Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Gifts February 14, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s a made-up holiday fueled by jewelers, florists, candy makers, and advertisers who make us feel we need to overspend, and then make us feel like losers if what we receive doesn’t live up to our expectations. Rubbish! If someone loves me, I see it in his eyes, I feel it in his touch, I experience it in how he treats me every day.

However. Years and years ago, when I was very immature (i.e., I thought I had everything figured out and wasn’t shy about sharing my opinions), I announced my boycott of the holiday to the sweet man I was dating. The look on his face…he was crushed. I came to discover he had made plans for a lovely yet simple evening and had selected a couple of very thoughtful gifts. I felt like such a turd! Because when I thought about it, I knew how much I loved giving gifts to the people I loved, how much I enjoyed surprising them, delighting them, and making them feel special. Shame on me for taking that away from him.

Since then, I’ve learned to graciously accept the gifts I receive, whatever their origin, motivation, or price tag. My dad still sends me a card on this day, and I keep them among my treasures. I consider myself a rich woman indeed when I receive a sheet of construction paper decorated with abstract images in crayon (“That’s you and Jake on the playground,” my sister explains. Of course!). I might get a call from a far-flung friend and spend 10 precious minutes catching up with her. Looking at the bigger picture, every day I give thanks for the gifts of good health, a job that I love, and a roof over my head.

Today is a tough day for many people. It’s so easy to fall into self-pity, to catalogue what we lack instead of counting our blessings. So today I invite you to join me in acknowledging and accepting our gifts, whatever form they may take. Then, think about what you can give of yourself to make this day lovelier for someone else.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Tonight she’ll be surprising the love of her life with his favorite treat, a home-baked cherry pie.


Awareness February 13, 2012

I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but if you happen to be in the U.S., you’ll already be into several weeks of red and pink window displays and newspaper ads for romantic dinners, and great prices on jewelry and red roses. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and like so many holidays, it’s become a huge commercial venture here.

Despite my somewhat curmudgeonly attitude towards Hallmark holidays, I would ordinarily be taking the opportunity to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

But my resistance comes from somewhere deeper than a distaste for over-commercialism. Now that I am not going to be a mother, I have a more highly tuned awareness of the minefield of global holiday greetings. I know how hurtful it can be for a stranger to glibly wish me a happy Mother’s Day, not realizing what a painful thing that is for me to hear.

Because of this, I now appreciate that by wishing “Happy Valentine’s Day” to everyone I meet, I could inadvertently be reminding that person of what they don’t have. And I know how that feels. Shouldn’t Valentine’s Day, like Mother’s Day, be a personal exchange between the two involved parties?

So, I won’t be broadcasting a Happy Valentine’s Day message here. But instead, I wish you love and I wish you someone good to share your life with, whatever that means to you. If you have that love, cherish it. And if you don’t have it, I hope you find it soon.

Wishing you love today, in whatever form it comes.


Love February 14, 2011

Filed under: Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope that love is in the air for you today.

By way of celebration, I thought I’d share a list of some of the things I love.

I love:

1.     Jose

2.     Felicity, my cat

3.     My mum

4.     My brothers and their families

5.     My amazing friends

6.     My garden

7.     Fresh picked vegetables

8.     The first spring bulbs

9.     Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate

10.  Cask Ale

11.  Small knitted things

12.  Clean sheets

13.  Chicken Tikka Masala

14.  Storybook Mountain Zinfandel

15.  Lavender

16.  Walks in the countryside

17.  Thunderstorms

18.  The Atlantic Ocean

19.  Laughter

20.  Fast internet service

21.  “Hello”

22.  Leonardo diCaprio

23.  Salty French Fries

24.  A good book

25.  Furry slippers

Please share some of your.


How Are You Celebrating Valentine’s Day? February 11, 2011

Filed under: Family and Friends,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Do you celebrate, or is it just another day you can’t get a seat in your favorite restaurant?

I had vowed to not be a holiday poop this year, but a friend moved their dinner party to this Saturday and mucked up my initial plans of a big Valentine’s get-together at our house. Now my dearly beloved is traveling on Monday, so my Plan B has taken a dive too.

Undeterred, I am planning to celebrate on Tuesday. I’d love to hear what you’re up to so I can steal all your best ideas and impress my lovey with my ingenuity. 🙂


My New Family January 3, 2011

I love the New Year. I’ve spent most of the past week taking long walks and thinking about what I want my life to be like this time next year. What do I want to learn, where do I want to be, what do I want to do? Then I’ve spent the past couple of days writing down some goals for the year and making a plan of action.

I have lots of career-related goals, but some of my personal goals include participating in a triathlon, learning some new skills (making cheese, learning a language, as examples), and taking a big trip with my husband. I also have a goal this year of celebrating all the holidays with my “family.”

As you may know, my blood relatives live on the other side of the world and my husband’s family is scattered in a non-geographical way, which leaves us with a family of two (plus the cat.) Although we spent the recent holidays very happily as a family of two, I’ll admit to missing time with family. So this year I’m going to make a family to celebrate the holidays with.

My plan is to build a new family of my own choice, made up of people I like who live close enough to actually see at the holidays. I realize that many of them will have families of their own to celebrate with, but those who don’t will be welcome at my celebrations this year. My first family celebration will be a Valentine’s dinner.

What about you? What are some of your goals and wishes for this year? And what does your image of family look like now?