Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

In the Wake of Hurricane Infertility September 17, 2012

On a walk recently, my husband mentioned that a friend of ours is planning to move with her husband and small daughter to a more family-friendly neighborhood. I knew what was coming next. Once someone has a baby, it seems it’s only a matter of time before the next pregnancy announcement comes. I’d been expecting this news and my genuine happiness for her showed me how far I’ve come.

However, when my husband broke the news of our friend’s pregnancy, I saw him shrink away in the way you’d expect a mistreated dog to cringe when someone raises his voice. It made me sad to realize the damage my infertility experience has left in its wake.

My husband isn’t the only one who’s been affected. I’ve noticed friends stepping very carefully around the topic of babies and children, and keeping a close eye on me to gauge my reaction as to how much they can say. I am grateful for their sensitivity, but I’m sorry that they still can’t fully relax around me.
My infertility and my subsequent healing have been the major focus of my life for a number of years now. I’ve been working hard to sort through my emotions, deal with my grief, and get to the point where I can have conversations about pregnancy and babies without feeling upset or envious. But I realize that those around me don’t know yet how far I’ve come and they’re still stepping gingerly around me, as if I’m and unexploded bomb that looks safe enough but that could go off at any time.

It seems that the next step of my healing journey needs to be repairing some of the damage done by Hurricane Infertility, and letting my friends know that it’s safe to be around me again.

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Fabulous Friday: Canoes and Medals June 1, 2012

Hope your Friday is fabulous today. Did you rekindle an old passion this week? Or try something new?

Mr. Fab and I took a canoe down the Russian River last weekend. It was definitely new for us. I won’t bore you with the entire story, suffice to say, we saw much of the scenery backwards, became intimately acquainted with a couple of overhanging trees, and I lost my prescription sunglasses overboard, so navigated most of the river basically blind. But we survived, and ultimately (in hindsight) we had fun, plus we learned a lot about our relationship, not least of which is that we’re much better in competition (backgammon, dominoes, mahjong) than in cooperation (tandem riding, canoeing, etc.) Information that’s good to know, I think.

What about you? What did you try?

In other totally unrelated new, I’m very pleased and excited to be able to officially announce that my book, I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood, just won a silver medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. So, thank you to all of you who’ve been so supportive and especially to those of you who took the time to write nice things about it to me, on Amazon, or on your blogs. The awards ceremony is on Monday in New York City, but unfortunately I won’t be there in person. Rest assured, though that I’ll be raising a glass here in California.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About God October 4, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

The God I know is a tough broad. She can handle anything I dish out, and over the past two decades, She’s gotten an earful: I’m ready, where is my Mr. Right?! Is your divine plan really to keep me this lonely, miserable, and broke forever? Could you be a little more specific with your instructions about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?

I’ve made peace with most of my youthful longings. I now know the last loser I almost settled for was not worthy, and that my Mr. Right was worth the wait. I’ve accepted and embraced that this is a co-partnership, and if I’m feeling lonely, miserable, and broke, it’s my responsibility to make changes. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that the plans God had for me are beyond anything I had imagined for myself.

But there’s one bitch-session I can’t yet get past: How come that drug-abusing, child-neglecting “mother” got to have all those sweet babies and I got jack?!? How come You, the all-loving, omnipotent God of everything, has denied the prayers of so many wonderful women, has robbed them of the beauty and privileges of becoming amazing mothers?

Because, like many of you, I prayed my heart out for miracles. I begged. I negotiated. And I cursed. Maybe She has something bigger in mind for each of us, and children would have gotten in the way. I cling to that promise, trusting, hoping, believing. But there are still dark days when I just don’t get it.

Why, God? Why?

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

More Than Just an Infertile Couple October 21, 2010

Over the summer my husband and I went with a group of friends to see one of our favorite bands in concert. We’ve seen them several times in that last couple of years, but this concert was a small outdoor venue at a winery in Sonoma County, the heart of California’s Wine Country.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, the wine flowed, the picnic we brought was delicious, and when I suggested to my husband that we get up to dance on the lawn, he said yes. We danced through the entire show, until I was perspiring in a most unladylike manner and we’d just about worn a bald spot on the grass. Our other friends (who all have children) have “husbands-who-don’t-dance” and the wives, I’m sure, coveted my husband for a couple of hours. After the show we bought a CD, got it autographed by the band and even chased down the drummer, who I have a small , strange crush on. And we laughed. We danced and laughed and ate and drank. It really was a perfect day.

Two months have passed and I’m still thinking about that day. We’ve been to other concerts and events since and had a good time, maybe even been to better concerts, but that day sticks in my mind. That day my husband and I were the people we used to be before we were an infertile couple. Somewhere along that journey, little bits of who we were chipped off and we forgot why we ever got together and wanted children in the first place. That day reminded me.

If you’re childless-not-by-choice (or even not-exactly-by-choice) has the experienced changed who you are? And when was the last time you did something with your partner that made you both happy? If it’s been a while, can you plan something in the upcoming weeks that will break you out of your “infertile couple” state and remind you why you got together in the first place?

Earlier this year, Vicki at A Woman Without Children wrote about a hiking adventure with her husband. Maybe this will give you some inspiration, too.   

 

Not Exactly Lonely May 24, 2010

 

My young nephew has no qualms about asking the most personal questions, and he’s so earnest and compassionate that usually I can’t help but give him an honest response. He’s asked why I don’t have any children, and also what happened to my first husband. I’ve told him the truth in both cases and he’s appreciated that, as far as I can tell.

Recently he asked, “Don’t you and Jose get lonely without any children.”

“No,” I told him. “We have lots of friends, and we have Felicity, our cat, plus we have lots of nieces and nephews.”

Somehow though, this response didn’t seem to satisfy him. Perhaps because it doesn’t satisfy me either. Do I get lonely because I don’t have children? Not really. Most of the time I wish I had more time alone with my own thoughts, rather than less, but do I feel a sense of loneliness sometimes, even when I’m around other people? I do. Sometimes.

Sometimes I feel that the connections I have with others are more tenuous than they would be with a child. My brothers have their own children and, while we’re still close, our connections have weakened as the bond with their children has grown. Somewhere inside me is a tiny empty hole that nothing can fill. Most of the time I’m not even aware of it, it’s so small. But every now and then I’ll experience a melancholy sensation that feels like loneliness and feels as if it could only be filled with children.