Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Energy to Share October 10, 2011

This weekend I put up my Halloween decorations for the first time in maybe five years. My neighbor (who lives in the house behind us) was so excited that she came out to help.

My neighbor and I function on a similar spiritual wavelength and the reason for her excitement has less to do with skull lights and flashing corpses and more to do with her understanding of the significance of me pulling things out of storage and making an effort. She knows much of my story and she’s watched me pull back from the things that used to bring me joy­­–hosting dinner parties, nurturing my vegetable garden, and celebrating the holidays with others. Last year, Mr. Fab and I barely celebrated Christmas at all. My neighbor understands that decorating for Halloween is a sign I’m on the mend.

And I think she’s right. When you’re trying to heal, trying to sort out a mess and get back on track, it’s hard to put energy into anyone or anything but yourself. Getting into the holiday spirit requires a lot of energy to be poured out in other directions. I haven’t had that energy to spare for a long time, but this year, I think it’s back. And I’m glad. I’ve missed it.

For the first time in a long time, I’m really looking forward to the holidays. My friend from England will be here for Thanksgiving and my mum will be here for Christmas. I’m planning what to cook, and I’m getting a tree. But most of all I’m looking forward to sharing the holiday festivities with other people, and pouring positive energy out, instead of turning my energy in on myself.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Privacy January 14, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Earlier this week I wrote about inappropriate chitchat, and my heart breaks over the comments (several came offline). Readers shared some of the horrible, though possibly well-intentioned, things people have said to them that added salt to the already devastating wounds of infertility.

“When are you going to have kids?”

“So which one of you is the reason you can’t have children?”

“Why don’t you just adopt?”

We’ve all heard variations on this theme, and I don’t know if it ever gets easier to come up with an appropriate response. The bigger issue I think we haven’t yet discussed is when—if ever—to tell people, and who we should tell, versus our right to privacy.

How are you handling this? Did you break the news to a few key people, expecting them to spread the message down the line? Did you tell just close family and friends, hoping to gain their support? Did you include a paragraph in your annual holiday newsletter? Or have you kept it to yourself?

Speaking of privacy, if you’re uncomfortable openly posting your thoughts or concerns on the blog, there are members-only discussions going on in the forums. You’ll find comfort, compassion, empathy, and support here. I hope you’ll reach out. Meanwhile, consider yourself cyber-hugged.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She believes “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans.”