Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: People Who Ought to Say Nothing April 4, 2012

Kathleen’s post about mistakes and well-intentioned people got me thinking about people who really ought to just mind their own business.

A few years ago, when I my glorious plans for motherhood were just beginning to come crashing down around my ears, Mr. Fab and I went wine tasting. As a rich, fruity cabernet was hitting my bloodstream and making my crappy world feel better, a woman (whose world was feeling a little too good) leaned over and said, “Should you be drinking?”

I was confused for a moment, until I realized she was peering at my belly. Admittedly, I’d put on a few stress pounds over the previous year, but I was beyond mortified that she’d mistaken my bloat for a pregnancy, especially considering that was the one thing I was truly aiming for.

I’d like to tell you that she realized her mistake immediately, but alas, she had to ask me twice – the second time for everyone around us to hear.

So, while I agree that most people are well-intentioned when they make a faux pas, in some cases, people just ought to keep their traps shut and mind their own damn business.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, ladies. Let ‘em fly.

 

Guest Blog: Non-Accidental Accidental Pregnancy March 8, 2012

By Maybe Lady Liz

Why is it that every pregnancy announcement these days is quickly followed up with the footnote that this was an “accident”? One of my friends called last night with the big news, and I truly was shocked to hear it. She’d been debating for a long time whether or not she even wanted kids and hadn’t come to any kind of conclusion. After delivering the bombshell, she said, “Obviously, this was a total surprise and completely not on purpose.”

So of course, I countered with a question as to what happened to her birth control – you know, that little pill she’d been taking every day of her life since freshman year of college? That’s when I got the “Welllllllllllll….”, followed by a convoluted tale of a change in insurance, a radical increase in cost, a two-month swing where she and her husband just went without and they thought they’d be okay because a doctor once told her she might have trouble getting pregnant someday.

I’m sorry, but that does not an accident make. What’s an accident, you ask? Someone who takes their birth control religiously, at the same time every day, and one still manages to get past the goalie. Someone whose condom breaks and on their way to get the morning-after pill, they’re kidnapped and held for ransom until it’s too late. Someone whose Nuva Ring fell out and somehow, they didn’t notice it. These are accidents. Going off your birth control for two months while still having sex, is not.

I don’t think my friend is a scheming, conniving liar. I think she actually believes, on the surface, that this truly was an accident. But anytime you’re having sex while not taking every precaution to prevent pregnancy, there’s got to be a part of you that understands and accepts the potential consequences. And I’d have to argue that going through with it means that even if it’s just on a subconscious level, you sort of want a baby.

What I can’t figure out is why people are so eager to convince everyone it was an accident. Why can’t they own up to what they want? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a baby. Is it because society has made us feel that becoming a mother should be secondary to having a career? Or that we should have accomplished this laundry list of great achievements and amassed a small fortune in college funds first?

I don’t know, maybe it’s not important. But for some reason, it’s just driving me crazy lately! Is this happening to anyone else, or is it just my delusional friends?

Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at www.MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Taking Liberties January 18, 2012

Recently, my friend calling me, fuming.

She’d been “volunteered” to co-host a baby shower for a woman she knows. Note that I didn’t say a “for a friend.” This woman is the wife of her partner’s colleague. Their relationship is such that she’s only heard about the pregnancy through the grapevine, and not even from the woman herself.

The kicker? The other two “volunteer” co-hosts are both women who don’t have children.

Maybe my friend should be flattered that her organizational skills are so valued, but she doesn’t feel that way. She feels it’s assumed she has time to put together a party because she doesn’t have kids (even though she’s a busy business owner.)

I’m wondering if that person is also thinking that these married, childless women are going to be paid back some time soon with showers of their own. I can’t speak for the other two women, but that’s not the case with my friend, and organizing a celebration for someone else’s baby is not something she’s currently glad to do.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. You can whine on behalf of a put-upon friend if you’d like, or feel free to whine for yourself.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Doctor-Patient Confidentiality November 30, 2011

I’ve had  a bad back for a couple of weeks now, so I went to a new doctor for the first time. Here’s the conversation we had (roughly) and keep in mind I went in for a bad back:

Dr: Do you have kids?

