Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Preparedness May 14, 2012

I live in earthquake country. People ask me sometimes if I’m afraid to live here. I’m not. I’m prepared. I have a kit in my house with supplies in case the San Andreas Fault does a major shift and sends my neighborhood tumbling into the Pacific Ocean. I’m not afraid of earthquakes, but I am prepared.

Still, whenever we do have a little shaker, I always feel it before my husband. I’m up, I’m ready, I’m waiting to see. Is this it? Is this the Big One? I’m not afraid, but when the ground starts shaking, I’m on high alert.

I felt a bit like this yesterday. I wasn’t afraid of M-Day. I knew I’d come far enough that it wasn’t going to be the emotional time-bomb it was in past years. And I was ready with my M-Day preparedness kit. We avoided restaurants, social gatherings, Facebook, etc. We went to the movies, took care of some household tasks, went for a walk, and played some dominoes. But all day I was on high alert. There was a cloud of tension that surrounded me all day. I was sad and I wasn’t afraid. I was just ready, in case something happened.

As it turns out, the day passed without event. I survived. And if you’re reading this, it means you did, too. I hope you came out relatively unscathed.

Did you practice self-preservation? Were you prepared? And most of all, were you good to yourself? I hope so. It will be another year before it comes around again, and I’m willing to bet that next year will be a little better, a little easier, a little less difficult for each of us. That’s kind of the way this works, in increments, until it’s no longer a bad day, just an odd day.

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Duck, Weave, or Cover? May 10, 2012

By Quasi-momma

Around mid-April, my mind starts thinking about that scary little day coming up in May. You know the one. The one that makes us cringe ever so slightly. The one we might all like to avoid. Dare I say its name?  It’s Mother’s Day.

As a stepmom, M-day has always been tough for me. The first year after marrying Hubs, I had expectations that I would at least be honored in some small way.  After all, I did perform the duties of a mom, so I deserve a little something, right?  Wrong.  It came and went without even so much as a word in my direction from anyone: not my Hubs, not my in-laws, and not my Skid. It was like a jab to the face.

Add a couple pregnancy losses and several negative pregnancy tests over the years, and M-day packs a one-two punch. You can safely say that the day has lost its luster for me.

To give him credit, Hubs finally did get the memo last year. He took me on a special outing the Saturday before to thank me for all I did as well as to acknowledge what we’ve lost. It was quiet, private, and meaningful: enough to get me through the indignity of the next day.

But this year, a final uppercut has been added to M-day’s combo: there’s a pregnancy in the family. I will now be the only female not honored as a Mom. It’s threatening a knock-out. I need a strategy.

Right now, I’m in heavy negotiations to bow out of this round. I know my limits. I’m just starting to deal with the possibility that I may never have a child of my own, and I’m not up to this “holiday.”  Yet, I fear that my absence may bruise some egos, and the fallout may not be worth it.  So I’m turning to you, my dear community, for advice. How do you get through it? (Feel free to whine too. By all means, let’s vent!)

The one thing I do know for sure is that extreme self-care will be required. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the urge we feel to explain or defend our situations, whether they are by choice or not. This day will have our guards up higher than usual.  So please be good to yourself.

Quasi-momma, also known as “Bruisin’ Susan” explores her thoughts and feelings on her own struggles with childlessness, pregnancy loss and stepfamily life on her blog http://quasimomma.wordpress.com. She prefers not to disclose her weight class. It’s no one’s business.