Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Plan B Life July 22, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to do when your plans don’t work out. I’ve had some experience with this, having made a couple of major career changes (engineering to marketing to writing), made commitments to the wrong relationships, and more recently and more significantly, had my plans for motherhood thwarted.

Recently I’ve written some articles on the subject and now I’m very excited to present my new weekly blog on Psychology Today. It’s called The Plan B Life: Redesigning your world when “Plan A” fails.

Although these articles are aimed at a wider audience, moving on to Plan B when Plan A was motherhood is always at the forefront of my mind.

Last week I wrote about Letting Go of the Dream, and tapped into my personal experience when I talked about losing sight of why I wanted that dream (children) in the first place and realizing that other areas of my life were starting to suffer because of my determination to become a mother.

This week the topic was tapping into childhood memories to find your life’s passion again. I don’t know if you had this experience, but I know that I had planned my little world around someday becoming a mother, so when I finally realized it wasn’t going to happen, I saw that my life was full of holes and I had no idea what I was going to fill them with. As I wrote in the article, I did the childhood memory exercise ten years ago and recently revisited my journal to remember some of the things that had once given me joy. It’s a really great exercise (and I can recommend Barbara Sher’s book if you’re feeling lost) and I’ll be including a variation of it in the “Finding Your Identity” workshop I’ll be leading in November. More about that soon.

I’d be thrilled if you’d take a look at the Psychology Today blog, over the moon if you’d click a couple of the share buttons at the bottom, and beside myself with excitement if you decided to subscribe.

I don’t know where all of this is going yet, but I do feel as if I am stepping out into the start of my own Plan B life. And I can promise you I’ll be sending postcards from my travels.

 

Dealing With a Pregnancy Announcement July 26, 2010

Here’s an article I wish I’d found a long time ago. It’s about how to deal with a friend (or relative) announcing a pregnancy. If you’re childless-not-by-choice, this kind of news can trigger some of the worst human emotions—jealousy, rage, feelings of injustice, and worse. I know I’ve thought, (or maybe even said) “It’s not fair. Why her? Why not me?” It’s a terrible thing to think about someone you like or care about.

I like this article because the author turns it around and makes the news not about “me and her” but about the friendship and what the news will mean to both of you. She says:

A friend’s pregnancy may arrive like a bolt from the blue, but once you’ve caught your breath you can use this new event as an opportunity to think more purposefully about what you need and can offer in a friendship. Remember to keep the emphasis on mutuality, on open communication and also on expanding your friendship network in new ways.

Yesterday I got the news through the grapevine that a friend I’ve known for more than 30 years is pregnant. She struggled with infertility, gave up, lost a relationship, and finally settled into a new life with a new partner, who is already a father of two, and accepted that she would never have children of her own. Surprise! Suddenly she’s pregnant.

At one time, this news would have set me off on a personal rampage against the Universe, but when my husband tentatively asked me how I felt, I replied with all honesty that I was happy for her because I know she wanted this, that I was worried about her because of the potential health problems she might have, and that I was concerned about her mental state having finally come to terms with her infertility and started building a life without children. What I want to do now is contact her, congratulate her, and offer whatever support I can from across the other side of the world. I want my friend to be okay. That’s a far cry from the teeth-gnashing banshee I might have turned into a few years ago. I’m calling this progress.