Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Going to the Silence February 10, 2011

Pamela posted this Huffington Post article yesterday and I saw it circulating around Facebook, so I’m sure many of you have seen it.

I thought it was a very intelligent and insightful piece and I was so glad the author was talking about infertility as a disease and how it’s something that needs to be talked about and better understood.

Of course, many of the comments just served to prove the author’s point that infertility is misunderstood, that it’s about so much more than selfish reproduction of oneself, and that the mental health aspects are hugely underestimated. If you decide to read the comments, be warned that they are not kind.

I read the article and I read as many of the comments as I could bear, and then I shrank down in my chair and reached for the mouse to close the article. I was upset, but I didn’t have the strength to add to the discussion. I didn’t want to get involved. I just wanted the whole thing to go away and leave me alone.

I’ve been feeling this way all week, which is why my posts have been creeping in mid-morning, instead of at 6:00 a.m. sharp. Because this week, I’m one of those women mentioned in the article who doesn’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to announce my infertility to the world; I don’t want to have to defend myself against people who would rather say something spiteful than engage their brains and think beyond their own little worlds for just a minute. I don’t want to speak up.

Taped to my computer screen is a quote by Amy Goodman. It says, “Go to where the silence is and say something.” It’s the mantra I use to remind myself to push the writing envelope and dare to say something that hasn’t been said before. I try to do that when I write, but it’s uncomfortable and painful, and just plain easier to not do it.

But the quote applies to my infertility too. It’s painful and uncomfortable to talk about it, and it’s so much easier to stay quiet and say nothing. But there is a silence out there and it’s damaging. As long as we stay quiet, the stigma, the misunderstanding, and the hurtful comments will prevail.

I didn’t want to, but I left a comment on the Huffington Post article and I’m reposting the article here. It’s not much, but it’s my way of going to where the silence is and speaking up until we are heard.


It Got Me Thinking…About Speaking Up January 24, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

I finished reading Lisa’s book, I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home, within 3 days of receiving it. It’s so good, I almost missed my train stop—twice. It’s so good, it made me laugh out loud and it made me choke up (also while still on the train). I could relate, it helped me heal, it inspired me to listen to my sister-friends and their stories with more compassion.

And it made me want to stand up and shout something like, “Hey, world! Infertility sucks, and we shouldn’t have to feel ashamed about it and keep quiet any longer!”

But here’s the thing: I was taught to be a good girl. A polite, respectful, look pretty and don’t-rock-the-boat kind of girl. Don’t talk back when someone suggests you must hate children because you don’t have any. Don’t be a smartass when someone asks why you’re waiting so long to make babies. Watch your tongue and don’t get lippy with me, missy!

Enough. I will no longer be shushed simply because I’m not a baby-maker. Lisa speaks for us through her raw, funny, emotional, controversial, honest, and page-turner of a story. Let’s follow her lead. Let’s hold our heads and the cover of this book up high to show family and friends—as well as marketers, advertisers, publishers, producers, and retailers—that we, the childfree women of the world, have voices, and we will be heard!

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Since she’s childfree, she can stay up till all hours of the night reading a great book.