Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Advice for the Infertile February 6, 2012

A woman I know told me recently that she’s been going through fertility treatments and it’s not been going well. She didn’t ask for advice, but I felt I needed to say something encouraging. I mean, I’ve been there, I understand better than most what she’s going through and how she might be feeling. And I knew that she’d confided in me because she wanted to know she wasn’t alone.

But I didn’t know what to say to her.

Oh, I had a whole list of things I knew not to say, like: “You can always adopt,” or “If it’s meant to be it will happen,” so I wasn’t going near any of those. But I couldn’t come up with anything that sounded helpful.

I wanted to say something positive, to keep her spirits up and give her encouragement. I thought about, “Don’t give up hope,” or something similar. But I also know from experience that hope can turn negative when you keep clinging to it. Sometimes, “Don’t give up hope,” is the last thing you want to hear.

So, I considered, “Stay strong.” It’s general, but positive right? But who am I to tell her to keep a stiff upper lip, when I know the value of letting go of those feelings of frustration and just letting it all out.

In the end I told her that if she ever needed an ear, mine would be available. That was the best I could offer, and I hope it’s enough.

What would you have said? How do you strike a balance between what you know from experience and projecting your situation onto someone else? How do you help someone who’s dealing with infertility?

 

Bitter Is So Last Year November 14, 2011

I’m done with bitter. I’ve tried it on, worn it for a while, and you know what? It doesn’t suit me. It makes me look old. And unfriendly. It makes me look like someone I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with, or seated next to on a long-haul flight. So, I’m done with it.

Maybe you know what I mean. Maybe you’ve been dragging your bitter around with you for a while, too. I don’t blame you. It’s completely understandable. I felt as if the universe had done me wrong. It wasn’t fair that I couldn’t have children. I didn’t deserve it. My list of woes could go on. But the thing is, I realized, that griping about the injustice of it all wasn’t going to change anything. And it wasn’t even making me feel better!

I first noticed this a while ago when I sat down to write a blog post. I can’t remember what the topic was, but I’d seen it or experienced it, and thought, “This is great material for a post.” But when I sat down to write it, I just didn’t want to. I was tired of hearing myself complain.

Pretty soon, I realized that I’m really not bitter anymore. And the final nail out of the coffin, if you will, was when I heard the Duggar news last week. I just rolled my eyes. No bitterness at all. In fact, I realized that there isn’t one single thing about her life that I would want. Not one.

I’m not saying I’m just going to put on a happy face from here on out. Can’t promise I won’t have a snide comment to make once in a while, but I’m not going to allow bitterness to give me wrinkles, and as I won’t have children to give me gray hair either, I figure I may as well go for the whole hot package.

And speaking of not being bitter, check out this article: Infertile and proud.

 

Guest Post: Mom Friends October 27, 2011

By Iris

Coming to terms with childlessness can be a very lonely process, especially when most of our friends, those we’ve reached out to over the years for support over things little and big, become difficult to be around.  Women who are consumed by motherhood and their children, and women who are preoccupied by the inability to have them, can sometimes make for a painful combination.

The bond of love between a mother and her child must and should be amazingly strong. I have been known to brag about my niece and nephew and to smother them each with hugs and kisses, probably more than their own mother does. So, I do not resent my mom friends for being less available to me than they were before having children, and I don’t mind listening to their concerns and stories about their kids, some of which I’m pretty fond of myself. It’s a different story, however, when a friend’s appreciation of her new role as a mother seems to translate into a devaluation of your own life’s worth because you have not given birth.

Much of what I read on childlessness and motherhood seems to enhance rather than reduce this divide between Moms and non-Moms, which made me really happy to come across Lisa Rankin’s tribute to her childless friends on that most difficult day for many of us, Mother’s Day.

And that got me feeling very grateful to those mom friends who help me hold on to perspective. The ones who remind me that there is more to life than motherhood, who know of my circumstances and encourage me to stay positive and enjoy my life, who remind me that happiness comes from within and that the grass is not always greener.  I’m grateful for their words and the sentiments of love and friendship they express.

Iris lives in Florida with her husband and best friend of many years. Five years ago infertility and other life stressors really messed with her head, but she’s gradually regaining her Self and her passion for life.