Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It’s a zoo out there July 15, 2011

Last weekend, Mr. Fab and I visited the Oregon Zoo. It was a beautiful day and we visited the elephants, marveled at the lions, and had a very cool, fun time hanging out in the bat house. I saw Naked Mole Rats, almost saw the critically endangered Amur Leopard, and learned why tigers have white spots on the backs of their ears. When it got too hot, we stopped in a café for a cool drink and snack, and when we’d seen enough zoo we took the MAX back to our hotel and had a pleasant afternoon nap.

If you’re still trying to reconcile the idea that you’ll never be a mother, the zoo is a hard place to visit. Kids far outnumber adults and it can be an emotional minefield with all the cute doe-eyed babies peering at you from their strollers at every turn.

On the other hand, if you’re starting to come to terms with being childfree and looking for some benefits of not having kids, I can strongly recommend a visit to the zoo. For every sweet cherub, you’ll find a red-faced bawling toddler, or a demanding preteen tapping on the glass of the chimpanzee enclosure right next to the sign that says; “Don’t tap on the glass.” Most of the parents at the zoo looked fried, as if they’d rather be anywhere else, and I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit smug, because Mr. Fab and I chose to be there, and chose exactly when we wanted to go home.

When you’re ready to look for the silver lining of being childfree, trust me, you’ll find plenty of examples, including the joy of an adult trip to the zoo.