision that we would not have children and that we would find a way to be okay with that. It was one of the hardest (and perhaps longest) decisions I’ve ever had to make.

I’m sure you’ve found yourself in this kind of situation in other areas of life, too. You know that you have to take a new direction, that ultimately it will be the right decision, but as France says, in order to do that, we have to leave a part of ourselves behind. Sometime the hardest part is listening to ourselves and not being afraid to make the wrong choice.

My first career was in engineering. I’ve made several career changes since then, trying to find the place in the world where I’d be happy. I’ve found it in writing, but it took me a long time to get here.

Many people can’t understand why, after all those years of college and graduate school, I would abandon a perfectly good and respectable career. I’ll be the first to admit that if I’d just stuck to engineering, I would probably have been more “successful” and definitely would be making more money, maybe own a home and live comfortably, but I know I wouldn’t have been happy. I might have been successful by the conventional definition, but the cost of sticking to a career that didn’t make me happy, just because it’s what was expected of me, didn’t make any sense. But it wasn’t easy to let go of that life and take a risk of finding happiness in another life.

Part of finding happiness is letting go of that which doesn’t make us happy. Although I believed that having children would make me happy, I was miserably unhappy running in circles trying to produce a baby that my body had no interest in creating. I could have gone on trying forever, but the cost to my mental and physical wellbeing would have been enormous. Letting go of that part of my life enabled me to find peace with my new life, even if it’s a life I wasn’t sure I wanted.

 

P.S. Letting go of the dream and the imagined life with children is the first topic we cover in the Finding Peace program. There are still some places available in the new session, which begins tomorrow. You can find all the details here.

 

Transformations January 19, 2012

I’ve been following La Belette Rouge on and off for a while now. It’s been interesting to watch her progress.

In the early days, she blogged frequently about her infertility. As she began coming to terms with being childless-not-by-choice, she talked more about her run-ins with her therapist, and the cracks that began to appear in her marriage.

I haven’t checked in on her for a while, so when she blipped onto my radar last week, I was taken aback, but pleased to see this post, Not the Mama/ You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

What a transformation. Here’s a woman who tried almost everything imaginable to get the child she so desperately wanted, and here she is now, standing up and having the courage to say this:

“I feel crazy grateful for how everything worked out so very perfectly. And I think about how if I had gotten what I hoped and prayed and paid Reproductive Endocrinologists for that I would now be a very unhappy gal who likely would not have had the courage to do what I did in March (leave) and how I certainly would not be in this new relationship with this wonderful man who makes me ridiculously happy.”

I know how long it took her to get to this point, and she is the first to admit that there are still days when she is “punched in the ovaries” by a reminder of what she doesn’t have. But, oh, the progress she’s made.

She includes a quote from Truman Capote in her post:

“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”

I know for me, there are days, that I can see clearly how my life is better just the way it turned out. And those days are increasing in number all the time.

 

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?

 

Free to be Happy July 29, 2011

It came as no great surprise when friends announced recently that they were getting a divorce. They’d been emotionally separated for years and a new job for one had made them physically separated, too. It was hard to see why they’d ever gotten together in the first place, as they always seemed mismatched. But they had kids, and the kids were the reason they’d stayed together.

Fifteen years ago, when I told friends I was leaving my first husband, no one was surprised, and more than one said, “Thank goodness you didn’t have kids together.”

Even now I’m unable to have children with Mr. Fab, I’m still grateful that I didn’t have to drag kids through what would have been a much messier divorce than it was. But how many people do you know who’ve stayed in unhappy marriages because of the kids?

I’m not suggesting being childfree makes it easy to flit around relationships without having to commit, but not having the responsibility for other young lives offers a kind of freedom to find happiness for ourselves.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Taking the Day Off October 6, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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I’m taking this Whiny Wednesday off. I feel as if I’ve done nothing but whine all week, so instead I’m going to be Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary and list all the things I’m happy about today:

  1. My mum is here to visit, and she’s healthy enough to travel and fun to spend time with.
  2. My husband has the patience of Job and despite teasing me about being grumpy of late, he puts up with me.
  3. My cat loves me, in her own odd feline way. I am her #1 person.
  4. There is money in my bank account and food in my fridge, gas in my car and a roof over my head.
  5. I love my job, in fact I love all my jobs, even the ones that don’t pay.
  6. I have a great group of kids to mentor in my school program, and even though I want to take all of them home wih me, I am sane enough to understand that I can’t and won’t.
  7. I have friends who trust me enough to call me when they are in crisis.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. If you need to let it all out, go ahead. If not, tell me what you’re happy about today.

 

Good Morning, Australia! September 3, 2010

Or should I say, “G’day!”

I’m very pleased to have been invited to write some guest blog posts for the fabulous childless.com. au. This is a really great Australian website that deals with all aspects of life from money to health to pets to my favorite subject: food. What you won’t find is advice on finding a pre-school, dealing with a finicky toddler, or the top ten gifts for your babysitter. Finally, a safe zone.

Along with all this fun stuff you’ll also find articles from other childless and childfree bloggers, including yours truly.

Here’s my first post for them: 10 Tips for Being Happy and Childless.  Hope you enjoy it.