biological clock

What Don’t Women Know About Infertility? Almost Everything.

By Karen Malone Wright

Passover and Easter are two of Spring’s big days, observed in one way or another from coast to coast.  There’s lesser observances that are pretty popular, too. But, I’m guessing you know more about Earth Day and even April Fool’s Day than you do about National Infertility Awareness Week which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014. April 20-26, 2014, to be exact. From at-home testing for pregnancy and ovulation to choosing the Internet as a preferred resource for medical information, those 25 years have seen big changes in how women assess their reproductive health.

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) was started in 1989 by RESOLVE, the non-profit, national infertility association. It became a federally recognized health observance by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010. Awareness-building activities aren’t limited to infertility; the bigger goal is to “encourage the public to understand their reproductive health”. I’m all for that. It’s obvious that too many sexually active Americans of all ages only know that Part B goes in and out of Part A, and sometimes you get a baby and sometimes you get HIV.

If it’s a baby you want, you need to know a whole lot more. A new national study published in the medical journal Fertility & Sterility reveals that  American women of reproductive-age are generally confused about how their lady parts work. Forty percent were concerned about their ability to get pregnant, but one-third didn’t understand the adverse effects of obesity on infertility and another 40% weren’t familiar with the ovulatory cycle at all. Proving the point, Fertility Centers of Illinois chose NIAW to share the seven misperceptions they hear most often from women, and the facts. How many of these statements did you already know to be untrue?


Wellness for One (or Two): Everything You Need to Know About Juice, Part II

By Samantha Pollack

You know how to get juice and why you should drink it.

But, when should you drink it? How much? And, what to do with all that pulp?

The way you drink juice matters more than you think. The delicate nutrients and enzymes in fresh juice are easily destroyed – and you don’t want to go to the trouble of making juice if you’re not getting the benefits.

There’s also a lot of misinformation and controversy about juice. You need to incorporate it safely, in a way that maximizes the benefits.

For the uninitiated, juicing takes a lot of getting used to. Use these tips to guide you.

  • Drink juice on an empty stomach. The vitamins and minerals in juice will be quickly absorbed by your small intestine. If they have to wait around behind undigested food, they’ll lose their luster.
Woman is reading book

Three Trilogies to Kickstart Your Summer Reading List

By Laura LaVoie

Last summer, I wrote about three books that influenced my life a great deal. Our fearless leader, Karen, responded with a post of her own. I thought I might offer up a few more selections to add to your NotMom library. This time I wanted to give you a head start on your summer reading list and provide suggestions for series that will rock your world.

Chances are, you love reading as much as I do. An overwhelming majority of the 500 respondents to our 2013 survey -84%- said reading books for pleasure is their favorite free time activity.

As good as they are, you won’t find The Hunger Games or Harry Potter on this list because I am guessing most folks have already read them. Instead, here are a few other recommendations.

  • The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret AtwoodIn my last installment of book suggestions, I revealed that Margaret Atwood has been one of my greatest inspirations. Her books are written with a grace few other authors have managed. She can break all of the rules of storytelling that we find trite or cliché whenever anyone else does it, but her ability to turn a story its head is masterful.
easter adult

How to Have Adult Fun on Kid-Centered Holidays

By Karen Malone Wright

There is a grief calendar for women who are childless by chance. It includes many major holidays that feature a sub-focus on kids that keeps the day afloat. Halloween. Christmas. Labor Day means Back-to-School. Even Memorial Day and Independence Day have parades featuring Scouts, bands, and other youth groups that would never get off the ground without the community’s Moms. Religious holidays, whatever the faith, can spark memories of traditions you’re not passing along.

There were years when holidays basically kept me in a private funk, and from your comments, that’s true for many of you, too. I reclaimed my holidays. Every single one of them. You can, too.

NM PURCH-couple argue

When IVF Fails: Still No Kids and a Tripled Chance of Divorce

By Karen Malone Wright

The women who leave a comment on this site, or a guest post, share positive and negative realities of their lives without children. Often, their stories reveal dimensions within our tribe: niches within a broad category. My mind keeps returning to a NotMom commenter who wrote with emotion about the loneliness of being both childless and single…with middle age on the close horizon. Her challenge to find a NotMom like herself is more complicated. She also said that when I write about my husband, who I dubbed ‘HubbyMine’, it only serves to reinforce her otherness.