Me: No.

Dr: Are you married?

Me: (in my head) What the hell does this have to do with anything?)

Me: (out loud) Yes.

Dr: (moments later) Have you had kids?

Me: No.

Dr: Any pregnancies?

Me: No.

I considered explaining my situation, but the guy’s a chiropractor for God’s sake and he has my file right there, so I let it go. A few minutes later I’m standing with my pants around my ankles getting a back x-ray.

X-ray Tech: Are you pregnant?

Me: No.

X-ray Tech: Is there any chance you could be pregnant?

Me: No.

X-ray Tech: When was your last period?

Me: (gives her the date)

Short pause while she does the math.

X-ray Tech: Ok, I’m going to hang a plate in front of you to protect your ovaries.

Me: (in my mind) Don’t waste your time; they’re already fried.)

Me: (out loud) OK.

So, maybe I was a surly patient. I chalk it up to my bad back. But sometimes I don’t feel like explaining why I don’t have children, not even to my doctor.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. I’m cranky about doctors; what’s under your skin this week?

 

Whiny Wednesday: It Could Happen to You October 12, 2011

Dear Excited Future Mothers/Grandmothers/Aunties/Friends,

There’s no need to tiptoe around me anymore. If you want to tell me the amazing story of how you/your daughter/sister/friend was told she’d never have children, then miraculously became pregnant, it’s okay. I know these things happen, and I’m happy for you and your loved one. Just please, please, please don’t end your story with, “So, you see…it could happen to you.”

Yes, I know it could happen, but realistically, it’s probably not going to, and hanging onto this possibility will keep me from moving on with my life. And I am moving on. So please just let me move on.

Thanks.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s put a hitch in your git-along today?

 

It’s All About Attitude October 3, 2011

Thanks to Iris for forwarding this article about living happily without children.

I love this author’s attitude to the hand she’s been dealt. At first read, she seems almost flippant about her inability to have children, but she’s packed a whole life story into one article, and reading between the lines, it’s clear to see the pain she felt, the struggles she and her partner went through in coming-to-terms with being childfree, and the attitudes she still has to endure from others. But her whole outlook was encapsulated in this paragraph:

“We didn’t get to have something. We had 2 choices as a result of that – let it control, dictate and sadden the rest of our lives or find something else to do instead. Either way, we still wouldn’t get to have kids. So which is the best choice?”

Are you still struggling to come to terms with your own situation and feeling that childlessness is “controlling, dictating, and saddening” your life? If so, can you see what your “find something else to do instead” could be? And could you do it?

I don’t this author is trivializing the blow she was dealt – far from it – but I love that she’s found a way to turn her situation to her advantage. What do you think?

 

Last night I had the strangest dream… September 15, 2011

Last night I dreamed I went to a fertility doctor for “once last try.” I’m not really sure what kind of procedure I opted for, but I knew it wasn’t going to work. The doctor was convinced otherwise. Based on listening to my abdomen in the middle of the medical building lobby, he told me–and a woman I knew, who happened to be walking by–that I was pregnant. I knew I was not, and a nurse did tests shortly after to confirm it. Another friend, who has recently become a first-time mother, asked if I was going to try again next month. I told her I was not, because “just one more try” never stops.

And then I woke up feeling horrible.

It wasn’t the content of the dream that bothered me, because I know it was just my sub-conscious cleaning out the junk, but the emotions that I felt during the dream and after I woke up, were all too familiar: hope, with that underlying dull feeling of, not exactly of despair, but despondency. That inner knowledge that things just aren’t going to work out in my favor.

Most of the time I don’t dwell on my experience of dealing with infertility, but all that experience and the related emotions are permanently lodged in my subconscious, and every now and then it seems they’re going to bubble to the surface. Lucky me.

