Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Happy Thanksgiving November 22, 2012

For those of you celebrating the holiday today, Happy Thanksgiving.

In keeping with my campaign to start my own new traditions, I’ll be starting the day by plodding around my local 3-mile Turkey Trot, then Mr. Fab and I are taking Thanksgiving to the beach for a very non-traditional picnic dinner.

How about you? Are you testing any new traditions this year?

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Gratitude for What You Do Have November 19, 2012

During a recent workshop support call, we were discussing loss and how to begin coming to terms with the idea of not having children. One member raised a question:

“How do you keep moving forward day-to-day?”

It’s a good question. When you’ve suffered a loss, or a series of losses, and you realize children aren’t going to be in your future, how do you keep getting out of bed and getting on with life, when what you feel like doing is curling up and wishing for the world to just leave you alone?

Another member of the group had a great suggestion:

“What helped me was staying focused on what I do have, instead of obsessing about what I don’t have,” she said.

When the goal of motherhood has been your main focus for so long, it’s natural to focus on what’s lost, what’s being given up by walking away from that goal. (And let’s face it, it can be a very long list.) But a little dose of Pollyanna can go a long way in making it through the day.

Look around you. There’s evidence everywhere to support what we do have. If you don’t live on the East Coast of the U.S, you probably have power in your home. In fact, you most likely have a home to have power in. Maybe you have good health, a strong relationship, a close family, or good friends.  When you look up and look around, it’s amazing to see how much you do have.

Shifting perspective can be a good coping tool. It doesn’t diminish what’s been lost, not one bit, and it doesn’t mean there’s no excuse for grief, or sadness. That loss is real and it takes time to heal. But shifting focus can help you keep moving forward.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., traditionally a time of gratitude. So, employing this perspective shift, what are you grateful for in your life? How are you lucky? What are some of the things that you do have going for you?

 

Whiny Wednesday November 23, 2011

Good morning and a happy Whiny Wednesday to you.

Are you gearing up to hit the roads or airport today? Good luck. Do you have to face one last dash to the grocery store for the vital ingredient you forget? Take a book to read in line. Are you facing a day of chopping, mixing, and prepping ready for the feeding of the 5,000 tomorrow? Don’t forget to get your self some downtime, too. And if you happen to be spending Thanksgiving alone, come on over and hang out here for a while, if you’d like.

I’m heading north tomorrow, meeting my oldest friend from England in San Francisco and spending a week with her. As she has no concept of Thanksgiving, I am off the hook for turkey and pumpkin pie. Instead, I plan to enjoy some time with someone who’s known me for longer than almost anyone else I know. Can’t wait.

In the meantime, feel free to get out your whines here today and have a very happy Thanks giving tomorrow.

 

 

Lucky Me November 22, 2011

In her wonderful post last week, Dorothy talked about the idea of getting a double dose of something else good to make up for the child-shaped holes in our lives. I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea, especially as we tick towards Thanksgiving.

 

I don’t really consider myself unlucky. Sure my plans for having children didn’t work out, but I have so many other things going for me. And as a general rule, I feel that luck is usually on my side.

 

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are the top 10 things I am thankful for today:

 

10. My health, which is having its off-days lately, but in the big scheme of things is good.

9. I need to lose a few a pounds instead of having to worry about where my next meal is coming from.

8. I get to work that I love (most days.)

7. Clean flannel sheets. They’re one of life’s greatest indulgences.

6. I live 3 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and on a good day I can almost smell Hawaii from my back yard.

5. My friends, near and far, who make me laugh, or think, or who just listen

4. My family. Mad as hatters, all of ’em, but they’re pretty special.

3. My cat, who was good enough to pick me for an owner, and who loves me in her own strange kitty way.

2. My mum, who is about as good as a mother any daughter could ask for and is coming to spend Christmas with us.

1. My husband, who isn’t perfect, but is pretty flipping marvelous despite his flaws.

 

Feel free to join in and add your own list.

 

With Eyes of Faith…Hannah’s Significant Other November 17, 2011

By Dorothy Williams

“…why are you weeping? Why are you not eating? Why are you so miserable? Am I not better for you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

 

The questions a husband asked his barren wife many centuries ago could just as easily represent feelings secretly harbored by our family members today. Can you imagine poor Elkanah sitting by the bedside of his wife, Hannah, feeling completely helpless and perfectly invisible as she quietly sobbed and rocked herself? 
And I ask myself, how many times did my own husband sit by me feeling the same thing? Or what about my sweet mother?  Or even my best friend? I was blind to their love, too, as I grieved the loss of my children.

 

In the biblical story, Elkanah had two wives named Hannah and Peninnah, but only Hannah was barren.  Peninnah used her status as a “mother of sons and daughters” to provoke and torment Hannah because she viewed her as a rival. Seeing what was going on, Elkanah gave “a double portion to Hannah because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5).

 

When we are provoked, it’s easy to devalue the close relationships we enjoy with our spouse and other best friends. I guess it’s because the power of the moment gets our focus fixed on what we lack rather than on all that we have.  For me, it was like a giant microscope was shoved into my face every time I had to deal with a pregnancy announcement.  My grief forced me to peer down a tube at this giant hole in my soul, blinding me to the daily favor I enjoy as a child of God.

 

And speaking of God, the same questions could be posed in a different way:  Isn’t our relationship with the Lord better for us than ten sons?  And where in our lives has God given us a “double portion” because we are so deeply loved?

 

It’s something to think about this Thanksgiving, as we count our blessings.

 

Dorothy Williams lives near Chicago.  She enjoys time spent with her family in Christ.

 

Thanksgiving Safe Zone November 25, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,Fun Stuff,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 5:00 am
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Your cousin announces that baby number 8 is on the way. Your Great Aunt Tillie asks when you are going to have kids. Your mother gives you a pointed look when she mentions how lucky her friend Gladys is to have so many grandchildren.

Wanna get away?

In lieu of yesterday’s Whiny Wednesday, I’m offering the Thanksgiving Safe Zone today. If it all gets too much, just come on over and let it all out here.

Someone will be around to hear you, I promise.

 

Happy Thanksgiving November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is a funny holiday in our house. As I didn’t grow up here, the holiday doesn’t hold any special meaning to me (even though I love the traditional turkey dinner), plus my family members are on the other side of the world and don’t celebrate it anyway. My husband’s family is close by, but his kids always go to their mother’s house and his sister and dad aren’t really the kind to sit around the big family table and celebrate together.

Usually Jose and I head out of town, but this year we didn’t quite pull our plans together in time, so we’re just going to stay home. I’m perfectly ok with these plans as we could use a few quiet days to ourselves, but somewhere inside me is an ember of an idea about how the holiday should be.

In my dream I have a long oak table laden with good food that I’ve spent the past few days creating. Around the table are all my favorite adults, talking, having intelligent conversations, and periodically glancing my way to rave about the food. When I think about a big family holiday, I think about my friends. They are the family I’ve chosen and I am thankful to have them in my life.

So I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, including our far-flung readers who might be reading this and wondering what the ruckus is all about. I also know that the holidays can be trying for we childless and childfree peeps, so I’m moving Whiny Wednesday to tomorrow, just in case it all gets out of control.

Be well and Happy Thanksgiving to you.