Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Good advice about dealing with pregnancy announcements? September 30, 2011

In the advice column of the Detroit Free Press, a woman unable to have children asked about how to deal with the endless pregnancies in her workplace. It sounds as if she’s found her own way to deal with it by putting on a happy face in public and keeping her true emotions private. I’m tending to agree that it’s about the only way to manage this situation with any grace.

I’m not so sure about the advice she’s been given though. Maybe getting involved with helping children might be a good way for this woman to have children in her life, but I don’t think it’s going to help her with the grief she is clearly still coming to terms with regarding her own loss. I might have advised this woman to seek some professional help, because she’s clearly not healing well on her own.

And while I think that the advice is coming largely from a place of compassion, I can’t help but read between the lines and wonder if she’s really told, “After 11 years, isn’t it time you got over it?”

What advice would you have given?

 

Childless in the Workplace October 15, 2010

Filed under: Children,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 8:19 am
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A friend of mine was recently offered a “promotion.” The job came with more prestige and opportunity, but also a significant increase in stress and responsibility, and no increase in pay. My friend wanted the job, but politically, she knew she had to take it. Declining the offer would have been a mark against her for future opportunities, so she accepted the position (and is now working crazy hours, weekends, and also had her planned vacation cancelled.) She later came to find out that someone else had been offered the job, but had turned it down because he has children. My friend, with no children, had no legitimate excuse for not taking the job. If she’d refused because she wanted to spend more time with her fiancé, she doesn’t think she would have a job at all today. Yes, my friend was able to take that opportunity, and yes, it will serve her well in her future career, but it seems that more is expected of childless employees.

Have you found this in your workplace?

 

Tolerance August 16, 2010

After last week’s post about the overheard conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot about tolerance and about trying to understand one another. I think that, as a group, we childless women often feel (and often are) misunderstood. We feel that people don’t think before they say things that hurt our feelings, that people with children make assumptions about the type of people we are, that employers assume that, because we don’t have kids, we are the go-to people for extra work. We’re always ready to stand up for one another whenever there’s an injustice done to one of our sisters. I love that about us.

And yet, even among ourselves, we have different frames of reference. There are those of us who are physically unable to have children; those of us who are emotionally unwilling, because of our circumstances; there are those of us who don’t have the opportunity to be parents; those of us who are childless by choice; and those of us who never had the desire for children. And even within those groups, each of us has a different story to tell about how ended up here on this site, looking for other women like us. Each of us looks at our situation through our own personal filters—just like those people out there who look through their own filters and see us differently than we see ourselves, who look at a childless person and see something they cannot understand.

So, I’m writing on a theme this week. It’s a bit of an experiment, so if the wheels fall off by Wednesday, just come back next week and everything should be back to normal. But for this week, I’m writing about tolerance. Stay tuned.

 

Life Without Baby Handbook May 31, 2010

Reader Lynne posted a comment recently about responding, or rather being unable to adequately respond, to a colleague’s pregnancy announcement. Her story got me thinking that what we need is a Handbook that we can refer to in sticky situations, and let’s face it, there’s never a shortage of those.

The idea is that we can all chip in with our best responses to situations and questions we’ve all faced and I’ll compile the answers, maybe on a new Handbook page. This shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but you never know, your witty response to someone’s thoughtless question might just save someone else.

So, let’s kick off with Lynne’s conundrum:

A colleague announces that she’s pregnant with twins. How do you respond?

Answers below, please.

 

Whiny Wednesday May 26, 2010

Recently a friend told me that her colleague had once justified not pulling her weight at work by saying, “Well, you don’t have children, so it’s no problem for you to work late.”

Why is it that for some people no children=no life outside the workplace? Have you been in a situation where a colleague has used his or her children to justify preferential treatment? Or have you worked in a place where parents are expected to always put their work before their family. What are your thoughts?