This week marks the 4th anniversary of Life Without Baby. Happy birthday to us!
Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been tapping away for four years. Time really does fly. And as this birthday ticks around, it’s good to stop and take a moment to look around at where I am now and how far I’ve come.
Those of you who’ve been reading for some time will undoubtedly have noticed the change in the tone of my posts over the years. I’m not so angry any more, I’m bemoaning less the injustices, and I’m finding far more to cherish and enjoy in a life without children. Yes, it’s taken four years (plus some time before I started blogging) but my “life without baby” is all right.
Over the years (and I think especially over the past year) I’ve also noticed a change in how vocal we childless/childfree/sans kid women and men are becoming. When I first started blogging, I found Pamela at Silent Sorority and Tracey at La Belette Rouge. Like me, they were telling their personal stories of coming-to-terms and recovery, quietly and for a small audience of readers who wanted to hear it. We were cautiously stepping into the public eye and speaking about our stories, but (for me, at least) on the personal front, I still carried a lot of shame surrounding my infertility. I hedged when people asked me if I had children, and when I talked about my work, I rarely mentioned this community or my book. I didn’t want the people I met to know about that very personal side of me.
That’s changed for me over the past four years as those feelings of insecurity have fallen away. It’s not been an easy journey, but I’m no longer ashamed that I cannot and did not have children. It’s just another facet of the whole human being I’ve become.
I’m seeing a change in the infertility world too. Where once the option of childfree living was taboo, I see more and more people considering it along with their other family-building options, and finding resources and community to help them.
Last year I spoke on a panel at the Fertility Planit show here in Los Angeles. The panel on “letting go of having genetic offspring” including the childfree option alongside donor eggs and adoption. I’m speaking at the show again next month, but this time the panel title gets right to the point: “Living Childfree with No Regrets.” I’m truly encouraged that this option is now being given serious consideration and that others coming to the end of their fertility journeys won’t be shunted out into the cold to figure out alone how to come to terms with their unexpected lives.
Hearing other people’s stories and discovering I’m not alone has been one of the most important steps in my healing process. Talking to other women who “get me” has been an enormous source of comfort, and I hope it has been for you, too.
As the site goes into its 5th year, you’ll see a new regular feature, the “Our Stories” series. I hope this series will give those of you who want to be heard the opportunity to speak out in a safe place and share your stories with others. It’s incredible how having a voice can help your own healing and encourage others.
On this birthday, I want to send a huge shout-out and thank you to Kathleen for her incredible support. You’ll have seen her column “It Got Me Thinking…” every Friday, but behind the scenes, she’s been a constant source of ideas and encouragement as I figure out what’s next for this site. She’s also the brains and the editor behind “Our Stories.” Without her help, I’m not sure I’d have maintained the stamina to keep writing for four years!
I also want to thank you. I don’t often chime in on the comments these days, but I always read them, and I’m continually inspired and touched to see your willingness to support one another on your journeys. Thank you for your support of this site.
And so, who knows what the coming year will hold? I hope you’ll stick around to find out.