Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Giving Up my First-Born May 16, 2012

Last week I got the chance to see just how far I’ve come in my healing process.

I was at the Apple store, attempting to solve what should have been a simple problem, but never is, when the helpful genius said, “We can do that for you, but you’ll have to give us your first-born.”

There was a short cricket-filled silence while I processed all the reasons this was an inappropriate thing to say (at least to me) and all the possible responses I could give back.

Then I laughed and said, “Sure, no problem, where do I sign?”

Little did he realize that he was getting the short end of the stick in the deal and I left feeling strangely vindicated and pleased at how far I’ve come.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. Who’s ticked you off this week? And how far have you come?

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The Art (and Benefits) of Lying November 28, 2011

Dorothy sent me this article recently (thanks Dorothy) from a woman asking “Dear Coquette” for advice on what to say when people ask if she has children. Dear Coquette’s answer? Lie.

 

I had to laugh out loud when I read this, because it has never occurred to me before to lie about not having children. It’s brilliant!

 

Now, granted, if you’re talking to someone you’re likely to see again or who might otherwise find out the truth, then it gets tricky, but if you’re at a cocktail party or some social situation where you’re basically making small talk with strangers, then why not make something up? I mean really, you could actually have some fun with this,

 

I envision clipping photos of kids from magazines and putting them in one of those fold-out wallets, then when someone asks if I have kids, I’ll whip out the pictures and say, “Why, yes! I have five. This is Mai, Uri, Owen, Bea, Senise.” (Say it fast; extra points if you get it.) Then I can start in on what a horrible time I’m having because the baby has a very delicate digestive system. I really think this could work.

 

What do you think? Could you lie to a stranger? More to the point, would you?

 

Oh, and I must just say that while I think this suggestion is inspired, I happen not to agree with her suggestion that saying, “I can’t have children” will shut the person up. In my experience, it’s more likely to open a whole conversation about adoption. I think it’s much more fun just to lie.

 

What’s Your Holiday Plan? November 7, 2011

OK, even if you’re still in denial, sooner or later you’ll have to face the fact that the holidays are coming at us. Halloween is over and Thanksgiving (for those of us in the U.S.) is just over two weeks away.

 

No matter which holidays you celebrate, odds are it will mean family get-togethers, maybe including relatives you see only once a year, and holiday parties where people drink too much eggnog and say stupid things.

 

Whether it’s your brother-in-law yelling across the dinner table to ask how the baby-making’s going, or great aunt Ethel fussing over your cousin’s brood and then turning her questions on you, or Bob from accounting unfolding a wallet full of toe-haired kids and grilling you about your family, the holiday season can be a minefield of awkward questions and inappropriate comments. So what are you going to do?

 

Granted, one option is to hole up with It’s a Wonderful Life and a box of Kleenex, but I don’t recommend it. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to go out in public and it pays to be prepared.

 

We’ve often talked about how to deal with those difficult, awkward, or downright rude questions. It all sounds good on paper, but then someone catches us off guard and we end up mumbling an almost apologetic answer and then kicking ourselves later (or venting about it on Whiny Wednesday.) So, let’s get prepared.

 

Think about all the events you’re going to have to attend this season. Think about who’s going to be there, and how informed they are about your personal situation. (If you see some relatives only once a year, word may not have reached them that you’ve stopped trying, for example.) Think about the questions you might be asked and practice your answers.

 

This technique is called Mental Rehearsal. Athletes use it to visual scoring points; people use it for job interviews to practice confidently asking questions; even the military use it to prepare troops for what they might face on the battlefield. True, you can never know what you’re going to face on the holiday frontlines, but if you’ve practiced an answer to “So, when are you guys going to have kids?” or “Why don’t you just adopt?” you’ll be prepared, even if someone throws out a variation.

 

Here’s an article with some suggestions on how to practice this technique. Try it now, before the holiday madness kicks in. Maybe you’ll even get to relax and enjoy the season, instead of dreading the inevitable stupid question.