Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Meeting Other Childfree People August 27, 2012

Life Without Baby is taking a short hiatus. Please enjoy some favorite posts from the last two-and-a-half years. We’ll be back to normal next week.

This post was originally published on April 19, 2011

Recently, a reader posted this comment:

“Do you have any tips on how to find people without kids? I went to a RESOLVE meeting once and made friends with a fellow infertile… who got pregnant the next month.”

I suspect we’ve all had that feeling of being cheated on by someone we hoped would be an ally, while at the same time being glad the person got what she really wanted. So how do you find other childless people to spend time with?

Here are a few of the ways I’ve found kindred spirits:

Activities at non-kid-friendly times

I go to an early morning exercise boot camp three days a week. It starts at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m. which is a tough time for anyone, but especially for people with very young or school-age kids. Most of the people in the group don’t have children and I’ve been going for long enough that I’ve made a small circle of childless friends. What’s great is that our primary connection is exercise, not childlessness.

Stealing or borrowing other friends’ childless friends

Quite a few of my friendships have come about through mutual friends. I’ve been invited to a dinner or barbecue, made my way around the room, making polite conversation, until I’ve met someone I’ve clicked with and discovered they don’t have children either. I have several childless friends who were introduced to me by mutual friends with children. In some cases the original friend has drifted away and the new friend and I have grown closer.

Groups and clubs

Just getting out and meeting people in general is a really good way to ultimately meet other childless people. Joining a group or club relating to your interests or hobbies means you automatically have something in common. I’ve been in book clubs, running clubs, and various classes. Over time, I’ve attached to certain members of the group, and just because of schedules alone, the childless members have ultimately gravitated to one another.

Childless and child-free groups

I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve considered it. No Kidding! is an international social network for people without children. They have chapters all over the country and arrange social events regularly. If there’s one near you, this seems like a great way to meet people.

Another idea is using Meetup.com. You can sign up and state your interest in meeting other childfree people in your area.

We also have a Groups page on this site. Try starting a group for your local area and see if other people join. Hopefully you’ll find at least one other person who lives close enough to meet in person, and our membership is growing daily.

If anyone else has ideas on how to meet other childless singles or couples, please post them. I know that there are several other members who would love to find people they can connect with in person as well as just here online.

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Fabulous Friday: Helping One Another July 13, 2012

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Last night I facilitated a conference call with the women on the mentorship program. For an hour, about a dozen of us sat and talked through some of the issues we’re struggling with most. All of the women on the call were there because they were looking for help, and yet each of them stepped up and contributed words of encouragement or offered a suggestion for something that has helped them. Each of them came looking for support, and each left having offered their support to someone else.

I see this happening every day in the comments on this blog, too. I see readers reaching out for help and I see other readers stepping in and offering a hand.  Even though each of you is dealing with your own pain and your own set of issues, your willingness to reach out help someone else is inspiring. Your generosity gives me enormous optimism for the future of mankind.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Getting Over Myself May 15, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Whiny Wednesday came three days early for me this week.

I left the house well armed to face Mother’s Day (which I intended to embrace as Nurturer’s Day). Aside from calling the mothers in my own family, I had no need to recognize this Hallmark holiday. My husband and I enjoyed a long bike ride together, ran some errands, went out to lunch at a busy casual restaurant. While I noticed more women than usual carrying flowers, there was no announcement, no one stood up and asked everyone to join in singing to celebrate an individual, like we would if there was a birthday. Just another Sunday.

But the slights came in from odd angles, like the “Free Treat for Moms!” at the confectioners (How would they know? Should I go in and take one?) and the posters advertising “Gifts for the Special Woman in your Life…Mom” (I have lots of special women in my life, some who are moms, many are not). I spotted a magazine for women that looked interesting until I read the subtitle: “for the woman in every mom.” A barrista at a coffee house handed a drink over me to a woman further back in line, explaining to everyone else, “Moms should be served first, don’t you think?” (Do I have “Childfree” stamped on my forehead? What the fruitcake?!)

Maybe I’m oversensitive, or maybe I spot these things because on some psychologically twisted level I’m looking for them. Maybe I need to acknowledge that, for many women who are moms, this is the only day out of 365 that they are appreciated for their sacrifices. Maybe I just need to get over myself and stop whining.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

Join Me LIVE Today! April 28, 2012

Good morning (for some of you at least)!

I hope you’ll be able to join me today as I chat via video with some fabulous childfree women. Expect inspiration, insight, and even some laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing these ladies and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing what they have to say, too.

Here’s the link to the Live Stream channel where the event will be hosted.

It all starts today at 12pm Pacific time. If you’re not sure what time that is where you are, here’s a time zone converter. Use America/Los Angeles to convert.

Once we go live, you’ll be able to chat to one another using the chat function to the right of the video. I will try to hop in on the discussions when I can.

If you can’t make it to the live broadcast, don’t worry. I’ll be recording the whole thing and you should be able to watch it on the same channel beginning later today.

So pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or wine, and join me. I’m looking forward to it.

 

The Power of Community February 20, 2012

I just got back from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference (hence the silence here for the past few days.) It proved to be an enlightening experience in so many ways, as well as in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

I went with the intention of pitching an idea for a new book and generating interest. That happened, but not in the way I’d expected. I had hoped to spark interest with agents and was looking for a champion to take on the book. I got a lukewarm response, at best. However, I found my spark and excitement elsewhere…in potential readers, which turned out to be far for exciting and valuable.

I spent much of the weekend telling strangers that I am childfree-not-by-choice, which is a little odd in of itself, but I ended up meeting and talking to an incredible community of women, some mothers, and many not, but most of whom understood me, my situation, and my message.

Why am I telling you this? Because the experience solidified something that I already knew. In the broad scope of our society, and particularly in the media and commerce, those of us who don’t have children are hugely misunderstood. People make assumptions about our reasons and motivations, not to mention our personalities. And even though 1-in-5 women will not become mothers, we are still a marginalized and overlooked corner of the market.

However, my one-on-one interactions with other women gave me encouragement. Almost every woman I talked too was in some way supportive. I spoke to many women who were also childfree and they all had different reasons and different paths. But I also talked to mothers (including a mother of four and a mother of six) who were just as supportive of my project, and of me.

Ultimately, I left the conference encouraged, not necessarily by the future of the publishing industry, but by the power of community and the wonderful things that can happen when women stand together, no matter the paths that brought them together.

 

Whiny Wednesday – Free Birth Control July 20, 2011

The big debate on yesterday’s morning news show was whether birth control should be considered as preventative care and therefore covered by health insurance.

What?! Are we really having this discussion in the 21st century? Do we really need to go over the long list of ways that providing women with family planning options makes sense socially and fiscally?

The woman brought in to speak against the bill made the case that people who are opposed to birth control for religious reasons shouldn’t be forced to pay for this coverage.

Well, guess what, lady? That’s the whole basis of any type of insurance; you pay for what you hope to never use. Believe me, I hope I never need to use most of what’s covered by my health insurance and I don’t want to use my car insurance or my life insurance either.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in supporting services that I may never use. My taxes help pay for schools that I’ll never get to send my children to, but I’m happy to pay to keep other people’s children educated. I no longer need to use birth control to prevent an unexpected pregnancy, but I’m more than happy to do my bit so that others can have that option.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, the sun’s shining right in my window, and I’m hot, cranky, and pissed off about backwards attitudes. What’s on your mind today?

 

Meeting Other Childfree People April 19, 2011

I’m taking a short but much-needed vacation this week and, although I had planned to write a set up a full week’s worth of posts before I left, my dear friend Kathleen suggested that it might be more sensible to cut myself some slack, rather than tripling my workload! Thank goodness for clear-headed friends! So this week, I will be recycling some old favorite posts. I’ll be back next week, refreshed and ready to talk about National Infertility Awareness Week!

Recently, a reader posted this comment:

“Do you have any tips on how to find people without kids? I went to a RESOLVE meeting once and made friends with a fellow infertile… who got pregnant the next month.”

I suspect we’ve all had that feeling of being cheated on by someone we hoped would be an ally, while at the same time being glad the person got what she really wanted. So how do you find other childless people to spend time with?

Here are a few of the ways I’ve found kindred spirits:

Activities at non-kid-friendly times

I go to an early morning exercise boot camp three days a week. It starts at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m. which is a tough time for anyone, but especially for people with very young or school-age kids. Most of the people in the group don’t have children and I’ve been going for long enough that I’ve made a small circle of childless friends. What’s great is that our primary connection is exercise, not childlessness.

Stealing or borrowing other friends’ childless friends

Quite a few of my friendships have come about through mutual friends. I’ve been invited to a dinner or barbecue, made my way around the room, making polite conversation, until I’ve met someone I’ve clicked with and discovered they don’t have children either. I have several childless friends who were introduced to me by mutual friends with children. In some cases the original friend has drifted away and the new friend and I have grown closer.

Groups and clubs

Just getting out and meeting people in general is a really good way to ultimately meet other childless people. Joining a group or club relating to your interests or hobbies means you automatically have something in common. I’ve been in book clubs, running clubs, and various classes. Over time, I’ve attached to certain members of the group, and just because of schedules alone, the childless members have ultimately gravitated to one another.

Childless and child-free groups

I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve considered it. No Kidding! is an international social network for people without children. They have chapters all over the country and arrange social events regularly. If there’s one near you, this seems like a great way to meet people.

Another idea is using Meetup.com. You can sign up and state your interest in meeting other childfree people in your area.

We also have a Groups page on this site. Try starting a group for your local area and see if other people join. Hopefully you’ll find at least one other person who lives close enough to meet in person, and our membership is growing daily.

If anyone else has ideas on how to meet other childless singles or couples, please post them. I know that there are several other members who would love to find people they can connect with in person as well as just here online.