Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Thoughtful Holiday Greetings December 20, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Last week, LWBer Dorothy Williams wrote about holiday cards in her guest spot, With Eyes of Faith…Birthday Jesus. She writes about why she chooses to send a card that celebrates the birth of Jesus versus “one of those cards” that trumpets family and children and seems to stab us right in the heart with our childfreeness.

It got me thinking about the worst holiday greeting I ever received. I was recently single again and in the throes of an if-I’m-going-to-be-a-mother-I-need-to-have-a-child-on-my-own-NOW panic attack. Friends’ cheery letters celebrated new homes, new babies, and full lives, and while I so wanted to be happy for them, each new photo was a painful reminder of all that I lacked and so desperately wanted.

In the pile of unopened mail one afternoon was a delivery from a long-time friend. In an effort to save time, she had mass produced address labels and affixed them to the envelopes. Smart. Mine was addressed to “The Guthrie Family,” although my friend had crossed out “The” and “Family” and written “Kathy” above. Not so smart. The insensitivity took my breath away.

I’ve talked to friends who have lost spouses to death or divorce, and they share a similar hurt when cards are inappropriately addressed. I want to shout “THINK, PEOPLE!” I know we’re all busy, I know this season is crazy, I know we are each shouldering our burdens, but please, take an extra minute, waste that extra stamp, and practice sending goodwill to all.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. When she can plan ahead, she prefers to send Thanksgiving cards.


It Got Me Thinking…About Pot August 8, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Down the street and around the corner from my home is a medical marijuana dispensary—one of two in our neighborhood. I am 100% in support of pot being used to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and other excruciating conditions, but I get really irritated when carloads of 20-something guys swing by on Thursday afternoons for their weekend party supplies.


I’m reminded of why I never tried it. Twenty or so years ago, I read something that said when you smoked marijuana, elements from the drug could settle into your fat cells. Specifically in women, it could lie dormant in your eggs and eventually result in birth defects in your future children. That was enough for me. I politely declined to join my friends when joints got passed around, and frankly, felt a little smug about my decision to be drug-free. In the end, it would pay off with happy, healthy children, right?


Fast-forward and I’m now at the time in my life when it’s clear I won’t be having kids. And, you know what, I’m a little pissed. All those years I spent exercising, eating right, not drinking, not smoking, not doing drugs so that my body would support a pregnancy—all for squat!


So I think it’s time I start making up for my unnecessary sacrifices. I’m too afraid of jail to experiment with illegal substances (much to the relief of my fiancé, who is in law enforcement), but I am thinking a gluttonous feast of sushi, Lemon Drop martinis, and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate is in order.



Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She believes “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans.”