Her comment came back to me when I saw this headline on the web about a groundbreaking Danish study:

“IVF Hidden Heartbreak: Failed Fertility Treatment TRIPLES the Risk of Divorce”

Lead researcher Trille Kristina Kjaer explained: “Earlier research has shown that fertility problems and its treatments are major stressors…especially if the treatments are unsuccessful, we did not know how many of these couples actually decide to split up if they did not get a child.”

So, now we know. Thanks?

Woman accused

Anti-Childfree Shaming Hits the Wrong Target Every Time

By Laura LaVoie

It is no secret that I am a woman who chose not to have children. When I was 20, I thought perhaps I simply wasn’t ready to have kids. When I was 30, I told myself and others that I reserved the right to change my mind. I recently turned 39, and I am pretty sure this not wanting kids thing is not just a phase that I’ll get over.

Because I made this conscious choice to avoid motherhood, I know that I really can’t understand the experience of a woman who was forced to be a NotMom. Here, we refer to them as NotMoms by Chance. That is to say that in spite of desperately wanting and possibly trying to have kids, it never happened. I can empathize with them and count them among the childfree allies, but I can’t say I fully understand.

Standard measuring spoons

Small-Batch Cooking: Translating a ‘Pinch’, a ‘Dash’ & Other Tiny Measurements

By Faye Davenport

When I first started baking, I, of course, used the baking equipment that I already owned, which was, in all honesty, a hodge-podge of inexpensive grocery-store pans and hand-me-downs from assorted friends and family. I was just happy to have pans, and after all, a pan is a pan.  Yes…and no.

The same thing can be said for the purchase of my first Bundt cake pan. I saw it, it was pretty, it was “non-stick”, and I bought it Bundt Pan Bottombecause I wanted to make a cake.  I didn’t know that a dark-coated pan of cheap tin would bake a cake differently than a non-coated aluminum tube pan.  Plus,the tube pan was old and straight-sided and boring.     The Bundt pan had a lovely design.

As my baking interest bloomed, I discovered all sorts of things that were new to me.  And as I explore the world of small batch baking, I am again discovering all sorts of things that are new to me.  And I have a favorite new discovery.

There is a line I have seen attributed to King Arthur Flour which says, “cooking is an art, baking is a science”. I’ve learned that in developing a recipe for small batch baking, science can be tricky.  Very often the recipe for a cake intended to serve 16 does not produce the same results when it has been altered to serve two. And, how do you measure out something that is now ¼ of ¼ of a teaspoon?

As it turns out, there are measuring spoons that actually do just that.  It also turns out that these spoons use terms that I always thought were approximates.  A “smidgen”, a “pinch”, a “dash” and a “tad” are actual quantity measurements.

D Nyad

Share Time With Diana Nyad & You’ll Believe You’re A Champion, Too

By Karen Malone Wright

I met Diana Nyad this week. Well…I didn’t meet her. I could have, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

Diana (“Ms. Nyad” just sounds stupid in this context) was the keynote speaker at a conference for female entrepreneurs. Who better to tell you not to give up on a dream than the woman who swam through sharks and jellyfish from Cuba to Florida at 64 years old? People have been trying to finish that swim since 1950.

She scored a higher Q rating for me after that feat. Previously, to be honest, I only had vague memories of her time as a swimming announcer for ABC Sports. I knew she’d been crazy enough to try the Cuba swim before.

She tells her life story with the passion of someone who lived it and isn’t tired of looking back. As a teen, nationally ranked and first in Florida, she was raped by her trusted swim coach. In her 20s, she failed to place for the Olympic team. But, she continued to set records, and attempted the Cuba swim in 1978, twice in 2011 and again in 2012 before  finally succeeding in 2013. Now, her mantra is “Find a way.” There’s always a way, she says. Find it.

Diana’s a super-fit 64, and she looks pretty darned good. Her presentation was far more compelling than I’d expected. She gave a version of it at TED Women in December 2013, and a new documentary follows the real-life drama. Anyway, when she was done, there was time for only 3 questioners, and I was one of them.

hands globe

Declining Fertility Rates Rank Low on the Big List of Problems

By Karen Malone Wright

Remember the headlines and talk show chatter in 2013 after the publication of What to Expect When No One’s Expecting? Jonathan Last declared there’s a “coming demographic disaster” from “America’s baby bust” and lower fertility rates around the world.  I’m old enough to have heard “we’re running out of babies” panic before, and my initial reaction is usually to deem it unwarranted. But, I’m no social scientist, so I had no hard data to back up my gut feeling.

