By Lisa Manterfield
This week marks the 7th anniversary of Life Without Baby. In March 2010, I sat with my laptop on a sunny patio in a little restaurant (now gone) in Northern California. I ordered a glass of sparkling wine and a dozen oysters, and I tentatively wrote my first blog post.
It was more of a mission statement, really—a public show of my intention to talk about infertility and childlessness. It was a shout out for help, too, a call out into the world in the hopes of hearing someone call back, “Me too.”
No one did.
In fact, no one commented on my posts until I wrote the first Whiny Wednesday post the following month. It’s remained the most popular feature of the site ever since. Turns out there were lots of us wanting to be heard, after all.
Kathleen was with me from that very first day. I texted her to tell her I’d written the first post and we celebrated this wary step out into the unknown. A few weeks later she wrote her first guest post about finding a new path. By the end of the year, she had was writing her regular It Got Me Thinking column, and she’s been here ever since.
That year, I also discovered Pamela’s book Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost, and Found. It was my first encounter with someone who’d shared my experience and had put into words all I’d been feeling.
Since then, I’ve posted almost 1500 posts, received more than 11,000 comments, and welcomed more than a million visits from over 100 countries. I definitely don’t feel alone anymore.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the importance of marking anniversaries—the happy and the sad—as a way of measuring how far we’ve come. I could never have imagined that, seven years after that first post, I would still be writing posts and meeting new people, or that I would have written two books about life without baby.
I also could never have imagined the level of peace and, yes, happiness that I have in my life, even though it will never include children of my own. For those of you just trying to figure all this out and wondering what your lives will hold, I hope this serves as encouragement. It does get easier, you will find a new path, and there is even happiness, more than you could imagine, in a life without children.
No good anniversary celebration would be complete without presents, for this week (until March 20), the ebook versions of both I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood and Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn’t Happen are half price ($4.99) on Amazon.
Finally, a big thank you to all of you who’ve supported me all these years. I never dreamed when I started this site that I’d get to know people from all around the world or that I’d get to form real friendships and even get to meet some of you in person. It’s been a journey I could never have imagined, and I’m grateful to have had you along for the ride.
“My “Life Without Baby” is better because of you”, Miss Lisa – in so many ways I cannot even begin to count! I first found Pamela, then she lead me to your blog, then you led me to Jody Day, and from there I have a network of women who I meet with regularly to chat, go out for dinner, to laugh, cry and heal with! I am endlessly thankful for the first day you started to blog! It’s been years now, but I am starting to see the light, and feel the happy that I have missed so very much over this (sometimes horrific) journey.
Lisa Manterfield says
This makes me so pleased to imagine this network of supportive women connecting to one another across the globe. I’m so glad you found your tribe.
Thanks for making my day.
Lesley Pyne says
Congratulations on your anniversary Lisa & thank YOU for leading the way & showing us that peace & happiness are possible.
Thank you for helping us on our journeys, Lisa – and being a guiding light when things get tough. Please keep doing what you are doing – we REALLY appreciate it!
Happy Anniversary! Thank you for your blog… it has helped me in the darkest years of infertility.
Thank you, Lisa, for giving all of us a voice and an opportunity to be heard. Knowing that I am not alone has made all the difference. God Bless.
Happy Anniversary! Thank you for seven wonderful years of support and connection. Really appreciate your willingness to feature guest bloggers as well as give voice to different experiences through the “Our Stories” posts.
Thank you Lisa and everyone behind LWB. Before I discovered this community I felt so all alone. I felt like this is my very best friend. I’m no active commenting but when I feel so down, I just come here. Thank you!
Lisa; thank you so much for your hard work. Your dedication and love for us is amazing. You are awesome!
I am so blessed to be part of this blog.
I do not comment a lot, but finding LWB helped me to comment more out loud in every day life – to speak up for myself and acknowledge the very real grief which has been very helpful on this journey- thank you and happy anniversary!
I think I started following you at the end of 2010 or early 2011. Can’t believe it has been so long. Those were very dark days for me and following you and then later Pamela, Mali and others helped me immensely. I didn’t feel so alone. I feel that I am in a much better place now… generally happier and not focused on what is “lacking” in my life, no longer defined by childlessness, but by all sorts of other interests; excited about life and learning. Thanks!!
Thank YOU for being an open and honest testament to the option we are all potentially facing. I am still in the middle of my fertility journey, but Life without Baby has been the beacon at the end of a very dark tunnel telling me that IF it doesn’t work out, it will still be OK. There are ways to make it OK. My stress is significantly less because of you – sharing your story has helped me to realize that the alternative (no baby) is not nearly as empty and sad as society and my family led me to believe. Thank you for that, I cannot put into words how much it has helped my journey. I, of course, hope not to end up childfree but I know if I do – that I will be able to go on and lead a rich life…because I have watched your example for so long.
Thank you, thank you!!
Wow, that is amazing! Happy anniversary! 7 is the lucky number I believe. May it be a blessed year for you and me. Thnk you sooo much for creating this blog. Ever since I discovered it, (tears in my eyes of appreciation) I have found a sense of comfort that I don’t recieve anywehre else .. no one understands what I am going through but the people on this blog and each time there is a new post I can relate to it soo much. I look forward everyday to read what’s new. Keeps my day going no matter what I am going through. I can’t wait to get my hands on the books!
-Lots of love and support from Chicago
Still recall the day I discovered you and your writing dear, Lisa. Such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for keeping the love and acceptance so accessible and real. xoxo
Thanks for creating this wonderful community, Lisa. Congrats on your 7 year anniversary.
You, your books & this blog/community have been such a blessing to me & so many others over these past 7 years. Thank you, Lisa (& I hope someday I can thank you in person!). <3 Congratulations! 🙂
It was amazing to find a place where it was all about childlessness and how to deal and live with that, as opposed to all the places about having a hard time, but still trying for a baby.
I wasn’t trying and I couldn’t find other people like me anywhere, until I found this place.
I don’t remember when it was, but it’s been a few years now.
At first I read everything. Cried a lot and at the same time was so happy when my feelings and experiences were put into words by others.
I started to comment and it helped to write things I had never said to anyone before. A “coming out” of sorts.
I’m still not brave enough to talk about being childless to the people closest to me. But now I don’t need to do that, because of you and this site.