Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Wit August 28, 2012

This post was originally published on September 27, 2011.

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

This morning, still brooding over yesterday’s failings and anticipating today’s regrets, I felt the need for something stronger than my book of affirmations to get me going. So, as I lingered in bed, I reached under my nightstand and pulled out The Portable Dorothy Parker.

It’s been several years since I’ve shared the company of the legendary wit who gave us “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” and “Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses”…and I’ve missed her. As I skimmed some of her poems, I started to smile. Soon I was giggling. I laughed out loud when I landed on the quip that reminded me, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

So often I wake up steeled to take life so very seriously. I have roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. I have bills to pay, decisions to make, dogs to feed, and schedules to plan. Sometimes the way I cheat and deprive myself in the daily quest to respond to all the “shoulds” gets so overwhelmingly depressing that I end up doing next to nothing and feeling like a worthless slug.

Ms. Parker had a few thoughts about this in her poem “Observation:”

If I don’t drive around the park,

I’m pretty sure to make my mark.

If I’m in bed each night by ten,

I may get back my looks again.

If I sustain from fun and such,

I’ll probably amount to much;

But I shall stay the way I am,

Because I do not give a damn.

That was just the inspiration I needed. I threw off the bed covers and marched purposely toward a refreshingly hot shower, vowing to ditch some of the day’s shoulds and go in search of more giggles. I hope to end the day with a better awareness of the absurdities of life, with a new perspective that will help me reorder the priorities on my to do list. It’s likely I won’t get everything done that needs to be done, but just for today, I choose to not give a damn.

Like Ms. Parker, Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a childfree freelance writer. 

 

Laughter: The Best Medicine August 6, 2012

This post was originally published on September 26, 2011

When was the last time you laughed? I mean really laughed. I’m talking deep, belly rumbling, side aching, snorting, laughter. Odds are, it’s been a while.

Last weekend I laughed longer and harder than I’ve laughed in a long, long time, and it felt SO GOOD!

The first bout came as my husband was telling our friends a funny and embarrassing story about his 21st birthday. I’ll spare the details, but think boys, bar, beer, waitress – use your imagination and you’ll be close. I’d heard the story before, but forgot the punch line, and for some reason it hit me right on the funny bone this time. I laughed so hard I had to excuse myself from the room to avoid snorting my adult beverage down my nose.

The second time happened when I rode a rollercoaster – something I haven’t done in absolutely YEARS! I certainly didn’t do anything so wild and outrageous during my TTC years (just in case, you know) and the opportunity hasn’t presented itself since. So, last weekend I rode The Roller Coaster at the New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

Let me tell you, I laughed! I whooped down the first drop, howled through the corkscrew, screamed in delight around the spiral and laughed so hard my legs shook. And do you know what? I felt great!

Something loosened up when I laughed like that. Some lump of built up tension released in me, and the weight that’s been dragging me down for so long lifted. Maybe it’s only a temporary reprieve, but I’ll take it. Laughter really is an excellent medicine.

So, if you could use a laugh, here’s a good article about the health benefits of laughter, including some tips for adding laughter to your life. (I’m adding “ride a rollercoaster to the list.)

I know that when life doesn’t go as planned it’s hard to find any humor at all, and when you’re healing from loss and dealing with grief, nothing’s funny. I know. But finding something to smile about, even just a giggle, can do you a world of good, and when the time is right, a great big belly laugh can help put your whole life back into perspective.

So, my challenge to you this week: Find something to laugh about. If nothing’s funny, just force yourself to smile until it turns into a giggle, and then let the laughter follow. I promise you, you’ll feel so much better.

 

Hormones (again)…with Humor June 8, 2012

It seems that hormones are the hot topic of conversation this week, but leave it to Pamela at Silent Sorority to find the humor and silver lining in menopause.

Quoting information from The North American Menopause Society, Pamela writes:

“Have you found yourself in recent years ‘flooded with emotions as the reality sets in that [you] will no longer be able to conceive a child. The impending loss of fertility can rattle overall identity as well as a sense of sexuality and desirability.’”

Pamela’s eloquent response?

“Been there done that — got the freakin’ t-shirt.”

I read her post yesterday morning and, to be honest, it set my attitude to positive for the entire day.

It’s no mean feat to find the humor or the silver lining in infertility, menopause, or unplanned childlessness, but when you do, it can really make your corner of the world a brighter place, even if only for a day.

Wishing you all a Fabulous Friday and a lovely – and humor-filled – weekend.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Wit September 27, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

This morning, still brooding over yesterday’s failings and anticipating today’s regrets, I felt the need for something stronger than my book of affirmations to get me going. So, as I lingered in bed, I reached under my nightstand and pulled out The Portable Dorothy Parker.

It’s been several years since I’ve shared the company of the legendary wit who gave us “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” and “Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses”…and I’ve missed her. As I skimmed some of her poems, I started to smile. Soon I was giggling. I laughed out loud when I landed on the quip that reminded me, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

So often I wake up steeled to take life so very seriously. I have roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. I have bills to pay, decisions to make, dogs to feed, and schedules to plan. Sometimes the way I cheat and deprive myself in the daily quest to respond to all the “shoulds” gets so overwhelmingly depressing that I end up doing next to nothing and feeling like a worthless slug.

Ms. Parker had a few thoughts about this in her poem “Observation:”

If I don’t drive around the park,

I’m pretty sure to make my mark.

If I’m in bed each night by ten,

I may get back my looks again.