Thank you, New York Times, for publishing a detailed but very readable opinion page essay (4/6/14) by Michael Teitelbaum a senior researcher at Harvard Law School and Jay Winter, a history prof at Yale. Their book, The Global Spread of Fertility Decline: Population, Fear, and Uncertainty, was also released in 2013.  They don’t shy away from acknowledging falling population stats, and frankly, it can sound rather disturbing:

“Nearly half of all people now live in countries where women, on average, give birth to fewer than 2.1 babies — the number generally required to replace both parents — over their lifetimes. This is true in Melbourne and Moscow, São Paulo and Seoul, Tehran and Tokyo. It is not limited to the West, or to rich countries; it is happening in places as diverse as Armenia, Bhutan, El Salvador, Poland and Qatar.”

But then these wise guys — dare I say, these social scientists — conclude that “dark prophecies have a long history, and they are as misguided as they are unoriginal.”

T Strobel

The NotMom Profile: Tammy Strobel of ‘Rowdy Kittens’

Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different. Some people say it is strange to define ourselves by things that we are not, so let’s determine what we are instead. In this series, childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women without children who answer the question, “If you’re not a mom, then what are you?”

Tammy Strobel is a writer, photographer, and teacher. Her blog, Rowdy Kittens, was born in 2007 to improve her writing skills and share her story. When not writing, you’ll find Tammy taking photos, walking, and hanging out with friends and family. She lives in her tiny house in northern California (about 128 square feet), with her husband, Logan, and their two cats. Her new book is My Morning View: An iPhone Photography Project about Gratitude, Grief & Good Coffee.

Tell us about yourself and your blog.

I’m a writer, photographer, and teacher. I started blogging in late 2007 to become a better writer and photographer. Blogging consistently improved my writing and it resulted in a book deal! My first print book, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)
was released in September 2012. Also, my first photography book, My Morning View, hit the shelves in March 2014.

My blog,, is about going small, thinking big, and being happy. I post a few articles a week on topics like living simply, photography, and writing.

Why did you start your My Morning View project?

At the beginning of 2013, I missed my Dad terribly and felt depressed. He died in June 2012 and I wanted to begin coping with my grief in a positive way. After a little bit of brainstorming, I started an iPhone photography project called My Morning View. Every morning, I take photos of my view and my coffee mug makes an appearance in frame too.

Did you and your partner actively decide not to have children?

Yes, we did.

baby shower

When April Showers Are Good & Baby Showers Aren’t

By Karen Malone Wright

I couldn’t find a statistic to tell me how popular online polls really are, but considering that they’re all over the Web, I figure that can’t be by accident. Generally, they don’t discern anything deep and meaningful. Nevertheless, a good number of Net users, including me, enjoy the clicks to vote and then see how our choice ranks with other polltakers. Unfortunately, “Who wore it better?” probably attracts more respondents than anything a Congressperson is doing.

However, poll questions that appear not to matter are still soliciting readers’ opinions. It’s the human urge to share that makes us click in response. Engagement with readers, as often and as long as possible, is what makes us bloggers very happy. And sometimes, even casual questions reveal interesting information.

When an early 2014 poll here asked readers to choose the best and worst of Spring, there was no hidden agenda attached. I wasn’t seeking to learn anything special about my readers. But, I did receive a subtle, unsolicited message. It was hard not to notice that for 2 straight weeks, more people — 40% — thought baby birds are something to celebrate, while baby showers are not.

NM PURCH-Travel2

3 Spring Getaways for Girlfriends, Couples & Fabulous You

By Laura LaVoie

Winter is finally over, at least according to the calendar. While there may still be snow in northern parts of the U.S. (and even a freak snowstorm in Georgia or North Carolina), green grass is beginning to peek out, crocuses are blooming, and the earth is thawing.

One of my personal favorite perks about being a NotMom (and a Location Independent NotMom at that) is the ability to travel whenever I want to. As I write this, we are about to head out to spend a few days in Savannah, Georgia. (I’ll probably be back by the time you read this – and I’m sure the trip was great.)

I thought I might put together a short list of springtime vacation destinations to consider while you’re shedding your winter coat and pulling out the sundresses.

1. Savannah, GA Of course I would include this city since it’s on my mind right now, but I think Savannah is the perfect NotMom spring getaway.

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