 

Whiny Wednesday: Will the celebrity bump parade ever end? September 14, 2011

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month browsing magazine racks in airports and train stations, and I have to ask: Will the media’s obsession with pregnant celebrities ever end?

From six rows back on my last flight I saw the news of Beyoncé’s pregnancy plastered over two pages of a fellow passenger’s magazine, and I think, “If every other celebrity is showing off her pregnant belly in a teeny weeny bikini, is this really news?”

Enough already, I say.

It’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve missed it grumbling this past month. If you have pent up whines, let them out. Today’s the day!

 

It Got Me Thinking…About the Dark Side July 18, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

“I’m pregnant!” my friend gleefully announces.

And I think, Well, f*ck me six ways to Sunday, but I instead I jump up and embrace her and say, “Congratulations!!! I am so happy for you!”

Yup, another one has gone over to the Dark Side. My playmate, my buddy, my date for tea and chick-flicks will soon switch discussion topics from the last great novel she read to the merits of cloth versus disposable diapers and the challenges of getting into the “right” preschool/private school/ballet studio. While I bravely continue to pursue political movements, investing options, and the hottest new tapas restaurant this side of the Bay, she’ll be focusing on PTA politics, college funds, and how to get her kid to eat green vegetables.

Before long, the excuses for missing lunch dates (sick baby, sick kid, soccer games) will grow tiresome. She’ll kindly include me in the first few get-togethers with her new friends from the mommies group. I’ll make polite conversation when I’m invited to baby showers and first birthday parties. But eventually I’ll get lost in the mist as she gets sucked into more and more “family” events and senses how much more she has in common with the other reproducers. “Whatever happened to your friend Kathy?” they might ask. “Oh, she never had kids.” “Oh,” they will say knowingly. Or so I imagine. This is worse than being the last kid picked for teams. This is being told you can’t even play the game, but if you want, you can watch from the bleachers.

And I’m pissed. But mostly I’m lonely. It’s really, really hard to make new friends when you’re over the age of 40, and it’s that much harder when, like me, you leave the city you’ve lived in for those first four decades and move some place where you know no one but your fiancé. You have to make a determined effort to get out, try new classes, start new groups, and hope to find a connection. It’s not unlike dating, and it can be really exciting, but mostly scary and discouraging. But you carry on, remembering the closeness you once shared with old friends who, over time, could read your thoughts and finish your sentences.

Since moving here three years ago, several of the women who I thought could become part of my new posse now are new mothers. I didn’t know they were trying; we hadn’t known each other that long, so the topic never came up. A couple had been trying for years, and became pregnant shortly after meeting me. My friend Lisa found this hilarious and suggested I offer myself out as a fertility icon: Become friends with me, and you’ll be knocked up within 3 months—guaranteed!

After the fourth announcement, I broke down and told my fiancé how crushed I was, how broken-hearted, how devastating this was to my developing social life. He laughed at me, pointing out how ridiculous I sounded for getting so overly dramatic and self-pitying. And he’s right. Because, really, I am happy for my friends. And it won’t be as isolating as I imagine, it will just be different.

When I get the “good” news, when I sink into one of my funks, I fully realize that I am the one who has gone over to the Dark Side. But for a short while, I need to lose my perspective and my sense of humor, wallow in self-pity, and mourn the loss of my friend. Because underneath my happiness for her, I still hurt for myself.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. It’s raining today, and she’s feeling blue.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Cravings May 16, 2011

Filed under: Childfree by Choice,Childless Not By Choice,Health — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , ,

By Kathleen Guthrie

Chocolate, sushi, coffee, shellfish, swordfish, wine, deli meats, soft cheeses, cocktails, salad bars…conventional medical wisdom strongly recommends pregnant women cut out all these foods.

Fortunately, I’m not pregnant, and I have no plans to get pregnant. And because I am an adult of mostly sound mind, I can eat and drink anything I want. Therefore, I’d like to start with a lemon drop martini, a shrimp cocktail, and a side of raw chocolate chip cookie dough, please.

What are you craving today?

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is trying to embrace being childfree.

 

 
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