If I sustain from fun and such,

I’ll probably amount to much;

But I shall stay the way I am,

Because I do not give a damn.

That was just the inspiration I needed. I threw off the bed covers and marched purposely toward a refreshingly hot shower, vowing to ditch some of the day’s shoulds and go in search of more giggles. I hope to end the day with a better awareness of the absurdities of life, with a new perspective that will help me reorder the priorities on my to do list. It’s likely I won’t get everything done that needs to be done, but just for today, I choose to not give a damn.

Like Ms. Parker, Kathleen Guthrie is a childfree freelance writer. 

 

Laughter: the Best Medicine September 26, 2011

When was the last time you laughed? I mean really laughed. I’m talking deep, belly rumbling, side aching, snorting, laughter. Odds are, it’s been a while.

Last weekend I laughed longer and harder than I’ve laughed in a long, long time, and it felt SO GOOD!

The first bout came as my husband was telling our friends a funny and embarrassing story about his 21st birthday. I’ll spare the details, but think boys, bar, beer, waitress – use your imagination and you’ll be close. I’d heard the story before, but forgot the punch line, and for some reason it hit me right on the funny bone this time. I laughed so hard I had to excuse myself from the room to avoid snorting my adult beverage down my nose.

The second time happened when I rode a rollercoaster – something I haven’t done in absolutely YEARS! I certainly didn’t do anything so wild and outrageous during my TTC years (just in case, you know) and the opportunity hasn’t presented itself since. So, last weekend I rode The Roller Coaster at the New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

Let me tell you, I laughed! I whooped down the first drop, howled through the corkscrew, screamed in delight around the spiral and laughed so hard my legs shook. And do you know what? I felt great!

Something loosened up when I laughed like that. Some lump of built up tension released in me, and the weight that’s been dragging me down for so long lifted. Maybe it’s only a temporary reprieve, but I’ll take it. Laughter really is an excellent medicine.

So, if you could use a laugh, here’s a good article about the health benefits of laughter, including some tips for adding laughter to your life. (I’m adding “ride a rollercoaster to the list.)

I know that when life doesn’t go as planned it’s hard to find any humor at all, and when you’re healing from loss and dealing with grief, nothing’s funny. I know. But finding something to smile about, even just a giggle, can do you a world of good, and when the time is right, a great big belly laugh can help put your whole life back into perspective.

So, my challenge to you this week: Find something to laugh about. If nothing’s funny, just force yourself to smile until it turns into a giggle, and then let the laughter follow. I promise you, you’ll feel so much better.

 

Book Review: The Inadequate Conception May 5, 2011

I just finished reading Lori Green LeRoy’s The Inadequate Conception: From Barry White to Blastocytes: What your mom didn’t tell you about getting pregnant. This is one of those books I wish I’d read before I started trying to conceive.

Lori’s story is, frankly, mind-blowing. She says on the cover of the book:

“I am the no prego pro, the infertility warrior, bunless oven, can’t-make-a-baby veteran. It has taken six years and tens of thousands of dollars to achieve this distinction, and more specifically, 1,611 prenatal vitamins, 78 fertility drug injections, 55 ovulation detection tests, 40 blood draws, 33 ultrasounds, 16 pregnancy tests, and 11 embryos to confirm it.”

And yet, stunningly, Lori manages to find humor in all of this, something I stopped doing within the first couple of years of my journey. And even though she ultimately gave up trying to conceive, she was able to gather funny stories from her own experience and that of others, and find a lighthearted way to share them in her book.

I really applaud Lori, for her courage. It’s not easy to find the funny side of infertility, even when so much of what we put ourselves through is utterly ridiculous. And yet, having been on this journey myself, I couldn’t help but read between the lines and see the hurt behind Lori’s laughter. Had I read the book without my own experience. I would have appreciated her attitude and her determination to maintain her sense of humor – something that would have been very valuable to me.

I know from Lori, that since stopping her fertility treatments, she and her husband have embarked on a journey to adopt a little boy. She says:

“The adoption finalization has gone about as well as our trials in fertility, which is to say, that it hasn’t progressed much…”

I wish Lori the very best of good fortune and trust that her wicked sense of humor continues to serve her well.

 

Rules to Live By January 13, 2011

(This post was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but apparently I forgot to hit “publish.” Apologies to those of you who came looking for a new post last weekend and got nothing.)

I’ve been reading Whole Living magazine lately. I find the articles interesting and it’s one of the few women’s magazines I’ve found that isn’t focused on children. Refreshing.

What’s also refreshing is that, along with their Mission Statement, they also post their Ten Tenets of Whole Living. You can read them here:

These are a couple of personal favorites:

#1 Happiness is a choice. Make that choice today and every day.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the past few years feeling sorry for myself because I can’t have children. But I’ve come to appreciate the life I am able to have because of my childlessness. I’m pretty happy with this life and, if the opportunity presented itself to become a mother, I am no longer sure I would take it.

#5 Laugh at yourself. You’re funny.

Never a truer word spoken. It’s so easy to take yourself oh so seriously, but really life is pretty ridiculous. Case in point: I married a man who couldn’t have children. We spent five years trying to fix that, only to discover that I was infertile. Not funny at the time, but the irony isn’t lost on me now.

#9 It’s never too late to take the first step toward your aspirations.

When she was in her 60’s, my mum graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science and learned to drive. Anyone who tells you you’re too old to follow your dreams deserves a poke in the eye.

What are some of your tenets, rules that you choose to live by?