By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
A few years back, Lisa and I first released Life Without Baby Holiday Companion, a collection of LWB posts designed to support our readers through this dicey season. Since I was heading into a whirlwind of social events—with family, friends, coworkers, and total strangers—I armed myself for the questions and comments I knew were coming.
Q: What’s your book about? A: Deep breath… “It’s inspiration and encouragement for women who wanted to have children, but didn’t get to, to help them get through the holidays” …please be nice to me.
Q: Are there really women who need this? A: Deep breath, this is a teaching opportunity, don’t be a bitch… “Let me tell you a few stories I’ve heard from women who are childfree-not-by-choice about how challenging the holidays are for them. For example, one woman just had her third miscarriage and is devastated. She’ll be with her in-laws, and she knows they’ll bombard her with questions about why, for Pete’s sake, she’s waiting so long to give them grandchildren.”
Q: You have a book out? How exciting to see your labors rewarded with the birth of your book! I imagine it’s like the anticipation of all those months of pregnancy and you finally get to welcome and celebrate the arrival of your precious child! A: Uh…I got nothing.
As exhausting as some of these exchanges are (and sometimes they are, eventually, funny to me), I feel deeply humbled when someone hears what I write about, then leans in and whispers, “That’s my story.” I have been privileged to be able to truly listen as women, and a few men, share their very personal stories with me about loves and losses, heartbreaks, dreams, and hopes. I have offered sympathy, bits of gentle advice, and most of all, understanding.
You may have been at the receiving end of some insensitive questions and comments this month, and it’s my hope that you have had someone near you to soften the blows. Meanwhile, I encourage you to use this website: share your stories in Comments, join discussions in the Forums, draw strength and courage from other LWBers, and allow yourself this safe haven. For here, we get it. We get you.
Life Without Baby Holiday Companion, a collection of classic blog posts that offer inspiration and encouragement for getting through the season when you’re childfree-not-by-choice, is available here on our site and on Amazon.