Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Truth About Trying October 19, 2011

I know it’s technically Whiny Wednesday, but I decided that this ought to take precedence.

By now you may have heard about the Redbook/RESOLVE infertility awareness campaign The Truth About Trying. It’s a video campaign encouraging people (both women and men) to talk openly about their experience with infertility.

I was very honored to be asked to participate in the initial launch and you can see my video contribution here. You may also recognize Pamela from Silent Sorority and some others from the blog world.

I was very pleased to get involved when I was first asked. I’m so glad that a major publication is finally taking on this topic and bringing it out of the closet, and I was also glad to finally see some celebrities opening up and being honest about their experiences.

But I have to say, when the big launch happened on Monday night, I went scuttling into my shell. I’ve spent the last couple of days analyzing why I reacted this way. I’m still not 100 percent certain, but a big part of it comes from not wanting to be defined by my infertility and not having my childlessness be my sole topic of conversation. As I said in my video, I have all kinds of other, far more interesting things I want people to know about me, especially when they first meet me.

So, I’ve hidden in my shell feeling small for a couple of days, but now I’m coming out again. Because I remember what it’s like to deal with the infertility mess. I know what it feels like when you think you’re the only person in the world this has ever happened to. And I know that if we talk about this, it will eventually stop being such a shameful and taboo topic.

I encourage you to add your own video to the discussion. I think it’s important for people who don’t understand infertility to see we women, who have been through the wringer and come out the other side (largely) intact. If you do post a video (or if you have already) be sure to post a link in the comments, so that we can all come and cheer you on.


The Childfree and Selfish Discussion July 17, 2010

This article, Is Being Childfree By Choice Selfish? first appeared in REDBOOK and was reposted on MSN. Obviously, we’re not going to have the “selfish” discussion here. We all have our reasons for not having children, and most of have at least one good comeback in our arsenal in case someone actually plays the “selfish” card with us. But there were some interesting points in this article.

One woman who has never wanted kids said this:

“When someone asks me if I have kids, I often feel almost apologetic when I say no, like I have to provide a ‘good enough’ reason or they’ll take pity on me and assume I can’t have children,” said Rebecca. “But I just don’t have the gene for wanting a child, and I don’t think having a child would improve our relationship. I usually tell people that we’ve chosen to go the dog-and-cat route and leave it at that.”

Apologetic? She’s clearly a woman who has thought through this and made an intelligent decision, but now she feels she must apologize for that? Haven’t we all done that to some degree?

The article goes on to quote Laura Carroll, author Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples without Children by Choice, who says:

 “I have been watching the childfree for over 10 years now, and I can say that they are not a homogeneous group. They come from all socioeconomical backgrounds and life experiences. They are no more selfish than parents who have kids for their own reasons. They so often contribute to the lives of kids (e.g., have occupations that revolve around children), to their communities, and our world. We need to realize and fully accept as a society that having children is an option, not a given. We also need to realize and accept that not everyone has the call to have parenthood be the central focus of their lives. There are many ways to lead fulfilling lives that make a difference, and raising children is one way, not the way, as many, many people out there will attest!”

Yes!! Finally!  I was happily thinking that the conversation about being childfree  is being brought into the mainstream. But this is how the article ends:

What do you think of the decision not to have children? Is it selfish? Or are couples who choose to be kid-free just self-aware enough to know that, for whatever reason, they’re not parent material? Are you childfree by choice?

So, in the end this article–originally printed in REDBOOK, the magazine for everywoman– isn’t addressing everywoman after all; it’s asking people with children for their opinions on the childless. Until a mainstream magazine publishes an article called, “Are parents selfish?” we aren’t really having a dialogue about this subject.