Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got My Thinking..About My Miraculous Body July 10, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Late last week I gave myself a nasty paper cut, one I didn’t fully appreciate until I tried out a new salt scrub. Sweet mother of god! I’ve had spinal taps that were less painful!

I was certain I’d be nursing my grievous wound for weeks, so was pleasantly surprised when the band-aid fell off in the shower yesterday morning, revealing a perfectly healed finger. Amazing!

There was a time when I thought the only miracle my body was capable of, was worthy of, was creating, carrying, birthing, and nurturing a child. Now that that ship has sailed, I’ve become more aware of the miracles it performs every day. It swims, it runs, it carries 60 lb. dogs and bags of groceries up stairs. It breathes, it whistles, it sings! It turns brown in the sun, it blushes at the slightest flirtation, it gets splotchy when it cries, whether in sorrow or joy.

Many of us have felt that our bodies have betrayed us, and we’ve beaten ourselves up for what our bodies couldn’t or wouldn’t do. With full acceptance of my path on the horizon, today I choose to celebrate, with gentleness and gratitude, this miracle that is my body. It’s the least I can do after all it’s done for me.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.


It Got Me Thinking…About Those Moments April 24, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It happened so quickly. I was crossing a street and noticed ahead of me a woman and two small boys, about two- and three-years-old. As they rounded the corner, the wind caught the stack of coloring book pages the older child was holding, pulling them from his hand and scattering them across the sidewalk. As they scrambled to stomp on them and pick them up, I sprinted across the street to help.

I handed my small collection to the woman, then said to the young artist, “What beautiful artwork. Did you make these?” He looked up at me and beamed. And I looked into the eyes of the son I could’ve had and thought, I still want one.

And there goes years of therapy!

I think this has to be one of the hardest things about this journey. Even though we may have been told we can’t have children, or know we can’t have children, or have come to terms with our choice to not have children, there’s still that what if factor. The miracle cure, the quicky adoption, the rogue egg. It’s still possible, right? It’s not too late! If I still want this, I can make it happen! All those crazy-train thoughts waiting to bubble up to the surface at a moment’s notice.

Fortunately, my brain took over and, by the time I’d walked the rest of the way home, I had catalogued all my (very sensible) reasons for being childfree and overruled my flip-floppy emotions. I was back to being at peace with my choice. At least my brain is good with it. I just need to work a little more on getting my heart on board.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.


Infertility’s Cruel Joke April 16, 2011

In an earlier post this week, I talked about hope and moving on. The post generated a lot of great comments and a number of people mentioned how hope is like carrying around a bowling ball and that it is impossible to move on as long as you hold onto it. I couldn’t agree more.

I have definitely let go of my “bowling ball.” I am no longer hoping for a miracle pregnancy. Given my condition, it would be virtually impossible. The problem is the “virtually” bit.

Recently, after talking to someone about moving on, she reminded me that it could still happen and that her friend, who had been told she’d never have children, got pregnant at 48!

She was trying to make me feel better, in that “hopey” way, but it didn’t work, and now I can’t get this thought out of my head.

What if I got pregnant now? Hormones do wild things and as menopause approaches (which I’ve been told it is) those hormones have been known to misbehave. What if my body suddenly kicked out that one juicy egg? What if I got pregnant at 48?

Even overlooking all the health risks of being pregnant at 48, my husband is 15 years my senior, which means he’d be in his 80s by the time our child made it out of high school!! My father-in-law is currently 81 and he is no condition to be taking care of a teenager, nor would he want to.

But there’s an even bigger factor at play here. The bowling ball. I’ve let mine go and I don’t want to pick it up again. I can’t say that I no longer want children, because that’s not the entire truth, but I don’t want to live with the hope or the worry that I might get unexpectedly pregnant. I want to keep moving on with the life I’m creating now.

So, I now find myself in the ironic position of being diagnosed infertile but having to consider contraceptive options.

Sometimes I wonder if life isn’t just one big April Fool’s joke.