Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Just when you thought it was safe… September 12, 2011

…I’m back! Refreshed, revived, and raring to go!

My vacation flew by and I didn’t do half the things I’d planned, and yet it feels as if I’ve been gone for months. How’ve you been? How was your summer (or winter, if you’re a southern hemisphere reader)?

My trip was wonderful. As always, it was so good to be home (home, meaning my birthplace), back to everything that’s familiar and back with my family. It was good to see everyone and spend time doing the things I love­–hiking, biking, running, (eating), and catching up with old friends.

There’s a familiar pattern to my trips home. For the first week, everything is a novelty and it’s fun to observe my people and the places I know well, but with a foreigner’s eye.

By week two, I’m thinking of moving back. I’m looking longingly at the countryside and envisioning how I could spend my days hiking and running. I’ve bought some gardening magazines and I’m fantasizing about the incredible garden I would have. I’m thinking about what it would take to be able to support myself there.

By week three, I’m ready to go home. I’m thinking about work and I’m missing my routine and my cat. And inevitably, I have an encounter with friends or family that makes me realize that I am now an alien in my native land. I’ve changed; I don’t fit in any more, and, even though I’ll always refer to Britain as “home” I know that California is my real home now.

So I pack my suitcase, throw in some chocolate and tea, kiss my mum goodbye and leave home to head home.

And here I am.

Of course, I’ve been gathering material on my travels, so I’ll have plenty to write about for a while. I’ve also been giving some thought to the future of this blog, so look out for what I hope will be some exciting changes in the coming months.

To kick things off, Kathleen’s It Got Me Thinking… column will be moving to Tuesdays and I’ll be inviting some other guest bloggers to share some of their thoughts. If you’re interested in writing for Life Without Baby, drop me a line, or stay tuned for more information coming soon.

It’s good to be back and I’ll hope you’ll tune in. I’ve missed your company.


It Got Me Thinking…About Relocating May 23, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Good friends who live in the Midwest recently learned that layoffs are imminent, and they are looking at yet another move to another company, another town, another home. I’ve lost track of how many companies they’ve worked for over the years, but they’ve changed states at least two times since their kids were born, and in a few months, they’ll be packing up and making their way across another border.

Losing a job, uprooting from a community, managing all of the stresses that come with a move of any size or distance…my heart goes out to them. Add to that the difficulties for their now-teenage children. After the last move, their sons, who were sports stars in their former town, had to try to quickly prove themselves to new coaches (with mixed success). My friend, who has always been involved with her kids’ schools, was turned away from serving on the PTA board (talk about small town politics). Their daughter had to navigate new cliques. Now they’re going to do it all again.

My heart goes out to them, and then I say a little prayer of gratitude that we don’t have kids. If, God forbid, we are one day victims of budget reforms or downsizing and have to move to take new jobs, we could go anywhere in the world. Certainly, it would be painful to say good-bye to friends and nearby family, and it would break my heart to leave the city we love so much, but we could do it. We would make it work, without the limitations and challenges parents face, such as having to find a house near the right schools, or yanking a hormonal teenager away from her friends, or worrying that the painful choices we sometimes have to make are hurting the people we love the most.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s found that her book collection has grown every time she’s had to pack for a move.


A Fresh Start January 29, 2011

Tomorrow I am relocating to the opposite end of the state and I’m suffering from a bit of mover’s melancholy. This week I went to my local farmer’s market and bought my favorite things for the last time, I ran with the friends I will never see again, and I stood in my garden looking at the flowers that will surely die without me.

Ok, so that’s a bit dramatic and in actual fact, our move is only temporary and really just a change of base camps. We’ve been living in two places for almost a year now, based in the south and traveling to the north for work, and all we’re doing is moving my office and the cat, and reversing the travel direction. But still, I already miss my home.

Despite this, I think the move will be good for us. It’s going to be another fresh start.  We’ve had several fresh starts in the past few years – particularly at the various milestones of our infertility journey – and this is another one of those. Getting the book out into the world was another milestone, a kind of release of the story, a letting go, and it seems to warrant some symbolic marking of the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. The move will accomplish that.

I’m a big fan of fresh starts. I think sometimes we get bogged down with our norm and keep trying to solve the same old issues over and over, when sometimes we just need to get off the tracks and do something else for a while. Even a small change in the daily routine can mix things up a bit and give us a new perspective.

So, despite my sadness at leaving the familiar behind, I’m very much looking forward to my fresh start.